You've all heard it said, 'your logo isn't your branding!', which is true. But what is? Your logo is definitely part of the visual toolkit designed to be instantly recognisable with your product or service. Branding is really about creating a visual language for your brand, your unique story and message. It's not one element, it's all your elements from the logo to the typography, photography, illustrations, packaging, interior, customer service and tone of voice (even how you answer the phone or write an email).
Branding is a visual language that tells your story and communicates what you are about to your audience. A logo is an icon that represents your company much like your signature, identifies you. Your brand is how you are perceived, your visual language tells the story of your unique message and hopefully, you influence your audience enough to understand what you are about. Founder and CEO of Amazon said 'your brand is what other people say about you when you are not in the room'. Make sure it's what you want them to say!
To create your visual language you first need to know:
- What are you about?
- What is your story? (what led you to start your service or product?)
- Why do you do what you do?
- What problem are you solving?
- Who are you solving it for? (your target audience)
- Who are you trying to connect with and on what level?
- How will you do it?
- Why would they buy from you? (or follow you)
- What is the personality of your business or organisation? (if it were a person how would you describe him/her?)
Answering these questions will lay the foundation for how your branding will look. As fonts communicate certain messages depending on their characteristics such as kerning, leading and size. The same applies to colours and shapes. You need to think carefully about which fonts, colours and shapes best convey your message. A lot of psychology work has gone into identifying what we understand when we see certain colours, shapes and fonts. It's worth doing your research.
Perhaps you've already started on the look and haven't as yet done the groundwork. That is no problem you can always answer the questions now and see where the visuals need to be changed in order to line up your message with your visuals.
Once you've answered the foundation questions above and identified which font shapes and colours best communicate your brand message you can set about starting on your visual language. Creating the logo, the graphics, the typography, photography style, tone of voice, customer service stance, packaging, editorial design and all the other elements you need to bring every touch point in-line and communicate with your audience. This can be quite a daunting task, please don't hesitate to reach out if you need help. There's so much more to this process that I haven't covered here. Feel free to ask questions. I've recently come across a book that can help you in this process: How to style your brand