In this module, you will learn about how design can influence your brand. Design is not only about graphics and website – it is also your communication style, fonts, logo and much more!
Think about Coca-Cola. What is the first thought that comes to mind? Probably refreshment and a satisfying feeling of having your thirst quenched. The object? A glass bottle taken straight out of an icy fridge or a red can that you crack open and dry out in minutes. Where are you? Probably with your friends in the sun having fun! It’s not a coincidence that all these things come to your mind. These are all elements of a brand identity, which exploit the assets of its product! What exactly is it and how do you apply it to your company?
Let’s imagine now that there are three new companies opening in your city. The first one is a law firm employing top class lawyers with impeccable resumes. The second one is a hip restaurant designed in a modern, yet homely way. The last one is a one-person company – the person behind it has some serious experience in his field.Each of these companies wants to get their name out there and attract as many customers as possible. What strategies should they use? How should they act and what features should they utilise? In this chapter, I will present you with three imaginary cases and outline their probable asset-based strategy for the creation of a consistent brand image.
FIND YOUR ASSETS AND USE THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
The first of our examples – The law firm, is located in a newly constructed skyscraper on one of the top floors. It had been been set up by one of the major players in the law game known for her incredible work on one massive corporate scandal. She not only put it out, but also managed to avoid a multi-billion dollar penalty for her client.
The people behind the restaurant had found an abandoned building, bought it for a ridiculously low price and turned it into a cool, hip place. They have vegan and gluten-free options on their menu, craft beers, and chemex and drip coffees. One of the founders makes delicious cheesecakes – the restaurant is slowly becoming famous for it.
The one-person company is an established professional providing high class services to his clients. His portfolio is filled with recommendations from high profile individuals who previously used his services and expertise.
I’ve introduced the three companies to you and now I would like to pose a question: how can they develop and grow their brand? How can they utilise their potential to become even more attractive to customers and, what’s even more important – to stand out from the crowd? The answer lies in business design! In the next couple of paragraphs I will present the assets that all three companies can utilise to achieve success.
Let’s focus on the law firm first. Its obvious asset is the position and recognition of its founder. She gives the firm instant legitimacy – a sort of a stamp of approval that makes all the firm’s actions trustworthy. It would probably be a good idea to make the founder the face of the company. Her figure would represent professionalism, experience, and ability to solve issues that seem impossible (she closed that one massive corporate case after all!). A person such as herself would also be expected to pick only the best to work with her, thus increasing the credibility of her firm.
The major asset of the restaurant seems obvious – their location, which reflects their fashionable, bottom-up and DIY approach to business. They renovated an empty building, created jobs and gave something to the community – that’s gentrification 101! They also serve food that is friendly to people with various allergies and preferences, which makes their potential customer base much wider. The restaurant has one more trick up its sleeve – the cheesecake! Paired with a coffee it makes for a great after-work treat. Paired with good promotion practices it is likely to bring more people to the restaurant!
The one-person business is most likely going to find his assets in his experience, portfolio and a network of contacts. He is most likely going to find new customers via online promotion and word of mouth (from his previous customers).
MATCH YOUR MESSAGE TO YOUR ASSETS
Identifying assets is surely a step in the right direction, but that alone is not going to bring you a lot of customers. Businesses need to develop a language of communication with their customer base – a language that will suit the character of the particular business, be authentic and unique, and finally, suit the customers themselves!
The law firm, for example, would use sophisticated and formal language to match their professional and mature approach. They might abstain from social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter and focus on Linkedin. Their website will be designed in a way that will reflect their experience and the reputation of their founder – toned colors and a clear message of reliability would be a big plus! A logo of the law firm would also have to express years of expertise and specialisation. It can refer to a milestone in the company’s history or to the figure of the founder herself!
