10 Rules For Effective Branding Design: An Actionable Guide
A strong brand is key in forming a business. If you’ve lost sight of your goals, here are 10 rules to help you make the most effective branding design!
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Branding is vital in building a successful business. Good branding design can make a memorable and long-lasting brand. There are many elements that go into building a brand, each of them important. But how to build a powerful brand design? That’s what we’re here to find out.
Although it’s often used that way, a brand isn’t a synonym for a product. A brand consists of various elements, which work together to create a larger image.
Changing and updating color schemes, brand logo design or other elements can be a great opportunity to introduce your brand to new audiences. After all, what is branding design if not experimenting to find out what works?
Branding design is creating a unified look for various parts of your brand’s visual identity. Among others, this includes things like:
Creating a unified visual identity helps customers remember your brand and quickly associate certain elements with it.
All the things we’ve mentioned above are building blocks for creating a brand design. They work together to create a whole picture.
For example, brand logo design is often influenced by colors, typography, and illustration you pick. A logo is one of the key pieces in brand building. Logos are the first thing most people think of when they think of a particular brand.
However, branding design isn’t just about visuals and graphic design. While they are connected in many ways, building a brand has more to it than designing graphic and visuals.
Brand identity design or creation has a much broader spectrum of interest. To build a brand, you must think about the intangible qualities.
These might be the message you want your brand to convey, as well as your company values and goals. Elements such as these need to be recognizable through your visuals.
When you brainstorm branding design ideas, it’s important to have all the elements of your brand identity work together with the visuals. Think about how to design a brand which will accurately bring the ideas and messages your business is founded on.
Good visual representations of those ideas are what makes a strong brand.
How to design a brand: 10 rules to follow
If it’s your first foray into brand building, the whole process could seem daunting and full of hidden pitfalls. However, there are a couple of rules that will make it easier.
These rules are fairly general, which means they could be applicable to many kinds of businesses. They will help you lay down the groundwork upon which you can perfect your brand.
1. Be authentic
You can’t build a strong brand if it doesn’t have clear ideas and messaging. Authenticity is one of the biggest assets of any brand.
To ensure your brand is as authentic as possible, you need to think about what image you want for your brand. This is where your brand’s vision and goals come into play. Don’t be quick to jump on the current major trend. Think about what is vital to you and why, and how it ties into your overall mission and vision.
Authenticity is the key to successful branding and design.
2. Be unique
What sets your brand apart from all the others? In this age, it’s difficult to come up with a totally new idea. Your brand needs to be visible and impactful in a sea of similar brands.
This rule applies to a general vibe of the brand, as well as graphic design for branding. If you’re offering a service some of your competitors aren’t, make sure to emphasize that. If the other companies use a similar color scheme, maybe consider a different one.
This will make your brand stand out, and consequently more recognizable.
3. Research the competition
You can’t really understand what sets you apart if you don’t know what the competitors are offering. When you create a brand, it’s vital that you research your competitors, so you can better gauge where there might be a hole in the market.
Learning about your competitors’ business – their strengths and weaknesses will help you create a brand that best answers the needs of the customers. It’s important to identify industry standards as well, especially if you’re a newcomer to the field. You wouldn’t want to change your plans at the eleventh hour.
4. Less is more
Minimalism has been the name of the game in design for a while now. Love it or hate it, it’s obvious why it has made such an impact in digital design.
In web design, for example, clean lines and minimal imagery allow for faster loading times and easier use. Simple, minimalistic design can also help with your messaging, as it lets the ideas shine through.
Users tend to like minimal design, not only because it’s easier to navigate, but because busy, over the top design can look tacky and unprofessional.
5. Perfect your design
While minimalistic design is in many cases the right choice, it’s not as easy to achieve as it might seem. It’s not enough to slap a sans-serif font on a white background and add one color.
Good minimalistic design is understated, but always memorable and relevant to the topic. If you opt for a minimal design, you must make sure that every element is up to snuff. After all, when there’s a limited amount of elements, every flaw is visible.
