4 Elements Of An Effective Brand
When you ask someone to think of famous brands, they tend to think of a logo and some colors. They don’t think of the tens or hundreds or even thousands of little details that define your experience with a company – the way that the customer support team greets you in their chat box, their business’s packaging, the photos they use on their social media platforms.
Because a lot of people are missing the branding big picture, they won’t hesitate to DIY their own branding, however, they also quickly run into problems because nothing comes out how they imagined in their head, but they’re completely at a loss as to why.
They picked a logo that looks great, and they picked colors that look great, so why doesn’t their brand look great?
Well, a brand is so much more than a logo and some colors. Without further ado, here is a list of all of the other aspects of a brand that matter just as much as the logo and the color palette.
Photography comes in many different ways. You can:
pay a photographer to have custom photos taken that match your aesthetic perfectly
find the perfect bundle somewhere less expensive, like Creative Market
subscribe to a specific stock photographer’s photo library like TwigyPosts or Haute Stock where they have a variety of photos that fit many different brand aesthetics, but still look very coherent together
or piece together a portfolio of free stock photos from somewhere like Unsplash
Whatever the case may be, one thing you’ll want to be sure of is that ALL of your photographs look well lit, clean (no filters), professional, and coherent.
The colors in the photos should also match your color palette, and just as importantly, the actual content of the photos should match your branding:
If you have a photography business, then it’s possible you’ll be taking your own photos. Make sure to have some of your physical prints and canvases in the photos, your spare cameras, extra lenses, props, etc
If you’re a Virtual Assistant, have some organizational props
If you’re a brand designer, have some graphic design props
The right font makes a world of difference for your brand. It’s also surprisingly difficult to pick the correct font.
A lot of people will just pick a font that they think looks nice, but looking nice and matching your aesthetic are two very different things:
Sophisticated, classic, traditional brands do best with Serif fonts like these Serifs from Creative Market. “Serifs” are the little tails that some fonts have. Basically, if your lowercase L (l) could also look like a properly drawn 1, then you’re likely looking at a serif!
Modern, chic, urban brands do best with Sans Serif fonts like these Sans Serifs from Creative Market. A sans serif is literally “no serif” or “less serif” or “same letter, but no serif attached”. So, in other words, your lowercase L (l) may simply look like a straight line.
Feminine brands do well with Calligraphy or Script fonts. Be careful with scripts, however because they’re more likely to date easily! You can see some great examples of Script fronts from Creative Market, too.
Masculine brands do well with Slab Serifs. Slab serifs are basically a mix between the classic Serif and the modern Sans Serif: Slabs have serifs, but give off a more modern feel. You can find some masculine Slab Serifs here on Creative Market.
All fonts can be beautiful and impactful on their own, but not all fonts will match your brand – when choosing your own fonts, be sure to choose something that continues your brand’s story!
Copywriting is also an under appreciated part of branding.
People usually think about copywriting mostly as it relates to sales (or they think of copyRIGHT, but that’s a completely different matter!), but having a consistent voice through your whole website and social media is really important for communicating your brand and your values to people.
Once it again, your copywriting and your voice should match the rest of your brand’s story and aesthetic. Here are some suggestions for how your copywriting and brand can work together:
If you have a very colorful, loud voice, then a more dramatic, colorful color palette and a modern serif font may serve you well.
If you have a more traditional approach that’s soft and friendly, then a more subtle color palette of pastels and a Script or a Serif font may fit your business’s brand.
If you cater to corporate clients, then a traditional power suit color palette could serve you well with either a Serif or Sans Serif font and a vocabulary that fits a more formal approach.
If you’re somewhere in the middle, then the world can be your oyster! Just ensure that your brand’s voice adequately fits the rest of the ambiance of your brand
It may sound cheesy, but even something like your values should mesh with your brand. If your brand is built on professionalism and attention to detail and tradition, those values will mesh better with navy blue and serif fonts, for example. If your brand is built on making people feel warm and fuzzy with peace and love, then you should lean toward spring colors and script fonts.
Logo, colors, photography, fonts, copywriting, and values all feel like pretty unrelated things. The only thing that unites them is that they need to all fit together neatly if you want your brand to really have an impact on people.
There’s an old joke, “On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” If your business, like so many businesses, exists only on the internet, then the way to separate yourself from the pack is to have great branding across your whole internet presence.