Branding expert Lauren from Pen & Ink Designs sat down with us to discuss all things branding for beginners, common questions she gets asked and how the right branding can improve your marketing.
Why is branding so important?
“Your branding is the face of your business – it’s often one of the first things new customers see before they even meet you so it needs to accurately reflect who you are, what you can offer and what they should expect. Your branding is your shop window – it helps people decide whether or not they want to work with you.”
We also discussed how important it is to make sure your branding sets the right tone of voice for your business. To do this, you need to ensure you have done some work on identifying your buyer personas so that you have a good idea on who they are and what appeals to them (e.g. you don’t want to create a very feminine brand if your ideal customer is mainly male). This will help you attract your target audience, engage with customers and represent your brand values.
Why do you need more than one version of your logo?
A common mistake many new business owners make is that they only design one version of their logo and then use that for everything.
For a marketer, this can make some activities a bit difficult because it’s highly unlikely that a single version of a logo will look right in every single place you need to use it. E.g. A logo that uses a long business name on a horizontal line is going to be illegible when used in a small square or circle like a social media profile image.
Lauren says “By having multiple versions of your logo, you will always have a version of your branding that can be used no matter what you’re creating or what platform you’re using.. This ensures that you always look professional, credible and consistent when communicating with your audience.”
Think about all the places you will be using your logo and what different requirements you will need for each of these placements. You can probably group some of these placements together and create a version of your logo for each group rather than for each individual placement. Some examples of different placements could be:
- Social Media Profiles
- Social Media Posts
- Letterheads & Business Cards
- Website Graphics
What’s the benefit of using a professional vs a free logo app?
Lauren agrees that free logo apps do have their place – particularly for brand new business who are just starting out or testing an idea…
However, there are some clear benefits of using a professional to design your logo and brand assets.
“Tools and apps can be accessed by anyone, meaning that you could end up with a very similar or near-identical logo to another business.” With a professional, everything is uniquely created just for your business so that you can stand out from the crowd.
Lauren also points out that she takes the time to really get to know the business, the brand values and the target audience to ensure that all of this shines through in the design. This is especially important when it comes to your wider marketing strategy since your audience will decide whether to engage or buy from you based on their perception of your brand – which is heavily influenced by the design of your brand assets.
When you a pay a professional to design a logo or brand asset for your business, it’s not just the design itself you’re funding. You’re also getting hours of research and strategy to ensure your design is perfect for what you need.
It’s also worth noting that logo apps or online design tools don’t usually allow you to trademark your designs which could cause problems for you in the future when your business has grown.
Why is typography important for your brand?
Typography (i.e. what font you use) is not only important from a design standpoint, it’s important – if not critical – from a functionality standpoint too.
As mentioned before, your logo needs to appeal to your target audience and there are some psychological connotations to different fonts. E.g. “Script and calligraphy-style fonts are often associated with feminine brands” mentions Lauren, which makes them popular with beauticians and female fashion brands.
However, when thinking about the rest of your business communications and marketing, how well will this style of font work for you? You probably won’t want to use this font to make up the body of your website since it will be difficult to read – poor web design can seriously hinder your business growth.
This is why branding specialists like Lauren look at complementary fonts that can be used across the rest of your brand materials while still complimenting your logo. And as with your primary logo font, this selection has it’s own psychology behind it.
Why is colour choice important for your brand?
“You should look at colour psychology during the branding process to help you convey your emotions or trigger emotions in your target audience” says Lauren. Some common emotions typically conveyed by colours are:
- Blue – Productivity, Confidence, Focus
- Yellow – Optimism, Creativity
- Red – Urgency, Efficiency, Energy
- Green – Calm, Alert, Peaceful
- White – Clean, Modern, Open
- Orange – Friendly, Cheerful, Successful
- Purple – Luxury, Wisdom, Loyalty
- Black – Control, Stability, Intellect
“Although, a common issue that brands face here is that they all use the same colours as each other and nobody stands out. You should be careful to never copy the competition, even if they’re doing well, because all you’ll end up doing is blending into their brand rather than standing out as your own.”
If you do want to use the same colour as another brand in your industry, think about different shades you can use and what else you can change about your branding to set yourself apart.
From a marketing perspective, you’ll also need to think about colours you can use consistently across all of your activity. While a bright yellow colour may help to make your logo stand out and convey a positive message, is that really the colour you want to use in your social media posts everyday? Similarly to your typography, you’ll often need to consider complimentary colours that you can use more freely in other areas of your business communication to enable you to keep looking consistent and professional.
Here are some of the most common pieces of jargon Lauren gets asked about from customers
- Submark – The most simplified version of your logo used as an identifying mark. It uses minimal elements from your primary logo and can be used everywhere
- Vector File – A scalable version of your logo that can be made as small or as big as needed without impacting image quality. Common file types are .ai, .eps or .svg.
- RGB vs CMYK – These stand for Red, Green and Blue (RGB) and Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK). Each combines different amounts of the colours listed to produce a new colour as an end result. RGB uses the primary colours of light and is used to create digital images while CMYK uses the primary colours of pigment and is used to create images for print. You should design your image using the appropriate model for the end result as the colours made by each model vary slightly.
The right branding is not only important to your marketing to ensure you’re connecting with the right target audience, it’s also highly important from an operational perspective to help you provide high-quality assets and good user experiences throughout your marketing activities. For help developing your marketing strategy get in touch with our team.
Connect with Lauren on LinkedIn for more branding tips or help with your own business branding.