Design for Dummies: How to design your brand as a beginner? Designing your brand is a very personal journey. After all, it is your business which you have poured your blood, sweat, and tears into. You’ve invested time and money into it, and it is very much part of your life.
To get your business to the next level, you need to invest in branding. To stand out amongst your competitors, you need a great brand. And every successful product also has great branding behind it. When your brand has a great design, your advertising efforts will be much easier.
However, while great branding design is an art, it is also a science with a precise definition. In fact, it’s a subject that has been thoroughly researched by a large number of researchers over the last few decades.
When done correctly, branding design can have a significant impact on how people perceive a brand, whether or not they trust it, and, as a result, the brand’s long-term growth and success. After all, legendary graphic designer Paul Rand said that “Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.”
As a business owner, you may be doing the design yourself, or you may be engaging a designer to help you with the process. Whatever the case may be, this article will help you further refine your brand design and really communicate what your business is about. We’ll be focusing on the two most important elements of your brand that customers will see: your brand name and your logo.
With this in mind, let’s dive into the finer details of the design for your brand.
Design for Dummies: How to Design Your Brand
1. The Brand Name
A great brand name is not just memorable, it communicates your brand ethos. And there is no one formula that is guaranteed to work. There can be short brand names (Intel, Google, Nike) as well as long ones (Mercedes Benz, American Express, Johnson & Johnson).
Nevertheless, good brand names share these common features:
- They are meaningful, in that they communicate what the brand stands for.
- Their distinctiveness makes them stand out.
- Customers can easily remember it, spell it, and look it up online.
2. Different Types of Brand Names
Looking at the different brands out there, you can quickly tell that they fall into different categories. These include:
- Name of a person, real or fictional (Goldman Sachs, Calvin Klein, Toyota)
- Metaphorical, to tell a brand story (Nike, Amazon, Apple)
- Invented names that are easy to trademark (Flickr, Google, Rolex)
- Acronyms (BMW, HSBC, IBM)
- Descriptive, that tells what your business does (General Motors, Deutsche Bank, Fujifilm)
When you start thinking about your brand name, brainstorming is probably the best way to do it. Come together with your partners or employees and think of a brand name from each category. Think also of some keywords associated with your business.
Ideally, you would want to finalise your company name before you design the logo. It is much easier this way, and you can combine your brand name into the logo.
3. The Logo
Put simply, your company’s logo is a symbol or design used to identify your business. It’s how your company is recognised among so many others. Think of the Nike swoosh, Mercedes Benz’s three-pointed star, or Apple’s half-eaten apple and you can begin to feel the power of a logo.
Your company’s logo will also symbolise what your business stands for. When you put yourself in your customer’s shoes, you want them to associate your logo with all the positive aspects of your business.
So, let’s get started on designing your logo.
4. Keep It Simple
Overcomplicating things will only confuse your customers. Busy, over-the-top logos are not effective branding design.
In fact, the simplest logos are sometimes the easiest to recall. For example, you could ask a five-year-old to draw a Nike, Mercedes Benz, or Apple logo and they would nail it on the first try.
In our case, it’s fine to start with an over-the-top idea. What you need to do is simplify the concept, rework it, and then take some more off. In logo design, less is indeed more. Plus, a simple logo works best when transferred onto different mediums, e.g. social media, company letterheads, websites, etc.
5. Use Colour Associations
When designing your brand, you can use colours to associate your brand with a particular feeling. It’s a tried-and-true psychological tactic that big brands use as well. Some examples include:
- Red: confident and ambitious (Honda, YouTube, Nintendo)
- Blue: professional and trustworthy (Deutsche Bank, General Electric, Meta)
- Green: serene and organic (Land Rover, Holiday Inn, BP)
- Yellow: friendliness and positivity (Shell, Lipton, UPS)
- Black: sophistication and elegance (Cartier, Coach, Gucci)
6. Don’t Forget the Typeface
Like colours, each font also conveys something different about your logo. Let’s take a look at how this is done:
- Serif fonts like Times New Roman are associated with tradition and maturity (Vogue, Burberry, Tiffany & Co).
- Sans serif fonts like Helvetica have a clean and modern look (Google, Spotify, FedEx).
- Script fonts look handwritten, elegant, and distinctive (Coca-Cola, Disney, Cartier).
7. Build A Cohesive Visual Identity
Once you have finalised your logo, you need to unite all of this into a harmonious visual identity. Your brand is more than just your logo – it is also the colours, marks, typography, and more.
Developing a visual identity means that every aspect of your branding should work together to tell a piece of the same story. For example, if your logo is green, using the same shade of green everywhere helps with branding on mediums as diverse as company T-shirts, published e-books, business cards, or even swag bags at events.
Similarly, your logo’s typeface should be used wherever possible. Of course, if your logo has a script font, don’t use it in the main text or it will be unreadable. But generally, stick to either a serif or sans serif typeface depending on your brand’s identity.
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