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    Branding basics: Communicate your brand

    Branding basics- communicate your brand

    By Mirella Marie

    This is Part Two of designer Mirella Marie’s series Branding Basics.

    Once you define your brand, you need to communicate it. This is done through a brand identity. An identity supports your brand to convey its values, products and services, and the overall experience you provide your clients and customers. It is one of the most important investments you can make for your business.

    What does a brand identity do?

    • Communicates to your audience on your behalf
    • Differentiates your business from competitors
    • Establishes consistency
    • Influences perceptions
    • Attracts the right audience
    • Inspires people to take action

    What does it lead to?

    1. Brand trust and loyalty
    2. Increased and improved brand awareness
    3. Stronger credibility
    4. Higher profitability
    5. Motivated employees
    6. Positioning as an industry leader or expert

     

    What does it involve?

    Effective brand identity is achieved through the consistent use of strong visual elements to create distinction and differentiation. These are the five fundamentals of a brand identity:

    Logo 

    At the core of every identity is a logo. A logo is used to identify a company, product or service with the use of a graphical mark, symbol or words. It should not literally describe what your business does, but, rather, identify it in a way that’s recognisable and memorable. In order to do this, it must communicate in its simplest form. Ensure that your logo is not complicated or cluttered — it must be legible and readable at 25% of its original size, without loss of detail. Do not include your tagline or any other text in your logo.

    Consider the following:

    • What kind of message do you want to convey?
    • Can your logo be simplified even further?
    • Does it differentiate from your competitors?
    • Is it legible and readable?
    • What makes your logo memorable?

    Typography

     Typography is the art and arrangement of type that makes written communication readable, legible and aesthetically pleasing. Typography adds tone, subtlety and even context to a message. For example, using a heavy, bold font may be suitable for a builder, but may not be suitable for an architect.

    Consider the following:

    • What type of message do you want to express?
    • Which fonts will best achieve this?
    • Are those fonts overused in your industry?
    • Does they suitably portray your business?
    • Are they legible and readable?

    Colour

    Colour is one of the most important considerations of a brand identity. It conveys messaging and emotion, and has a fundamental impact on readability, legibility, attracting people’s attention and maintaining engagement. The colours in your identity must have a purpose — if you want to use your favourite colour, ask yourself if it is the right one for your brand. For example, bright red may not be suitable for a masseuse. Warm colours (reds, oranges, yellows) evoke different psychological and emotional responses to cool colours (greens, blues).

    Consider the following:

    • What kind of message do you want to communicate?
    • Which colour(s) will best achieve this?
    • Are those colours overused in your industry?
    • Are they legible and readable?
    • Are they suitable for your brand?
    • Are they eye-catching?

    Tone of voice

    A brand’s tone of voice provides an overall narrative for the brand to speak to its audience. It must complement and communicate your brand’s personality. If your voice is direct, your writing, content and engagement should be brief, clear and succinct. If your voice is outgoing, your writing, content and engagement should demonstrate a responsive attitude to your audience. You must use the same voice across all of your brand’s touchpoints to achieve consistency. If you are outgoing on social media but direct on your website, it will cause confusion.

    Consider the following:

    • What tone of voice will speak directly to your audience?
    • How will you use it to maintain engagement?
    • Are you speaking in a language they will understand?
    • Are you able to incorporate some of your own personality?
    • How do the tone of voice of your favourite brands resonate with you?

    Imagery

    Humans are highly visual — we first learned to communicate through pictures before words (hence “a picture is worth a thousand words”). Images such as photos, illustrations, and icons are used to visually describe your brand, products and services to your audience, so it is crucial they are clean, clear and easy to recognise.

    Where possible, always hire a professional to create your brand's imagery and avoid using photos taken on a smartphone.

    Consider the following:

    • What do you want to express with your imagery?
    • How will you use it to reach the right audience?
    • Is it memorable?
    • Is it clear?
    • Is it of a high standard?
    • How do you feel when you see other businesses using low quality images for their brand?

    These five fundamentals must be consistent across all your brand communications, including your website, social media, print materials, templates, ads, newsletters, apps, etc. It is this consistency that what will help make your brand memorable.

    Remember, your audience is overwhelmed with choice. Presenting your brand with a cluttered logo, unsuitable typography, inappropriate colours, conflicting tone of voice, or low quality images may see your audience turning to your competitors.

    Your brand identity is the very first thing people see before even engaging with you, therefore you have one chance to make a lasting impression. The way something is presented will define the way people react to it.

     

    Mirella Marie is the owner and creative director of Vertigo, a Melbourne based graphic design studio specialising in brand identity and design. She is also a contributor for Women of Graphic Design, a project examining the work of female designers around the world. Join her on Instagram @studiovertigo.

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    Posted by: Emma Clark
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