No doubt that a logo is one of the most important elements in brand appeal, and a great place to start when branding a new company, but there are even more aesthetics that come into play when branding a new company or product.
How many times have you come across an ugly website when searching online for something? Chances are you hit your browser’s back button in hopes of finding a better site offering the service you’re looking for, because let’s face it: we’re all guilty of judging a book by its cover, and a website’s homepage is the modern day equivalent to a book cover.
Truth be told, if your website isn’t aesthetically pleasing, you’re probably losing out on a lot business. And it’s not just your website, it could be any one of your marketing pieces — billboards, magazine ads, email newsletters… anything. If your marketing collateral isn’t well designed, it’s very likely being scoffed at, or ignored.
It’s built into our society that we (as consumers) are drawn to beauty, cleanliness, certain colors/patterns, etc. and we tend to judge people, places, products, and more… on first impression. How many times have you bought something at the grocery store because “the packaging looked cool”? Guilty.
So what are some general rules where brand design and marketing collateral are concerned? Here are a few:
It is important to establish the right colors for your brand, which usually consist of 1-2 primary (brand specific) colors, and usually 2-3 secondary (complimentary) colors that can be used on different marketing pieces. It is also important to know how and when to used these colors, and to know what kind of emotions they evoke. For example, cool colors (blue, green, purple) tend to incite feelings of calmness, whereas bright colors (yellow, orange, red) can provoke exuberance. There are millions of colors, and color combinations, so it’s necessary to take the time to research the right colors for your brand.
Before you go poking around on a stock photos website, it is critical to establish some rules on how you want your brand to be portrayed, and what kind of images are going to be required to deliver that message. Is your brand funny/fun, or is it serious/professional? This will be the difference between using a stock photo of a clown holding a banana, or a pair of businessmen shaking hands (for example). This may sound like a no-brainer to you, but finding the right set of photos to use for your brand is harder than you might think. Research should be done to identify what types of imagery is going to be used to best represent your brand, and once that imagery has been established, it is important to keep that theme consistent throughout your marketing collateral.
How many times have you driven past a billboard that used a strange font, used small characters, or had so many words on it that you couldn’t read it all in time? That is just one example of poor typography. It is paramount to choose fonts and font sizes that can be read easily, no matter the application — from a billboard to a brochure, to your entire website, having a font that is easily read will help to get your message across with little effort. On top of that, it is crucial to choose a font that represents your brand. Is your brand elegant? Maybe you choose a font with more curves. Is your brand technical or modern? Perhaps you choose a font that has more edges or straight lines. There are several things to consider when choosing type for your brand: readability, thickness, style, spacing (tracking & leading), and more. It is also important to know how and when to use certain stylings of each font: titles/headings, body/paragraphs, tag lines, type within your logo, etc.
Use of Space
When using all of the above elements (colors, images, type) to create brand collateral, it is essential to know what goes where. Having too much of one or the other could end up in disaster. Knowing how much type to use, which colors to use, and how many images to use and where to use them is vital in marketing collateral creation — it can make the difference between someone stopping to read your ad and spend time on your website, or ignoring your ad and leaving your website. Generally less is better, so asking yourself some basic questions before getting started is good practice: What is the least amount of text it will take to get my message across? What are the colors that are going to draw the most attention to the piece? What kind of image(s) should I use to best represent the content? And equally, where should each of these things be in the layout to ensure their importance in the delivery of the message?
These are just a few of the things we at FiG think about every time we go to create collateral for our clients. If you’re interested in how FiG can improve your brand and help to drive new business, or if you’re just looking for some more articles on branding etiquette, please contact us!