A quick recap…
True to our word, we’re back with part two of our ‘Building a brand’ Matchbox series. In part one, we defined what a brand is and the importance of creating a solid brand presence from the get-go. We also looked at how to define your brand using our discovery questions and brand strategy document.
You may be sitting there thinking to yourself, “I have no idea what they’re talking about”. Simply put, a brand is a way of identifying your business by creating a public identity to differentiate it from competitors. Building your brand in the right way from the beginning makes you recognisable to customers, setting you and your business up for a bright future.
Now, onto the next step: building your brand identity.
Step two: building a successful brand identity
A common mistake is assuming the word ‘brand’ exclusively refers to just a name and a logo. So many elements go into making that name and logo, which build the recognisable look of a company or product. Altogether, these elements can be applied to different items in and around your business, helping to shape the overall brand. In other words, rather than being the brand, these elements shape your brand. When combined, these elements become part of your overall brand identity.
Think of your brand identity as the visual expression of your brand at every point it can be seen or experienced. The way it’s noticed, remembered and recalled. A strong brand identity should be consistent and memorable across every business touchpoint - from email footers and office signage to the product packaging and vehicle liveries. The ultimate aim is to make you stand out from competitors so customers can instantly identify your brand. And that means building trust and loyalty.
Every brand identity will be as unique and different as the brand itself. Choosing the elements that work for your brand can be confusing and overwhelming. The good news is that there are three elements every brand identity needs to have. These are colours, logos and fonts.
Picking your brand colours
Finding your brand colours isn’t as simple as picking your favourite colour. Brand colours are a technical element in a brand, evoking different emotions of feelings. Look back at your brand strategy (we told you it would come in handy) and pick out colours that complement how you’d like your brand to be perceived.
You may need to think about how you’ll need to produce your brand. Will you need to have your logo embroidered on your uniform? If so, you’ll need a colour that can be replicated in embroidery thread.
Iconic Fox has a fantastic article to help with colour selection.
Creating the perfect logo
The creation of a good logo isn’t straightforward. It’s not as simple as using one of those many free logo creation sites. Who knows how many businesses use the same logo and could even have it trademarked?
Behind your favourite logos will be countless mood boards, concepts and development stages. There are many logo inspiration and creation tools out there but remember, your logo is something that makes you identifiable to your customers. It’s something that’s supposed to set you apart from your competitors. You need to be different.
Working with a trusted graphic designer or branding agency can ensure your branding will be unique, work across every business item, and stand the test of time.
Selecting your fonts
Similarly to colours, your font(s) will evoke certain emotions in your potential customers. Again, look back at your brand strategy. Identify how you want your brand to come across and keep this in mind when selecting a font.
Is your brand playful or professional? Your font should mirror how you want your brand to be perceived. A handwritten curly script font may not work for a professional services business that wants to portray a strong corporate identity.
There are different types of typography that reflect different brand personalities. If you’re stuck, have a look at the brands you aspire to look like and note how they use typography.
Take a look at Behance or Pinterest if you need some inspiration for your typography.
Pulling it all together into brand guidelines
So you’ve got your key elements. Now it’s time to pull them all together before getting to the good stuff: using them. The time has come for you to create your brand guidelines.
Your brand guidelines are your rules and standards for representing your brand in the real world. These guidelines should be able to be used by anybody who needs them (think internal employees, creative agencies and web developers). The aim is to ensure consistency across everything with your brand’s name on it. And what comes with consistency? A stronger brand presence and trust.
There’s not exactly a set structure for your brand guidelines. You can make them as detailed or as straightforward as you like. The most important thing is that it suits you and your business use.
You should know by now that we’re not going to leave you pondering over a blank piece of paper, not knowing where to start. Here’s a handy brand guidelines template we have put together in Canva to help you get started (make sure to create a copy to get started). This template’s got everything you need to get yourself up and running. Once you’ve got these critical bits of information, you’re ready to fly free and expand it to your heart’s content.
Here are some extra things you might want to think about including:
Looking for some further inspiration? Here are some examples of brands that we think are on top of their brand guidelines game:
Two down, one more to go. The next instalment of our ‘Building a brand’ will be our last for now (we know, we’re sad too). We’ll be pulling together everything we’ve done so far, using your brand strategy and brand guidelines to implement them into your brand marketing. How exciting!
Don’t forget to check back soon for step three. You’ve come this far. It would be a shame to stop when it’s getting good. And if you need any help with your branding in the meantime, let’s have a chat.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 01295 768122
Book of Branding. An essential addition to the start-up toolkit, designed for entrepreneurs, founders, visual designers, brand creators and anyone seeking to decode the complicated world of brand identity.
Listen to Margaret Kerr-Jarrett, writer and strategist, discussing how to create your verbal identity to align with your visual identity.
@pantone are the ultimate colour inspiration.
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