5 Common Branding Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Working full time as a graphic designer, I've made a career out of creating logos and brands for both companies and individuals. During my 5 years, I've learned a lot of about brand identity and I've begun to notice some common themes that companies and clients struggle with when it comes to creating a cohesive brand. Good branding buildings trust and is key to helping your customer and/or audience recognize you. Creating a brand isn't easy and if you don't have a design background, this could be an incredibly daunting task. I want to share with you some tips that I've learned which should (hopefully) save you the headache that comes along with the entire process.
Whether you're starting a blog, website or e-commerce store, when it comes to branding your business you should be aware of some pitfalls many find themselves in. So here are 5 common branding mistakes you should avoid and how to fix them.
NOT CONSIDERING YOUR AUDIENCE
More often than not I'll work with a client who has little to no clue where to start and what design style works best for their audience. This can create a disconnect between what their audience is looking for and what the client is envisioning. When it comes to branding, it is absolutely imperative to establish a specific look and feel that makes sense with your particular niche. Be sure to have an idea of who your audience is and what they are looking for. Before you start working with a designer you need to form some key branding concepts - this includes: colors, typefaces, logo concept etc. One of the best ways to help inspire your brand is by creating a mood board. A mood board is a combination of images, fonts, colors and patterns that inspire your design style. They are a tool used typically by designers to help visually convey a design idea to a client in order to agree on style. Creating a mood board will help make the design process slightly easier as well as paving the way for your designer to assist with your brand identity.
This process can be time consuming so please DO NOT RUSH. This is a mistake I've seen time and time again; a client is antsy and wants their branding done both quickly and perfectly which never turns out well. It isn't uncommon for this process to take upwards of 3 months of even longer. Be patient during this process as well as with your designer - a perfected brand identity is the end goal.
PURCHASING A PRE-MADE OR CHEAP LOGO
The internet is full of people who claim to be designers and will offer you super cheap pre-made logos. If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is. If you go the inexpensive route chances are you'll likely regret it down the road and find yourself shelling out more money for another logo design. Although purchasing a pre-made logo may save you some money up front, you aren't doing yourself or your brand any favors by being cheap. When it comes to brand identity, your logo should be completely unique to your website or business and reflects your vision and personality. When deciding on a designer to work with, be sure to choose one who will take their time, be meticulous to details and has a clear understanding of your audience and business. Don't feel like you need to settle for anything else because you and your business deserve the best.
THINKING THAT A BRAND IDENTITY IS JUST A LOGO
At first glance, some might think that creating a brand is only a logo. This couldn't be further from the truth. I briefly touched on this above but creating a cohesive brand identity can include: colors, textures, patterns, fonts, typography and so much more. If you choose to invest solely in a logo, you'll have a difficult time maintaining a consistent brand. Consistently is key to creating a cohesive brand. If you don't have a design background, you might find yourself feeling slightly confused. Because I'm a visual learner, below is a mood board I created to give you an idea of how you can create a brand concept other than focusing too heavily on a logo. Mood boards are just a way to visually conceptualize your ideas and organize your thoughts. If you want to build your brand identity, than I highly suggest starting with a mood board (or several) to gather your thoughts and inspiration.
FREQUENTLY CHANGING YOUR BRANDING
I'll be the first to admit that, but I'm guilty of this. When I first launched this blog in June 2017, I was focusing too much on other successful bloggers. Because of this, I designed a haphazard logo I wasn't super excited but decided to roll with it since I thought it was what everyone was doing. I was wrong. Within 3 short months I scrapped both the logo and my entire blog design. The only thing I kept the same from the old design was the main teal color. At the time I didn't think it was a huge deal only because I didn't have a very large following and thought no one would notice. I soon found out that the small number of readers I did have didn't recognize my new logo and design once I switched and began to unfollow me. This was disheartening. I learned the hard way how important it is to nail your brand indenity as soon as you launch. You want to make sure your branding is timeless and try not to conform to popular design trends. Having others identify your brand will build trust and turn your readers into loyal followers.
FOLLOWING TRENDS AND NOT STAYING TRUE TO YOURSELF
Trends come and go and while it might seem tempting to follow what's popular, you need to be true to yourself, your ideas, creativity and dreams. You want your brand to resonate positively with your audience and you'll have a difficult time achieving this if you're too focused on what's trending. Your brand identity should be approachable and something your audience can connect with while also being modern and allowing your business to grow along with it. Don't sell yourself short. You are the only one separating yourself from your competitors.
You can avoid these simple branding mistakes by investing the time (and potentially money) up front. At the end of the day, you want your brand to serve you for many years to come. If you take anything away from this, remember that consistency is key to brand identity. If you find yourself guilty of any of the above, don't be too hard on yourself. Be sure to follow these 5 tips and you should be well on your way to creating an amazing brand identity.
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