Consistent Branding: 5 Online and Offline Design Tips
When it comes to a company’s branding, design is a crucial element. This is because consumers use a company’s logo as well as the logo’s look and feel to identify and define the company. A business’ digital presence should be a primary focus for all marketing strategies. Now, when it comes to design, it is vital that businesses include an offline presence too.
When focusing on a design element for an online and offline presence, the key is consistency. It is vital that there is a seamless transition between everything, from your social presence and website to your storefront, print material and signage. So, when in the design phase for online and offline needs, here are five things that you need to keep in mind:
1. Only Have a Single Design Team.
When you are creating a single design element, you need to make sure that it is going to appear consistent regardless of where it appears. For that reason, it is important that you have only one design team rather than several design teams working on the design. Otherwise, there is a very good chance that there will inconsistencies with your design due to miscommunication. When you have the same person or team handling everything with the overall design process, it is easier to understand why this choice was made over another choice and it is definitely easier to communicate that decision to other individuals involved. Now, in the event that a single design team simply isn’t feasible for whatever reason, the next tip will prove to be beneficial for your company.
2. Take the Time to Develop a Brand Guide.
More often than not, brand guides are not a good use of your time. These guides generally contain information about basic use, color choice, etc., which means there is not significant value to them. However, if you go deeper into detail, they can be very beneficial to the individual referencing the guide. For example, it can provide information as to how the logo should appear on multiple items, including vehicles, digital advertisements, pens, t-shirts, etc.
Ultimately, the ideal brand guide needs to answer any possible question that a designer and/or agency may have. After all, you never know when you may need to change designers/agencies. A detailed brand guide will help ensure that you are prepared through all aspects of your design and branding process and have better control over the things that you can and cannot anticipate.
3. Don’t Forget to Develop a Brand Strategy.
Your company’s brand strategy is ultimately the stamina of its visual needs and helps to represent your business’ voice. For example, a brand strategy is needed when you are looking to launch a new product line or campaign. This strategy helps to define your identity and tell your story so that designers can assist you with your overall vision. As an example, if your strategy is characterizing your new product line (brand) as unusual and whimsical, consumers won’t resonate with your messages if your designs are black and white. Your brand strategy helped to ensure that your designers knew exactly what you needed, and they didn’t provide black and white designs.
When developing a brand strategy, remember that it needs to show who and what the brand is, what it represents and what makes it different from everything else out there. If your business is looking to grow and succeed in its industry, this particular element is one of the most important.
4. Consider Speaking to a Brand Professional.
When designing an element that needs to work both online and offline, it can mean everything for your business if you can consult with a professional that knows your brand from the inside out. This ideal person does not necessarily need experience with design, but it does have to be someone that understands your company’s brand strategy. By speaking with someone “on-brand,” you will be able to understand the bigger picture regarding your company’s image. This is particularly important if you are rebranding, as the expert can determine what fits and what doesn’t fit and what is reflective of the brand and what is not.
5. Prepare Material for Offline.
When you know that some of your items in design are going to be used for print, it is important that you utilize the highest possible resolution. So, if you’re doing a photoshoot for your site, you need website-quality images, but you also need high-end images that will work for large print materials too. You need to ensure that your digital designs can be easily converted to offline designs.
While it is true that a number of businesses will start online, a business can always grow. In terms of design elements, you should always start with a good logo since this is a strong foundation for your business. However, it is important to think about using other elements, including imagery and font size. Also, make sure that any of your additional photos represent your overall brand image for offline media and that these photos are edited with fonts, logo size, etc. so that they are ready to go when you are ready to publish the final design.
With logo designs, a good rule of thumb is to think about the smallest possible size. For example, take your logo design down to ¼-inch by ¼-inch. Did it hold together? If so, then it is a solid design and a great starting point because it is a design that can be easily modified.
Bonus: Try to Maintain Flexibility with Your Designs
As a business owner, you will always do everything in your power to prepare for the future. However, you can never prepare for everything. In terms of design, for example, you may only have an online presence and no brick-and-mortar storefront. This could be your plan for the projected future, but it could change at any moment depending on your business’ success. Therefore, it is important that you keep an open mind and keep all of your options open in order to adapt any and all of your design needs without needing to make drastic changes to your overall designs when and if the time ever comes.