We all know how important branding is, right?
If there is ONE aspect that every business or blog needs in this saturated online market it's branding. Branding is important for an endless amount of reasons but the ones you will always find me telling to family, friends and clients are:
- Do you want to be recognized to help with your success? Then you are going to want to have the basics of branding including a color scheme, font scheme and identifiable logo design
- Are you serious about what you do? Do you take pride in the work you provide? If you love your business or blog and love what you do then branding is just one step of taking yourself seriously
- Does you ideal audience matter? This answer should be automatically YES! Having a dedicated, loyal and amazing audience is the #1 reason we like to brand ourselves and of all the reasons your ideal audience should be your #1!
If you are looking to invest is just one service I will always recommend going through a branding process where you work closely with a designer to create branding visuals for your business or blog. Why is hiring a brand designer important? If you want to learn more on this subject, please let me know so I can dedicate an entire post to letting you know why,
There are so many aspects to branding that some business owners or bloggers might not think about. In today's post I'm going to help you get up to speed about the different elements you could use for your branding and why each of them are important. But at the end of the day, you are the only person who knows your business or blog best and you know exactly what you want and need to make yourself succeed!
Branding vs. Brand Identity:
When I'm surfing in Facebook Groups or other social media platforms, the one thing I've noticed is that a majority of business owners and blogger think that visuals - like logos, colors and fonts - are all there is to branding. THIS IS WRONG! The visuals of your branding are actually called your Brand Identity and only make up ONE portion of your all around branding.
" Branding is the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (or service) in the consumers' mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers. "
" Brand Identity is the visible elements of a brand - such as colors, design, logotype, name and symbol - that together identify and distinguish the brand in the consumers' mind. "
In order to take the creation of your branding and brand identity seriously you REALLY need to know the difference between both. They are both simple terms to understand but from an outside perspective branding encompasses EVERYTHING whereas brand identity online focuses on the visuals.
BEFORE GETTING STARTED...
Now that we know all about what branding and brand identity are we can start thinking about how to create our branding - which is the most important step before starting to think about your brand identity.
Creating a brand is a lot of carefully calculated work with a focus on establishing a plan. Think about it as answering: who, what, where, when, why and how!
- Who are you going to be offering your services/products/content to?
- What are you going to be offering to this audience?
- Where are you going to be offering your services/products/content?
- When are you going to be offering it (aka your posting schedule)?
- Why are you going to be offering this to your audience?
- And how are you going to offer products/services/content to your audience?
All of these key questions are going to get you started on what is called a Brand Discovery - which involves asking yourself questions about your brand to figure out what you want your brand to be. However, don't stop at just these 6 questions, you want to dig deeper and deeper always trying to narrow your brands focus so that you can find your perfect niche and perfect ideal audience.
Need some extra help getting your brand in order through a Brand Discovery? Here at Studio Krystal we sit down with you and work one-on-one to create a 5 - 7 page document outlining all of the KEY elements about your brand before you even start - to inquire about this service click here!
Lets get designing:
You've got your plan all figured out and you've put blood, sweat and tears into figuring out where you want to be in the market, who you want to serve and all of your key information. Now it's time to start thinking about creating your brand identity - which I know is what you all came here for, right?
For the remainder of this post, I'm going to be talking about the key brand identity elements that every single business or blog should have and why they are important. Of course, these are not every single element within your brand identity package so be mindful to expand of these elements to create your own unique branding and brand identity for your online presence.
We all need to get inspiration from somewhere and the places for inspiration are endless. You might take a walk outside along the beach or a hike through the forest. But for me, as a digital designer I like to head to sources like Pinterest where I know there are thousands of images that are made just for giving others inspiration.
Start to compile a Secret Pinterest Board full of colors, fonts, images, brand style guides and anything that gives you inspiration for your brand. Spend a few days doing this and really take things slow so that what your pinning feels authentic. Once you've finished pinning everything, go through this board and narrow down the things you've shared really focusing in on what you love and don't love. You should notice instantly a theme or pattern starting to take place!
