Let’s start by clearing up any misconceptions about the difference between a logo and a brand. Whilst a logo is certainly part of a brand, the brand itself is much more than just the logo. Broadly said, a brand is the perception from the audience’s perspective. The logo, message, voice, tone, the product(s), and company actions combined with all the supporting visuals, and anything else you communicate to your market is all part of your brand.
But what exactly makes it ‘great’ brand?
In order to create a successful brand, here’s some questions you should be asking:
Is the message clear and easy to understand?
You want to keep it simple so you can get the right point across.
Are your visuals aesthetically pleasing and supporting your message?
Consider if your designs and visuals need an update. They should factor in your message and fully support the overall message that you’re trying to communicate to your customers. Let’s say one of things you define your company or product as is approachable, or luxury at the other end, do your visuals look approachable, or high end?
Does it stand the test of time?
How long are you planning to use this for? There are exceptions if you’re working on a specific campaign or capitalising on a specific trend, but generally a timeless identity is a great identity to have.
Is it easily reproduced across a variety of different media?
A great brand should be fluid and flexible, meaning you can easily get your message across through static visuals, videos or even audio media, consistently.
Does it connect to your market audience?
Have you identified your market, and made sure that your brand is something that the market can identify, and connect with?
Is it consistent?
Like a restaurant, when consumers come back they probably will expect to receive the same level of quality as they did when they visited before. Make sure your message is consistent, and customers know what to expect.
If you are finding some of these characteristics are not present in your new or existing brand, we have some tips that may help you develop your brand further and improve in areas you may feel need improvement.
Logo Design: What does my logo say about my brand?
Logos come in a variety of forms, ranging from complex emblems to simplistic pictorial marks. But is there a one size fits all? Put it this way, if a logo is part of a brand that is meant to tell your consumer base who you are, what you represent and what you do differently, then ultimately that means there are multiple logo designs that represent different brands.
There are many logos out there, but most of them can be separated into 3 main categories:
These logos only use the words or initials of the business or product in question. With only text to work with, logos that fall into this category mainly use typography to express the brand associated with it. A good example is the Coca Cola logo that uses a handwritten/script typeface that expresses a sense of heritage with a logo that almost looks like a signature, signing off quality products.
These logos use a combination of two graphical elements. One of these is a pictorial mark, that mostly uses imagery associated with the business name or products/services it provides. This is also supported by text, which normally spells the name of the business or product the logo represents.
Amazon is a good example of a combination mark as it not only spells the name of the business but the image of an arrow underneath it shows it has products from A to Z and forms a smile, promoting good customer satisfaction with the brand.
These logos are popular but normally require a lot of work to make them recognisable through marketing and promotion, as they don’t have any direct association with the brand it represents. The good news is that these logos will have less of an association with competitors, meaning that you have a fresh slate to build a brand upon with this mark. One logo that has used this well is Pepsi, the shape and form of the mark is abstract and original but they’ve added colours used in the American flag to further associate the mark with an American brand.
Colour: How does colour impact my brand’s perception?
We’ve briefly talked about colour in the previous section, but we wanted to show how colour makes a huge impact on how you are perceived by your target audience; after all these are the people you want to attract and appeal towards.
When we see a colour, our brains attach certain emotions and feelings with that colour; both good and bad. We’ve made a list of common associations with the 8 main colour groups, and we encourage you to have a look through them and see what colours represent the feeling you’d associate with your business/product. Are they complimenting your brand or are they working against you?
Typography: How can I use a typeface to effectively convey my brand’s values?
One final design topic we’d like to touch on is the use of typography in your brand. This doesn’t just apply to the logo, but across your brand as a whole; whether it is the typeface you use on your print materials, your website or even for your social media marketing.
A typeface is a group of characters and/or glyphs that share the same design rules and can say a lot about the brand they are associated with. As a general rule, there are five classifications of typography, all promoting different connotations:
Brands that use a serif typeface use it to promote trust and confidence with a formal, timeless tone to the text or words in question. It is also more commonly used for titles and headings as it is more legible at these sizes than being used as body text.
Sans Serif Typefaces
These typefaces are mainly used in brands that want to promote a modern and friendly aura around their brand. The use of sans serifs makes for clean and legible reading; perfect for large blocks of body text like this blog post uses now.
Similar to serif typefaces, typefaces that fall into this category give a sense of elegance and timelessness with a formal tone. They are more commonly used as headings, due to the multiple ligatures and complexity of their design as a whole.
This category derives its name from the fact that these typefaces have equal spacing between each letter. They are mainly used for legibility purposes in coding, but can be used creatively to promote a technological feel to a brand and showing expertise in that technology-based field. A very niche typeface which is to be used with caution.
These are typefaces that have graphical styles applied to their typographic rule set. They make text unique and stand out from standard serif and sans serif fonts, but depending on their legibility are mainly used for logo design or headings.
As a general rule of thumb, it is good practice to use one typeface that has multiple weights or two typefaces that work well together. Here is a brief outline on how to use them in each use case:
One Typeface with Multiple Weights
If you want to achieve consistency across your whole brand, this is a good method to use. It allows the brand to be more encompassing, whilst maintaining enough contrast between your headings and body text using different weights. Weights in type design are the thickness of strokes within each character; for example you might have a light weight that shows the text really thin and a heavy weight that is really thick and bold. Normally, it is good practice to choose a regular font weight for your body text and then go up 2 weights for your headings to give enough contrast.
Two Typefaces from Two Different Categories
If you are currently using a font that doesn’t work well as body text but is an essential part of your brand already, this method might work better. Let’s say your logo uses a serif typeface and you are using it for all your brand assets to achieve consistency, but you are finding it hard to read the body text. A good solution to this would be to use the serif font for the headings and a sans serif font to use for the body. It is good to keep weights to a minimum as it can create too much visual distraction, but keeping to one or two weights for each typeface is a good way to go.
So, how do I create a successful brand?
In addition to using the design tips above, a successful brand identity will require market research, strategic thinking, analysis, and creative designs, but it’s even more than that. A successful brand takes time, you need an audience and you need to be active with that audience in order to create that brand. Remember, we are creating a perception that we want the consumers to have about us. We can’t successfully portray that perception without the consumers. A well crafted strategy for your brand creates the right experience for the end user, and each connecting point within that users’ experience should reinforce that same message.
You can see this as a book of rules, including things such as your mission statement, how to correctly use your logo, typography, marketing messages, and even uniforms or vehicle decals.
This will help you understand your product offering and how you will get there, with that you can create a better message for it.
Identify your customer, how else are you going to know how to best connect with them?
Once you have identified your customer, think about how you are reaching them, is your online identity and website representing you well? How are you driving people there?
All your files and supporting materials clearly labeled, filed away and ready to use, or to distribute for use.
Creating a successful brand takes time and consistent efforts so make sure to ask customers the right questions so you can get valuable data and feedback that you can work with. What do they believe your company or product stands for? What do you offer them from their perspective? Only once you understand this can you decide what needs fine tuning.
How can we help?
Consumers want brands that bring something real and positive to their lives, to allow them to do things easier or faster, or enhance their lives in other ways. We can help you understand the narrative you need to get across to produce the right visuals and message that your customers expect to see.