Nailing Down Your Brand’s Design And Voice
Having the right branding can do wonders for your sales figures. A logo, company look and ad designs can grab the attention of your specific audience, while your brand voice can speak to them in just the right way to urge them to buy.
The first step in nailing down your branding is to decide what your brand personality is. If your brand were a person, what would they be like? Would they be loud and happy, like Kool-Aid, or soft and emotional, like Dove?
You can narrow down your brand’s personality characteristics by deciding who your target audience is, what problem your products solve, and from what position your brand helps your audience:
Friend to friend
Acquaintance to acquaintance
Mentor to student
Superstar to super fan
Advisor to advisee
Mother to child
Host to guest
This will help you see how a “human” version of your company would be. Your brand personality also helps dictate your overall look and voice.
Humans see colors before they see any other element of your marketing, including shapes, images and words (in that order). This makes colors extremely important to both potential and current customers.
Your brand colors should be appealing to your specific audience. Business professionals appreciate blues and grays. Children react to yellows and bright blues. Eco-conscious consumers favor greens and browns, while wealthy customers tend to favor whites and beiges.
While there’s plenty of room for overlap between color choice, a graphic designer can create a color profile of shades and hues for your company that's versatile and complement each other.
Just be aware of colors that are recognizable to one brand, like T-Mobile’s bright pink and black, or Coca-Cola’s red and white. In many cases, the colors of a brand aren’t protected and can be used by other brands (though some colors are protected in certain industries).
Typefaces (often called fonts) are the styles of the letters in your marketing materials. There are thousands of letter styles in the world and, like colors, your typefaces should appeal to your target audience and work with your brand across print and digital marketing materials.
Loud, wild, fun brands may use a thick, uncommon typeface, like Chalkduster:
Warm, welcoming, motherly companies may use a thin, wispy typeface, like Savoye LET.
Serious, technical businesses may use a strong, straight, proportional typeface, like Gotham.
Now that you have an idea about your brand look, let’s talk logos. Your brand logo will be a defining mark of your company and often the first impression to new customers.
Good logos are three things:
Simple. Adding too much detail will make your logo hard to read and stand out less.
Branded. Use your brand colors, typeface and appropriate graphics so viewers can associate it with your company.
Usable anywhere. From online to print to promotional items, your logo should be easy to use in ink, pixels and stitching.
There’s more to your mailers, brochures, website and advertisements than colors and typefaces. More often than not, companies have strict and detailed design rules that help their marketing both stand out and be instantly recognized.
Graphic designers often customize branding as detailed as object spacing, image gradient, even the angle size of geometric shapes.
Brand voice and writing style
Your brand voice should be one that your audience really connects with. Go back to your brand personality: think about if you’re a friend, mentor, parental figure, etc. How would they speak if they were talking to your audience?
The voice spectrum stretches beyond serious-to-casual. Consider these types when choosing a voice style:
Professional and straightforward, like IBM or Zastro
Empowering and emotional, like Dove or Apple
Welcoming and friendly, like First Round Capital or Starbucks
Entertaining and witty, like Gym It or Old Spice
Creative and quirky, like Man Crates or Innocent Drinks
Aggressive and snarky, like Cards Against Humanity
It’s important to know that while your brand voice will remain relatively the same, your tone may change based on location and situation.
Your website should be conversational, so use first-person (you, your) and second-person (we, us, our) language. Social media organic content (normal page posts) is more casual and informative while social media paid ads are persuasive.
Even if your brand is goofy, things like error messages and warnings should have a more serious tone.
Bring your branding to life
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