As the old saying goes, “you have to spend money to make money”. Brand development should be no exception. Yet far too many businesses view design and their visual messaging as an afterthought, failing to invest adequate resources into these areas of their company. This attempt however of trying to save money up front ultimately ends up being much more costly in the long run. Especially when businesses invest in diverse marketing strategies without first establishing a strong brand identity; and then wonder why these efforts prove ineffective. This “cart before the horse” approach can result in wasted resources from required revamps, confusing messaging, and potential loss of customers.
Design is a crucial inextricable part of any brand identity and to the growth of a company. Though not all businesses are eager to allocate funds towards their design needs. If you fall into this category and aren’t quite convinced of the power of design, we’ve compiled a list of a few key reasons why investing in high quality design is a must for your business’s brand development and customer attraction.
Building a timeless presence
Design is a strong component of any strong brand. And it’s not only about visual appeal. Your design needs to mesh well with your brand message, should be memorable, consistent, and timeless as possible. One of the cornerstones of any brand identity is the logo. These little graphics are ambassadors and identifiers for a brand. Some logos are revamped every few years, while other remain mostly unchanged for decades (or even centuries, in the case of Coca Cola).
The memorable logos which prove to be timeless and provide longevity tend to be free of cliche and trendy elements, are typically simpler in style, and allow flexibility for a brand’s growth. Logos that don’t stand the test of time are typically more trendy, overly literal (can pigeonhole a brand as it grows), or just poorly designed. Many startups opt for cheap design early on, yet require an overhaul as the business grows and requires a more professional aesthetic.
Want proof on the effectiveness of a strong logo and how it can become etched into the minds of its viewers? Show a 5 year old a few well recognized logos and see how many they can accurately identify. Or simply try to think of a big brand such as Nike or McDonalds without their logo coming to mind. The point is, quality timeless design can provide years of value for your brand; and in the case of a logo, decades or more if you invest in quality design that won’t become obsolete in a short time and may only require subtle tweaks to remain current.
Brands such as Target are a perfect example of how using a clear-cut approach with their logo and brand identity allows them to maintain longevity with minimal changes to their core design elements. Their investing in design and establishing a solidified identity allows them to avoid frequent costly and time consuming revamps.
While this section focusses primarily on logo design, know that these concepts apply throughout all of your branding. Focus on creating a timeless brand presence, but don’t mistake this structured approach as being anti-innovation or anti-change. The point is to develop your core identity and not deviate too far from it.
Cross-channel brand consistency
Quality design is one of the best ways a business can maintain brand recognition and consistency with it’s customers, wherever and whenever interactions occur. Whether you’re posting flyers, handing out business cards, or sharing an eBook; use these opportunities to remain consistent in your design and messaging, and to build recognition with your potential customers. Just make sure the rest of your branding (dialog, spokespersons, advertisements, social media, mission statements, taglines, social media, etc) remain in unison with your visual identity.
Leaving a strong first impression
Yes, people do judge the book by its cover, hence the need to think of your logo, color palette, fonts, and other design elements as your brand “cover”. As visual creatures, we’re drawn to symmetry, beauty, and specific forms and color combinations, so use this to your advantage.
When choosing a logo for your business, remember that it is the visual representation of your brand, and often the very first impression you will make on a customer. What emotions do you want to evoke? What story do you want to tell? How do you want to be remembered? This not only applies to your logo, but also your print materials, copy, advertisements, signage, and overall messaging. And as mentioned in the section above, it’s important to establish a uniformity and consistency when it comes to all brand identifiers.
Visuals build trust
Instant recognition is a perk of its own, but it also creates an avalanche of additional benefits to allow your business grow and prosper. One particular “side-effect” of better brand recognition is inspiring trust in your target demographic. When people can instantly recognize your brand in all applications, be it social media, a website featuring your brand, or an advertisement; over time this consistency will help you establish trust and brand loyalty with your existing customers, and allow you to more easily attract new ones.
If you maintain a consistent and quality brand identity through your messaging and design efforts, your customers will associate these positive experiences with your brand. As a result, they’ll more easily establish trust and will be more inclined to purchase your products or services and share their experience with others.
There’s no doubt that investing in design is essential, especially in the earlier stages of a business’s growth. This is why the worlds largest brands dedicate tens of millions of dollars towards design and developing their brand identities. The approach you choose to take can make the difference between loyal customers willing to invest in your brand, or wasted resources, customer dissatisfaction and misunderstandings.
While your business may provide the best products or services around, if your branding doesn’t match this level of quality you’re likely to turn off a large portion of your potential customer base. Make sure that your brand identity adequately represents your business’s purpose and core values, remains uniform and consistent, and isn’t viewed as an afterthought. If you follow the strategies in this article, the only regret you should have is why you didn’t implement them sooner. Thanks for reading and best of luck with your branding endeavors.
If you’re in need of brand design services, consider the owner of this website (Derek Kimball), who has over 13 years of experience in brand identity development.