Having a universally recognized brand is every company's dream. It's important to align your company's principles with a well-designed and unified brand. There are countless services to help you create your brand – but once that identity is created, the work isn't over. Your company's brand should be visible in everything you do.
If you don't already have a solid brand with a good effort behind it, it's time to build one. Thinking about all of the work the goes along with establishing a recognizable brand for your company can be overwhelming. Don't let it get you down. Break down the process into three steps and with a legitimate effort, you'll have people recognizing your work by the brand that goes along with it.
1) Invest in your logo
While it may seem like a deal, paying someone $50 to create a logo for you on the fly will not yield the results you’re looking for in your brand identity. You wouldn’t pay $800 for a car and expect a new Mercedes – and it’s the same with design. You should invest not only a decent budget into your brand work, but also your attention. Be available to work with the company you have chosen to create your logo so that you have more control over the outcome. Brand identity takes a deeper understanding of the company itself, which is why you need to weigh in throughout this process.
Once you’ve created your logo, stick with it! The person who creates your logo should provide you with enough variations to carry the same design over various scenarios (black background, full color, etc.), and it’s up to you to make sure there are no alterations for one-off projects.
2) Develop a color palette and stick to it!
The various media outlets and graphics you come up with need to have a consistent color scheme to allow your audience to recognize your brand. Accent colors out of your palette can be okay in the right situation, but throw blue all over your typically orange logo and suddenly you've got a confused audience. It's good to be creative, but don't overdo it. The brand will sell itself.
Below are some examples of varying away from your typical color palette. If you're familiar with the Continuum brand, you'll notice that the typical consistency is just not there in the image on the right.
3) Create a style guide for your company
Make your branding efforts accessible for the entire company. This way, when Joe from accounting wants to make a letterhead on the fly, he has a set of guidelines to help keep him from going rogue on your brand. Building out a company-wide guide from scratch can be a bit overwhelming. Below are a few key aspects that should be included in every style guide.
Establish a vision, mission and brand positioning. There should be a very well-established reason for the way that your brand looks and how you plan to use it.
Your brandmark should include the colors that your brand uses as well as all variations of your logo. You should also lay out where and when it is appropriate to use your brand.
Typefaces, color palettes, photography and iconography should be included in the design toolbox. If someone is attempting to build out an image using your company's brand, they'll have somewhere to go to assist them.
Some branding items should be standard. The font used by your company should be standardized and included in your style guide. Buttons, footers and box shadows are other commonly standardized elements.
Personality and Voice:
Beyond all else, your brand should have a voice. You should make it very clear what that voice and personality is as well as what it isn't.
Once you've built out your brand and style guide, you're ready to put the pedal to the metal. Sometimes, it can be tempting to change a logo or other areas of your brand. You should refrain from making changes or adjustments unless it's absolutely necessary. Remember, it's about consistency and commitment.
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By Gretchen Hoffman