For those of you who don't know, I occasionally do the odd bit of web design work, which sometimes includes little bits of logo design or packaging design too. I decided to do this post as I had a client who wanted a website for her business. When contacted she sent something along the lines of "I'd like a website with 10 products on, how much will that be?"
After speaking with her for several minutes she finally succumbed that actually what she needed was a brand identity, e-commerse site, a place where people could order bespoke designs, a contact page and she also wanted me to photograph and add her products onto the site too. This is the reason I now do 1 to 1 free web consultations, as people often realise they want a lot more than just a one-page site.
What surprised me the most though, was that she didn't have a logo and wasn't fussed about having one. I honestly couldn't understand this. For me, my logo was my starting point for everything else. It's the thing I have on my business cards, the top of my webpage, the bottom of my emails. It's like a signature.
So all of that prompted me to write this. You could have the most gorgeous product in the world, but without a proper brand identity you can easily lose your "voice" in the sea of competitors.
1) I'm fully aware that my logo isn't the most "clever" logo. But it is simple, clean and also translates well from digital to print. Do bear this in mind when having a brand logo- you may want it printed on business cards or embossed into jewellery boxes, of stamped onto carrier bags. Does it translate to all these medium?
I find for the most part that simple is always best, and that an icon works better than words. Think of companies like McDonalds, Nike, Puma, Mercedes-Benz... all of them have instantly recognizable symbols for their brand.
2) Think of your company's colours. This will help direct the theme and "feel" of your brand. I chose a powder pink and zesty turquoise theme on simple white- my jewellery is all about having fun, creating something eye-catching. I see this idea used well in confectionary businesses- a lot of them will opt for chocolatey browns, baby pinks, sugary pastel tones and cherry reds to reflect the product they sell. Be sure that the colours you chose also translate across all the medium your brand uses- flyers, business cards, and of course, your website too.
3) You company name should be easy to remember and SEO friendly if possible. There's no point being called "Jack Smith" for example (unless of course, you're an author or painter perhaps). "Jack Smith Confectionary" is a little better, but again, would only really work if you were perhaps a more traditional confectioner. Try not to get caught up in the ego of your branding. Go for something that has a fun story and reflects how you want your customers to see you.
4) Creating a mood board of brands you like is really helpful- not only will this help you identify what kind of style of branding you should opt for, it also helps you to identify who may be your potential competitors. One of the mistakes I made in the past was changing my logo and colour scheme with the seasons- it worked well for a sushi bar called "Four Seasons" but not for an up and coming jewellery brand! Pinterest really is a myriad of inspiration for this, be sure to set your board to "secret" though.
5) Consider writing out a list of goals for your company- long or short term- and try to set deadline for them. Looking at the places I want to be in the future helps me to refine my brand and reminds me of all the fun I want to have. For me, it confirms my brand identity but a year ago it was actually the catalyst for changing it. Certain store you wish you could stock to or events you want to attend will help your to tailor your brand to your prospective audience. For example, if you wish you could stock to Harrolds and Fortnum & Mason then you may opt for more traditional branding. If you want to stock to a quirky boutique in Brighton then you may want your branding to be more colourful and playful.
6) Who are your customers? If they're teenage boys you may want cool blues, greens and navy tones. If it's girls with a passion for baking then you will probably want to use powdery pastel shades. Think about how your packaging appeals to your customers. Colour really does say a lot about your brand so do some research and find out who is buying from you. What are their passions, what clothes would they wear, how old are they and where do they live? All these things will help you chose the right colours, type-font and logo to appeal to them.
7) Please, please, please think about the type-font you use. Unless your product is aimed at nursery school kids then Comic Sans is kind of unacceptable, and even then there are some great alternatives. Times New Roman and Arial are also pretty boring. Be bold with your branding and find a style that suits your product.
8) Another big no no is hashing your logo and other print on Microsoft Paint. If you're really struggling it's worth the investment to pay a decent designer to do your branding for you- as this is something you can use for years to come. The same goes for product photography, poor imagery can make or break your brand so if you struggle with visuals then be sure to hire a professional who can edit too.
9) Have social media (at least Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and make sure everything above translates across. Try to be sure that your company name is also your website name, for example:
Having inconsistencies is just confusing for people, and is likely to make people believe you are several different companies.
10) Get excited about branding! This is your business after all, and it shouldn't feel like a chore! Your passion for your story and your brand is what will make or break you. If you're not excited then don't expect others to be. Tough lesson, but so true!