Your brand is the visceral reaction consumers have to your product, service or company. It’s your company’s personality.
Like your own personality, you control the inputs but others control the results: i.e., they decide whether they like your personality. It’s important to imbue your personality with positive attributes – e.g., in real life to be nice; in corporate life to give great customer service – but ultimately you don’t control the outcome in either case.
Before I go on, I’d like to make it clear what a brand is NOT:
- a logo
- a type treatment
- a style guide
- a jingle
These components help make up your brand, but alone they don’t represent your brand. Visual identity is, however, the part of the brand in which a graphic designer like me plays a crucial role.
There are six generally-accepted concepts critical to brand:
The easiest one to control is consistency.
While you have an intimate relationship with your company’s visual identity, your customers have merely a passing fancy. They need to see the same logo using the same colors in the same place every time they communicate with you in order to recognize, even subconsciously, your brand.
The same is true, of course, about the other elements of your brand, which is why, for example, McDonald’s insists that every one of its franchises uses the same French fry machine and ingredients to produce an exact replica of its signature French fries in every location from Presque Isle, Maine to Rancho Cucamonga, California.
That doesn’t mean that your communications must all look the same, or lack creativity — far from it. It just means that your communications require a visual cohesion that signals the consumer’s brain that it is all part of one whole.
Here’s a great example: I created this logo for Good To Go Greenville’s mobile market. You can see how the look and feel of the logo has been extended out to all the other visuals in the menu, flyer and Facebook page.
Good graphic designers are obsessive about visual consistency. Make sure yours is.