Branding and why it's important
If you are new to the business world, it will probably be a shock to see how much a good Branding Guideline package costs.
It may be tempting to look for a very cheap designer to do the job for you. It's just a logo, right?
And if you choose a good designer, it will probably shock you how simple it looks. It will be pleasant to the eye for sure but "This is really simple. Why did I pay so much for it?! I could've thought of it myself". A friendly reminder here: your branding is a way to make your content stand out in a beautiful, simple and classy way. If the colors/logo/fonts distract the audience from the actual message, you already lost them.
Let me tell you - flawless simplicity comes from experience. Unless you have a very good eye for design and you're trained in the field, you probably couldn't have come up with something like it and still be original.
Why is a Brand Guideline important?
First of all, you need the guideline for yourself. If you are going to be active on social media, you need a set of rules. You can't have a chaotic feed, because it defeats the purpose.
The whole purpose of a Brand Guideline is to have customers recognise you more easily. Think about Starbucks, Nike, Prada, Adidas, MC Donald's. You'll recognise all these brands instantly, anywhere.
Your Brand Guideline needs to be EASY TO REMEMBER. It takes an average of 13 sightings for someone to remember your brand. Why make it harder for them? Sure, a stuffed logo is easy to remember, but I wouldn't like people remembering it because of how terrible it is.
You also want a good Brand Guideline because you shouldn't change it every 2 years. It defeats its purpose. You want to do it right from your first try.
I am going to walk you through the most important elements of a Brand Guideline:
Let's start with the logo.
This is where people complain about simplicity the most: look at the logos of all reputable companies. The logo for Facebook is just an "f", for example. But you recognise it everywhere.
Logos are meant to be simple. If you've witnessed a designer from his/her beginning stages all the way to success, you will notice something: when they start out, everything looks so busy, too many elements and it's just too much. As years pass, they learn how to create the minimalist look. Because when a designer first discovers all they can do in Illustrator (hopefully they are using that, not Canva), they will try everything and accomplish nothing. They will be so enthusiastic about all the choices, that they will be overwhelmed by it all. I know because I've been through that and I've seen so many designers around me do the same.
With time, a designer refines the art of beauty. And this is what you pay for. You don't just pay for the 3 hours it takes for him to come up with your logo. You are paying for their experience.
Your logo needs to deliver a message in the simplest way possible and an accomplished designer will be able to do that for you. You could argue that you're just at the beginning, not a lot of people will get to see your logo. But that is a whole different discussion. In short, you should aim big from the beginning, otherwise you are losing out. You are already facing enough credibility problems by being new on the market. Don't shoot yourself in the foot by taking shortcuts!
Then, let's approach color schemes.
How do you know someone is experienced? When the color palettes are pleasing to the eye and they are effective in delivering your message. If you get a color palette containing 8 shades from 5 different colors, you can be sure they know absolutely nothing about color theory. Unfortunately, this happens very often. If your eyes hurt after looking at that color scheme for 2 minutes, it will not work on your brand either. Again, this skill comes after years of experience. You can't (and shouldn't have to) explain it to the designer just starting out because they don't have the eye for that yet so they won't get it. No point in trying. It's a process.
Moreover, you can't just use whatever colors you want, no matter how pleasing to the eye they are. Every color represents a feeling. Every shade of that color gives off a different vibe, albeit the feeling might be similar. The designer needs to choose the colors and shades that represent the feeling you want your company to give off. And this is another reason why you don't include more than 3 colors in your color scheme.
And lastly, fonts.
In order to get the best fonts for what you have to say, you need experience under your belt. If a designer is just starting out, they won't know the difference between a serif and sans-serif font. Much less know the difference between a typeface and a font.
You need years of experimenting with thousands of combinations to be able to get them right every time. Just browsing through Google Fonts is nowhere near enough.
All these elements need to fit well together too and that's a whole other task in itself. You need to have the right logo match the right fonts and color scheme.
I hope this article helped shed some light on Brand Guidelines.
Until next time,