Design elements and branding

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Carefully chosen design elements are crucial to your organisation’s visual identity. They help to identify your organisation and differentiate you from other similar organisations.

Your logo is your first design element. Your logo will be the single symbol that identifies what your brand is and what it represents. The best logos are clean, uncluttered, and memorable. If your logo has a unique shape and colour it can become a design element to be used throughout your material. Target’s logo is used like this. The red target element is used throughout their advertising and marketing material.

The colours you choose are also important design elements. Some research on branding and colour psychology shows the link between colour use and the perception of your brand’s personality. It’s not about stereotypical colour associations, but supporting your brand’s personality with the correct colour choices. Ultimately, the most important thing is consistency over time. Customers like recognisable brands. Choose your logo colour and supporting branding colours for the traits they portray and stick to them, forever. Even if you are re-branding, the logo and colours should not change so much that the brand is unrecognisable.

A brand’s look & feel usually has primary colours and supporting colours. It’s important to get the balance and complement of these right too. Some brands have colours that are complementary, on the opposite side of the colour wheel (such as blue and orange). Others use shades of colours that support the main logo colour. There are many ways to use colour palettes.

Images are also a crucial element to your brand’s visual identity. Imagery needs to match your logo and colours in style and tone. However, your imagery does so much more than that. A picture speaks a thousand words. The images you choose evoke feelings. You want them to evoke feelings that persuade.

Another element to think about is your fonts. Again, you want to choose fonts that reflect your brand attributes and say something about who you are and what you do. For example, san serif fonts tend to be a bit less formal and more modern.

A branding project, or a re-branding project, would begin with identifying the brand attributes. For example, is the brand fun, modern, exciting etc. Then, the look & feel would be designed. You want your brand to reflect who you are and what you do. The physical representation of the brand needs to do that for you. The thoughtful choice of physical branding elements helps you do this. The brand is so much more than the physical look & feel, but you need to get this right from the beginning to build the brand and ultimately build brand loyalty.

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