How to make your brand standout?
1. THINK BEYOND YOUR LOGO
You have an amazing logo that you are completely in love with — awesome! A great logo is a solid foundation for your visual brand to stand on, but it can’t stand on its own and it shouldn’t be expected to do all the heavy lifting for your visual brand. A logo’s power stems from how well your support elements complement it and make it stand out. Branded graphic elements such as patterns, textures, sub-marks, watermarks and illustrations are what give your brand life, personality, flexibility and cohesiveness. Used correctly, your graphic elements will work to make your brand shine across any platform by giving continuity without being boring and static.
2. REFERENCE YOUR MOOD BOARD BEFORE EVERY MOVE
If you are rebranding, start with a mood board. If you just have a logo, but not much of a brand, do not go any further without a mood board. Who doesn’t love a good Friday-night Pinterest binge (with wine of course)? Or you can just grab a piece of poster board and start cutting up magazines. The important thing is that you create a visual representation of designs, fonts, colors and images that all work together, evoke the feel you are going for and will appeal to your audience. Reference the mood board anytime you create anything new for your brand and ask yourself if there is a cohesive feeling between the mood board and what you’ve created. If so, move forward with gusto. If not, give it another go. This is one of many ways to make all of your materials cohesive and build trust with your audience.
3. LESS IS MORE
As a designer, I love colors, and I can geek out over fonts all day. But when it comes to your branding, keep it simple. Less really is more. Do some research on color psychology and choose a small color palette of 3 to 4 carefully chosen colors. Look for fonts that evoke the feel of your brand and choose options that are easy to read (and not standard to all computers). You should not use more than 2-3 fonts across all of your brand materials. Do not choose more than one decorative font or they will fight with each other. Set these rules for yourself and stick to them!
4. DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME TRYING TO PLEASE EVERYONE
Get very specific about exactly who your ideal customer is. Think about their sense of style, personality traits, what they like to do. And then get more specific about their hopes, dreams and fears and who they put their trust in. Draw a picture, create a name for this person and do anything else that makes them real to you. From now on, this is who you address when you write or speak as part of your brand, and it’s who you have in mind when you create marketing materials.
You can’t be everything to everyone, so save yourself the heartache and long hours by focusing on creating an unforgettable experience for those that are hungry for what you have to offer.
You will repel some people, but the right folks will think you are speaking just to them and flock to you. Better to have a small group of raving fans who continually buy than a large group of lukewarm buyers. A larger lukewarm group seems great until they decide to price hop to the competition because there is no true bond keeping them with you. Isn’t this basically the same advice your mother gave you about making friends as a teenager? And we all knows moms are never wrong.
5. STOP CHASING OTHERS IN YOUR INDUSTRY
There will always be someone a step ahead of you. Accept it now and move on. The worst thing you can do for your brand is constantly watch what others are doing, get inspired and try to emulate them. The whole point of creating a strong brand is to differentiate yourself from the competition, not blend in with them. If there isn’t a very distinguishable difference between you and the competition, then how can you be confident they’ll choose you? There are plenty of customers to go around, and there is a specific audience that is just right for you. Focus your energy on finding them and wooing them as only you can.
“Building a brand is a bit like raising a child.”
It’s not something you can do once and be done forever. Gosh, wouldn’t that be nice though? Brands grow and change with each developing stage, just like kids, and they always need our attention. You should always be looking for tweaks and improvements to your overall brand and make sure it continues to fit into your big vision. This takes off the pressure to feel like you have to create your brand, all of your print pieces, new website and digital graphics all in one go. A slow, methodical approach that continues to build on itself and improve throughout the years is a recipe for a successful brand.
Have you seen someone doing a particularly great or terrible job with their brand and website design who could use my services? I’d love to check them out. Or, do you completely disagree? I want to hear from you too! Shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time,
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