Building A Visual Brand For Your Website

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Every brand, from the smallest website or startup, to corporate giants such as Nike or McDonald’s, need a set of branding guidelines and rules to maintain their identity. This document, which can range from a couple of pages, to several hundred, is the thread that holds together what the public sees from a company.

Visual branding benefits Visual design strategy is a critical part of building a strong brand. By taking time to brand your website and images and create a consistent look and feel for how your brand shows up in the world, you’re increasing the potential impact and influence your posts will have on your audience and potential clients. Give your content a fresh twist – Ensure your visual content is relevant to your target viewers that is unique to your brand. Topics that are on everyone’s mind are wonderful – just as long.

A brand bible establishes the voice and personality of a company, as well as who the public will see, and it governs every aspect of communication from the company. The brand bible is the basis for all interactions on behalf of a company – personal communications, social media, advertising and design. While a brand bible focuses on many things, we are really going to look at how it affects design.

  • The way you build your brand online will shape not only the perception of your business but also how you make money. Having a strong personal brand is vital for a business leader, and when connecting with your community online, you need to be front and centre. Trust and authority come hand in hand, and a faceless brand has neither.
  • Look for opportunities to infuse your existing visual brand with new and varied contrast. Consider, for example, the way goopanic’s branding design for Nippon Week begins with a logo and goes on to repurpose the shapes, colors, and typography to create brand new visuals from the old. Know when to step back and when to stand out.
  • Because a logo is not only the first port of call for customers to your brand, but also a visual summary of everything you want your brand to be, the logo is a natural starting point for creating your brand identity design.
Building A Visual Brand For Your Website

What Is a Brand Bible?

A brand bible or book is a document that establishes distinct guidelines on how all aspects of a company’s brand will be handled. It should establish rules for creating a unified and identifiable presence for your brand. This includes everything from the design of a logo and how it can be used, to letterhead, the look of a website, personal communications and how it all looks.

The brand bible is meant to help employees properly use and communicate the message of a brand. It outlines brand goals and the company philosophy. Further it answers a few key questions: What is the correct spelling and use of the brand (and afflicted) names? What images are associated with the brand and product lines? In what ways can/should the company logo be used? What are people allowed to say about the brand? What marketing tactics are preferred or encouraged versus what marketing tactics should not be used?

It also serves as a guide for designers. A good brand bible outlines all of the basic design tools that are needed to create and disseminate company communications – from allowable typefaces and styles, to a color palette, to image use, text and tone, and the emotion portrayed by the brand.

Logo Usage

Building A Visual Brand For Your Website For Beginners

Once you have the perfect logo, it is important to maintain the integrity of it across platforms. This includes how the logo is to be used, from placement to acceptable alterations.

Adobe’s 2010 Brand Guidelines do a great job of defining exactly how the logo can be used, outlining placement, size and surrounding white space. Remember, your logo is the simplest thing people have to identify your brand, make sure you maintain a consistent use of that image.

Fonts and Typography

There should be a defined style for every bit of type used for a brand, for both print and digital applications. Rules for how to use typography should be clear and distinct, from what typefaces are acceptable, how each is used, and guidelines for additional styling, size and use of color.

Select a few typefaces that will be used in design projects. This may include one set of rules for print projects and another for digital applications. But make sure the typefaces have some common links. For example, many web designers prefer sans serif typefaces for body text whereas you may prefer a serif style for print. Find a commonality between the two. Consider a headline or “big type” style that you can use for both types of design projects.

Most brands use one of two primary typefaces. The example above from the North Carolina State University Brand Book uses the Univers family, both regular and condensed styles. Then select a complimentary typeface and substitute typefaces. Ideally, the brand should include no more than five typefaces and their usage.

Colors

A defined color palette can be one of the most important aspects of the brand bible. Consider the Golden Arches and color the represent McDonald’s, for example. Would you as clearly recognize this company if the giant M was another color?

The brand bible should outline each color and how it should be used. This includes colors that appear only in a logo to colors that are used for backgrounds, text and other design elements. The numbers of colors in a palette should be kept to a minimum and can include fully saturated versions and tints.

Further the document should clearly define each color by name and color value for a variety of projects. Choose primary, secondary and alternate colors for the palette. Define each color with values for print (CMYK) and digital projects (RGB, HEX). Also note Pantone colors as such with their assigned values.

Images

Guidelines for images are about more than just whether you will rely on photography or illustrations or other types of graphics. The brand bible should detail how images will be gathered, edited and used.

Nike, for example, relies on large, tight, high-contrast images to draw you in. The I Love NY campaign above uses location-based images from photos that are restyled as drawings to capture attention and create a feel.

Image guidelines should also define when and how certain types of images are used. Will you use photography or illustrations or both? Is clip art use acceptable? How will images be edited? Will they be black and white or color? All of these questions should be answered in your image guidelines.

Website

Text and Tone

Finally, you want to make sure the things you say fall in line with the brand image. This applies to everything from the headlines in an ad, to the tone of a press release, to the way blog posts are structured.

Outline the type of acceptable language that will be used. Is the context wordy, or simple and compact? Should the tone be formal, or more conversational? Who is the audience you plan to target? Write for them.

Easy.com defined its brand lingo in simple terms and used a style that mirrors the tone of actual communications. For the brand, simplicity is the key. Skype follows a similar philosophy, going as far to showcase words the company likes and does not like.

