why Strong Branding Is Not Only Essential, but the Bare Minimum
Brand Design is not only essential, but it's the first investment to make when presenting your ideas to your audience. Branding is essentially your opportunity to visually define your business within your industry. So, what exactly is your business? As you think through defining and branding your business, envision this exercise setting up guardrails, defining who you are and who you are not.
Let's work through this together:
The Problem: "Good design is expensive."
1. The Solution: Learn to think like a designer.
- It's our job as designers to connect your ideas to your audience. I am constantly asking,"What's the best way we can design this so the message is clear? What is the direct call to action? Who is our audience? Where are they seeing this?" By asking yourself these questions when making branding decisions, you may be able to provide a clearer direction to a designer, saving time and money on the total project.
- Consistency and Simplicity always win.
- Be consistent in social media (Use similar filters across images, alternate graphics with pictures, and implement a consistent color palette.)
- Always simplify email/web/newsletter copy (Think: "Can this paragraph do it's job in 10 words rather than 5 sentences?")
*Seasoned designers work to create systems that use consistent graphics + simple messaging, so the more often you can do this on your own, the stronger your brand presentation will be.
2. Hire the right designer.
- The right designer will ask questions about your business and your goals for your business. If you already have established branding, they should ask for your current branding and will work to design solutions using the best form of that branding.
- If you hire a designer to help create your branding, the right brand designer will equip and teach you how to use your new branding (see excerpts below from The Foster Care Alliance's Brand Book we created in 2017).
A few other tips to keep in mind while working through this process:
- Create clear and unique branding. It should speak to someone specific and be honest about who/what the brand represents.
- Define your values. What really drives you? What sets you apart within your industry?
- Replicate. Consistency will make your message memorable and your business top-of-mind.
- Find a great designer you trust. Your designer should reply promptly, set clear expectations for deadlines, timelines, and design style, offer up-front pricing, and should understand the importance of consistent branding.
In short, branding is simply the representation of your ideas and your business to your consumer.
So, what is your business?