Tips For Branding Your Business
What does it mean to be branded? Cowboys utilize branding. They brand their cattle with their “logo.” If one of their cows gets loose, everyone will know who it belongs to by its brand. It is not just because of the mark on its skin. It is because that same mark is found all over the ranch, on the clothes of the people who run it and usually greeting everyone as they arrive in a large metal symbol on the fencing. Everyone should know your cow in this world. You need to create a brand that sends the correct message to the clients you are trying to entice.
It is very common to misunderstand branding with advertising. Graphic Designer, Jacob Cass describes branding like this: “A logo is not your brand, nor is it your identity. Logo design, identity design and branding all have different roles that together, form a perceived image for a business or product” (Cass) .Your brand is your company’s image which can be obtained partially through your advertising campaigns. How you present your company to the public is how you are branding yourself, you are creating your image and an emotional connection to society. What kind of emotions do you want to illicit? You must think of that as you create your brand. Depending on what you are trying to sell and the client you seek will determine everything from the color, texture, size, font, shape, and feeling you use in the logo, business cards, print ads, magazine ads, TV ads and so on. What do all of these things have in common? They all have visual components. Humans are visually stimulated. If your logo is sloppy will assume the company is not professional even if they are a very good company, your sloppy logo is representing you. If you use a color that is visually unappealing for the food business then you may not get as many customers. This has a deep psychological element as well.
What is the psychology of branding and logo design? Have you wondered why most fast food restaurants are all colored similarly? They all utilize red and yellow in their color schemes. There is a reason. Red stimulates appetite while yellow means fun. That is why McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s all use these colors. Come eat and have fun. (O’Reilly) It is the psychology of color. It can be very complex and different colors can resonate different feelings for each person depending on personal experiences, however, there is a science that most people will have a similar reaction to certain colors.
Red is an attention getter and can be considered provocative. Red can also be considered dangerous or provocative. Blues and greens are calming and are related to nature. They work well in the medical and financial communities because they give a sense of dependability. Blue also can hamper appetite. Weight Watchers suggests you use blue plates to help you eat less. Purple represents luxury, wealth, and spirituality. (O’Reilly)
Shapes also trigger emotional reactions. Circles remind us of unity and love. Triangles and squares suggest balance. (Wallace) Even lines affect your design. Vertical lines are powerful and masculine while horizontal lines are feminine and tranquil. Soft curves are also feminine and also represent movement and happiness while sharp angles lines can represent energy, youth, anger and explosiveness. (Panacentric Limited)
So, who is your client? A luxury bride? Then you may want to utilize circles and purple in your logo design and advertising. Maybe it is an eco-friendly college student. Then utilizing greens and blues will work with your brand. You need to customize you logo, identity, and brand for the clientele you are trying to reach. See your business through their eyes.
How do you integrate a font into your logo and design plan? You may think that it is simple but, it becomes a bit complex. It is far beyond utilizing Serif and Sans Serif fonts. Finding a unique font can grab a person’s attention but, it has to be easy to read. Hand written looking fonts can give people a personal feel to your business. “The lines used in a typeface carry much of the same symbolism as lines in general. Fonts with more curved lines tend to be more feminine while bolder, harder shaped letters are more masculine. More angular letters can be used to express conformity and rigidity, while rounder letters can signify elegance and youth.” (Creativefan)
So, what does the logo have to do with it? The logo is your simplest form that represents your business. Take the Nike swish. It is just a shape but, everyone knows it represents Nike. So, what simple icon should represent your business? It should really be memorable, timeless, and versatile.
Memorable, we all know the Nike swish. Timeless, a logo should not date itself. If the logo looks old then you won’t bring in new clients. Versatile, this logo should be able to go on websites, letterheads, clothing, coffee cups, business cards and everything you could possibly want to put it on.
How do you make yourself memorable? It should not just be a goal to be remembered but unforgettable. “Some logos are too plain or not symbolic enough for consumers to easily associate them with a brand.” (Agent X) Standing out against the crowd, especially when the sea is flooded with people in the same field as you is the first step. Take into consideration the color, shape, and font but, also the feeling that your logo and advertising materials convey. Once you have contact with your client it is all about experience. You must give your clients a top notch experience to stand out against the crowd.
What is a timeless logo and brand? Your logo should need minimal touch-ups throughout the years to keep it fresh. Logos from products like Coke and Campbell’s have stayed true for generations. If Coke suddenly went to a green can with blue stripes then we wouldn’t recognize it. If you look back over the years at advertising campaigns for Campbell’s you can see that their overall look is similar with the Campbell’s logo looking the same from 1868 until now. That is what you want for your company! Who doesn’t know without even looking at the name which soup is Campbell’s? (CampbellsSoupCompany)
Versatility is of upmost importance. Your logo must be able to transition throughout all mediums. If you can’t put the same logo on your business card that goes on your website then you won’t have brand recognition.
Coming full circle, you have decided who you want your client to be and how you want to represent your company, so now what? You are your company. You represent your company so you must be professional. Dress to impress. Does that mean you need to be in a suit? Absolutely not if it doesn’t represent your brand. Be real. You are a real person that they can talk to! How frustrating is it when we call our big banks and have to go through dozens of options before we can actually talk to a person? Showing off your human side appeals to your audience. Pick a specialty. Do not go after everyone with a wallet. Trying to be everything to everyone is going to burn you out and not satisfy your client. Pick what you are good at and make it your specialty. A good graphic artist can help you achieve a successful design for your company that incorporates everything you are looking for in your brand. Having your materials appear professional is a necessity and graphic artists know how to utilize the tools and work with you to produce quality pieces of work for your business. Bottom line is to stand out from the herd and you will rise above the rest.
Agent X: Agent X. The 5 Basic Elements of Good Logo Design web 2009. Accessed: 15 November 2012.
Campbell Soup Company Campbell Story web 2012. Accessed: 16 November 2012.
Cass: Cass, Jacob. Branding, Identity & Logo Design Explained, web 6 April 2010. Accessed: 15 November 2012.
O’Reilly O’ Reilly,Terry. Colour Schemes: How Colours Make Us Buy, web 5 May 2012. Accessed: 15 November 2012.
Wallace: Wallace, Sarah. Understanding the Psychology of Logo Design web 2012. Accessed: 15 November 2012.
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