Most people think that branding is just the logo design. Branding is much more. It is the sum total of all the experiences that people have with your brand. One of the critical and most important of those experiences is the visual language of the brand which includes the brand identity and design but also much more. Other experiences include the marketing message, customer interaction and service, products/service quality and benefits and more.
UPDATE: This article uses our old logo design as an example.
The visual language of a brand consists of the following elements:
Of course a logo is the core of all visual branding. It starts with the logo and to be really effective you need the right kind of logo. Not the best looking but rather a design that connects with your target market and resonates with their world view. There are a lot of articles and posts on this website about logo design so I will not go much into that in this post.
With our own SpellBrand logo, we used the humming bird as our icon along with a clean bold font for the text. The word “Spell” is thinner than “Brand” to create a slight differentiation and also to emphasize the branding part of the name. Curious why we used the humming bird as our icon?
Ideally it would be nice to have 2 sets of fonts to represent your branding. The primary font used in your logo should not necessarily be used in every other touch point. In fact that may actually end up diluting your logo and make the font ineffective and common. Your primary font can be used sparingly in headings or quotes or message call outs etc. Everywhere else, you should use a complimentary font that sits well with the primary font.
I would recommend buying premium fonts rather than use free fonts. Premium fonts usually come as families of fonts and that way buying one font licence will give you the same font in different weights, thicknesses and styles. With our own SpellBrand brand we use the Nexa Bold as the primary font and the Raleway as the secondary font along with a couple of other tertiary fonts including Museo and Lato.
The same goes for your brand colors. Using one or two colors consistently through out your branding creates a visual impact that creates brand recall. These colors should be in the same palette as your logo colors. Again, finding complimentary colors is crucial to create the right impact.
With our brand we emphazise the orange color as an accent quite heavily. However, the humming bird on our logo has multi-colored wings and those colors will be used to represent different facets of our business as we grow and expand.
Design elements are pieces of your brand identity that can be used as supporting visual cues to create a consistent visual language. These can be parts of your logo (such as our humming bird) or they could be independent secondary icons or characters or mascots which are developed separately from your main logo design.
Using design elements creatively in your print materials and online touch points is very crucial to create the impact of a big brand. In the example above, notice how we used hand drawn rustic spice elements for one of our clients to tell a story with visual cues.
Porting over your visual design elements to all your brand touch points is very crucial and establishes the messaging and positioning that you are going for. In the example above, we created a very premium looking messaging through the use of high end gold foil and high quality pressed print to target the high end clients that this client coveted.
Just by looking at these touch points, the messaging is clear and filters out the ideal customers from the non desirable ones and enables the brand to attract the right kind of clients. Think about your messaging and make your visual cues match that message to ensure you attract the right kind of buyers.