This post by guest blogger Gareth Hardy appears as part of our series Small Business 500

tips for small businessIf you want to make a lasting impression on your target audience, making the right decisions when it comes to visual brand identity is crucial. Here are the five most important visual brand elements that should be considered:

1. Choose the right brand name

Even though naming isn’t technically part of the visual design process of brand identity, the brand name should still be considered a visual element. A strong brand name shouldn’t just sound right and be easy to pronounce; it should look right too. Even if you hire a gifted design team, a poor brand name can eliminate the opportunity for a successful visual brand identity. 

2. Create a consistent visual style

All of the brand elements should follow a consistent visual style throughout. If, for example, a decision is made to design a brand identity that is visually romantic and endearing, then this style should be applied to all visual elements. Exceptions can be made for advertising campaigns, but the overall brand identity should always be uniform. This is why visual style guides are always a vital deliverable as they help maintain consistency. Here's a visual style guide I created for Rare Obsession.

3. Develop a compelling logo

The logo is the flagship image of any brand. Logos can quickly speak volumes about your business, your mission and what services you offer. An enterprise without a logo has no chance of making an impact on its target audience. The logo is the most essential and valuable visual element of your brand, so keep this in mind when allocating your branding budget and hiring professionals. Below is the logo I designed for Lions & Lambs. 

small-business-brand-identity

4. Pay attention to color

Colors can play an integral role in brand recognition and brand loyalty. They influence our emotions and help us distinguish between competing brands. Having acknowledged this, considerable research should be carried out before deciding on a final brand color or palette. Cadbury’s, the UK based confectionery producer, considers their own brand color so important to their identity that they went as far as copyrighting their "Cadbury Purple," or Pantone 2685C as it is more commonly known. 

5. Select appropriate typography

Typography concerns the style and appearance of any lettering or fonts used as part of your visual brand identity. These characteristics can have a significant influence over people’s purchasing decisions and help to further emphasize the message of your brand. Typeface and font choice can affect whether the right message is being communicated and these should conform to the overall visual brand style. Wrong choices can be disastrous, for example a playful font such as the ever-popular Comic Sans would not be suitable for a serious brand image.

small-business-brand-identityGareth Hardy is a British brand identity designer with a wealth of experience in delivering revolutionary branding solutions. Working under the tongue-in-cheek moniker of Down With Design, Gareth has worked for clients both domestically and internationally, of all sizes and from a variety of industries. In 2011 he wrote the successful book, Smashing Logo Design (Wiley), which covers design theory and the techniques needed to build great logos.

DownWithDesign.com
@downwithdesign