5 Steps to Creating a Cohesive Brand Identity

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What is brand identity?

In order to understand why and how a business’ online brand identity is so important, we first need to understand what it is. A brand identity encompasses every impression a company conveys. This brand identity includes advertising, promotional literature, logos and any other means that carry the brand’s message to consumers like social media and email marketing.

With consumer’s habits constantly changing, the digital marketing and brand identity of businesses have become more vital.

Nowadays, a customer’s first point of contact with a company is online, usually as a form of research into the validity of that business. This means your brand identity and web design may be the first impression they have of your company. Both, need to be properly managed but let’s talk about brand identity more in-depth by reviewing these 5 Steps to Creating a Cohesive Brand Identity.

Here’s How To Create A Cohesive Brand Identity

Prospective consumers expect your brand to have and maintain that digital presence. Even those businesses that operate primarily through a physical storefront or referral basis.

(*cough* this includes all you lawyers, doctors, CPAs, and the like *cough*)

Although a large number of businesses know that they need to have an online presence, not many know the best practices for creating and maintaining it. If a business’ online brand identity is not up to standard, this could make a bad impression on the audience and lose a potential customer.

1. Use a consistent color palette.

These should be colors that complement the colors used in your logo. These colors must also be used in a way that conforms with the principles of good design. So if your logo contains neon green, do not use other neon colors for your fonts!

Many of us can match well enough to get dressed in the mornings, but it’s well worth it to consult with a professional graphic designer and/or logo designer who can design a color scheme that will work well with websites and printed material. They’ll also advise you on how to implement everything.

If a professional is simply out of the budget, there are many websites that can help you design a palette (search for “color palettes” or “color combinations”), but be sure to use good sense with what colors you pick for which purpose. Color psychology is real, and the colors you choose will have subliminal effects and impact your brand. There are reasons why a lot of fast food restaurants use red and gold and why many financial institutions use blue. Do your research.

2. Choose complimentary fonts.

It might seem fun to choose a different font for each page or project, but it can come across as amateurish and unprofessional. Choose fonts that are easy to read and work well for a variety of purposes. You can be a bit more creative with fonts used for headlines but again, pick one or two and use it consistently across all of your materials. If one font is fancy, balance it with another font that is ordinary. Consider using font families that have matching fonts for different elements.

Bonus Tip: unless you are making an infographic about what fonts to NEVER USE use, stay away from comic sans and papyrus or risk upsetting Ryan Gosling

5 Steps to Creating a Cohesive Brand Identity - Never use Papyrus

3. Use custom design elements.

All of those little buttons and icons should coordinate with each other and not be randomly selected. One of the best ways to do this is to have them custom made for your sites by a graphic designer. This way they can be styled to complement your logo, color scheme and the general impression you are going for.

If it’s not possible to get custom design elements, then at least take care and time in picking a set of graphics that work with your site and use them consistently.

4. Use a theme when choosing art/illustrations.

Some sites use only cartoons to illustrate their pages, others use black and white photography or line art or pictures of dogs. You’ll want to choose art that fits the impression you wish to give of your site (whimsical, serious, bold, artistic, modern etc) and use it consistently.

Having half of the pages on your site illustrated with corporate stock art photography and the other half with clip art drawings is jarring and looks slapped together. It will not look professional.

5. Have a consistent voice.

Even if you’re doing all the writing yourself, you’ll want to be mindful that you use the same general tone and level of formality in all your writing. Choose a writing style that meshes well with the image you’d like to portray and the market you’d like to appeal to and then use it consistently.

For instance, I write my articles the same way I would speak to someone on any given day. I’m not that formal, in fact, some would probably say I’m the opposite. I’m direct, honest and very “to the point” with my clients. This is because of my personality and mental process that is very “logical” instead of “emotional.” So like it or hate it, I tend to write that way as well. If I’m writing copy for a law firm, my writing tends to take a much different approach.

Make sure any writers you hire understand your voice and can produce work consistent with it. Considering hiring an editor to look over all written materials to ensure that spelling, grammar and style are consistent throughout.

Bonus Tip: Create different versions of your logo.

Many new businesses come to us with a logo that they are very proud of. It is usually a jpeg image of the logo and it is usually so small that it is useless.

You won’t always have the same size and spacing for your logo, so make sure you’re prepared with a logo that has a horizontal and vertical version and can be scaled to look good in a variety of sizes.

Your logo may need to be placed on different backgrounds also. You will want to make sure your logo designer creates a full logo pack for you. This usually comes with a full colored logo (for use in optimal situations), a dark logo (for use one white/light backgrounds) and a light logo (for use on black/dark backgrounds). Multiple file types will also be created (png, jpg, vector etc)

Using these 5 Steps to Creating a Cohesive Brand Identity will help you your branding as consistent as possible with the visual look that won’t be forgotten. Neglecting these little details can come across as unprofessional and brand you as an amateur.

If you want to make sure you leave a great impression when people are introduced to your brand, contact us today!

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