Most people think that graphic design is too challenging to figure out (if you don’t, you probably haven’t tried to make something look cool before). The truth is, it is complicated, but all of the work has already been done for you in most circumstances. That’s the beauty of the internet; you get access to some of the most talented people on the planet, and if you know how to do things right, it won’t cost you much to use them!
You can buy templates or hire professionals to do almost everything you need done. With just a few simple tools and an excellent teacher (me), you can make your brand look extremely professionals for little to no cost.
What you need to do in the first place is make a conscious effort to choose your direction and stick with it. Just like we’re going to be combining all of our different efforts into one cohesive plan, the same thing needs to be done for your style.
When I say “style,” I’m talking about a unified look for all of the different materials that people see, including:
- Your Logo
- Your Website
- Your Business Card
- Your Social Media Graphics
- Your Stationery
- Your Flyers
- Your Signage
- Your Banners
- Your Watermark (needs to go on everything)
- Your Photography
- Your Videos
In order to keep your style consistent, here are the different aspects you need to choose:
- Primary Color(s)
- Secondary Colors
- Support Elements
You need to have one or two colors that you use consistently on graphics. Don’t confuse consistency with “everywhere”. You should not be using your primary colors as backgrounds on anything (backgrounds are covered in the Secondary Color category). Think of your primary color as the best representation of your brand; what does it say about you the instant people see it? This color is usually bold and should be incorporated into your logo somehow.
Secondary Colors are going to be used for accents and backgrounds. This is not going to be bold and distinctive like your Primary Color; instead, it should complement the Primary Color and enhance it.
The Feel of your branding is an important consideration, especially when it comes to attracting new customers. You’ve probably heard this quote a thousand times:
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~Maya Angelou
This is absolutely true when it comes to your marketing. If people feel nothing when they look at your presentation style, that’s a problem. You need your target audience to feel the right way about your brand.
The “Feel” should be something abstract and descriptive. Examples would be:
Font is fairly easy, especially if you simply follow the font used in your logo or as a default setting on your website. Whatever you do, keep it consistent throughout the different materials. Everything should be reinforcing everything else.
Support Elements make designing much more consistent. These are simply design elements that you will use throughout your graphics. It could be a chain link fence, smoke, fire, geometric shapes, grunge elements, stone, cement, metal, etc.