What is branding?
How do you make a brand identity stand out from dozens, if not thousands of others?
How and where do you get the best brand design?
In this article, we will be covering the basics of Branding, a quick Branding 101 course, if you will, offering tips for a killer Brand Identity.
Whether you are just writing another marketing paper or have a genuine interest in branding techniques, to answer these questions, you should have an understanding of several basic branding definitions.
A brand is a name, symbol, or another distinctive feature, which helps the audience distinguish a company or a product from numerous others.
Branding is a process of creating a positive impression about the company or a product in the eyes of its audience.
Brand identity is a complex concept that consists of numerous items and ideas.
It is the impression which a customer or a user gets from communicating with the company.
Branding is a collective image of the company, its values, products and services that it provides, and it is the key factor to whether the customer will want to turn into the functions of the company again.
Branding 101 – Common Brand Elements
How do you make sure that the customer’s experience of interacting with your company is nothing but a pleasure?
What are the elements that can make your brand recognisable?
Here’s a beginners guide to Branding 101.
A logo design is a significant element of a brand identity.
Developing a personal logo design is quite a challenging job, yet a rewarding one as well, especially when it is brought to life and used by a company.
Besides having aesthetical features, an effective logo should be:
Suitable. It should represent the company, what it does, what it focuses on and what are its primary values.
Simple and timeless. Although some may think that the pretentious the better, or try to follow the latest trends, a good logo should be clear and transparent beyond time.
Recognisable. Making a logo stand out among numerous others is not an easy task, yet it is worth an effort, as it is the symbol that will represent the company.
Adjustable. The logo should be convertible and look neat in colour and black and white; downsized and enlarged.
A website is an essential element of a brand identity, especially for those businesses which can provide their services online.
Most of your potential customers will visit and look over your website before they decide to make use of your services or cooperate in any other way.
Thus, the website should be flawless and precise in representing all the necessary information about the company, its products and services, and its values that it shares.
All the elements of a website should be compatible and work together as a whole.
Visual material is a proven way of making a good first impression.
Images and illustrations support your brand identity, photos are an excellent means to build up a trusting relationship with your audience, the pictures of the company staff will introduce the audience to the people who are standing behind all the corporate magic.
Naturally, a website cannot consist of imagery alone; it should also be filled with unique, relevant and enthralling content.
The textual information on a corporate website should be thoroughly written and edited, considering the preferences of the targeted audience and the proper tone of voice.
Therefore, a good idea would be to hire a content manager, who will watch that all the information on a website is unified and matches the overall brand ideas.
Interior and exterior design
The interior and exterior design make an unforgettable impression on customers, as it conditions their direct interaction with the company.
It defines their mood during and after the visit.
Whether you choose a minimalistic design or a cosy environment with numerous details and a luxurious décor, it should correspond to the overall status of the company and its other brand elements.
The way your staff looks makes a massive contribution to your company’s image.
It is up to you, whether there would be a dress code, a uniform design of, for example, just badges with the company logo on them.
The packaging design is what appeals to the customer when one has not yet tried your product.
It is something that will speak up for the brand when no one else is around to advise the customer to choose your product among similar products of the other companies.
Moreover, if the quality of the product is comparable to that of your counterparts, the aesthetical pleasure from appreciating the wrapping can persuade some customers to purchase your product again.
A well-thought design for the promotional merchandise will remind your customers about your company and products in everyday life, which is basically, just a form of low-pressure advertising.
For example, you can use a company logo letterhead for a notepad, give away mugs, umbrellas, pens, calendars, lip balms, water bottles and other goods with the company logo printed on them.
The statistics of using such a method speaks for itself.
People keep the promotional merchandise items for up to two years.
89% of customers will be able to recognise and distinguish the company by its logo even years after receiving a complimentary item.
85% of people prefer having business with the company after receiving a little courtesy.
Promotional merchandise works a lot like a business card: not only that it introduces the business to the person that it was given to, but also to everyone who notices that person using the item.
Although some people think that the importance of business cards is overrated, and in the era of internet search they have lost their significance, business cards are still quite an efficient way to make the first impression positive and make it long-lasting one.
Just as all the textual information on your website should be thoroughly tailored to reflect the ideas of your company, the emails should have a particular tone of voice too.
Hence, all the correspondence of the company should have a determined style of language and formatting.
How to develop a brand identity
Colours are playing one of the significant roles in creating and developing a brand identity.
The influence of colours goes far beyond their aesthetical perception by the viewers.
Each colour is proven to have its specific psychological impact on the way people are interpreting the information which is supported by imagery and visual components.
Red is the colour which is associated with love, passion, excitement, alertness and energy.
Orange is considered to be youthful and enthusiastic, whereas yellow is a colour of sunshine, optimism and warmth.
Moreover, red, orange and yellow are the colours which are deemed to raise appetite, which is why they are commonly used in food industry, especially when it comes to food packaging and interior design of cafes and restaurants.
Green colours usually communicate the idea of growth, peace, sustainability and environmental friendliness.
A blue colour palette is relatable to the colours of the sky and the sea, and just like these elements are inspiring people with the feeling of serenity and tranquillity, blue colours make an impression of strength and support.
Violet is a colour which is commonly associated with royalty and wisdom; it is a colour which is thought to have a positive impact on boosting imagination.
Naturally, the classic combination of black and white makes a timeless and elegant impression.
Forms and shapes are also the factors which influence the perception of the brand identity design.
The shapes that you choose to model the visual representation of your ideas are tackling the audience’s subconsciousness, just as colours do.
Likewise, round shapes are often associated with the values of unity and sharing, whereas sharp edges and straight lines evoke the feeling of efficiency, stability and determination.
Lettering and typography
Although some people may think that fonts do not matter and the only crucial thing in any text is the gist, it is not entirely accurate.
Fonts that are used on your business cards, promotional merchandise and on your website contribute to the overall image of the company, supporting the ideas that your design represents.
Classic serif fonts will contribute to the image of a reliable and old-fashioned company.
Sans serif fonts are better suited for the companies that aspire for a classy and modern look.
Script typography is a powerful tool to add a posh and pretentious accent to your brand style.
Branding 101: Common mistakes with brand identity development
One of the biggest mistakes in branding 101 is trying to apply all and everything possible to make your brand identity rich and detailed.
However, there is a line between abundance and oversaturation, and regarding design development, too much has never served anyone any good.
Once you choose a concept of your brand style, you should stick to that idea and a limited number of visual effects to substantiate it.
Another mistake that many companies make is neglecting the staff training.
Nothing confuses a costumer more than a difference between the positive image of a company and the rudeness or indifference of its staff.
The company values should be shared by the people who work there; each employee is a representative of the brand.
Hence it is crucial to make sure that they share only positive messages regarding the company.
Using the same design through the ages is not an entirely good idea either.
Many companies avoid the risks of rebranding.
However the trends in graphic design are changing over time, and a well-thought change in brand identity will only win the attention of the targeted audience and remind your customers about how good your products and services are.
Hopefully, in this concise Branding 101 course, we have covered all the basics along with definitions and examples.
If you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment below.
Inkbot Design is a Creative Branding Agency that is passionate about effective Graphic Design, Brand Identity, Logos and Web Design.