Branding is the process of defining how you want customers to view your products or services - from what they see on social media to the 'feeling' they get when they think of you. Equally, brand identity is what you actually put out there - from your logo to your website.
When big brands have got their branding right, they have truly flourished. When they have got it wrong, it has been hard to live down so as you can probably tell, it can be hard to pinpoint the right steps to take.
Who better to ask what steps to take than our graphic designers? They live and breathe brand identity on a day-to-day basis and are experts in designing recognisable brands.
We asked our talented design team to give us their take on the key dos and don’ts of branding. Here's what they had to say.
Dos: what key branding rules should companies be following?
Adam, Graphic Designer says: "Use recognisable colour palettes and use strong typography".
Colours in branding are associated with moods and meanings. One study even said that 62-90% of product assessment is based on colour alone, therefore choosing your brand colours is an important aspect of the branding process.
Standout brands are recognisable by colour alone, such as that classic purple that is synonymous with Cadbury's.
Typography or the font you choose in your branding is another one of the ways you can convey brand personality and resonate with your customers.
A key way that we have used colour during the branding process is with Freemans, who already had a defined set of brand colours. We associated them with different divisions of the business on their website. This helped their website visitors to know and understand all the different services that they offer.
See our case study about what we did for Freemans here.
Amanda, Graphic Designer states: "Do combine online and offline materials, create brand guidelines, do develop a brand voice, and develop consistency".
Consistency is key to a recognisable brand. Brand consistency helps to promote trust and loyalty, as your customers already know who you are, what you do and what to expect. This can be done by ensuring your mission, values, and branding messages are clearly conveyed, across social media to letterheads.
Where we have helped businesses with consistency is our digital stationery pack, which combines your logo across a range of digital and physical assets.
Brand guidelines are a set of design, content and writing rules that apply to your brand. This can help you produce consistent marketing content, even when it is created by different people or outsourced.
Organisations without brand guidelines risk diluting their marketing message. This can confuse or drive away their customers.
Brand voice is the tone and style of writing to and speaking with your customers that is distinctively your own and consistent across communication channels.
One of the ways we were able to be consistent with our customers is to create a brand across their online and offline materials; as we did for our client, Cape Homes Limited.
Read more about what we did for them here.
Louise, Graphic Designer says: "Make sure you are true to your brand, be unique, and know what your logo means to your business".
Similar to consistency, authenticity and uniqueness are key parts of communicating with your customers. Authenticity can build trust and increase the perceived value of your brand, and uniqueness helps you stand out from the crowd.
A true understanding of your brand, including the logo, can bring meaning to your employees and reinforce your values and mission statement. We helped our client, Virgate do just this with their rebrand and a new website which conveyed their fresh take on accounting outsourcing.
Don’ts: what are some key mistakes businesses make with branding?
Sarah, Head of Design answers: “Don’t make the logo bigger. For some big brands such as Nike, Amazon and Apple, less is more. It can be subtle and small - you don’t have to go big”.
Adam, Graphic Designer says: “Don’t be too generic and blend into your competitors”.
It is difficult to stand out from the crowd, especially when the market is saturated. It can be tempting to come up with an idea really unique and with so much meaning involved that it becomes almost unrecognisable for your customers.
Our best advice? Stay unique to an extent, but keep your brand and logo simple, like some of the biggest household brands.
Our best example of this is our work with Stay Lets, an accommodation rental property with a distinctive and meaningful key logo that clearly says 'renting'.
Amanda, Graphic Designer says: "Don’t wait too long to rebrand, don’t align yourself with the wrong influencers, and don’t underestimate the value of good design".
Like most things, timing is everything. For example, if you feel that it is time to update your website and your brand is outdated, it might also be a good time to rebrand to increase the impact.
There are many reasons to rebrand. Sometimes a rebrand can help a business recover from a blow to its reputation.
A rebrand can help refocus unclear marketing messaging caused by aligning with brands or influencers that don’t share the same core values or goals.
These ‘don’t’ factors highlighted by our designers can all contribute to weakened brand identity, so when it is time to buy your product or service, potential customers can instead choose a more memorable competitor.
There are many ways in which good graphic design and branding can rectify this for your business. This starts with making your brand more recognisable through to directly putting your business in front of customers.
See yet another example of high-quality branding we have carried out for a customer here.