Design elements and branding


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.

CheerLEADING™ 101


I’m calling it cheerLEADING™. I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but bear with me.

It means leading with encouragement and by inspiring others to be their best. It means leading with compassion and heart. Inclusion, rather than exclusion, and leading with integrity.

Interestingly, it works in much the same way as consumer branding. People buy products from companies like Apple, because of the vision of the brand, the brand attributes, and the personal attributes they feel by association. They also feel valued and ‘heard’ as a customer. They have a positive experience with the product (and/or service) and the brand.

There are some amazing examples of cheerLEADING™ in the world. In order to truly inspire people, a leader needs to embody the attributes that other people aspire to. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech is one of the most rousing, inspiring cheerLEADING™ speeches in world history. Barrack Obama does it well and Anna Bligh, former Premier of Queensland, showed immense strength of character during the Queensland floods of 2011. She kept people’s spirit’s up, with honesty and integrity (and a lot of communication).

Martin Luther King, Jr Delivering His "I Have a Dream" SpeechObama Campaigns Across The U.S. In Final Week Before Election  Queensland Holds State Elections

Give people a positive, attainable company Vision, which aligns with their personal values and vision for their own life, openly display gratitude and encouragement along the way, and they will be happy to come to work and give 100% to you as their leader.

I’ll explore this further in future posts, including the difference between men and women in leadership roles.

Achieving Brand Alignment Through Your Employees

Sasha Strauss talking about the theory behind this work. Aligning your internal messages to your external brand messages. Creating the story for your employees, so they are all talking about your organisation in the way you would like them to. Ensuring they are engaged with your brand, proud of the firm and proud of the work they do for clients.