Using brand design to elevate your brand story

Posted on August 06, 2021 by Sarah Robertson

Fairytales and fables have withstood time because the stories and images evoked feelings, inspired us or left a lasting impression. Talking and writing about your business – and creating meaningful visuals to support your messaging – is no different. In the final instalment of our brand storytelling series, Sarah shares four brand design tips to help you enhance your story.

Brand design & your story

Your brand story can positively affect people and is a powerful tool for communicating, marketing, and selling. And if you can create a brand style that reflects it – using colour, fonts and imagery to elevate your business – you can turn your words into something even more memorable.

Gone are the days of traditional marketing and selling where you told your audience to choose you because you were the best or, dare I say it, a guru or ninja of some description. It’s time to move your audience from being faraway admirers to members of your community by marrying great stories with great design, just like we’re doing with The Crafting Kind (pictured and soon to launch).

Over the last year, our guest bloggers have covered brand storytelling through copywritingsocial media, photography, PR and Pinterest. And today, I want to help you get to grips with the design process by sharing a few simple ways to lay the foundations for your brand style, create consistency and, over time, familiarity. There are also a few tips to help you get the ball rolling yourself.

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By bringing your brand story to life through visuals, you offer a heightened sense of who you are and how you work.

Logo

A logo is often the first touchpoint for a customer. And that’s why it’s such a vital part of the branding design process. When someone first discovers you on social media or visits your website, your logo could be the one thing that keeps them there, either because they’re drawn to the look and feel or because it clearly expresses your brand values. While many businesses will hire a professional designer for this purpose, sometimes budget or timescales mean it’s not an option; investing in a logo kit can be beneficial and Creative Market is a great place to start. You won’t be using a logo that’s unique to you, but you can still begin with something affordable and representative of your business.

Fonts

It’s common for clients to come to the brand design process with fonts in mind, but there’s a difference between expressive and appropriate. As a designer, it’s my job to find the right balance and make sure we settle on what’s impactful and legible. If you’re choosing your own fonts, select at least two that are clear and complement each other. Ensure they’re distinctive yet still capture the overall mood. It can be helpful to search for ‘font pairings’ on Pinterest or use a website such as MyFonts to discover what’s new and popular. If you’re on a budget, free fonts are available on Google Fonts. When used consistently across a website, social media, newsletter and marketing materials, fonts can be a powerful part of a customer’s experience with a brand, so it pays to spend time on this.

Brand design & your story

Colour

Playing with colour is a significant (and possibly my favourite!) part of the design process. Spending time on a palette and choosing colours that represent your values and story will not only help to evoke certain feelings in your audience but connect you with your brand style too. Cool pastel shades can work well for a calm aesthetic; earthy tones can give off a wholesome and nurturing vibe; bright pops of colour will suit a vibrant brand that’s full of energy. Each will inspire an audience in a different way. Colour theory is something we’ll cover in an upcoming blog but, to begin with, you could use a tool such as Coolors to generate a ideas. You can click through pre-made colour schemes, play around with shades and hues, and save your favourite colours to build a custom palette!

Imagery

Photography is integral to the branding process and is a useful way of quickly communicating your values and making your brand more recognisable. It could be portrait images of yourself, professional shots of your products or photos of your work space, demonstrating the quality of services you offer. Other types of imagery include assets, icons and patterns, which can be based on features from a logo or your overall brand style. These little touches can bring personality to your content and be used on social media, email marketing and websites to help weave your brand style throughout the various channels you use. When it comes to pattern, consider whether you like crisp, clean lines or if you’re more drawn to fun, flowing shapes. Some examples include watercolour, brushstrokes and illustrations, which can bring your story to life and offer a playful way to deliver your message. Pattern can bring so much personality to the branding process. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

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Perfection isn’t necessary, but audiences like consistency. It shows that you care, have good standards and believe in your brand.

By bringing your brand story to life through visuals, you offer a heightened sense of who you are and how you work. You also create a more compelling narrative around what you do and why you do it.

Perfection isn’t necessary, but audiences like consistency. It shows that you care, have good standards and believe in your brand.

Choosing to focus on a few small details and being consistent in your communication is a useful first step in creating or refining your brand style. And the simplest of creative touches can ensure you’ll be seen and heard not necessarily as the loudest or the boldest in your field but perhaps as one of the most memorable.

*About Sarah Robertson*

Sarah is a creative director here at IfLooksCouldKill and founder of These Are The Days, a business specialising in branding design and playful strategy, styling and storytelling. Visit her website to find out more and join her email community or follow her on Instagram where she shares her own story, design projects and creative services.