When starting a company, branding is essential. Equally important is making sure your brand conveys the right message. I consulted with Laureen Burd from LadyBurd Designs for her expertise on what you need to know when branding your business.

According to Laureen, there are many branding to-dos, including choosing and obtaining a company name, as well as defining your business. The next steps are what we will discuss today:

  • Your Logo
  • Colors and Company Fonts
  • Consistent Branding Message

Branding Your Business: Creating the Logo & Tagline

The first step in branding your business is to develop a logo and tagline. These should not only represent your brand but be unique and stand out in an often crowded marketing environment.

Creating Your Logo

Logos come in many forms. For instance, they may include the company’s name stylized, an eye-catching illustration, and/or a combination of the two.

Because creating a logo can be overwhelming, before you begin, start by getting some inspiration. First, look at your competition and other companies that have great logos. Then, refer below for suggestions on how to get those creative juices going:

  • The logo needs to speak to your customer. For example, what does this demographic look like? Are they more conservative, modern, progressive? What are their hobbies? Do they like to garden? Represent this in your logo.
  • The logo needs to look good in black and white, not only in color.
  • Needs to have a classic design, not trendy, or out of style in a year or two.

The next step, it is time to create your logo. There are numerous tools out there to help you do this. Here are some free logo design tool options.

Additionally, you will need multiple logo versions. Multiple versions are needed for websites, print materials, websites favicon, social media, etc.

Logo branding page. On this page you see the different logos and when you use these logos based on the background color of the website or printed material.

Example of logo variations. Logos created by LadyBurd Designs.

 

The Right Tagline for Your Brand

A good tagline is memorable, short and perfectly defines your brand. Think about Nike’s “Just Do It,” or M&M’s “Melts in Your Mouth Not In Your Hand.” For either of these brands, you recognize the company by just hearing the tagline.

To create the perfect tagline, start brainstorming and jotting down ideas. Here are some questions to think through:

  • Words that describe your company’s brand?
  • What services does your company offer?
  • Emotional or action words that describe your brand?

Now take the words you jotted down and start to play with creating your tagline.

There are also free slogan generators. Even if you don’t use the generated slogan, it will help to get you started. Before you sign off, always have others review.

Branding Your Business: Finding the Right Colors & Font

Now it’s time to decide upon the colors and fonts. 

These are key to having great branding. If a potential customer can not read your ad, website, etc., that results in lost business.

To start, look at the competition. An easy way to find out what fonts and colors a competitor is using on their website is by inspecting elements on their web page.

The Right Brand Font Styles

Another way to inspect font styles on a web page is to install a free font finder plugin tool, such as WhatFont. The link is to WhatFont’s Chrome plugin. They also offer plugins for different browsers, as well as mobile. Then, think through your brand and what type of fonts will work best for your brand.

Shows what WhatFont does when being used on a web page. Ways to determine fonts to use for your branding.

Example of WhatFont.

Additionally, if using multiple font styles (should not use more than 3) they must work well together. An easy way to find font pairings that work well together is Google fonts and their fonts are free. There are many font sources that charge or are only free for a certain use. Always read and understand the font licensing before using it.

Once your font styles are chosen, there are more decisions to be made. For additional information on font guidelines refer to this blog.

The Right Brand Colors

Great font style is backed by a good color theme. This means across the web, print media, etc. the colors need to reflect your brand and should work together.

The first step, determine your color theme. There are free tools available such as Canva, which offers color selection resources. Adobe Color is another option. Furthermore, with Adobe Color you can look through premade themes or create your own color theme. Also, if you have an Adobe Creative Suite account you can add your color theme to your Adobe Library.

Shows what Canva color theme selector page looks like.

Example of Canva color theme selector.

The next step, deciding your company’s primary and secondary colors. The primary colors are the colors you will use the most. Secondary colors you will use sparingly. Because color is part of branding, you need to clarify primary and secondary colors to keep yourself and your team consistent.

Last thing to keep in mind, be aware of colors and font being used for those that are color blind.

Branding Your Business: Consistent Brand Message

The final topic in branding your business is having a consistent branding message.

Consider the example below. There is a mix of branded materials, printed materials and digital materials, which all have the same brand message.

Photos of Pinnaql companies printed branding materials and a photo of their website. Shows the brand consistency, even though one is a print material and other is on the web.

The photo on the left is of a company’s printed marketing materials and on the right the same company’s website. Branding materials provided by LadyBurd Designs.

Same Branding Message with Photography and Graphics

Now let’s talk about your visuals, photography, graphics, and all other visuals that give your media some life. Below are some popular visuals that you will probably use and some guidelines:

  • Photography – Photos need to be shot at the same angle, use the same lighting and look cohesive. The same standards apply when using stock photography.

Example of What Not To Do

Shows an example of two photos. The two photos look very different. Shows an example of what you need to avoid when selecting stock photography for your website.

Two photos of food, however, the way they are photographed are very different and should not be used by the same company. Photos provided by Unsplash.

Example of What To Do

Shows an example of two photos. The two photos are photographed the same way. Shows an example of what you need to look for when selecting stock photography for your website.

Two food photos are photographed similarly and can be used by the same company. Photos provided by Unsplash.

  • Illustrations/Graphics – Same color story and same style.

Example of What Not To Do

Shows an example of two illustrations. The two illustration look very different. Shows an example of what you need to avoid when selecting illustrations/graphics for your website or print.

Two illustrations, the color story and style are different and should not be used by the same company.

Example of What To Do

Shows an example of two illustrations. The two illustrations are the same color story and style. Shows an example of what you need to look for when selecting illustrations/graphics for your website or print.

Two illustrations, similar style and the same color story should be used by the same company.

Below are some graphics and photography sites that provide primarily free resources (read the licensing on each photo/graphic before downloading):

Photography:

Illustrations/Graphics:

When using illustrations/graphics or photography online, read through and understand the licensing agreement. If you are questioning the license, reach out to a legal professional. Using a graphic or image inappropriately can end up in a fine.

Providing Branding Standards

Now that you have completed the steps above, you need to create a branding guide book. In this book, you will provide everything created above and standards for each of these areas. This will ensure everyone in your organization and external users use your branding elements appropriately.

 
Shows acceptable and unacceptable logo usage.

Page from the branding guide book that shows proper logo usage.

In conclusion, branding is a big project to take on. However, once complete, you will be very thankful you put in the time and your business will reap the results. There are many companies that specialize in color and branding like LadyBurd Designs that will create your branding kit.

Once your branding is done you will have all the information needed to start to market and build out your responsive website.

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