The restaurant on the other hand can fully utilise the possibilities of social media. Sharing pictures of food, new pieces of furniture or generally showcasing day to day life in the restaurant – these are only some of a myriad of possibilities to engage with the customer base. A cool restaurant in a renovated space can work out to be a very personal way to communicate with its followers not only by a colorful social media presence. A cat visited your restaurant? Take a photo of it and post it online! Your cook invented a new dish? Invite your social media following to come and try it! Are there any painters, performers, musicians or poets in your city? Why don’t you invite them over to showcase their work in your restaurant (a renovated DIY space would suit such events incredibly)? The possibilities are endless – your imagination is the only limit!
When you’re managing a restaurant such as this one , it’s okay to create quirky, fun and colorful content as opposed to the toned and professional approach of a law firm. Do what suits you and your business!
The approach of a one-person company would have to showcase his prowess and experience in the field. A blog filled with well-written analytical pieces shared on social media as well as a website based on a portfolio of experience would probably be the best approach. It will garner the customer base of professionals looking for professional services. A freelancer may not limit him/herself to more professional social media channels. S/he may use all the available resources in order to reach the biggest number of potential customers. However, his/her social media presence will have to be completely different from the one of the restaurant. A freelancer like him/herself needs to remain professional. S/he cannot share pictures of cats, instead s/he can post his/her own articles or other articles related to his/her field. The use of tags and keywords is also crucial as his/her work is based online!
To sum up, creating a consistent brand as well as your company’s image, requires some attention to be paid to the little details that make your business stand out from the crowd.
There are several steps a company needs to consider in order to make their business consistent. These are:
To define the company’s best assets,
To define the company’s customer base,
To utilise and design communication channels so that they showcase the character of the company and appeal to the appropriate customer base.
“Nobody searches in Google or checks businesses on Facebook or Twitter”. Such an opinion will definitely harm your business!
A website is one of the most important parts of your online presence. It is the online visualisation of your brand. In an earlier chapter, we discussed the importance of keeping the website up-to-date. This time, we will help you choose the right website for your business.
Many small business owners face the questions “Do I need a website?” If so, should it be a large one with many sections, a blogging platform, online store etc.? Or maybe just a basic website with a contact form and a couple of sections would be enough? Should I choose a free template to create something on my own, or is it better to pay for a professionally designed website?
The answer is that it depends on many factors.
Today, we continue to explain the complexities of branding terminology. The two most often confused terms are ‘corporate identity’ and ‘brand identity’. Hopefully you already know what brand identity is (and if you don’t then click here to read more about it LINK), so it is now time for us to that we define corporate identity. Reading this chapter will help you understand the differences between the two terms.
Just like in the case of ‘brand identity’, you should think of ‘corporate identity’ as the core characteristics that give personality to the corporation. So the difference between the two terms is that, while ‘brand identity’ is about the ‘personality’ of the brand, corporate identity is about firms (corporations).
The confusion stems from the fact that the two are often overlapping. If you sell just one product- corporate and brand identity are mostly one and the same thing. Large corporations, however, often have more than one brand.
Think again of the Volkswagen group. Brands like Porsche, Skoda, Audi, Seat or Volkswagen all belong to the same corporation, yet each brand has a different identity. While Volkswagen markets itself as ‘Das Auto’ (The Car), Skoda as ‘Simply Clever’ and Audi offers ‘Lead through technology’. The Volkswagen group purposely differentiates the branding of its cars because each brand appeals to different people. Thus you can say that each brand has a different identity. At the same time Volkswagen group as a whole also has its separate identity- a corporate identity. As it claims on its own website “The Group’s goal is to offer attractive, safe and environmentally sound vehicles which can compete in an increasingly tough market and set world standards in their respective class.”.
Note that, there is no contradiction between corporate and brand identity. The former simply underpins the latter (A ‘simply clever’ Skoda can also be safe and environmentally friendly.)
The difference, however, is not always that easy to tell. Sometimes corporations will try to do the opposite of Volkswagen, and purposely retain almost single identity for their respective brands and corporation as a whole. For example, Coca-Cola recently launched a ‘one brand’ strategy, that aims to build on the popularity of the classic Coke to increase the sales of other products like Coca-Cola life or Coca-Cola Zero.