Some recent logo changes are a perfect example of this. US open has switched its previous detailed logo with a simpler, more streamlined one. An italicized font, flatter visuals and dynamic lines make it perfect for the digital age.
That’s why you should polish all the elements you use to perfection. You should be intentional about everything you decide to incorporate into your design.
6. Understand your audience
The best marketing campaign in the world won’t help you if you’re advertising to the wrong demographic. Knowing your target customer is incredibly important in brand identity design.
The best way to understand what your customers want from a brand is to create the ideal buyer persona. Like the name suggests, the ideal buyer is a hypothetical customer for whom your brand would be the perfect match.
For example, your ideal buyer’s age, gender, job role and challenges they come across can help you determine the kind of branding you should create.When you create your ideal buyer, it’s not enough to simply say, it’s a person that needs my product/service. While that might be true, people are infinitely more complex than that.
Let’s say your company is selling outerwear. Your target audience would be outdoorsy types of people, like climbers and hikers. No matter how one loves the great outdoors that won’t be their only character trait. Maybe they’re foodies and like to cook outdoors. They probably care about the environment. Have your messaging be as layered as your audience.
7. Create standalone icons and typography
Logos can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Brand logo design can be a complex process, but a logo is in many cases the centerpiece of branding.
Letterless logos (or pictograms) are great, especially if the design is creative and unique. They are ideal for international branding, seeing as they don’t need to accommodate different scripts.
However, typography can become a brand logo design in and of itself. This is especially popular with high-end fashion brand logos, like Chanel, Dior, or Yves Saint-Laurent. Unique typography is a powerful branding tool. If you want your brand to project elegance and luxury, you should definitely opt for a beautiful typography logo.
8. Be consistent
Branding is all about cohesion and consistency. A brand might have many different elements, but they should fit a common theme. They must have the same elements such as the color scheme and typography.
Consistency creates a strong visual identity, which helps your brand be recognizable. It also shows professionalism and the level of care and thought put into developing your brand identity design.
Keeping consistency in mind can also be helpful, because when you have a pre-set color scheme and other elements, it’s easier to focus on the important details.
9. Build a brand that works in multiple mediums.
There are many mediums that carry branding. Whether that’s in the digital sphere or in real life, your brand needs to look its best on any of them.
It’s an important thing to keep in mind when you choose brand logo design, typography, layout, and even color schemes. All of these can look quite different on various screens, as well as on physical copies.
Having scalable visual elements goes without saying, but it can’t be overstated. You must make sure all visuals translate smoothly into any medium you want them to show up on. We all know the Instagram logo, stylized as it is now. But, in its first incarnation, it was detailed and intricate, with a more skeuomorphic design. While beautiful, it didn’t fit the digital space well.
10. Don’t be afraid to rebrand
Change is a natural part of life. People change throughout their lives. Businesses in that sense, are the same. There are some things that remain, the most fundamental and important. But don’t our appearances and tastes change?
It’s only logical that our businesses evolve and change over time, too. Some brands completely pivot from the original idea, one example that comes to mind is Abercrombie and Fitch. As scandalous and controversial as the brand became in the 00s, it originally started as a purveyor of outerwear and sporting goods.
However, other brands change very little over time. Think about Coca Cola – we can see how little the branding of the company changed throughout its long history.
Rebranding doesn’t have to be drastic, though, nor does it have to come from some predicament. Switching out things that don’t work is normal. If you see your brand going in a different direction, even after a few years, rebranding can be a good idea.
Branding design is an organic part of any business. As such, it should closely follow the vision and goals the business is founded upon.We hope these rules will help you develop your brand and make your business reach its fullest potential.
However, if building your own branding design sounds like too much of a hassle, or you simply have no time, don’t worry. A ManyPixels subscription offers comprehensive design services – from logo designs, landing pages and websites to flyers, infographics, and presentations.
I hold two degrees in history, and am currently working on a project of creating a digital library of Medieval manuscripts. I still like to have a foot in the 21st century though, so I write freelance about my other big passion, art and design. All Lord of the Rings references and puns I make are intentional.