3 things your designer should provide to keep your brand identity consistent
I felt that it was necessary to write a post like this, partly because the word "branding" is such a general term, and partly because I think that being a biased designer, I just assume that my audience knows exactly what that word means and entails.
On my site, I list out my services and what I provide, but I don't go into detail about why everything that I provide matters. Maybe you hear logo variations and think, "oh nice! More bang for my buck", or you see typography suggestions and think, "cool, less work for me to do!" But there is a meaning and a reason for providing these things. And instead of me just assuming that you know, I wanted to explain the ways you can keep your branding consistent and why it's so important.
1. Logo Variations
Not to be confused with logo options, logo variations are different ways your logo can be manipulated so that it's able to keep its integrity in any situation. For example, if your logo is your first and last name beautifully hand-lettered and it takes up a lot of horizontal space, it's the designer's job to make sure that there is a variation for you to use when there is more vertical space than horizontal space.
In the example below, I show the primary logo for Fill My Jar. Designing this logo, I knew that it was very detailed and that, because of the proportions, couldn't be sized down too small. Because of this, I needed to provide a variation that could. This variation is tinier, more horizontal, and doesn’t contain as much detail as the primary logo does, however, it still keeps the integrity of the style. She uses this logo for her small jar labels, which are only 2.5 inches in diameter.
Another way logo variations come in handy is when you're thinking about social media. Is your primary logo legible when it's sized down to fit as an avatar? In Third West Studio's case, it was not. Usually, with branding projects, I like to include an icon or symbol of some sort to go along with your primary logo for this reason. Below you can see how Third West Studio's symbol really stands out as an Instagram avatar.
2. Typography and color palette suggestions
It's one thing to provide a logo, but it's another thing to do some research into font combinations and color palettes that will not only speak to your brand but to your audience as well. Your logo is the face of your business but your brand is the heart of it. How do you want people to feel when they come across your business? How do you want to portray your business? Is your style more clean and modern? Or feminine and soft? What are your business's values? It's questions like these that need to be thought out in order to create a successful and meaningful brand.
While typography might seem like it can be an afterthought, the fonts you choose can drastically change the mood of your brand. Take a look at the example below to see how font and color palette choices can convey two completely separate ideas.
3. Brand guidelines
Remember when I talked about always keeping the integrity of your logo and brand? This is where brand guidelines come into play. At the end of the branding process, I hand over all of the logo files in different formats, pattern images, as well as any illustration files. Instead of saying "here you go, good luck!" I also provide a brand guidelines document to help you understand your brand a little further. Maybe your primary logo can't be sized down past a certain point, or maybe it wouldn't be best practice to display your logo on a distracting background. As a designer, I already know these things but as a client, how are you supposed to know without me telling you? This document is to put you at ease knowing that you have something to refer to if you have any questions about how to use your logo and logo variations in the best ways possible.
When you make an investment in your business and brand, you want to make sure that you're getting the most out of it. It can sometimes be a hefty investment, after all! Is your designer thinking through each creative decision with your target audience in mind? Will you feel confident in not only the look of your brand but how to use your brand as well at the end of the design process?
Use this post as a reference as you're searching for a designer so that you know what you should be receiving at the end of the process to ensure that your brand will stay consistent in any situation.
If you're looking for a new brand; whether it be a fresh new take on your existing one, or rethinking it completely, I'd be happy to get your project started!