By Fran Johnson
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Branding Visuals: don’t dive straight in!

We love visuals – just take a look at our Pinterest boards! But we do believe that it would be a mistake to jump straight into talking about visuals when thinking about your brand. Whether you are thinking about branding visuals in-house, or asking an external company to brand you, preparation is key.

Branding visuals - don't jump straight into the look

What do you want to be known for?

In order to establish depth within your brand, you need to understand your audiences, and the assumptions they may have about you, and your sector. Stereotypes are often dismissed too quickly – they feel lazy and overworked, however they are often the perfect place to start when thinking about your audience – their stereotypes about you, and vice versa! Hold them lightly, and be ready to be proved wrong, but don’t dismiss them! Your audience will judge you on many levels, but we will quickly talk about the main two:  the logical response and the emotional response. Firstly, an audience need to understand what you do, and a common mistake when beginning the branding process is to try and communicate this too literally within the logo itself. For example, if you sell clothes you don’t necessarily need to include clothing imagery as part of your logo. A potential customer will want to know what you offer (e.g. outdoor wear, youth fashion etc.) but even that information will most probably be communicated in the shop window display. However, the emotional response, we believe, holds the key. You want to be able to direct your audience about how to feel about you, and around you. Is your audience meant to be having fun around your brand, or are they meant to feel safe and secure? Using the clothing shop analogy once more, a brand that exudes heritage and history should feel very different to a pop-up shop selling party wear.

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Hiring a designer – branding visuals

Working out how to translate ‘ideal emotional responses’ into visuals is a designers job (they aren’t around just to make everything look pretty!). However, figuring out what those messages are is best done by you! We recommend writing a short list – having too many ‘ideal audience responses’ will dilute your message and confuse your audience – and always remember you can’t be everything to everyone. Selecting 3 ’emotions’ should help create the foundations for a coherent brand that can be used to build trust and understanding with your intended audience. So write a list, and get it checked by a small group of your potential audience. Do your assumptions, and theirs match up? If yes, you’re one step closer to branding visuals! If no, start a deeper conversation with your potential audience about how they see you! This blog post is part of a series about branding, and so we will be talking about audiences even more in the next coming weeks. Would love to hear your thoughts on this process, and hear about what did and didn’t work for you!

Image from Shutterstock

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