Time to nail down 5 things that relate to visual branding in your business! When you first think about your visual branding, that all important logo, the fonts, the colors, the overall feel and style. Which is it that you first think about?
Are you thinking how pretty you can make it? How much fun can you have with the design? How you can play with a style you really love? Or about that Pinterest board, you have full of pretty inspiration?
But thats not where you should start.. I know it is easy to want to jump into visuals and create something beautiful, compelling, and oh so gorgeous. The first thing you think about should not be the visuals at all. The first thing that you need to consider is what you want it to say, and communicate. Sure the result is not words but visuals, and those graphics need to be rooted in message and meaning.
Think about street signs for a minute.. A lot can be communicated very simply, that is the great art of graphic design. Designing something that does the job as simply as possible. Being functional, clear and well considered.
A yield sign, doesn’t need a long length paragraph attached to it with the reason on why you are yielding to on coming traffic before just pulling out in front of them. It isn’t over done, covered in glitter, neon pink with a hint of green or covered in a huge sketched image of what happens if you don’t yield.
No it is simple yet impactful. It is intentional and iconic symbolism that is altering but not distracting you from concentrating on the road. But design at its core is about function. It is purposeful and intentional. And more challenging then the end result has you believe.
It is important that your graphics and branding are rooted in the mission and your message of your business. I always make sure that my clients have a clear vision of what those are and look like for their business. Your mission, should be about what you strive to do your business. Think about your products and services you offer and who your ideal client/customer is. Then even more importantly is your why. Why do you do what you do, why do you offer that service for this person? What problems are you trying to solve for them and how will you help them? But also the wider impact your business has beyond your customer. Does what you do support a cause, mission or change in the world?
If you have a personal brand, and you are at the core of that business, then your identity needs to shine through in the visual branding. People want to work with and buy from people. So make your branding reflect you and your personality. This could include things like where you are from, your upbringing, your interests and hobbies, your lifestyle, your beliefs, family heritage, life events and circumstances that have shaped you. If you take them time to think about the things that make up your identity, and then also ask others how they perceive you, you can then find ways to show your identity in your branding. But then the identity of your ideal client. Who they are, how old are they, their goals, values, and needs. And what kind of personality would they have!
Having values in your business, gives your business a guiding track on how to operate, behave, and what is a priority to you. A business values does not need to be something that you keep only to yourself. But it can become part of the structure of your branding. If your business values hospitality, then your branding should feel friendly, easy to relate to and inviting. If your business values wellness then you may want to be very selective of the materials you use for print and packaging. So really think about what your business values and how that affects the look of your brand and graphics
Clear communication is key and if we nail all the other but fail to make it clear in what your business actually foes and offers, then you will simply be leaving people confused and money on the table. The number 1 thing your branding needs to do is clearly communicate what you do without any confusion or mixed signals. People like things laid out in front of them, it makes them easier to process. If you make custom pencils, make it clear you offer custom pencils. Getting to carried away with all the other elements of your brand identity that you want to communicate but fail to make what you do clear, then people won’t even understand the point of your business. If your custom pencil shop was all about nature and the wilderness, and your branding then had a forest, dark, adventure feel with no hint at pencils until you hit the shop page, then people may assume you sell camping equipment or are a summer camp, and then there will be a disconnect when they finally click the shop page. And while you may think, they will figure it out eventually, we don’t want to make it hard to work out. Remember design is about clear communication. It helps get the message across fast and with emotion. So sure you want to create that cosy, earthy, adventure vibe, but you also want them to be picturing the ease and perfection of what it’s like to use a custom pencil that will make an impact on them.
Besides “Buy My Stuff”. What actions fo you want to inspire in your audience? Do you want to help them have confidence? More bold? Have fun in their own skin? Make lifestyle changes? Help others? Think about the core action you want your customers to take or feel. Because once you can inspire the action you can better convince them that your service or product will help them achieve it. So just like scrolling though a department store website makes us aspire to have a certain lifestyle, your brand needs to do the same. Make me want to be what is on the other side of the action you want to take. How can you help them get there?
But remember people don’t buy things, they buy a better version of themselves and the result you are giving them. So if you communicate that “better self” in your branding it will not only attract them but inspire them to buy.
So if you make it to here I have a little task for you.. Go take a look at your current visual branding, assess what it communicates now, look at what is lacking, and what isn’t clearly communicated. So that you can better the story of your branding!