The choices you make about the style, tone, and appearance of your brand reflect your company’s personality.
When thinking about your business branding, colors are probably the first thing that comes to mind. There are some established associations between color and mood. However, the associations vary a little depending on the individual’s life experiences – so these are tendencies rather than rules.
● R ot is bold, exciting and energetic
● Purple is creative and calm
● G rü n is peaceful and of course
● Yellow is optimistic and positive
● Orange is cheerful and confident
● Bl au is trustworthy and strong
In addition, your color choices mean something in your particular industry. For example, blue is classic for a bank, but an exceptional choice for a bookstore. What is typical for companies in your field? Whether you stick to the established norms or go out of the way with a new approach, it will say something about who you are as a company.
We love fonts and could spend hours talking about how to use them in your branding. Because fonts have such a rich cultural history, your choice of font style can have a huge impact on how you are perceived. Here are a few considerations:
● Serif or Sans Serif?
Serif fonts are classic and elegant, and convey a sense of tradition and authority. Sans serif fonts are more modern, minimalistic and also a little cool. Compare Times New Roman with Helvetica.
● Only one font or several?
Using multiple fonts adds energy and suggests a vibrant brand full of ideas that always has something new to offer. When you stick to one font, you come across as calm, determined, and thoughtful, with a clear approach to getting things done.
● S chreibschrift and decorative fonts
Choosing decorative or cursive-style fonts can create a trendy retro aesthetic or a timeless, classic look. And depending on which font you choose, a handwritten style can also convey a more personal, informal feel.
Few aspects of design are as expressive as an illustration, and each artist has their own method of creating editorial or creative images. But there are some trends that have caught on with most brands. When you use digital illustration, there are two main types:
● Curved, stylized digital vector illustrations are modern, fun, and clean. They often go hand in hand with technology and innovation, and they are very popular among startups. Flat colors and clean lines are hallmarks of this style, which is often used in infographics. Vector illustrations are easily edited in Adobe Illustrator CC to create print, web, and mobile-friendly designs.
● Then there is the hand-drawn digital illustration style that uses lines, hatches, and shading. It emphasizes a human element in your company and indicates creativity and manual dexterity.
Of course, any type of art can be part of your brand, from collages to watercolour. In general, choosing analogue rather than digital formats will give your brand a more traditional, artisanal identity.
Tone of Voice
The tone of voice isn’t just what you say – how you say it also matters.
● Does your brand use contractions (we can do it, we can)? Are you talking about yourself in the first person instead of the third? (eg “We started then and then …” instead of “The company ACME was founded then and then …”) If so, then you have an informal tone of voice. It’s a friendly tone that makes you more accessible to new customers.
● A popular tonal approach is to use lyrical and funny language, but it can be difficult to implement – what some find playful sounds silly to others. But when you do it well, you come across as smart, approachable, and competent.
● Then there is the minimalist style. If you use short statements with a few but meaningful words and focus on images or data, then your tone of voice conveys that you are confident and quality-oriented – you let your products and services speak for themselves.
Whatever your approach, take note of one thing – if the tone of your brand comes from a founder or employee, it may only stay with you as long as that person stays with the company. Write down a few rules of style so it will live on forever! Read more about how to express the essence of your brand in our guide to building your brand culture and our step-by-step guide to developing brand values.
The secret ingredient – consistency
A brand is like a sports team – every player counts and everyone has to work together. To ensure that your ‘team’ of branding elements works best, you need to make sure they are all there when they are needed, anytime, anywhere.
That is, if your design is completed and your tone of voice is perfect, but your fonts are random and unplanned, the combination will not be a successful one. Likewise, if you have nice branded business cards but the design of your website isn’t noticeably similar, your brand’s personality won’t always shine through.