Brand consistency – how do you achieve it?
August 4, 2017 | Posted in: Articles & News, Branding, Flex Marketing news
Recently I have been reviewing the conversion of a piece of marketing collateral (brochure) from one brand into another. The goal with the new marketing collateral is brand consistency. Given that I am not doing the conversion myself, but rather providing constructive feedback, I am having to give some rationale for my advice rather than just automatically doing what ‘feels right’. Here are a few of the things that people often overlook both from a design and marketing point of view when they are aiming for brand consistency:
- Colours – it is not just the colours of your logo you need to consider, however often there are secondary colours that are used for backgrounds and other design details on websites and brochures etc. It is important to keep the same colour palette across all collateral. It is for this reason that I will generally advise developing this at the same time as designing a logo. Planning the complete colour palette upfront is usually preferable to developing it in a hap-hazard way over time as that can be where inconsistency creeps in.
- Fonts – fonts communicate a lot about a brand…think of them like music; demonstrating if something is soft, edgy, modern, traditional, quirky, quality, value and everything else that reveals the personality of a brand. Like colours, it pays to plan a set of fonts upfront – this may include one font for body copy, one for headings and one for things like quotes or captions. Remember that the consistent use of fonts is just as important as your logo and should be protected in the same way.
- Formatting – there are so many aspects to this and I will give a couple of examples to follow, however the main thing to bear in mind is that formatting does count towards brand consistency. How large or small your logo is and how close it is to other objects such as photos, text, headings or other logos can affect how much impact the logo has. Also how much ‘space after’ there is between a heading and body copy or between paragraphs has just as much bearing on the ‘feel’ of a piece of collateral as the ‘leading’ (vertical space between rows of text). Generally speaking, the more spacious a piece is (particularly where it shows more ‘white space’) the more quality it conveys, the opposite is true of cluttered or crowded collateral
- Logo itself – one thing small businesses often overlook when they get their logo designed is how their logo will be applied in different situations. For example, a logo with black in it might be fine for business documents with white backgrounds, but what about when backgrounds are dark – e.g. Put onto a black vehicle the black text might disappear. The options are either developing a background ‘carrier’ for your logo (often rectangle/circles/squares in white) or coming up with different ‘reversed’ out colour variants of logo for use in different situations (e.g. White text variant that would show up on the black vehicle). If budget allows, it is best to pay for the designer to spend time mocking up how the logo will work on different backgrounds or better still, mocking up business card, uniform and website examples.
- Tone of voice – the language used in communications also forms part of the brand. Whether it is formal, informal, in touch with youth, punchy etc, that tone needs to also be consistently applied
- Style – part of a brand are all the accessories. For example, part of the visual style might be the use of only vector based graphics, icons etc. without photographic imagery or the opposite might be the case. Or all images may only appear in black and white or they always have the business logo multiplied over the top of the images etc. These are all things that make up the brand essence and if there are multiple designers/agencies working on your communication materials, these should be documented in some guidelines so that everyone is working to the same song sheet!
Considering some of these aspects and applying the suggestions outlined above will go a long way towards making sure your brand is consistent. With brand consistency comes better brand recognition, brand recall and all the other performance measures you should strive towards achieving with your brand.
If you would like a critique of your marketing communications with recommendations of how you could strengthen your branding, please get in touch.