Branding is a popular topic amongst entrepreneurs but not many small businesses executed it well. That’s not surprising since marketing and graphic design budgets are often small or non-existent. If you don’t have the budget in place to hire a graphic designer your only option is to create your own brand assets.
Luckily there has been a lot of progress in the development of do-it-yourself design tools in recent years. These resources allow you to create professional branding even if you don’t have a design background. You need to keep a few design principles and branding best practices in mind to pull off a professional and cohesive brand. Let’s take a look at how a disciplined approach can help you create memorable brand assets like website, social media pages, business cards, presentations, etc.
Set the Right Tone from the Beginning
Before you start designing your website or any other promotional material you should review your logo. If you don’t have a logo in place this should be your first item on your branding to do list. Your logo is the foundation for your entire brand and will dictate the creative direction for all of your other brand assets. It’s crucial you get this right. Don’t make the mistake of simply choosing a logo that appeals to you personally but create something that resonates with your target audience. Before you finalize your logo design gather some unbiased feedback, ideally from potential customers.
Brand Your Website Properly
Whether you are going with a custom build for your website or choose a template you have to make sure it’s brand consistent with your logo. All too often you come across websites that are nicely put together just to find a blurry, skewed and mismatched logo placed in the top left corner. That’s a clue that either the logo or website were treated as an afterthought. The ideal process is to create your logo first and then come up with your website concept. To tie them together make sure your use your logo’s core color and repeat it throughout the website as an accent piece. This will give your website a professional and brand consistent look. As you implement your logo make sure you use the exact right dimensions and file format. If your look doesn’t meet those criteria it will look skewed or blurry and scream amateur brand.
Make Sure Your Supporting Branding Material Matches
Your logo and website are only as strong and your supporting branding material. Once you have your website in place your next logical step is to build out your social media channels. All of your accounts need to be branded exactly the same way and match your website in look and feel. Make sure your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. all include your logo and repeat your core colors. Once you are done creating your social media you need to apply the same disciplined approach to all of your other promotional material like business cards, presentation, flyers, banner ads, etc. Make it a habit to include your logo and brand colors for every marketing material you publish or print. Consistently using your brand color and logo will enforce your brand and give your business a cohesive and memorable look.
Leverage Visual Tools to Elevate Your Designs and Strengthen Brand Recognition
Branding is all about repetition. Whether a customer walks into your store physically or visits your website or social media page they should have the same visual experience. In addition to your logo and branding colors you can leverage visual tools like images, icons, illustrations, fonts, etc. Images are one of the most powerful visual communication tools and can instantly elevate any of your brand material designs. Instead of using photos that are different in style choose one set of photos you like and use those exclusively across all of your brand assets. These images will have a similar look and will quickly become part of your brand image. The same is true for icons, fonts and illustrations. Be disciplined and deliberate in your selections and implementation.
Before You Go…
Whether you are taking on the task of designing your brand assets yourself or giving feedback to a designer keep the tips highlighted here in mind. Branding isn’t about how much money you spend but how disciplined you are in your approach and implementation. You can’t build a recognizable brand over night; it takes time and effort. However if you follow the best practices outline in this article you’ll be moving in the right direction.
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