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Starting A Business Fundamentals

Lesson Three

Your Business Identity

Part 2 – Business Brand

The purpose of creating a strong brand for your business is to make it memorable and to differentiate it from its competitors.

A logo forms the backbone of your branding, but a brand can also cover the “tone of voice” of your business, eg formal or fun-loving, the fonts you use in all your materials and correspondences, and of course colours.

You can get as scientific as you choose when it comes to creating a brand, for example, by “translating” your business mission and values into an icon that will convey that message to your audience.

You can also use colour science to choose the perfect shade of orange to express your business’s creativity, for example, or look at the messages that certain typefaces are meant to convey.

Personally, I wish you the best of luck with that. I think it’s a lot to ask of a few squiggles to represent everything your business stands for.

Good for you if you can do it. Otherwise, I think designing a brand often boils down to gut instinct and what “speaks” to you.

There are countless apps and software that enable even those with little creative flair to create a passable logo.

Do a bit of research, take inspiration from logos you like and then give it a go yourself.

However, if you are working with a designer to create your brand, you may need to put your “gut instinct” on what your brand is into words for them to translate into a logo.

Colour is often a good place to start in that case and it’s easy to find out how colours affect our mood and the impression they give.

You can also come up with a list of five or six keywords which best represent your business to give your designer a starting point for your brand.

What about a mascot?

Logos do not have to be the only visual representation of your brand.

You could also consider coming up with a simple character – a mascot- which can be an effective communication tool and brings another level to how memorable your business is.

Typography

Many logos are created only from typography, ie text.

As I mentioned, different typefaces convey different things. A serif font – one with the twiddly bits – can suggest something more traditional, while a sans serif (without the twiddles) may be more modern.

But these are guidelines and not rules, so you can feel free to ignore them at will.

If you do have a text logo, you don’t need to use that font for all the text on your website, but when it comes to all the “written” material for your business, be consistent.

Choose one font family, for example, and use regular, bold and italic versions for variation.

Or if you really do want a contrast, stick to just two fonts.

If you really want to stand out from the crowd and have the budget, another option is to have a custom typeface designed for your business.

That typeface will become synonymous with your business, but obviously it’s not a cheap option.

Style Guide

Once you have chosen your typefaces and your colour palette and your logo is designed, I find a good thing to do is create a brand guide.

This is useful to ensure everyone in your business – even if that’s just you – has a document to refer to which includes the CMYK, RGM and Hex values for all your colours, dictates how the logo you should be used, eg only on a white background and not below a certain size, and outlines which fonts should be used in which circumstances.

The brand guidelines can also include a style guide, which includes instructions on which spelling or contraction is to be used for certain words, eg WW2 or WWII or Second World War (first example that popped into my head – not sure how often you’ll need that one!).

It may also dictate whether numbers are written out or if the figure is to be used, or whether certain swear words are acceptable.

Your brand may also include “tone of voice” guidelines. If you are a lawyer or medical professional you may want to adopt a formal or calming tone, whereas a sports coach may have a more forward communication style which may include the odd four-letter word for encouragement.

Whatever you choose, don’t try to be something you are not. It’s hard work and your audience will soon see through you and you’ll come across as dishonest or fake.

Let the real you shine through and you can’t go far wrong! 

 

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