Figuring out how to stay on-point with branding efforts while still creating unique and engaging graphic design projects is challenging for even seasoned professionals. Fortunately, there are many ways of incorporating details that set the features apart and tie them to a business image.
According to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA), about 31.7 million small businesses makeup 99.9% of U.S. companies. If you want consumers to remember your business or your clients’ enterprises, you must figure out how to create a distinctive image.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways of integrating branding into your graphic design projects. Here are 10 ideas to get you started:
1. Remain consistent
Whether you create an ad for Facebook or place a yard sign on the sidewalk in front of your store, the design should seem familiar to viewers. You want to use elements consistently, such as the same typefaces and colors. Even logo placement can make a difference in how quickly users recognize whether promotions are from the brand.
2. Include the logo
Whether you’re designing in-house or for a specific client, you must include the logo in every piece you put out. The company symbol is the most recognizable part of their brand. For example, when you think about McDonald’s, the golden arches likely come to mind. Every piece of marketing includes the emblem, and people associate a yellow M with the restaurant chain.
3. Embrace repetition
A style guide also helps you repeat these elements in different scales and across various mediums. The concept of repetition strengthens the impact of branding. Look for chances to repeat what you’ve done before but still keep things fresh and new. Turning back to old designs helps you incorporate those elements while adding new ones.
4. Stick with established fonts
Look at the fonts used for branding in previous company communications. If you’re designing a website, go with a similar font to the one used on signage for storefronts. Examine versions the brand already uses and base your typography on that.
Unless the font simply doesn’t work for the store’s personality, there’s no reason to change what other designers used in the past. You can always add another font or something complementary to what’s already there.
5. Nail your color palette
Nearly every established brand has a color palette in use. Coca-Cola is known for its red and white hues. Starbucks uses green and tan. Think about the colors for the brand for which you’re designing.
Once you understand the basic color palette already in use, don’t be afraid to look at current trends and incorporate a few accents to modernize the design’s overall look and feel. This can help a brand stand out.
6. Showcase personality
Get to know the voice of the brand for which you’re designing. Is it known for its humor and upbeat vibe? Your design should reflect the fun with bold colors and modern geometrics.
As a designer, you have to dig into the background of a company and understand why it started the brand in the first place. What is its mission as a business? What causes does it care about?
Next, survey customers to find out how they see the brand. The way the owners see their company doesn’t always perfectly match the way the public sees it. Use all this information in creating your concept for the project.
7. Shape perception with images
Even the images you use in your designs can shape the perception of a brand. Think about the message you want to send and which photographs or illustrations work best.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s true, you should be able to say a lot in your designs without using much text. Ensure all the visuals are relevant to the message at hand and match the style of images used on social media, the company website, and other promotions.
8. Improve your UX
If your graphics are gorgeous but your design is unworkable, you lose your customers. Think about the user experience (UX), whether the person lands on a webpage or views an ad.
Is it clear what action they need to take next? Does the project point them in the right direction? Walkthrough your design as though you are the buyer persona. Look for flaws. Is any text difficult to read? If you had a vision impairment, would those colors work well together or be challenging to view?
9. Perfect your layout and composition
The way you lay elements out impacts your brand image as well. If you clump too many items together and lack enough white space, people might think of your company as cluttered and disorganized.
Some of the elements you must consider as you organize your design include contrast, repetition, alignment, negative space, and proximity. Why do you place items where you put them? Would something work better next to a different element? Play around with the arrangement of your design until you find the perfect mix.
10. Study psychology
As a graphic designer, most of your studies may have been in artistic or software endeavors. However, to be an excellent graphic designer, you also need to understand human emotion a bit.
Take time to figure out what makes people tick, especially your target audience. Why do they respond to some things and not others? What emotions are you trying to evoke, and how can you achieve the feeling through your design and use of colors and specific images?
Focus on long-term branding
While some projects focus on creating an advertisement for a specific product, your focus should be on the long-term effects of the brand. Use similar colors in ads for different product offerings. Think about how people already see the company and reinforce the image, no matter what type of work you’re doing. Hone in on what makes a business tick and how to communicate the message with consumers, and your graphic designs will exceed your expectations.
This article is written by Lexie, a web designer and IoT enthusiast. She enjoys hiking with her goldendoodle and checking out local flea markets. Visit her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.