What is a Brand?
When we develop a new brand or rebrand a company, we often find clients think they’re just getting a logo. A mark to stamp anywhere and everywhere – front and center on the back of the business card, thrown in the corner of a letterhead, etc. Of course, the logo is the centerpiece of any branding project and creates the visual of the company’s identity, however when done right, there’s so much more that is involved.
A brand speaks through a visual language, writes in a consistent voice, takes on a perspective, and evokes a specific feeling. There are many elements such as color, typography, and imagery style that, once defined, create the outline for the brand and anything that can be done within those boundaries is how the identity grows. A company’s brand not only states WHO they are and WHAT they do, but HOW they do it.
A brand should include the following elements:
- Defined color palette
- Hierarchy of typography
- Imagery style
-This could be a photography style, illustration style, or both
- Consistent icon family (if applicable)
- Logo in color, black, and white
– Some companies may have a primary and secondary logo format
– Some companies may have an icon that can be used separately
- Positioning Statement
- Brand Guide
What Makes a Good Brand?
A good brand draws inspiration from and reflects its creators and their values. A designer will listen to their client, and based on personal experience or research, will come up with several directions to take a brand. But a great designer balances 1.) best-practice design and communication principles, 2.) current trends in the market, and 3.) the themes and messaging that inspired the client in the first place. A great brand rests comfortably, and seemingly effortlessly, on these 3 legs. But of course, getting to this point is the farthest thing from effortless and is done with deliberate intent.
A good brand flexes everything it has to create a cohesive design system. Of course, you can simply throw your logo everywhere on everything, and probably for a lot less money, however, the result of that would be cheapening the logo (and by extension your brand) by significantly reducing the amount of impact it has on the consumer. A logo is your chorus and every instance that you use it should be thoughtful and intentional. It is the culmination of all the big ideas that went into your brand, the climax, and just like a song your brand needs verses. A good brand utilizes all of its core elements (color, typography, etc.) to evoke emotion and communicate its mission, stance in the marketplace, and goals. To do this, you must create a design system that cohesively presents the brand in different, visually interesting ways, from many angles. The elements and graphics created within this system should push and challenge the boundaries of the brand without breaking them.
A good brand is very carefully defined, in every aspect, and maintained for consistency. A brand can ebb and flow and even ultimately change over time. However, it is of the utmost importance that the core pillars, themes, and messaging that went into creating the brand in the first place are maintained. Every decision should be made with deliberate intention.
A good brand is easily executable to any/all relevant mediums. If your logo is only going to live online (maybe it is a subset of a larger company and only needs a space off of the main website) many options are available. If the logo is going to be sewed or embroidered on fabric or used on small swag items…. then you need something simple. If the logo is going to be screen printed, then having a design that accommodates for colors and/or limitations specific to screen printing is critical. These are just a few examples, and when xSynergy’s marketing team is managing a brand we take into account all these considerations.
The Impact of a Powerful Brand
A powerful brand can propel your business into the world and command attention, it can situate you in the marketplace alongside good company or differentiate you from a sea of the same, and it can roll with the punches or scale easily with growth while withstanding the test of time. A brand that consistently and clearly communicates its messaging, purpose, and personality can garner true, unwavering loyalty. A new brand that positions itself well in relation to its competition while effectively solving an existing paint point or problem can take over an industry.
At the end of the day the question that we find to be most important, and the question that should be asked at every turn is “What am I trying to communicate?”. Whether you are creating a brand from scratch, pivoting your existing brand, or just developing your brand and its strategies further, come back to this question every time you need to make a decision. Ensure that the intent of communication aligns with the brand’s core principles, message and execute accordingly and creatively within the brand’s visual language and tone of voice.
xSynergy Marketing is a division of xSynergy Solutions, based in Centennial, CO. As a true, full-service marketing partner, we can manage all aspects of your marketing needs: branding and design, website development, digital marketing, social media management, paid search, content management, photography, and video production. Contact us today for a complimentary marketing analysis of your existing collateral.