I hope everyone knows what a logo is and why it's important? If you need a refresher - no shame or judgment here- we as designers want and require you to learn the value of these things, read this article on what a logo is and what it is not. Your logo is your primary identifier, but what about all the other elements, details, and additional content that go into a proper "identity package"? What does an identity package usually consist of, and why should you ask for these other elements?
Your logo should be a unique, custom mark that sets the tone, style, and vision of who you are and help the viewer understand what industry your business is in. A well-done logo can pack a lot of punch immediately setting the tone to the viewer of what they should expect. BUT the truth is that even with the best designer and all the time and budget in the world your logo cannot hold up your entire company vision, ethos and product goals, it can't go the distance until you build value around it. And that value starts with supporting brand elements.
One part of those supporting details are the multiple logo options. This may be obvious, but you would be surprised at how many clients come to us without various versions of their "logo" set to perfection. It needs to fit in a square on Facebook, a circle on Instagram, it needs to be high res for print, you need a transparent background for web, etc. What about a stamp for packaging, a seal with your tagline or versions that are horizontal and vertical? You need multiple varieties so your logo can go the distance. We make sure based upon your brand goals to deliver multiple logo perspectives and styles geared to your company needs.
Let's talk about color. We all respond to it. Why wouldn't you make your color palette about your brand characteristics, about the mood and feeling you are trying to portray? A HUGE marketing strategy to help your brand stand out and differentiate from other brands is to have a robust color palette and stick to it. Think of T-Mobile Pink, Tiffany Blue, Coke-a-Cola Red, Hurtz yellow, and H&R Block green, all these use color to define a key characteristic. Think about T-Mobile, they are trying to be young and hip exciting with their bright pink, what mood does Tiffany blue set, and how awesome is it that you drive by and only see the fluorescent green of H&R Block and immediately think of that company. That is the power of color. They have countless studies on this subject. (Would you like to read more- check out this article: here.
We at The Cowlick Appeal LOVE color. We give our clients an extensive color palette to work with for 2 reasons. 1. You should always have 1-3 primary colors that are your main options for your logo and stand out content. Then we build out a solid 5-8 additional colors for your secondary palette. This allows you or your team or even us to have a variety of colors to pick from when developing other collateral, website pages, and tee-shirts. There is power in using 1 dominate color, so if that is your jam and best serves your brand goals, then go for it, but more often our clients get tired of their 2 primary colors. When you are creating a new postcard, newsletter, poster having color options that work within your brand standards are more tools to help your content go the distance.
The next element we put in place is which fonts and font families your company should focus on. Visually when you give your content a hierarchy with fonts based upon their weights (think bold, regular, thin, etc.) you help your viewer's eye know where to go. We set that hierarchy into a type of template so when you go to build out a newsletter, a blog post, a collateral piece you understand which fonts to use and why. We select fonts that work with your brand characteristics. Some brands need more serious and structured fonts with serifs or more fun and contemporary with a san serif. (check out the difference here)
With a standardized set of typography "guidelines," your brand looks polished, and your layout looks purposeful. It is not ok to throw in a random script or bold, blocky font just because you feel like it. This is why we have brand guidelines. /// If you want to learn more about why it's essential to have a set brand foundation- please read this post.///
Patterns / Textures
In today's marketplace, it's highly competitive to get the coveted eyeballs to pay attention to what you are promoting. Another way to stand out is to develop custom patterns and textures. This is a simple way to support your logo, stylize a social post, or enhance packaging with custom textures and patterns. These supporting elements may be "small" but can pack a large punch to your overall brand. In the world of aesthetics and today's digital world, your clients and customers have a more sophisticated palette, and your brand visuals should promote that you care how everything looks.
Think of all the elements an interior designer uses to make a new space come together. They use wallpaper with patterns, paint textures, add custom artwork, plants, furniture, rugs, lighting to help a space become magical. You need these supporting elements to add extra sparkle and shine to all the places your brand lives.
Images / Videos
Another HUGE supporting element for your brand is your visuals. In today's world, photographs and videos are essential when defining your brand's character, style, emotion, tone, and quality. We all can be photographers/videographers now with our smartphones, but before you go snapping away, we set a stylized look for your brand to use as a way to "standardize" your marketing materials. When developing a client's guidelines, we give a lot of thought to why you need certain images. Stylizing your photography can help show your audience what you believe in, your product vibe and company emotions. For example, having a lot of white space, super macros shots, high contrast, separate color saturation, sepia tones to black and white all set a mood that should support your companies product or service. Your visuals are the pictures for your custom storybook. What does your brand's "look-book" show, how can you custom curate your Instagram, are all your products shot with the same level of detail and lighting? All these little decisions matter and are part of your identity.
This is the more "traditional" item offered in any identity package and having a well-designed business card, and letterhead shows your clients you are professional and serious - not only about your own business but your aesthetics as well.
Letterhead may not be printed out as much, and businesses are using it less, so we suggest to our clients to use their letterhead as a way to stand out. Show your clients you care with that extra level of professionalism and send your letters, invoices, meeting notes, legal announcements, and other business-related information on your own personalized letterhead. Another suggestion we give our clients is to think through all the ways your customers will engage in your product or service. Should we design a custom thank you card to place in your shipping boxes? Maybe a custom tag that says we value you and here's 20% off your next order, what about the tissue paper holding your product? What are all the different ways you can surprise and delight your customers?
The whole point of all this is to help your customers identify who you are and what your company is all about. To better visually show how your product works or the value your services provide, you may need custom designed icons or infographics. These are very helpful when you need to quickly explain multiple features or complicated information about your company. These should be part of your identity package, so they are customized with your colors, fonts, look, and feel. Icons can be very universal now but designing new stylized versions that explain your company's values will help you stand out.
Once we have the core elements of your brand identity finalized: logo varieties, colors, fonts, imagery, etc., we bring them all together into templated examples that are catered to your company needs. We do mock-ups of what a branded poster would look like, examples of potential social media posts, or presentation layouts with templated headers and footers.
This is our favorite part, showing you how all our ideas and elements can work together. Your cohesive and complete look with real-life objectives in mind. All these brand elements can feel disjointed if they are not seen in everyday content scenarios.
Swag / Signage
It's time to share your new brand with everyone, yet, where do you start? We love showing our clients the potential of their unique designs by mocking up custom apparel options, tradeshow booth ideas to indoor/outdoor signage. Don't forget about stickers, tags, retail bags, sales gear, other promotions, and giveaways.
Your identity package should continuously work for you. Once you have figured out your brand strategy (see here), and your identity package is developed, your company has a tremendous amount of tools to help you share, grow, build, and elevate the company of your dreams.