Having consistency in your branding is vital to building your business, which is why the branding process doesn't end after your logo is created and you have some designs in place. It's important that you know how to use all of the brand assets that you've built in a way that will keep building your brand.
Launching a New Brand
Whether you're launching a new brand or updating your current one, it's important that the changes are reflected in everything you do. This means that you need to inform anyone who works for or with you, your clients, and anyone who champions your brand.
In order to get everyone on board, start by telling them about the changes you've made and why you decided to move forward with the update - once people understand why your brand is changing, they're more likely to go along with any updates they need to make.
These are some of the areas that may need to be updated to reflect your new brand - and these are especially important if you're changing the name of your business - in order to keep your clients informed and keep them for being confused.
- Stationary and Business Cards
- Forms, Questionnaires, Exercises
- Email signatures
- Marketing material
- Contracts, Quotes
- Software / Subscription services
- Directory Listing
- Guest Blog Posts
- Social Media platforms
- Blog signature
- Newsletter (template, list name, on-boarding emails)
After you've introduced your new brand or name, you don't want to confuse people by forgetting to change your Welcome email or Contract information.
One of the easiest ways to keep your brand appearance consistent is through a Branding Guide. This will include the basic Style Guide, but it can also include information about where to use which brand colors, which logo design works best on different applications, and even how you'll introduce yourself and your business.
Your Branding Guide can be created in a variety of formats - including online, toolkits, or PDF manuals - and should include the following:
- Your Business Vision, including your brand statement, values, mission, goals, and growth plan.
- Your Dream Customer
- Your Unique Perspective, including your expertise and your story. This section can include the type of personal information that you will and won't share.
- Your Content, including your brand voice, types of content, swipe copy, and your content strategy.
- Your Business Systems, including your process, any systems you use, your expertise, and your packages.
- Your Brand Style, including a description, your Style Guide, your brand assets and use guidelines, photography guidelines, and website guidelines.
The great thing about a Branding Guide is that you can give it to anyone who will need it - employees, your designer, partners, copywriters - without having to create an individual packet of information for each. This way, anyone who represents your brand receives the same information and can easily reference any information they made need to know about your brand without having to email you with questions.
In order to make use of your Brand Assets, you must give anyone who needs them access to your reproduction files. You should always check with the type of reproduction so that you can send the right file type for the best quality.
Vector graphics are best for anything that will be scaled because they don't lose quality with resizing. Usually you will get these files in an EPS format, but some PDFs can also be used this way.
Raster graphics are made of pixels, which makes them difficult to scale without losing quality. When using a raster graphic, you should check the resolution and color type to make sure your reproduction will be accurate. These file types will include TIFs, JPGs, GIFs, and PNGs. Each file type works best in different situations and a designer should give you access to all of them.
Along with The Branding Process outline, I'm going to give you a look into how I use this process to design a brand step-by-step from initial consult to launch. Because I don't want to share any of my client's amazing brands before they are complete, I'm going to be walking you through the design of a business I created: Harvest, an eatery and market.
For Harvest, it was important to define which logos and brand colors would be used on which items and how the website would relate to any physical material, especially in terms of photography and color selection. These guidelines help to keep the brand consistent, whether it's being presented by the owner, employees, or just people recommending the restaurant.
Harvest decided to share its Branding Guide with all of their employees, the marketing director, social media expert, and the farmers and instructors who work with them. This helps to keep the brand consistent no matter who is talking about it. For example, if a farm includes a section about the restaurant in their email newsletter, they know which logo to use and already have access to the file, without having to wait for a response from Harvest requesting that information.
Lemon and the Sea is a branding and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creatives who enjoy being involved in every step of the process to help them update their brand and website so that it better reflects who they are and what they do. From logo and collateral design to Squarespace websites, I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into their what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a brand that represents them.