How to Develop a Solid Visual Brand Style?
Ordering a visual style for your brand is one thing, but taking care of the consistency of all of its visual elements is another thing. In fact, keeping consistency is crucial if you want to build a really strong brand. Creating a brand visual identity does not end with the development of a logo and other graphical elements. It is equally important to ensure the consistency of your brand's overall visual style and messaging.
By making sure that you set a clear visual style for your brand, communication with your audience will definitely lead to better customer interaction. Having a style guide ensures you against inconsistent messaging, which might lead to confusion and misunderstanding.
Here are the essential components of a consistent style guide:
In order to conduct a brand overview, you first need to define the essence of your brand. You need to understand what your brand stands for, what you want your audience to associate your brand with and what emotions you want your brand to elicit. Moreover, you need to specify what the goals and the vision of your brand are. These are important points that would serve as the guidespot for all the emotions you want your brand to incorporate.
Logo is one of the most essential elements in your style guide and brand identity design. Your logo is the aesthetic representation of your brand identity. It is the first visual element that catches attention and reminds people of your brand.
There are some standards such as the size, the placement, the amount of negative space, that your logo should comply with. This standardization assures better memorization and recall.
It is not a secret that color is a powerful element of your brand. To make sure that the colors of your brand will not get subjected to an overzealous designer’s pastel, your style guide should represent a detailed color palette. It should clearly show what colors are permitted, what certain colors should be used for, and what colors should be avoided. The guide should distinctly represent specific color values (RGB, CMYK, etc) in order to remove any uncertainty while creating collateral for printing materials, website or other media.
Truly, the fonts and the typeface your designers use to create visuals for your brand are important elements of your brand identity design. All the headers, quotes and any text print need to have a specified sizing, style and color choice, as well as a specific font.
A detailed style guide should include image guidelines as well. Those should clearly represent specific types of images that can be used and what other elements are allowed and what are prohibited. Even instructions on where images should be sourced from and what aesthetic forms they should incorporate can be included in the style guide.
Remember: whatever you decide is right for your brand, make sure your brand identity stays consistent and strong.
Style guide isn't made only for visual elements. A complete and thorough style guide provides distinct “instructions” regarding the voice of the brand. The voice you choose for talking to your audience can have a profound effect on customer interaction.
The common truth is: having a distinctive "voice” would guarantee balance between an anything-goes approach and a more unique way of communication.
Be careful: style guides are not meant for setting strict rules for every little action regarding your brand. Style guides are meant for providing general guidelines that reinforce consistency and unified presence.
A Piece of Advice
Just having a style guide developed and kept in a folder in your PC is not enough. First of all, you need to avoid developing a generic brand identity. In that case, you will lose the chance of being differentiated in the market.
Secondly, avoid "cheating” on your brand style guide. Why did you even put so much effort, lost so much time and developed a style guide if you are going to divert from it?
Third, but not last, keep evolving your brand identity. As your customers' tastes and trends change over time, so must your brand identity. The changes to your style guide can come in the form of an updated logo or a message layout, but the core positioning of your brand should stay the same.
All in all, you need to realize that consistency with the blend of creativity will generate the right equation for your brand. Just have a look at what world known brands like Nike, Disney and Coca-Cola did. They have developed a distinct brand style, but at the same time the companies accepted the new trends and made some modifications to their brand elements. Leaders in the market have proved what works and what does not, all you have to do is to listen carefully to your audience and learn from success-stories.
And last but not least, let me give you a small piece of advice: if you want to have a solid visual style for your brand and what is even more important, want to keep consistency in your visual communication, do not hesitate to contact the experts of Digital Factory.