Using a consistent and distinct tone can help clients and customers identify with a brand, and creates an association with what the brand stands for. When creating guidelines for text and tone, think about words you want to be connected to – cool, trustworthy, hip, beautiful, efficient, top-notch. Use those as the outline for your rules.

Brand Bible Checklist

Here’s a list things your brand bible should include:

  • Overview of brand, including history, vision and personality
  • Logo specifications and examples of usage
  • Typography palette
  • Color palette
  • Image use specifications, including photography style
  • Letterhead and business card design
  • Design layouts and grids for print and web-based projects
  • Brochure guidelines
  • Specifications for signage and outdoor advertising
  • Writing style and voice
  • Social media guidelines
  • Visual examples to support each rule (provide examples of proper and improper use for clarity)

10 Brand Bibles for Inspiration

Look through some of these brand bibles – some current, some old – to help you get started building your own. It can be a tough project, but the end result is really worth it.

Conclusion

In the creation of your brand bible, think of how it will be used. This document is a reference material and guide for how the company should be portrayed to the public.

Include examples and specifics. Keep the guidelines direct and simple but also think about how restricting they can be. Guidelines that are too strict can limit creativity and new designs; guidelines that are too loose may result in multiple or disjointed brand identities.

Use your brand bible as starting point and establish a culture around it that allows designers room for creative thought while maintaining the aura of the brand in a variety of projects. Remember the ultimate goal of the book is to create a distinct and unified presence for your brand.

Whether you’re building a new brand or simply refreshing an old one, your brand’s visual identity is the most important factor. Brands with a consistent visual identity resonate with their customers more effectively and get the added benefit of having to spend significantly less money in the long run on advertising and marketing materials. Brands with more scattered visual identities, on the other hand, have to spend more and more to get their brand in front of customers as it changes so frequently.

So how can you create a visual brand identity that will help your business in the long run? Simply follow these checklists and you’ll have an effective framework to build a visual brand identity that will last.

What Does My Visual Brand Identity Need?

Here is a simple list of items to include while building your brand’s visual identity:

  • A simple color palette – This should feature 1-3 primary colors and 2-3 secondary colors (Black and white count).
  • A primary logo mark and word mark.
  • A secondary logo mark and/or word mark – This should be designed to be used in place of your primary logo, like on a t-shirt, hat, or pencil.
  • Fonts – These can be as simple as Helvetica or they can be custom-built. If you’re looking for ease of use, pick a widely-distributed font that is available on all computers. If you want something more distinct, you can pick a lesser-known font or even build your own.
  • Some sort of texture – This can be a complex pattern or a simple color overlay that you put on top of photography. No matter what you do, make sure the textures you include can be used on everything from printed pieces to your website.
  • Tips for photography – These don’t need to be in-depth, but give a general idea of what type of photography is “on-brand.” Do you want people in your photos? Should you see their faces? Should pictures be posed or more dynamic?

Once you have these items, your brand’s visual identity should be fine. Anything above and beyond this is extra credit. Doing the above items well is the foundation of any branding work, but a lot of people focus on other items that may not be necessary for you.

What Does My Visual Brand Identity NOT Need?

If you’re looking for items that you can cut out of your brand’s visual identity system, it’s not hard. Take a look atexamples of great brand identity guidelines and see what they omit. Thing thing arena 3spiter games unblocked. The following items aren’t meaningless. In fact, many brand’s visual identities hinge on these items, but if you’re looking to control costs or create a “Minimum Viable Brand Identity,” these items may prove unnecessary:

Building A Visual Brand For Your Website For A

  • Email Signature – While some companies need a great, consistent email signature to survive, others may just need something that looks presentable. In that case, take your font and your color palate and whip something up. No need to over think something that Gmail will probably cut off anyway.
  • Headshots –To some, these are a necessity, but to others they’re a luxury. Know which one you are. If you need a consistent brand image across social media or you want your team featured on your website, then headshots are vital, but don’t splurge for them if you’re not going to use them!
  • Backgrounds – Too many brands pine for items that will never be used. “Can you create an iPhone lock screen with our logo on it?” No. Unless your business is conducted on an iPhone and customers will see the lock screen, these types of designs are utterly meaningless.

Once again, for some brands these items are necessary, but don’t treat them as necessities for your brand unless they make sense. If you don’t know the business purpose of these items, just skip them and focus your time and energy on the parts of branding that matter.

Now What Should I Do With My Visual Identity?

Once you’ve built a great brand identity, it’s your job to use it! Without effective implementation, a great brand means nothing. So what can you do to ensure that the rest of your company can embrace your brand?

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  • Throw your brand a party – This is my favorite part of the branding process. You’ve put in all the hard work of building a brand, now you need your salespeople, product designers, and executives to buy in. Best way to do this? Throw a party, invite your team’s friends, family, clients, and communities. Then, share your brand’s vision. Raise a toast to your new brand identity!
  • Give your brand a voice – Want to start blogging? Posting on social media? Going to trade shows? Now that you have a visual identity for your brand, you should develop a voice to match it. This is how you develop consistency within your brand that reverberates through every consumer touch point.
  • Give your brand a job – Once your brand looks and talks like a winner, it’s time to give it a winning job. Your brand should be your organization’s best salesperson, so use it for things like inbound marketing or outbound marketing at trade shows. An effective brand is only effective if it makes you money!