Brand Strategy Affects Design
First-time readers are sometimes confused by this gutsy branding blog of ours. Because of the confusion surrounding what branding is, they come in all geeked about designing grandiose logos and insane backgrounds. And, while I’m all about “insane,” the fact is I don’t talk much about design for one reason: strategy doesn’t serve the design – design serves the strategy. Laura Ries, daughter of Al Ries – one of the fathers of positioning theory – said in an article discussing Hillary Clinton’s new logo “…you don’t start by creating a visual, you start by creating a strategy.” Source
That doesn’t mean design’s not important.
Double negatives aside, it’s something every gutsy business owner and entrepreneur needs to think about when it comes to branding. Our process, for instance, begins with a Discovery phase, where a lot of competitive research is done. This research informs your strategy and helps us determine things like your target market, pricing structure, message – and yes – your design.
That’s not to say design’s not important – it just needs to be done after the strategy.
Good Brand Design Is Always Simple
I’ve already written about what makes a good logo here, so this is for everything else.
The most important thing about your brand’s design, as with everything else about your brand, is keeping it simple. But don’t just take my word for it. Check out this link on why marketing simplicity is huge from the Harvard Business Review, or this Forbes article detailing how simplicity is the key to Apple’s success, and here’s one more from the Washington Post, dealing with simplicity specifically for small business marketing.
Simplicity, my gutsy friends, is key!
Making Your Brand’s Logo Stand Out
Let’s say your logo’s blue. Well, one of our favorite design tricks is to make sure the only other things that are blue are calls to action, such as a block containing “click here to receive our newsletter” on your website. In this case, you’d keep the blue to a minimum to make sure your logo stands out.
What About the Background?
This one’s easy enough. We generally use a black, white, or gray background – depending on our clients’ competition – because they’re simple colors that usually contrast nicely with a logo.
And the Text?
When it comes to text – above all else – make sure it’s readable. This seems simple enough, but some people still blow it. No matter your business, use as simple a font as you can get away with. We use arial. It’s not the sexiest of fonts, but I’d be willing to bet you haven’t had much trouble reading this post – and that’s what’s important.
Another thing to keep in mind is font color. Make sure it doesn’t contrast too harshly against the background. This post has a white font against a dark gray – rather than black – background, because if the contrast were too great, people would be straining to read it. And then they’d throw things. And damaged stuff is bad.
Okay, Okay, but What About Extra Design Elements?
When it comes to extra design elements, such as bullets, lines, or any other shapes, only use them to enhance what you already have. Never add design elements just to add them. It takes away from the simplicity of your graphics. And if you want some color, there’s nothing wrong with a well-placed photo in your design’s layout.
And Now the Consistency Lecture
Come on, you knew it was coming.
After using all those tips to design your brand’s look, it’s time to make it consistent across the board! Your website, social media pages, business cards, flyers, pricing sheet, even proposals and internal documents, along with everything else you create, need to have your look. This keeps things simple – there’s that word again – for your clients, thus keeping you number one in their minds in your business category. It also keeps things simple for you, so you won’t be trying to figure out how to design price sheets for the rest of your life!
*whew* I’m Finally About Done Typing!
Here’s hoping those design tips – after coming up with your brand strategy, of course – help launch you to stratospheric heights! As always, if you have any questions regarding your gutsy brand or brand strategy, feel free to get a hold of us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
And, of course, remember to stay gutsy!