Branding 101: You need consistency.
You might have the same message all over the internet, but you want more than that.
You don't just want it to sound good. It needs to LOOK good too.
People resonate with your purpose.
You know your programs matter.
You even have clients, but you don't feel like you look all that professional.
Maybe you've been having your VA do your graphics because you don't have time.... but they don't really SHINE like you envision, and to be honest, you know very little about how to make it look good.
How do you look professional and consistent across all your social media platforms when each one has it's own setup, format, and look of it's own?
How can you direct your team appropriately when you don't know what you want it to look like? They're guessing just as much as you, and everyone ends up frustrated. You really wish someone could read your mind.
Maybe you've hired designers in the past that didn't get what you were going for. They came up with something awful, they were hard to track down, or they just didn't seem to understand what you wanted. And you still had to pay them.
IN ORDER TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR DESIGNER, YOU MUST KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.
Any good designer starts with a set of questions designed to dig into you, your brand, messaging, tastes, goals, and so forth. If they don't ask you any questions, don't work with them. There's no way they can read your mind by chance.
They can only go on what they see on your sites and what you tell them.
I see so many people struggling and asking "How do I know what to tell my designer if I don't know what I want?"
There's a simple way to get clear on your own preferences so you're not lost and confused when speaking with professionals.
If you're working with just a VA or another assistant, this will help you give them guidelines and create consistency within your branding so you can be more recognizable.
When people recognize who you are and understand what you're doing, they're more likely to work with you. Consistent visual content is another HUGE way to build trust.
80% of what you see is retained, while only 20% of words on a website are read.
Here are three branding hacks that will help you get noticed, boost recognition, build trust with your audience, and convert more clients:
Do you jump around with your colors depending on the event, the day's mood, or something else that you saw that made you think "that's cool"?
You might think the same colors every day gets boring and drab. You might think people get tired of seeing the same thing from you all the time.
Guess what? It doesn't matter if you think it's boring. No one else but you thinks about those colors all day long. Your audience doesn't care. They're thinking about 10,000 other things.
Your SAME colors remind them that it's YOU. If you've got a different look every day, you're much easier to scroll past as noise. Which is the last thing in the world that you want.
Think about the brands you follow online. Starbucks, Apple, Coke, etc. Starbucks doesn't change it's logo colors on a whim because it gets bored. It's always the same green. Maybe another version in white or black, but that's about it. It'd honestly be weird if it showed up in another color, right? Pink Starbucks? What's going on?
If there IS a change, it signals something significant (charity, etc). Same with Apple. They have a bit more fun with color but they stick to a very specific palette.
And you can do the same. Apple's palette is not Coke's palette.
You must stick to YOUR colors at all times. Mix and match. Have some fun with them. Above all, make sure they're something you love since you're going to be looking at them day in / day out.
COLOR ALONE increases brand recognition by 80%.
You instantly know what these are and could spot them a mile away. This is what you're going for with color. Don't complicate it.
There are no readily available stats on fonts, but there's an entire niche devoted to the psychology of picking exactly the right one for your brand.
That's not what I want to address here, though I do believe it's insanely important and help my clients do just that.
The choice of font you use ultimately comes down to a couple of things:
- Again, choose what you're going to use and be consistent
- Unlike colors where you can have several that represent you, font sets and combinations should be limited to TWO only. Unless you're a pro and know how to mix more than one.
The basic method for choosing a pair of fonts is to pick a serif and a sans-serif that have approximately the same shape to their letters (round vs tall, etc).
After 2 semesters of typography classes in college, I could give you all the ins / outs of this but for now just stick with two choices and be consistent.
Consistency is your friend. Even if you use comic sans - the armpit of all fonts - consistently, your followers will learn to recognize that font with that set of colors and BOOM. You have a "look".
Many clients I work with are service entrepreneurs, and so there is no product per se to represent. If your business is a service and the concept is a bit intangible (coaching, mindset, anything internal or self-development), you might not even have a clear direction for a logo.
This leads a lot of clients to depend on inspirational images or their own photoshoots, using their faces as recognition.
To that I say - GREAT!
What you want to do here is (shocker) be consistent! Use your photos in combination with pictures of nature. Use candid shots of you in combination with inspirational quotes.
What you don't want to do (and what many people unconsciously end up doing) is picking quotes and pictures that inspire them on a whim to share, without considering how it all looks together.
I'll give you an example from my own Instagram:
Before cohesive images, fonts, and colors.
After cohesive images, fonts, and colors
At the end of the day, the images themselves do not matter as much as long as they're in line with your business. Whether it's your face, what you do, or what inspires you, it's all good content.
A good rule of thumb, just like colors and fonts, is to CHOOSE what kind of images you want to show. And keep it easy on yourself. Pick 2-3 kinds of pictures and mix them in.
There's no hard fast rules - but you can see above the set of pink images is much more cohesive in all 3 areas (color, fonts, and imagery) than the one on the left.
Think about how many combinations you can have with 2 fonts, 5 colors, and 3 image themes. Not exact math, but the numbers reach into 40,000 different arrangements of this.
It sounds limiting, but used correctly, and with the right designer, you can keep your own interest in your brand while building trust and recognition with your audience.