All graphics are built on a brand identity. Or at least they should be.
There’s a lot to be said about standing out, but all designs must first and foremost reflect a well founded brand identity. That’s the only way it will resonate with and capture your intended audience — not to mention, it can save you a lot of work.
If your visual identity really connects, then it’s more memorable and you spend less on promotions in the long run. If your look is consistent all throughout, the more your brand values are associated with your visual identity, and the more you build consumer trust and loyalty over time.
Our first piece of advice is this: invest in strengthening your brand’s look. It’s not that complicated.
The 5 Most Common Visual Branding Mistakes
Building a solid visual brand is an important step in developing your business, no matter what it may be. So take note of these common mistakes and how you can avoid them.
01. Design Inconsistency
We’ve all seen when businesses get lazy and decide to haphazardly use a color or a font outside of their usual style. Will it mean the end of the business and a dramatic crash in sales? Of course not, but over time if it continues and the business becomes lax with all aspects of their branding, it will impact their customer’s perception of the them.
Being inconsistent with your branding comes across unorganized and unreliable, and you run the risk of your customers confusing your business with your competitors and other brands. To easily overcome this and avoid future inconsistencies it is worthwhile establishing a defined style guide for your business.
The above design for the Wildlife Conservation Society by Pentagram follows a precise style guide to keep everything looking consistent.
02. Me-too Branding
When your competitors are killing it with their flawless branding it’s easy to fall into thoughts of copying aspects of their brand to help boost your own. This mindset leads to unoriginal branding and a lack of trust with your audience, as well as possible legal trouble.
With millions of business and logos out there in the world there is of course the chance that you will come across something similar as your own, but you just need to continually push yourself to be original and think about what you can do to stand out.
Following the success of the City of Melbourne logo by Landor, many imitations popped up all around the world.
03. Trying to Appeal to Everyone
Having no specific demographic may seem like a great idea for your brand at first. The idea that if you can appeal to everyone then you are more likely to increase your sales, but there are very few business that successfully appeal to an unrestrained demographic.
You may be scared to focus in on a niche market in case you miss out on the larger market, but honing in on your target demographic is the best way to build a connection with your audience. Stop chasing approval and start focusing on forging an authentic connection with your desired audience by making your visual branding very clearly portray what you value.
04. Out-of-place Visuals
Once you focus in on your target demographic, really consider what kind of visuals will appeal to them, without being stereotypical. This may seem difficult, but think about how what might appeal to children would not be acceptable for a corporate branding.
You need to choose fonts, colors and imagery that will be suitable for your brand and audience. Avoid any cliche outdated stock photos and bad quality images as these will drastically decrease the impact and professionalism of your brand.
Take a look at the above branding for San Diego Zoo by Landor. It includes fun photographs and organic typography perfect for its intended demographic of children and families. It’s always important to consider your audience and what will be appropriate for them.
05. Over reliance on the Logo
Your brand is so much more than your logo. Everything from your business’s name, logo, colors, fonts, slogan and imagery all make up your visual branding. Having a good logo doesn’t mean the journey is over. To create an effective visual brand you must carry this across everything you produce, from social media posts to gift cards.
To do that, you have to have an application-friendly logo — one that can be rendered onto the type of visuals and colors you will be needing for your brand.
And don’t forget: Consistency is key. By maintaining consistency you will create an easily recognizable and unified brand that speaks to your audience and stands out from your competitors.
These designs for Benevolent Society are great examples of applying the many design elements that make up the visual branding, that aren’t necessarily the logo, across different touch points.
*Originally published by Canva.com