As you can see, brand and corporate identity are closely related and sometimes it might be difficult to tell the difference. Hopefully, the examples we provided will make it easier for you to understand the differences.
Now we need to focus on what corporate identity consists of. Put simply, Making it all flat and simple, corporate identity are all the elements that represent your business, your logo, tagline, typography and colours you use.
When creating your corporate identity remember to create a corporate identity book which might be just a pretty simple pdf document consisting of many variations of your logo (horizontal, vertical, with or without a symbol, text only) and format (vector, bitmap, png, jpeg, transparent) as well as very detailed description of the typography used and colours.
When planning your brand strategy there is one seemingly trivial element that actually matters much more than you think – colours. They are crucial when it comes to shaping your brand identity. Choosing an appropriate colour palette that will be associated with your brand is one of the major decisions you will have to make when creating your brand.
There are several factors that you need to take into account while making this decision. Hopefully, by now, you are already familiar with the basics of branding and you know that whatever your strategy is, you need to be consistent. This rule also applies to the choice of your colour palette. Your logo, adverts, staff uniforms, company cars etc. should be all matching.
Meet your customers’ expectations The scientific research has proven that one of the most important factors when it comes to branding and colours is the ‘appropriateness’ (http://mtq.sagepub.com/content/6/1
/630). In other words, your brand colours should match your brand personality. Put simply, if you sell leather jackets, you shouldn’t decide for a pink logo because this is not the hue that people associate with this material.
This goes beyond people’s expectations about a particular product. It is also a matter of your brand’s personality. If you portray yourself as an ‘exciting’ brand that gives your customers an energy boost, you should choose a colour that people tend to associate with energy (think of brands like Coca- Cola or Ferrari that portray themselves as positive and energetic and both are linked with red). On the other hand, when your brand is about luxury and professionalism, it is advisable to choose darker colours.
Be careful when making assumptions
Some people like to generalise about colours, for example, by saying that warm colours are exciting and cool colours signal stillness. Such generalisation can be useful when picking the right colours for your brand, but you need to be careful not to take it too far.
Green is now more commonly associated with being environmentally friendly rather than with ‘calmness’. Brown can be associated both with leather jackets and chocolate even though these two products are supposed to evoke different emotions.
Generalisations can be even more misleading due to cross-cultural differences. In some cultures, white is a hue of purity and in others it reflects mourning. One of the most interesting examples of the cultural differences in the perception of colours is Japan. Due to some historical events and the evolution of the Japanese language, people refer to traffic lights as being ‘blue’ rather than green (even though they are as green as they are in the US or Europe!). Yes, Japanese people tend to confuse green and blue as for centuries they used the word “ao” to describe both of those hues. After World War II, the country received materials about how to distinguish these colours and a new colour “midori” was created. Nevertheless, the Japanese haven’t stopped considering some green things (e.g. fruits or vegetables) as being blue.
If you target a very wide audience, it is advisable to choose neutral colours. If you think about things like cars or laptops, most are black, silver or white.
On the other hand, if your products target a very specific group, you might want to highlight it by choosing the colours associated with your customers. This way you will make it easier for customers to identify with your brand. One of the most basic things here is picking colours associated with a particular gender (you can find more about colour preferences across genders here).
Do your research before making the final decision. Make sure you know how your target audience perceives the colours you want to choose for your brand so that there will be no confusion.
Differentiate from your competitors
Another equally important aspect of brand colours is differentiation. Yourbrand is unique and so should be your company’s hues. Because people tend to remember product colours quite well being different from your competition is extremely important. Think of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. The red and blue of Pepsi’s logo is distinct. It would be much harder for Pepsi to build its own brand identity if it was just red. Perhaps people would take it as just another cheap generic coke that is simply trying to copy Coca-Cola. At the same time, you cannot differentiate your colours at any costs – this choice has to be justified and consistent with all the strategies.
