Branding your business can seem like a daunting task. You need to have a vision, pin down your company values, create a plan for how best to express those values visually, and, of course, show it off to the world – which can be a harsh critic.
In order to properly communicate what your company does, much of your effort is going to be directed towards the design aspects of your brand. How will you make a logo? Which color palette will you choose? What kind of font will send the right message to your potential customers?
To answer some of these questions and make the branding process easier, there are certain guidelines for you to follow on your branding journey. Here is a list of design do’s and don’ts to help you send the proper brand message.
You want your brand to be unique, but you also want it to be memorable – and sometimes the most simple designs are the ones that stick out in people’s minds. Think about famous company logos: The Twitter bird, the Amazon arrow, the Apple, well, apple – all of these logo designs are straightforward, to the point, and pretty much unforgettable.
Don’t: Make it boring.
Consumers look for new brands that excite them, not brands they view as predictable. So, just because you’re after a simple design doesn’t mean it should be sloppy or closely resemble that of another brand. Don’t be afraid to be interesting; for example, if your logo is text-based, try to use a color palette that pops.
Take some time to plan out your logo design, reasoning how it communicates your company values and making sure that it’s appealing to the average eye. Rule of thumb: If you’re not excited by it, your audience certainly won’t be either!
Do: Combine fonts.
Branding means creating a slew of marketing materials that are consistently designed – among them being business documents with headers and subheaders, blog posts, websites and business cards. Pairing fonts, when done well, can keep the designs of these materials compelling, while also helping to differentiate sections of text. For example, using a serif and sans serif font together will create the kind of contrast that draws the eye and keeps people reading.
Don’t: Pair fonts with different moods.
Although somewhat subjective, it’s generally pretty clear to the average viewer when two fonts aren’t meant to go together. Like colors, fonts have different overall vibes, and you want the mood of both fonts you use to be consistent with your brand message. A funeral home letterhead would probably not use the same font as an invitation to a wedding, right?
Remember that you want to communicate a specific set of values with the design of your brand, and fonts that imply conflicting sentiments will work against that goal.
Do: Use consistent colors.
Consistency is one of the main elements that determines whether or not a brand is successful. Consumers learn to rely on the designs they’ve come to know, love, and associate with a specific brand; you can create that brand recognition by choosing a specific color palette and sticking with it. Giving your potential audience a color scheme they can depend on will eventually turn them into loyal followers of your brand.
Don’t: Use ALL the colors.
In the design world, more is not necessarily better. Designs that use too many colors look cluttered and disorganized. (And, there are very few brands that actually make rainbow work for them, and it’s almost always a temporary thing!)
Before choosing your brand colors, try doing research on the meaning of colors to learn what subtle messages your brand will be putting out into the world. Select a color palette that’s on-message, and do not deviate after that!
Over to You
Now that you have a few important design basics down, it’s time to start building your brand! Have a brainstorming session with your team, and pin down the values that underlie your business. From there, the rest is much easier than it seems – follow the above tips, and your brand design will naturally fall into place.