To recap what we learned in our first lesson let's succinctly define branding.
Branding, if we want to keep it sweet and short, is a promise you make to your customer. It is what sets you apart from others in your industry, and it tells prospective customers what they can expect from your company.
Let's look to a few other maker companies that have a strong brand identity to see how it's done.
Right away we can see Aleksandra Zee is strongly influenced by the warm, natural tones of the desert. She also is a one-women powerhouse who makes a strong case for female empowerment. Her photos and online presence are all very cohesive. This is partially achieved through processing her photos through a filter that bumps up the warmth. She showcases her travels, which is where she draws inspiration from. And she shares her personal snaps of her personal life since she is so heavily ingrained in the brand. Aly is selling a lifestyle. This works well when you are comfortable being the face of your company and your life and art bleed together. If you look through her website she focuses on warm photos with a clean, inviting layout. Videos of her in the desert environment are scattered throughout as well.
And on the opposite end of the spectrum, we have Concrete Geometric. CG is selling an aesthetic-they are not promoting a lifestyle or sharing vignettes of their life. They are architecturally based and inspired. Their clean, minimal, monochromatic look is very striking, and puts all the emphasis on their design and product. Concrete Geometric tells a visual story about the product not the people. They built up such an influential look that we don’t need to know the creators, we just want to embrace their style.
Concrete Geometric’s brand is clean and forward-thinking, while still maintaining its roots in a classic utilitarian material. Their story is not themselves but their flawless design.
NOW TAKE THESE SAMPLES, AND STUDY A FEW OF YOUR FELLOW MAKERS AND OBSERVE HOW THEY ARE PRESENTING THEMSELVES. WHAT DESIGN AND BRANDING ELEMENTS ARE THEY USING? WHO DO YOU THINK THEY ARE TRYING TO APPEAL TO?
Having a logo is important as it helps to create consistency. Your logo represents your company and gives you credibility and recognizability. Logo designers are paid lots of money to create something that easily communicates what your company is all about. Your customer should be kept in mind and the message should be easily communicated through your logo. It would be ideal if you came up with something totally unique to you, adaptable in many situations and instantly recognizable. That said, you are also perfectly fine using your unique company name as your logo. Choose a typeface that clearly communicates your message and use this across your web and print materials.
Now we are ready to move on and make our mark! Let's start with color. There’s a whole school of psychology behind color! The way people perceive and react to colors can vary, as well as what they associate with certain colors. Allow me to briefly break down some common color associations:
BLACK: Grief, Sophistication, Expensive, Fear
WHITE: Happiness, Sincerity, Purity, Balance
GREEN: Good Taste, Envy, Peaceful, Growth, Healing
RED: Lust, Power, Excitement, Love, Bold
BLUE: Masculine, Competence, High Quality, Corporate, Trust
YELLOW: Jealousy, Competence, Happiness, Optimism, Clarity
ORANGE: Friendly, Cheerful, Confident
VIOLET: Authority, Sophistication, Power, Creative, Wise
PINK: Sophistication, Sincerity, Feminine
If you'd like to do further reading, I'd suggest visiting here. Try not to get to hung up on this though! If you have an outdoor brand but hate the color brown, nobody is twisting your arm. These are just friendly guides. Once I have a few colors in mind, I usually plug those in and start playing around with color palettes. My favorite online tool for creating color palettes is here, and totally free! Tech Tip: It’s important to give the exact hex code for web use as well as CMYK values and Pantone colors for items that will be printed. The site I just shared will tell you that information, so make note!
Let’s talk fonts for a minute. I advise choosing 2-3 fonts, MAX. You want to pair your fonts in a clean, cohesive manner. A good start would be to choose:
This is the main look you use for your company/logo.
This can be a fun font!
This will be the font you use most often. Sans Serif for a more modern look, Serif for a classic look.
Another great resource for pairing fonts can be found here.
Using the three elements we just talked about, we are going to break down The Small + Savage Wild's logo to show you how to apply this.
They primarily use white with black font. The design is graphic, minimal and geometric-tying back in to the ‘who am I’ of it all. The font is a Sans Serif to keep things modern. The icon is also very graphic, and can easily be separated into multiple elements, meaning increased flexibility and recognizability.
Now it's your turn TO Create a style sheet! scroll below to see AN example and then time to get to it.
To make your style sheet, I'd suggest a layout designer such as InDesign. On Thursday during our discussion, I'd love if we could share. I'll also be sharing CYL's sheet. Hope to see some of you there!