Last but not least, you shouldn’t change your brand colours unless you rebrand. It’s fine to make some small modifications that will reflect the evolution of your organisation. Altering the balance of the colour palette could be used to show that your company is slightly changing its focus and outlook, but major changes can simply confuse customers and make you look unprofessional.
As you can see, there are many important aspects to think about when choosing your brand colours. It is important to balance all the different aspects so that they will accurately reflect the company. Don’t be radical about your colour choices unless your products are equally radical.
Choosing the right tints can be tricky, but hopefully after reading this chapter you will find it easier to make the choice.
When we think about a particular brand, we often do not pay conscious attention to aspects within it. However, while we make a decision on the brand choice, we unconsciously assess the brand entity all the time. The Journal of Management History says people make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products.
Apparently, colours play one of the most important roles in our everyday purchasing behaviour. A study titled Impact of color on marketing found out that depending on the product, 90% of the “spare of the moment” – buying decisions can be based on the color alone. It does sound significantly, doesn’t it?
All people have their own colour preferences derived from their previous life experience. But, in addition to experience-based preferences, more general differences can be found among us. Men and women, for instance, also differ in color preferences. So, if your website is gender-specific, you might need to draw your attention to the choice of color. A KISSmetrics study shows that men like bright colors, whereas women prefer pastel colors.
There are, however, broader meanings to colors. Some of them vary among cultures, but generally they have the same meaning in most of them.
Let’s mention a few examples:
Yellow is a symbol of friendliness and fun, which is successfully used by McDonalds.
Red is regarded as a color of excitement energy and power. Coca Cola is the company connected with the color to convey energy, whereas Ferrari’s goal is more about power and speed.
Green could be perceived as the color of nature, youth or, as in the USA, also as a color of money.
Blue is associated with the color of the sky. Thus, it conveys serenity and peacefulness. The blue sky is safe without hiding anything. Therefore, in branding, it represents transparency, reliability, trustworthy and security.
Another relevant component of a website design is typography. The importance of font choice is often overlooked due to the fact that the focus is on other aspects of the website structure. We actually process different typefaces, mainly through associations based on our previous experience. Interestingly, our perception of the different fonts is already shaped in early life, starting with storybooks and comics, then continuing through academic experience and the conception of luxuries. Depending on the message we want to convey to customers, we should consider the font choice between a traditional, stylish, friendly, unique and some other font.
Typography is an aspect of branding that most companies don’t even consider to have an influence on their business, or to be important at all.
Personally, I observed that many people use certain fonts just because they like it, not because it fits, but because it suits their tastes. However, an issue here is what about other people who will see it? Will they like it too? Will they have problems with the readability of the text? What feeling will they associate with the given text or logo when reading it? If they struggle, you can be sure that they will end up frustrated or just leave.
Before we begin to explain what you should look at when it comes to typography, you need to know what are the definitions of text, typeface, font and typography.
Let’s start with the text. Text is a sequence of words that are an equivalent of verbal words.
Typography, however, is a visual element of these words which as a medium uses typefaces.
the typography of a website or a log may use various different typefaces.
The text will always be the same – letters won’t change, nonetheless the typography may modify the visual style of these words when it gets to printing.
Typography can be described as a technique of choosing the right typeface, arranging and making it appealing and readable.
It also involves selecting the right size, line-height, line spacing, letter spacing and kerning-spacing between a pair of letters.
Typeface is a set of fonts from the same family of fonts (interchangeable with font family). It can be therefore, viewed as a particular type of design. The fonts families share common design style, for instance, Calibri, Times New Roman and Arial.
Let’s consider Calibri font family/typeface. You can observe that the main characteristics of the font don’t change but its styling does. We can have it as italic, bold or bold italic. Each typeface may include various stylings. Some typefaces included up to 10 of them.
The font is simply a graphical representation of the text and it uses a specific typeface, size and weight.
Every line of this example represents a different font and each of them has a specific style, weight, width, condensation, slant and other parameters.
