You might be thinking – why do I need a brand style? Establishing a set of brand elements for your business will help you easily create consistent marketing collateral to appeal to your ideal clients, allow you to be more easily recognized, and save you time.
Be sure to have a clear outline of your business plan prior to starting this process. Knowing what you offer, to who, and why is an important part of a cohesive brand and marketing strategy and will lay the foundation for many of the following aspects. Here are the essential elements for brand style, along with our favorite free resources:
VOICE & TONE
Voice refers to the “personality” of your brand and how it expresses itself to your target audience. It should be unique to you and what you offer, and is closely tied to the values of your business. When considering aspects of your brand voice, be authentic. If it is real, it feels real. Try to describe your brand voice in three words or less. For example, a brand can be friendly, approachable, inspiring, professorial, playful etc. Also consider what your brand isn’t: fun but not childish, clever but not silly, smart but not stodgy and so on. Regardless of your specific voice attributes, keep it personal, professional and clear.
Here are some questions to help define your brand’s voice:
- If your brand was a person, what kind of personality would it have?
- If your brand was a person, what’s their relationship to the consumer?
- Describe in adjectives what your company’s personality is not.
- How do you want your customers to think about your company?
Tone gives specificity to your messaging and includes the moods and attitudes representative of your brand’s personality. Voice remains steady and embodies your brands values and identity, whereas tone can vary depending on the platform, context and audience. Consider who you are talking to and what feelings you want to elicit with the specific information you are sharing. Example tone elements include: helpful, informative, approachable, honest, humble, direct, clinical, scientific, educational, entertaining, delightful, informative, engaging and so on.
LOGO & VARIATIONS
Hiring a graphic designer for your logo can cost anywhere from $500 – $5,000. If that’s not in the cards, there are many online resources for creating your logo. Your logo could be as simple as the name of your business in a special font, that you use consistently.
If you want to get a little fancier with design elements, try starting with one of Canva’s free logo templates and customize with your brand’s personality, easily editing the text, colors fonts and more. You’ll likely need multiple formats of your logo. Generally, 250 px (width) x 100 px (height) are the optimal logo dimensions for a web page. You’ll also need a square “icon” version for social media sites. See more logo size formats for different platforms here.
When it comes to fonts, keep it simple for cohesiveness and consistency. We recommend choosing two or three fonts for your brand:
1. Body Choose a font that is easy to read, for text on your website and materials. Sans Serif (“without the little tiny feet”), or Serif (classic) fonts general work best here.
2. Headings Choose a display typeface to stand out. Display typefaces will often have more eccentric and variable designs than the simple, relatively restrained typefaces generally used for body text.
3. Accent Font (optional) Find an additional handwriting or display for flair on marketing materials for short amounts of eye catching text. Pinterest is a great place to look for font combinations & ideas – check out our favorites!
We recommend choosing 3-5 main colors for your brand. A great rule of thumb is to have the following color elements represented: Bold, Complimentary, Neutral, Dark & Light. Consider the psychology of color and the different emotions they are known to elicit when choosing colors for your brand.
Need more inspiration? Try creating a Pinterest board with photos that represent the look and feel you are going for, as a guide to choosing your final five.
Have a photo you love with your desired color scheme in mind? Try this FREE color palette tool from Canva, which generates five Hex Color Codes of colors found in the photo.
Not even sure where to start? This super simple, super fast color scheme generator can help you narrow it down. Lock colors you like and keep the generator going to complete the set.
Any other tips or tools you’ve used for creating your brand? Leave them in the comments!