8 Elements of a consistent brand
Over the last two weeks I wrote about branding, why it is so important and what are three crucial things to determine for branding. Today I want to write about the different elements of a brand.
A brand is not only a pretty logo and some colors but so much more.
There is the primary logo or wordmark, the secondary logo and logo variations, a submark, typefaces, colors, photography and other graphic elements as well as the tone.
Logo or wordmark
Your logo is a graphic symbol that represents your brand. It can be a symbol with a written name or just a symbol.
A good example for just a symbol is Apple. Apple hardly uses it's written name but mostly just their symbol. If you see this specific apple symbol somewhere you immediately know that this is Apple.
If you just have your name written in a specific fixed way, it is called wordmark. A good example for a wordmark is Coca-Cola. They have a no symbol but just their name always written the same way so people know immediately who and what they are seeing. Also they are only using two colors, red and white. Coca-Cola is also super recognizable.
Regardless of it being a symbol or a wordmark, your logo is the center of your brand identity.
Secondary logo and logo variations
You should use your main logo whenever you can on any branded company material. However when space or design does not permit you might need to use your secondary or alternate logo. Which can be a smaller version of your logo or for example just the name of your company without the symbol. It can be a horizontal or a vertical version of your logo and it can be in a different color if needed. However this should still be a specific version of your logo.
So you should really have two types, one primary and one secondary logo and then you should be equipped with some colors and color variations you can use your logo with and still staying consistent and within your brand.
Or you need to make sure your logo works well horizontally and vertically for all types of promotional material. It is also important that you have a logo for all your social media profiles, which are usually square. On the other hand for the website you will usually need a horizontal logo version. And you need to make sure that you have a color that works good on light background and a color that works good on dark background.
Overall make sure that you stay consistent and that a customer will recognizes you from far away.
Usually I also provide my clients with a submark. Mostly it is round and just a part of their logo and it comes very handy when the primary logo is quite big or with a tagline. It is often used as a favicon for a website or if a smaller logo is needed to add branding to something. For example it can be used as a watermark for photographers, or for blog post graphics, or on any marketing material that needs branding.
You need to define a color palette for your brand. This palette should consist of primary and secondary colors and they will usually all go into the same direction. So either you will have warm colors, or cold colors, only bright colors or only muted tones.
Typically you will have one or two colors for your main logo. And then you might have some more primary colors that you can use for your logo and primarily for your brand, your website and it's promotional material.
You will also have secondary colors which are typically used as accent colors and more sparingly.
If you have a designer to define those colors for you, you will get the Pantone color codes for them to be able to use exactly the same color for any online or printed marketing material.
You will also need to define a specific typography to be used throughout your brand. Usually you will use two to three different typefaces. Mostly they will consist of the font what is used for your logo and one or two additional ones that complement each other.
You will use one type for headlines or headers, one for body text and may be one for any special text copy.
Again stay consistent throughout any branded material so that you will also be recognized there. Make sure to use the same font for presentations, flyers, business cards, letters, on your website and so on.
In addition you should have a library of graphic elements you can use. This can be specific lines or shapes or it can be small icons or illustrations. Also here you need to stay consistent and use your brand colors and keep the same overall style. For example if you always use a red line to highlight something, make sure it is always the same stroke width. And the same applies if you have specific icons or illustrations. Are they just outlines? Or are they filled with color? In any case they should stay the same to keep them recognizable.
Visuals are such an important part of your brand! Your visuals need to match your logo, the colors and your voice. As I wrote before a customer scans content or a shop window and if it is not visually appealing to them they won't even read any content or go into a store. And again it comes down to consistency. Make sure you use the same style and feel of photography throughout your brand.
For MNFL-Design I use for example very light photographs with a lot of white and pastel tones which match my color palette.
However it is not only the colors but this is also the same for the people in the photographs. Abercrombie & Fitch for example always has young, good looking and fit people in their photographs. They are all bringing the same message across. And by the way, they have the same type of shop assistants :-)
There are many more examples, but it all comes down to defining the style of your photographs and then staying consistent. I think you get the idea.
And last but not least, your tone or your voice. You also need to define how you want to talk to your customers. Are you very business like or more funny, are you sarcastic or educational? In any way you should use the same words and same style throughout your website and your branded marketing material but also your blog and your newsletters, emails etc. And if you have for example shop assistants they should also use this tonality to speak to your customers.
Overall all these elements of a brand need to speak the same language and bring across the same emotions and feelings. AND stay consistent!
I hope this has helped you and if you have any questions, please contact me!
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