Bold Italic is a different font than just Italic.
If you use 12pt Times New Roman, it will be a different font than 14pt Times New Roman.
We can say that fonts are used to generate a letter in a certain typeface.
Example. You Use Arial, bold, 12pt to write your text. This is the font, But Arial itself is the Typeface.
Typography is as old as the first civilisations like the Incas, Mayans or Egyptians; I am pretty sure you know some of their hieroglyphs. Imagine that they want to communicate something using images (text for us), and each series of images made by one person uses a font type. If somebody else continues the hieroglyphs, the style might be slightly different so we can say the font changed.
Additions (do not edit, copied from the web as example)
Here, you see a family of three twins: John Smith, Jack Smith, and Tom Smith. Each brother shares the same face, but their weights vary – read: one is slim, the other is rather rotund.
Together, the brothers make up the Smith family.
Typographically, John, Jack, and Tom are each fonts and together they make up the Smith typeface.
Serif vs sans serif font
You might remember some old websites from the beginning of the 21st Century. Half of them used the simplest typeface Arial and the other half used some more decorative typefaces.
Regarding the Serif and Sans Serif fonts, the definition of both of them is fairly simple. The Serif font is more decorative while Sans Serif is simplistic.
Every company wants to be visible and recognised as unique. To achieve this aim, it is crucial for a business to be present on the web. It might be just for social media communication, website presence or a whole e-commerce selling platform. You need to be there. But the presence is just a first step.
To attract new customers, you need to understand that it takes around 2-3 seconds to judge your business “by its cover”, which means, by your design.
Aesthetics is what drives the customer to click on your logo (if they find it, for example, on another site) in the first 2-3 seconds. If they decide to ignore it, they will be gone. You lost a customer. And it happened only because they didn’t trust your business due to a badly designed logo.
Typography in business wasn’t such an important thing in the past. Some of you may still remember that most newspapers and posters had a very similar look.
In Asia, the printing press was first used in China the 11th Century. Four centuries later it was developed in Europe by Gutenberg.
In the past, there was a very limited number of fonts but together with development of technology, thanks to our beloved Personal Computers, the number of type fonts has become countless.
Steve Jobs once said that he dropped out of his university course to take a calligraphy class in order to learn how to create beautiful digital typefaces. He was one of those who injected human beauty into an ugly and pixelated computer world. That was what he found fascinating and what he pushed forward when developing Apple. Font types were what differentiated Apple computers from all the other manufacturers.
Typography is something more than just a text. It may symbolise your business and give the character to the layout of your brand. It is very important to find the proper font type as it might change the business perception in your customers’ minds.
Choosing the right Typeface
As mentioned before, the typeface is the first step to createing your typography for the project.
Choose a font that is easy to read especially in large blocks of text.
Choose the size of the font considering that many of them are fat and wide or thin and narrow. The same phrase may take 200px or 300px of width depending on the font styling.
Typography in your logo and logo itself should reflect your character, your business and what you do.
Take a look at this example:
You should consider using a font that has a font family. It means that you can choose from a few very similar font types that differ by the weight, width, height or other characteristics.
Let’s take a look at various corporate logos.
Microsoft and Pepsi keep up with trends changing their logos to minimal style.
Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to fit the 21st Century like those two companies.
[Microsoft logo evolution]
Such a trivial (from far perspective) branding part as typography might be unnoticeable, however, details create the overall brand. Brands are perceived as strong only because brand owners pay attention to every single aspect of their business.
Typography in logo
I am pretty sure you know the Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, eBay and Amazon logos.
I am also sure that you remember at least some of these logos from the past when they had a totally different look. You may ask yourself “Why did they change that?”. The answer is: design trends.
There are some principles mixed with stereotypes, even in design.
Simply shaped font logo ssymbolizessolidity and the fact that the business isn’t about the dollies.
The second logo represents the business that actually produces dollies 😉
It is very important to choose a font type that is easy to read. It should not take more than 2 seconds to read the logo or a word.
