Do you ever see an image or a post that screams a certain person or brand to you? For example, if I see a bold black and white with a pop of bright color, I think Kate Spade. How do you build that expectation with your audiences?
While as a person it may be fun to mix up your wardrobe or look for new recipes every month, with your brand, visual consistency in what you present is key. I have a few friends that could go into a store and pick out an outfit that is “so Martine.” I used to take offense to that, but now as a business, I can see the power in building a consistency of that level.
One of the secrets about sticking to a consistent visual identity is that it makes your job easier! You won’t waste time wondering what font you should use on your Facebook ad or what colors your newsletter should be this week. Consistency builds a recognizable brand for your customer that makes them feel comfortable, but it also builds a simpler work system for you or your designer.
It is obvious advice that your visual brand begins with a professional logo and website design. But…then what? How can you use that base to build a brand that your followers recognize in an instant?
Stick to one set of fonts and colors. While you might think it keeps it interesting to use a different font every time you post an image, it is better to have the predictability of a set of fonts and colors for your brand. Because people see SO many messages and images each day, they will grow accustomed to recognizing your posts if they see them in their various feeds and think, “Oh! I love this person’s posts, I’m definitely clicking!” Bonus note: please don’t use more than two fonts at once in an image. Keep it simple and don’t make your readers’ eyes work too hard.
Bring your visual identity into all your products. I’m sure you would use your logo and follow your style guide when building your website, but do you apply this scheme to everything you send out? If you are a service-based business, use your brand fonts and colors on your documents like proposals, quotes, contracts, and invoices. If there is something you are giving to your client or customer, use it as a tool for building consistency in your brand.
Create a Tagline. What is a tagline? Simply put, a tagline is a unique phrase that links your name to your brand. Taglines are tricky to come up with and more work that one might think. However, don’t get so focused on creating the perfect tagline that your hands start sweating, your temple vein starts pulsing at an alarming rate and you just can’t think or enjoy the process!
Do this instead… Instead of focusing on what your product or service is that your brand represents, focus instead on the benefits of your services or products. This is what your tagline should ‘say’ to your audience.
Train your team. Think of everyone who is in charge of handling your brand, such as the web designers, the marketing coordinator, and even you! Each team member has a powerful impact on your brand. But what about others who also have an influence?
Think about the sales people, project managers, and even the folks at your front desk — all of them have the power to change how others view your organization. Understanding your unique design is not just the concern of the creative team or upper management. Empowering everyone with the right information and tools allows them to participate effectively. Everyone should be on board, from the web designer to the HR pro.
Stay consistent both online and offline. You may have consistent imagery across your social media accounts, but what about the business card you hand out at a networking event? Don’t forget about those in-person experiences with your audience. It helps a person connect with your brand if every touchpoint you have stays within your visual identity. Use your consistent visuals in both your email signature and in the handwritten thank you notes you send.
In what ways do you build consistency in your brand materials?
Bonus! Want to create consistency in your brand? Download my Brand Consistency Guide!