There is a seemingly endless list of things that need to be designed for your business, even online: social posts, business email signatures, your website (and everything that comes with it), social media profile pictures, and more. This may seem like a burden, but these opportunities allow for one of the most powerful tools in your online tool-belt: brand consistency.
In this guide, brand consistency will refer to the design (aesthetics) of all that is produced for your company online from PPC ads to your first Facebook post. This consistency should stem from and continue through offline, but the same principles apply and once you understand the basics, it will only come naturally.
Customers have endless options online and one business is bound to blend into the other in someone’s mind. Your job is for people to remember you. And guess how they do that? By how you look.
People Hate Change
Customers want to be comfortable with their purchases, they want to be able to trust you, and they want to buy from somewhere reliable. Of course, the real reliability that they are searching for is customer service, products, or prices. But the way you portray that and market your company in that light is through consistent COLORS, FONTS, PHOTOS, VALUE, and MOOD.
There is an old saying that says if you want to know how a company is doing, check how often they change their logo. I can tell you this much: changing it often isn’t a good thing. People need to not only feel like they know your company, but recognize it anywhere and any time. If you start changing your appearance on a daily basis, how can people connect the dots? They can’t!
I follow a few photographers on Instagram where I don’t even have to read their usernames to know who they are: I can tell by the crop of the image, the filter, the colors, the caption, and the composition. Your job is to be so recognizable that it hurts. Your brand identity needs to have so much personality that you can give it a zodiac sign. Or else you will just blend in with everyone else.
The task isn’t as daunting as it first appears, though. Let’s break it down.
Assuming you already have a brand identity and vision, picking out design elements to repeat isn’t hard at all. What color is your logo? Use that color very often. Do you use round edges or sharp ones? Don’t interchange them. Do you use photos or graphics? Rely on one or the other more often. Do you use all caps? Use that for your advantage. What font do you use? Do not waver on this! Every time you type, use this font (if you can).
Here are some good examples of repeating elements:
- Drop Shadows
People don’t outwardly notice these elements, but their minds subconsciously connect the dots between your brand and those elements, especially things like color and typography. In fact, according to Bop Design, color consistency increases brand recognition by 80%!
All the best brands follow a Style Guide that explicitly states how their brand should look at all times. Take a look at Barnes and Noble’s extensive Style Guide:
Brand Identity on Your Website
Design your website around your style: your colors, your fonts, your look. Professional designers can help you if you want an impeccable design, but be sure to never waver on your colors, your angles, your style, or your tone.
The links should always look the same way, the header should always be the same, the logo should always be in the same place. This consistency allows for a visitor to feel comfortable with your site and gain trust in your company right away.
If you already have a website, use the repeating elements in your site (fonts, colors, tone of voice, shapes, patterns, icons, etc) throughout your other online presence. Try using the same color of your footer for your Facebook profile, or use the pattern of threes from your website in your latest online ad. The possibilities are endless.
Brand Identity in Social Media
When you make both graphics and text posts for social media, it’s important to keep your identity in mind. Are you a down to earth salon that wants to comment on the latest trends, or are you a lawyer firm that wants to promote a professional style? This will integrate it’s way into how you phrase posts and how you design your graphics and photos.
Take a look at how powerful an Instagram feed can be for a business:
Do you notice the repeating colors? The point of view? The way they highlight things? And those are just photos! Before you post anything, run it through a few tests: does it look like a part of your brand? Did you use repeating elements? Does your feed (no matter the social platform) look consistent?
Look at how consistent Coca-Cola is with their social platforms:
At the end of the day, design doesn’t have to be hard. You can use templates, software, or even professional designers to help you. Keep in mind your brand identity and don’t stray from your tone or mood where ever your brand is on the internet!