It was Ben Parker, Spiderman’s uncle, who said “with great power comes great responsibility.” Of course, he was talking about the powers that come with being bitten by a radioactive spider – not a corporate brand. Either way, Uncle Ben is right.
A brand is a powerful thing, and the custodian of it has a great responsibility to ensure it continues delivering value to your company. If this role happens to fall to you, put on a pot of coffee and read below – five common visual branding mistakes.
Your brand is more than your logo. Your brand is the sum of many parts, which include colour palette, typography, tone of voice, key messaging, images and visual identity (or logo). While being inconsistent with any one of the aforementioned won’t immediately result in reduced sales, it can slowly and steadily erode your customers’ perception of your business.
Identify your brand’s colours, fonts, types of imagery and stick to them. If you’re in charge of the brand, it’s your job to ensure everyone else in your team knows how to correctly apply these brand elements. Never ever skew, resize or crop your logo.
From your website, to EDMs, social media posts and brochures – if it has an image in it, it must be on brand. Low resolution images or images that don’t share a similar theme give the impression of being rushed, lazy and often quite random.
When choosing images, they should all be high resolution and visually similar; e.g. they must share a similar warmth, colour, type of person, or theme.
Just because your brand has many elements, doesn’t mean you should use them all at once. When you try to cram in too many elements into the one medium, the result isn’t a strong brand presence. Instead what you end up with is a busy/weak piece of communication that doesn’t convey your key message and doesn’t reinforce your brand attributes.
Learn the art of minimalism. When it comes to your brand, less is more. Use a few choice elements and throw in a good measure of white space to really make the elements pop.
If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one. A strong brand is strong because it is focussed on a very specific customer. If you try to shoe-horn in colours that don’t apply to your target market because you’re afraid of alienating these potential customers, you’ll end up with a diluted brand that speaks to no one in particular.
Define who your target market is and focus on them. Consider the colours, iconography and types of font that appeal to them and forget about pleasing everyone.
There was a time that over-sized, pastel suits with the sleeves rolled up were considered the height of fashion. Today, well, not so much. A brand is a living entity that evolves over time. This doesn’t mean you need to totally reinvent the wheel every year (far from it), but a little touch up now and again will help keep your brand fresh and relevant.
Enlist the help of an experienced graphic designer and revisit a few of your brand elements every couple of years to see what can be tidied up.
Your brand is a powerful marketing tool for your business. If you’re the custodian of it and any of the above look familiar, don’t panic. Keep them in mind and little by little you’ll bring your visual identity back into alignment and it will reward you with many years of value.