Once you're finished all of this narrowing down, open up a program like Photoshop and create yourself a beautiful Moodboard that you can refer to throughout the rest of your brand identity process. This Moodboard should represent everything you want your brand identity - and branding - to be since this will be your main reference point for the remainder of your design elements
Friends, family and clients are constantly asking me:
"What is the one thing people will notice first about my branding?"
Other designers might tell you that it's your logo, your fonts, your header image or your website layout but for me, my response is always going to be your color scheme. Color is one of the most unique ways that you can display your brand identity. The color combinations that you create are always going to be unique and going to be true to your brand.
Color Psychology also plays a very important role in the creation of a color scheme. You want to do some research on your specific color and find out what the color means and what your audience is going to think about when they see that particular color.
After you've done this research, you can then go ahead and open a program like Photoshop with your Moodboard and a blank document and start adding color swatches and making combinations. Remember to use your Moodboard as inspiration and pull your colors directly from this image. Taking your time during this process is also going to be helpful in gathering the right swatches of color that go best together to help your brand identity succeed.
Having typography in your brand identity is extremely important to also help differentiate you from the rest of your niche. Your font scheme is going to be used in your logo, social media graphics, blog post graphics and all other graphics that you make to help fit within your brand identity.
Fonts are an extremely important part of your brand identity and before we even go any further you need to know the different categories of typography so that you can easily pair fonts and create a cohesive and beautiful look.
Along with these three key fonts styles, it's also really important to pay attention to how you combine these fonts to create a cohesive theme for your brand identity. Play around with various font styles, weights and elements to help you pair the perfect set of fonts. When it comes to font pairings, you want to try and narrow your choices to 2 - 3 fonts as to not overwhelm your audience and seem amateur in your industry.
I know how hard pairing fonts and choosing fonts can be, if you would like to see a FULL post on how I go about this process, let me know!
Everyone reading this post should know what a logo design is, but if you don't I'm headed back to Business Dictionary where they provide the best definition:
"Recognizable and distinctive graphic design, stylized name, unique symbol, or other device for identifying an organization. It is affixed, included, or printed on all advertising, buildings, communications, literature, products, stationery, and vehicles..."
Logo's are an important piece of your brand identity but they aren't the only piece!
Your logo should be the focal point of your brand identity, and they should combine all of the other elements we are talking about today. They also should be an item that is made to go on all of your other branding elements to help further make your audience recognize who you are
This means, your logo needs to be high-quality, easily scaled for a variety of different uses and designed in a way that makes it completely unique for your branding.
Your logo should be the process that takes the longest to complete because you should be working hard on this piece to make it perfect. The other process you can go through is to hire a brand designer simply for this portion or your entire branding project.
A brand designer is going to have all the tools, education and knowledge to back up the package they are going to provide to you. Not only do they produce beautiful designs and images, but the designs they produce have meaning and fit with the strategy behind your branding.
Social Media Graphics
Your brand identity doesn't just end on your website or blog. It must be carried throughout all of the platforms that your website or blog lives on. This includes social media, which in my eyes, is the most explosive and important platforms we can utilize our branding on.
It's important to pay close attention to both your branding and brand identity on social media. You want to continue your voice, attitude and tone through your social feed as well as your visuals throughout areas where you are able to upload images.
The most common areas that your audience is going to notice your branding are:
- Cover photos
- Profile image
- Timeline or newsfeed visuals
Pay close attention to the quality of images you are posting and how they are being displayed in these areas. Most times, your audience is coming to your website from these social media platforms so you want to make the biggest impact there so they visit you further and keep coming back!
Wowza. Branding nor brand identity is a simple process and it is something that you should NEVER rush through or throw together to get yourself launched. Branding is something you need to spend time on, you need to invest in and you need to understand.
Branding is more than what I wrote in this post today. as well. And in reality it can be hundreds of different elements combined together to create something truly unique that consumers will instantly recognize. With so many elements, how can you know which ones work for your brand and which ones don't?
Invest a few dollars and hire a brand designer who will work one-on-one with you from planning to strategy sessions to design and implementation of brand identity!
Here are Studio Krystal that is EXACTLY what we do! Click the image below to find out more!