Hello and happy Friday, friends! While the mid-week holiday felt a tad strange, I really loved the chance to take a breather and re-center, didn't you? I hope your holiday was full of delicious food, fireworks, and loved ones! I've officially made it one week in the life of a full-time freelancer, and boy does it feel good to say that. I'm working on a post to share more about my journey to this point, so if you have any specific questions you want answered, send me an email at email@example.com. :)
As someone whose brain rarely turns off (it's true!), I have a pretty long list of the blog posts I can't wait to write, and this topic landed at the very top.
When you think about it, the steps to stellar branding really are simple: Be strategic, don't rush the process, and put yourself in the shoes of your consumer. While every designer in the world prays we're past the days of Comic Sans and Papryus logos (please!), I cringe when I encounter a business making any of the mistakes below. Pinky promise you'll change these habits if you haven't already?
1) Slapping your logo on something and calling it a day.
Just like Cinderella's glass slipper doesn't fit every foot, every logo does not fit every design need. All those file types your designer delivered to you with your final brand guidelines are intended for different purposes. My stomach turns every time I see a stretched, distorted, or pixelated logo printed on something official on behalf of a business - it's the woooooorst. If you aren't sure how to properly position or print a file, please consult a professional. I promise the end product will be worth every penny.
2) Disregarding your brand guidelines.
Do you know your brand's exact HEX color code for web and digital design purposes? What about your brand's Pantone colors for print? If these terms mean absolutely nothing to you, it's time to get to work. At the end of every branding project, I deliver a brand guidelines document, which clearly outlines brand fonts and colors for my clients to reference prior to any future design endeavor. If your designer gave you something similar, USE IT to your advantage! If not, take the steps now to determine these guidelines immediately. Take my word for it - picking type and colors at random, even for one-off projects and internal messaging, speaks poorly of your ability to maintain professionalism.
3) Taking an inconsistent approach across mediums
In our present digital age, it's increasingly important for your branding to feel and look consistent. This means everything from your voice to your imagery to your color palette should flow as one, unwavering stream. Making your Facebook page a platform for funny memes and brightly-colored messaging (when your brand aspires to embody a high-class clientele) is not only confusing, it's just kind of....odd. Part of my role as a brand designer is to help my clients see the overall picture - where do they want to be in 5 years, 10 years, etc. and what steps do we need to take to get them there? (Note: This doesn't mean your copy can't vary platform to platform - I understand audiences have different homes on social media!).
4) Failing to educate your employees
Whether you're a simple, two-person operation or a company with 500+ employees, proper communication is essential to avoiding brand blunders. Readily share your guidelines, templates, and instructions with employees from day one, and you'll (hopefully) never see a proposal floating around with an outdated logo or incorrect fonts. Even if you don't expect an employee to interact with your branding materials, this ensures everyone is on the same page about WHO you are as a business, WHAT you hope to accomplish, and WHY you make certain decisions.
5) Working under several brand identities and neglecting the Rule of One
Alrighty, this is a big "one" - no pun intended ;) In branding, the "Rule of One" essentially means housing your entire brand (even different wings of it) under one, encompassing umbrella. For instance, if an female author brands the speaking side of her business as one thing and the writing side of her business as a completely separate thing (website and all), she's losing out on the opportunity to make a BIG splash with both. A single brand not only expands her reach (introducing followers and fans of one to the other), it also makes her more recognizable for any future endeavors she chooses to pursue. Find yourself in this boat? Take a moment to think about the longevity of your multiple brands. Is there one that resonates with your mission more than others, or is it time to consider rebranding everything at once under a single umbrella?
It's hard to name the many brand mistakes made out there (let's see...choosing a business name that's already taken or easily confused, forgetting to build up your launch - I could go on!), but these jump out at me at the biggest, MUST FIX issues. If you found yourself in one of these scenarios, let's talk! I'd love to work with you on making your business a more visually appealing, strategically situated entity.
A few other posts that might interest you:
Have the best weekend!