Try to read it in 1 second.
Each font type and shape tells a different story.
Forget about using barely visible colours like this. People will get frustrated and won’t make time for your business.
Look at the most recognisable logos on the Internet. They all have eye-catching colours in them!
[logo images, google, fb, Xerox, nesquik etc]
In the past, the logo wasn’t that important. That is why you can notice that logos of businesses established a long time ago (for example, Samsung or Hitachi) used a very simple typeface based logo.
With time some old businesses have been making changes to their elements to keep it up to date with the newest trends.
Look at two the best examples of Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Coca-Cola doesn’t change its font type but changes the graphics layout behind it.
On the other hand, Pepsi decided to redesign its logo to keep up with the newest trends, while Coca-Cola stayed traditional.
It is worth mentioning that nowadays, apart from text logos, almost every business attaches a symbol, icon or image to it, for instance: Mastercard, Instagram, LG or Xerox. Today’s trend is to create a graphic symbol that represents the business apart from the accompanied text equivalent.
Don’t Do it yourself. Typography is a part of the design, therefore, it’s a delicate matter. Everybody can tell if the typography you used was designed by a professional or made at home. If you are new to business, it’s a good idea to get somebody who knows. Professionals will provide you with a Corporate Identity Book where you will find how to use and how not to use your logo, 8 positioned variants of it and samples of use. It will also include very detailed descriptions of fonts and margins used in the logo. If you choose me as your designer, I will also include a few versions of your logo in the bitmap format, vectors, colour and monochromatic.
Typography on a website
It is important to set the tone that helps to tell your story. Make it to look real and in a way with which you feel comfortable. Don’t pretend to be somebody you are not. Your story should graphically fit the logo, mission, vision and values of your company. This kind of statement should be in a pretty serious tone for a bank with a simple shaped logo next to it. A kindergarten would have a v funny shaped logo with looser statements.
Before it was just a logo, now it should reflect your business. Although businesses didn’t care a lot in the past, the marketplace is now too dense to ignore this part of the branding. Nowadays every single detail matters.
Website typography is the second most important aspect after a logo typography. You can use two different types of font families to differentiate your design. Remember that you should find two styles that contrast one another. Do not use Arial together with Calibri – they’re simply too similar.
For example, mix Calibri with Times New Roman. One is serif and another is sans serif font.
Hierarchy and sizing create one of the most important parts of the typography on the website. You need to separate titles, headings and subheadings from the body text so the reader can easily follow its parts and know which of them is important.
By using a font family consider using each font from a family to bold heading, new paragraphs, quotes etc. It makes your website look consistent (you still use the same font family) but it separates the important parts of the website and gives it a hierarchy.
The font type you use on your website can be more meaningful and expressive than you think. Choosing the right font gives you the power to put the reader in a certain mood or feeling. It attaches an emotion to the text and expresses business individuality. The font should match the story your website tells.
It is important to know exactly what your business does, how do you want to present it and who your audience is.
For instance, a bank will use a clean and simple-shaped typeface to present reliability and the seriousness of the institution.
On the other hand, a company that organises parties for kids, or a kindergarten can easily use fun fonts that are eye catching and related to kids’ books designs, for example.
Remember that usually the font type is barely noticed by the reader. It works more on the subconscious level – the reader doesn’t really pay attention to the font type which is still able to transfers the feeling, mood and emotion to them.
What to avoid
When designing a logo remember to ask yourself a very important question. Firstly, imagine that you developed a logo and five years later you have to take part in a huge event. Your logo is everywhere – on your banner, presentation, business cards and even on your t-shirt. Would you feel ashamed of this logo or not? If you would, it means that your logo is definitely unprofessional or underdeveloped. As the owner of the business, you should feel pride whenever you present your company. After all, how could you convince others to buy your products/services if you are not assured by the design of the brand’s logo? Choose a graphical representation of your business that you don’t consider to be vulgar, cheap-looking, or shoddy.
Trendy or not trendy. That’s the question.
