With all this talk about building a brand and making sure it is really good, do we even understand what a brand is made up of (better yet what IT really is).
It goes without saying that anything as important as a brand is going to have supporting items which contribute to it’s absolute value. While building my own brand, the research I have done seems slightly ambiguous. More importantly, they have all attempted to tell you what a brand is without showing you have to build one for yourself. Maybe its a hidden secret you are suppose to endure great lengths of mental anguish and brutal physical feats in order to truly apply the wisdom of the ancient sages to your branding. The reality of it is that its something so simple you tend to overlook it or push it to the back while you deal with more important business decisions.
The fact of the matter is, there is nothing more important than getting your branding in check.
Ultimately a brand is an overall look and feel that is part of the whole business. It is the color, the fonts, the logo, the identity, and all of it is blended together in the smoothest fashion as if blending a delicious smoothie packed with many fruits and veges, juice, yogurt, and yes even some supplement powder put in for a powerful boost. While that did give you a visual picture, it isn’t that far away from the truth of branding. It’s a blend of various ingredients. The better the ingredients the better the outcome.
When you take it piece by piece, the task isn’t so daunting. What are the pieces?
Color is the most important of all the elements, to me, because it is the paint brush that distributes the brand across all of the elements. Think about it, isn’t it impressive to see a business card with the same colors on the website (even if in a creative way) and then to see some of their products (free or paid) which will all look the same. Even if ONLY the color is the same across all pieces, it gives a more cohesive feeling. This however isn’t how color is suppose to be used. It is suppose to be used like mood lighting. If you want it to be loud and obnoxious you turn it all the way up as bright as you can get it. If you want it to be calm and gentle you adjust it to a low cool inviting and <insert message from mission statement here>.
There are several messages that you can convey through simply color. For Example:
Many other things represent these colors. If there is a specific trait you are attempting to portray for your company, a simple word study or Google search can give you an idea of the best colors to choose from. Resources I generally use for this purpose is:
Font, especially for a blog, is a very very close second place when building a brand. If you are a blog, you want a font that is very easy to read on a screen and doesn’t get on your nerves or give you a headache. A full page of the font listing the emotional messages of color would be overwhelming and would probably cause you to leave the site immediately. However, something like what I am using now, is more doable, you can probably read it for hours on end and not even realize how long you have been staring at the screen. It isn’t a lot for your eyes to process and it doesn’t take away from the overall message of the brand itself. It is something that works with it.
If the color is the paint itself, then the font is the paintbrush and is used to create strokes within a masterpiece. It is part of a whole. A fraction if you are mathematically in tune.
The one thing that confuses people when designing a brand using font is serif or sans serif. A Serif is a line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter or symbol. And through process of deduction we can determine that a Sans Serif is without this line at the end of the stroke.
One general rule of thumb or general guideline is that Newsworthy type of journalism normally uses a Serif type of font, as it looks more authoritative. Also, Luxury products tend to use this type of font. (My best guess is because they aren’t taking any shortcuts…lol)
Here is a perfect example from a website that uses a Serif font for the purpose of displaying Luxury. I’m almost certain (if you’re a female) you know where to look for this type of jewelry.
These are some Font resources including how to pair fonts so they don’t jar the users eyes:
A logo is for the sole purpose of identification. That is it. It isn’t used to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars of products for you. It isn’t even there to explain the reason for choosing the name. If you look at your drivers license, the picture is much like your logo. Which is used for the sole purpose of identifying who you are. It doesn’t tell anyone who you are as a person, but it does identify who you are. And it is done in the most simplest form using a mark or icon.
Logo’s gain quality because of the product or service it represents. It’s important to realize that it isn’t the other way around. Often people think they have to have a flashy logo for people to purchase the product, the truth is, the product should sell itself and the logo just be another cog on the gear to make the sale close.
Lastly, you must remember that until your logo becomes familiar to the public, it will not function the way you intend it to do. So before you pitch it and begin re-branding, work on your traffic generation.
Need I say more about an iconic logo that has lasted through generations and still we all know EXACTLY what types of products Nike produces. Over time Nike has one of the strongest holds on the sports apparel market.
When I am needing some new inspiration or a starting point for my logo designs, here is where I turn:
We may have heard of this concept as “corporate identity.” This is the visual representation of your business or brand. I mean EVERY visual representation. Every piece of anything that communicates to your end users or your employees is all cohesive in some manner previously set by each business. From the uniform, to the pen’s they use, to the vehicle. All aspects paint a more total snapshot of the identity of the company.
UPS is the KING of identity. Down to the little doo-dads they use to have you sign for a package…. BROWN…. Even their slogan “What can Brown do for you?” I wouldn’t be surprised if you go to their headquarters and they roll out the BROWN carpet for you. I’m sure if you are like me you have mistaken someone with a brown collared shirt for a UPS worker before.
There are trends you can keep in mind, and other sources of inspiration when developing your own identity:
As all of these aspects come together you will begin to see the beginning of a timeless journey while you discover who you are in the business world. The more you force it to happen the more it will appear forced, instead let it come to you as you work on your business, just take notes as you build based on your blueprint.
We all start like Bon Jovi; “Living on a Prayer,” but as you begin to see yourself and your brand in a new light, the more you will whiddle away the nonsense and emerge with your own swagger. Hopefully, it’s enough swagger to change the game.
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