Why is branding so important to a business? What can it actually to do help you?
Brand identity is one of the most important components when building your business. This is the first impression you make to consumers. Whatever you’re trying to sell, promote, or give is going to leave a mark through your branding. Branding doesn’t have to be extensive, it can be simple and direct, but it is important to make it a top priority when building your business. Branding lets consumers know exactly what your business has to offer and it can and should distinguish you from competitors. What do you have that others don’t? Your branding should tell a story.
The social media age has created a mindset of quick judgement, swiping, clicking, following and unfollowing, all within seconds of each other. What will people see in the seconds of looking at your Instagram profile, or your website homepage? Here is a step-by-step guide to exactly what direction you need to take.
This seems like a no-brainer, but your name is your NAME and it’s one of the most important pieces in branding your business. The best branding example is Apple – you are probably reading this article on an iPhone, and I am typing it on a MacBook. There’s a reason why their products are so widely-used, and it is not solely due to their amazing products. There are plenty of amazing products in the world, but without branding, they may not see the light of day that they deserve.
Always look at other notable businesses that are similar to yours. What are they doing? Using competition as inspiration is encouraged! Your competitors went through the challenges prior to you beginning your business journey, so why not take notes? Your name should be short, memorable, and easy-to-read and pronounce.
Apple, Starbucks, and Walmart are all examples of business names that are well-known. Adding the business title or main idea is helpful as well. All of these businesses had one before their more popular names came to be: Apple Computers, Starbucks Coffee, and Walmart Supercenter. When navigating branding, this is where you want to begin.
Logos are usually the first thing brands put time into, or none at all. When you think of a logo, you want it to embody your business within a single icon. Apple’s logo is recognizable and embodies their brand entirely: simple, clean, and classic. Take your time when designing your logo, make sure it is timeless, something you will never get tired of or go out of style. While being on-trend is good for engagement, your logo shouldn’t change during every design season. Creating a logo that works without color is also something to keep in mind. While working with color is fun you don’t want your brand to be unrecognizable without it. Make sure your logo is flexible.
Designing multiple logos is also something to keep in mind. There is the standard icon logo, and then icon logo with the name to the right, but be willing to get creative with the different versions. Logo flexibility is really helpful for the designer creating your graphics, and it also creates even more ways for your brand to be recognizable by consumers.
Brand guides always have a handful of fonts within their marketing. Fonts are important for branding to use for your social media, emails, prints, etc. Circling back to Apple’s iconic branding, the font they use for their branding is Helvetica Neue… that’s it. The font that is used for the writing of ‘MacBook Pro’ just below my screen. Your fonts shouldn’t be bubbly or artistic. While being design-minded and creative is wonderful, readability and professionalism is equally as important. There is a positive middle-ground where design and professionalism meet and that is where Apple gets away with using Helvetica Neue.
Most standard branding has a heading and subheading font. I think a couple of simple fonts, similar to Helvetica Neue, or Times New Roman, with multiple weights are perfect, especially for designers creating your graphics. When you hire a designer or marketing agency to manage your social media accounts, email marketing, and prints, they need fonts that are easy to work with. That is why a readable font ranging from thin to bold gives depth to your designs. This allows for more font options, and a subtle consistency within your branding. Good designs come from good bones a.k.a brand guidelines or brand standards!
Color can make or break your branding, so it’s an important step when branding your business. Playing with color is fun and it can change the entire identity of your brand, but it can also ruin it. Apple doesn’t use a ton of color in their branding, they use it within their products. Consistent and bright shades for their iPhones and iPads, accessories and wallpapers. Brands where color is their main idea, like Pepto Bismol’s iconic pink, wouldn’t be the same without color. Logo flexibility is important, and especially helpful for your designer, but brand identity is important too. If a specific color is a huge part of your product or service, brand identity trumps flexibility.
All of this can get confusing, so for those who need a layout of their color finding here is a breakdown. An awesome website for those who are not creatively-minded is coolors.co, anyone can go through thousands of color palettes already put together. Scrolling through the options can help you get an idea of what exactly color can do for your brand. It can cause emotion and impression simply by themselves. For branding, you need a primary group of colors and then a secondary group of colors. It can be any number, but a recommended 5-7 total colors is usually enough. Too many colors can cause a lack of identity, and not having enough colors can cause all of your graphics to look the same and your Instagram feed to become boring.
Now you have a fun run-down of everything you need to know when beginning your branding journey! A well thought-out brand is noticeable. Consumers are attracted to businesses who care for their look and are proud of what they are offering to the world. Attractive branding is like someone who has a great outfit on, you can feel their confidence when they walk into a room. Make sure your business portrays confidence through branding.
Hopefully this helps you understand why branding is important to a business! Your brand can take your business to the next level, so be sure not to neglect it.
Emily Shropshire | Graphic Design | Defined Media