Branding is one of those things that can be vastly underestimated, particularly by startup businesses who are more focused on other issues. But a good brand can work wonders for you and your business, and is important to get right from the very start rather than later down the line.

In order to show your company to its best advantage, your brand needs to be on track from day one. There are some basic guidelines that will make the task easier and quite a few things to consider before you launch your brand:

1. Make it timeless & classic

A brand needs to be timeless and when we say classic, we don’t mean old fashioned or boring. The use of primary or neutral colours and traditional fonts rather than the ‘current’ trendy styles or colours can really help establish a brand for the foreseeable future. And as longevity is a major factor, it might even be considered the most important factor – you want your brand to last.

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2. Align your brand to the company

Obviously if your brand represents what your company does, then it reinforces what you are offering. Your mission statement and business plan should lead the way to ensuring your brand design reflects what you do and promotes the essence of your business.

3. Be individual

There are a lot of similar brands out there with many that are outright plagiarism. And while they say imitation is the highest form of flattery, the last thing you want is for your business to be mistaken for another one. Get lots of opinions and make sure your brand is not going to be confused with any others in the marketplace.

4. Multiple platform compatibility

In this day and age it is pointless having a fabulous brand if it doesn’t work on multiple platforms. So much business is carried out via mobile devices that you would be losing out on major opportunities if your brand can’t be seen. So is your logo going to work over all medias of print and e-commerce and will it stand out from the rest?

5. Stick to two colours

Remember the more colours you use the more confusing and messy your brand can look. Black and white don’t count but keep it to 2 additional colours as a maximum. Not only will your brand be cleaner but it can save you money on some printing processes, if flat colours are required for instance.

6. Less is more

A well coined phrase but nevertheless a valid point. Some of the most iconic brands are incredibly simple. Think Nike, Coco Cola, Starbucks…the list is long but they all share the same characteristics; they are minimal, clean and easy to recognize.

7. A name needs to last!

If you don’t have a name in mind in the first place, this can be one of the most difficult things to consider when starting up. Remember this is something that needs to last a lifetime so keep it simple and memorable and steer clear of current trends and ‘cheesy’ options. While they might get you noticed, it’s going to be for the wrong reasons and you are unlikely to be taken seriously.

8. Keep taglines or slogans short

Taglines are sometimes necessary to clarify what a business is about and they can be good for reinforcing the brand but they should be short and snappy. Just a few words that ‘tell a story’ can work wonders but keep it clear, easy to say/spell and obviously, easy to remember. Think Tesco ‘Every little helps’, McDonald’s ‘I’m loving it’ or Heinz ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’. To coin a phrase, ‘They’re Grrrreeeeeeaaaat!’

9. Don’t be afraid to use white space

There is nothing worse than your logo appearing as a blob on the page. Let your logo breath and be legible. The use of white space is just as important as where the ‘content’ goes; don’t be tempted to fill in every gap because the use of ‘negative’ space can be very effective.

10. Mind the sharp edges!

Unless you are trying to make a specific statement with regard to geometrics or precision, your logos should be a little smoother and softer round the edges. If you want a feeling of ‘uniformity’ or ‘structure’ then sharp edges can work but there is always the chance that sharp lines can look outdated or too formal. So consider carefully what you want your logo to convey.

11. Choose colour tones carefully

We all know red is considered a ‘hot’ colour that conveys a sense of success and urgency. And pastel blue can convey a ‘calm’ and ‘relaxed’ feeling. There is no denying that colours and how they are used is important. Consider what you want to convey and what you want your audience to feel when they see your brand. You don’t want to use colours that convey a message of unease or unpleasantness. You want to promote feelings such as excitement, passion and happiness; positive feelings that can be associated with you and your brand.

12. Get some ‘you’ in there as well

Ultimately it is your business, so don’t be afraid to get a little of you in there. It may be a specific colour or maybe you have a favourite font. Bearing in mind the other points listed, give a nod to something specific to you, if you can; it will lend a touch of uniqueness to your brand.

There’s more to branding than meets the eye

So you can see, your brand design is not just a case of picking a name and picking a font; there are other considerations. And while your brand may not be top of the list when starting up, it must not be avoided or underestimated. Take the time to consult with graphic design professionals, you don’t want to trust your business to a ‘newbie’. A professionally designed brand is not an expense, it is an important investment that should be treated as such.

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At Martin Hopkins Design we know how to make a brand sing. We have loads of experience in taking your dream brand and turning it into reality; a reality that works for you and stands the test of time.

Call us today on 029 2046 1233 or email [email protected].

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