It is good to have a cool, trendy logo which follows the current design trend. However, changing it totally might be very expensive. Remember that you would need to redesign not only on your website and social media accounts but also your business cards, business cars and all office elements. You can redesign your logo every couple of years like Google, Pepsi and many other businesses but avoid changing it every year. If you are unsure whether your logo can be considered as trendy, sacrifice even a few days for some comprehensive research. Compare logos of different companies, read articles, ask for advice. You can also survey random people whose opinion would not be biased due to, for instance, positive emotions directed towards you or your business.
Before trying to redesign your website or logo think of the purpose. If you want to avoid struggling with the same problem every couple of years, think what do you want to represent by your design. For example, do you want to just follow the new trends? Or maybe your business has expanded and your logo should reflect the company’s current activities? As long as there is a justification for a change, don’t hesitate to implement it. However, remember that redesign is not compulsory – after all, it costs a lot and if it is not deeply thought out, it may expose you to unnecessary expenditures and eventual loss of popularity (for example, in the case when a new website will not be liked as much as a previous one). A decision about redesign should not be made quickly and blindly. Give yourself time.
Be careful with colours
Don’t make it too colourful. It might create the opposite effect than that desired. People can be scared by too flashy a design and may consider it to look ‘cheap’. In general, there are many rules for selecting colours for your business. For instance, black is usually associated with professionalism whereas green fits an ecological firm. Again, do your research and search for advice. Also, notice that colours have to be consistent throughout your design. For example, if, on your website light green is a dominant hue, a vivid pink logo may seem to be irrelevant (like a disguised puzzle). Of course, everything depends on your business activity.
As mentioned, your logo should follow current trends for what is modern and professional. If you are not up-to-date with what types of designs are popular, familiarise yourself with our short guide. It will help you become familiar with the most noticeable trends which are followed by well-known companies.
Form simplification & geometry
We have seen more simplified versions of logos such as in the case of MasterCard. Many big businesses simplified their logos changing serif fonts to sans serif. Other examples of famous companies which simplified their logos include Google, Facebook, Airbnb. Form simplification is associated with minimalism which is still trendy but it gets a new form. You can see simple logos created by using circles, triangles or squares. Usually devoid of splendour, ornaments or gradients, they are easy to remember and are recognised by the customers.
Next to simplification, we will see more hand drawn logos and handwritten style fonts. Such logos suit restaurants, artists, hotel or cafes. As they are usually very personalised, they can well present a brand’s personality and originality. Hand drawn logos are not very well suited to “serious” businesses like banks. Instead, they fit organisations which pride themselves on creativity or long-lasting traditions (e.g a family bakery). A real-life example of a company which decided for this kind of logo is Disney.
Many logos may be simplified by exchanging shapes for lines.
Logo animations and interactions
Everything is now more interactive. You can check a few examples of businesses that created logos which entertain. More precisely, such logos may consist of a simple animation – the example of companies which followed this trend includes Giant Owl or Macaw. Interactive logos may also normally be motionless, however, they may change a bit once you click them. Animated logos suit many types of companies but they are relevant especially for organisations operating in movie/music/animation industry.
Logo is usually the first thing that catches the attention of potential customers. In this chapter, you will learn how to create a logo that fits your business and your brand identity.
You now know that your brand isn’t just your logo, it’s much more than that. It doesn’t mean that your logo isn’t important. On the contrary your logo is the foundation of your brand. Because it is so important you should be careful when designing it. I said at the begging that a brand is not a logo and branding is not about the logo. It is true, but it is just the first step in creating your own brand.
Some may think that in today’s world almost anybody can draw a logo using Photoshop or even Paint. Pick something that looks nice add a company name and voilà – job done, right? Don’t do it! Branding is about strategic thinking and careful planning. That is why your logo should not be random. It doesn’t mean that you have to pay thousands of pounds to a graphic designer, it means however that it should be part of your coherent branding strategy.
Other branding efforts aim to build a positive image of your company. So that people will associate your company with the values that you stand for. The purpose of your logo is different. It builds brand recognition so that customers think of your brand whenever they see your logo.
That is why you should follow certain rules when designing it.
Make it fit
Your logo should fit your company. It will be everywhere, on your products, on your website, business cards, or even your company’s notepads and pens. You want it to reinforce your brand and carry your message. Take “Nike” for example, their logo is very simple, but it is also dynamic. A perfect match for a company designing sport shoes.
Colours used in your logo are also very important. Together with a fitting shape, colours in your logo can carry a powerful message and help customers recognise you instantly. Picking the right colour can be tricky, fortunately we prepared a guide that will help you make the right choice. You can find it here. (LINK)
Make it simple
Your logo should be simple! Because you want it to be everywhere, it needs to look good no matter if it is on a pen or a lorry. Keeping it simple can help you scale it to different sizes. It also makes it easier for people to remember and that should be your goal.
Don’t change it when you don’t have to
Your logo is a ‘face’ of your company, changing it with no reason can make you look unprofessional and make it more difficult for your customers to recognise your brand. You may want to read more about rebranding to understand when is the right moment to change your logo.
When creating your logo remember the chapter about typography and colours. It all makes a huge impact on your business in the future.
I will remind you briefly that colours help people to associate your brand with a colour that makes it easier to recognize. It also influences the dynamics of the logo and emotions. Green gives you the feeling of XX and red of XX.
Typography however gives a character to your logo and expresses your brand. It also helps you to tell your story in your logo.
You should also remember to ask you designer to prepare a corporate identity book that describes in detail your logo, typography and colours used and gives examples of use and a few variations of your logo positioning, eg horizontal and vertical. It will definitely be a must-have when it comes to printed media and sending your logo to your partners or when you sponsor an event and your logo needs to be printed on banners.
Business cards might seem like a thing of the past. But maybe that’s why you should start using them? In this chapter, I will talk about what to focus on when designing your business cards and how they can benefit your brand image.
A piece of paper that will make a difference, especially when designed and printed with passion.
Business cards are one of the most basic and yet often forgotten forms of branding. Some people would argue that in the digital age when you can use your phone to take notes and send emails, there is no use for business cards. We don’t agree with it- they still matter and can help you build your brand.
Yes, you might be able to just note down the other person’s email with your phone (if your battery isn’t flat), but you won’t make any friends while looking down at your phone noting down the information. Handing a business card is much more convenient; it gives you more time to actually network with others and helps you strengthen your brand.
The business card can be the illustration of your brand – it will be accessible to customers or business partners wherever they are and whatever they are doing. A business card will remind them of your company and brand. So how to make a professionally looking business card?
Keep it simple – that is the golden rule of business cards. Too much clutter means the important bits might be less visible. Your name, your job title, company name, contact details and a logo are more than enough.
If your location is really important for your business, or your office is tricky to find, you might consider adding a map on the back. Otherwise, you should try to leave the back of your card blank. Sometimes during a conversation, you might find it useful to add a note to the business card and that is when a blank back comes in handy.
Recently, companies in technology related industries started incorporating QR codes to their business cards. It’s an easy way to direct people to your website and shows that you are really up to date with technology. At the same time QR codes take a lot of space, so you should only use it if being technologically minded is an essential part of your brand.
Paying more pays off – business cards are quite cheap to make, but going for the more expensive option is usually a better choice. Your card is a representation of your company. If it is made on cheap paper your company will look equally cheap. A high quality card on the other hand will strengthen the perception of your brand.
If you struggle to come up with a design that is a neat and professional representation of your brand,
don’t worry. We know it can be difficult and time consuming, and that is why we offer to do this for you. Using our branding talents we create personalised business cards designs as part of our ‘advanced’ subscription.
You can also invest a bit more to make a business card that uses 21st Century technology.
Check out: https://www.moo.com/uk/products/nfc/business-cards-plus.html and order business cards that can include digital information of your business and yourself. Take it to the next level!