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What ‘TYPE’ of business are you running?

What ‘TYPE’ of business are you running?

“Words have meaning. Type has spirit. The combination is spectacular.”

– Paula Scher

If you’ve been following my blogs you’ll have realised by now that there is a lot more to branding than just a snazzy logo (although the snazzy logo is SUPER important!). When it comes to branding the devil is in the detail, and one of the most important details is the font (or fonts) you use in your marketing. At first glance it seems like a trivial thing: just use Times New Roman right? Isn’t that a good catch all font?

In fact, the font you use has an amazing impact on your branding (and I’m afraid Times New Roman just might not cut it!). Successful companies use fonts to great effect, to the extent that they become recognised for a certain font, or even have a specially created font named after them.

Consider, for example, the Disney franchise – they use typography that is instantly recognisable, and uniquely theirs. Similarly, the Harry Potter logo is heavily reliant, not on graphics, but on the font.

If you scroll through the pre-set fonts on your PC you’ll find one called Blackadder: it’s actually named for the BBC sit com, specifically the second series, set in Elizabethan England. The designer, Bob Anderton, actually based the script on the signature given by Guy Fawkes after his arrest, and made it deliberately ‘shaky’ to convey a sense of the theatrical! 

So this, like the Disney typography, was designed to evoke very specific emotions and convey the essence of the brand for which it was used. These are examples of fonts being used to good effect, but what about the opposite? 

Believe it or not, one particular font has been the subject of so much vehemence over the years, that it actually spawned an online movement: bancomicsans.com was created by a couple who likened the use of the font to “showing up at a black tie event in a clown costume” – in the early days of home computing Comic Sans was used to lend a jaunty ‘handwritten’ effect to marketing, but has been so overused that it’s become something of a cliché. This is particularly the case for businesses that want to appear high end.

So you see, the fonts you choose for your business are extremely important, but how do you narrow it down when you’re starting out?

Font Styles

First of all, it helps to know that fonts can be broken down into five basic types:

Font styles

SERIF

Serif fonts, such as our old friend Times New Roman, are traditional ‘typewriter’ type fonts – straight forward and easy to read, with flourishes at the edges called ‘serifs’ (feet). They are classic and classy, and evoke a sense of trust and quality.

SANS-SERIF

Sans Serif fonts, such as Arial, are more minimal than traditional serifs, having done away with the flourishes. They’re clean and very easy to read, making them an excellent choice for body text, particularly on dark or patterned backgrounds.

SCRIPT

Script fonts, such as Forte, are flowing and pretty, almost always italic, and are great for conveying a sense of elegance. They’re popular with people in the beauty industry and are extremely varied, so there’s something to suit most people.

HANDWRITTEN

Handwritten fonts are the less clunky children of Comic Sans. Fonts such as Just Another Hand are fun and quirky, and popular with companies that cater for children. Be careful when choosing a handwritten font: the right one can bring much needed levity to a brand, but the wrong one can just look cheesy.

DECORATIVE

Finally, decorative fonts such as Chocolate Dealer are distinctive and dramatic. Start googling these fonts and you may never stop, but there really is something to suit every brand. It’s best to bypass the pre-set fonts and look for something online with these, as you minimise the chances of looking like other companies.

Summary

Once you’ve chosen your fonts you’ll need to pick colours (for example, if your brand colours are quite pale you might want your typography in dark grey instead of black), weights (ie size and thickness) and designated usage (will this font only be used in the logo, or only in body text etc).

You can then enter all this into your brand style guide so that if you need to outsource your design to a third party, they’ll know exactly how to keep you on brand.

Remember, fonts say just as much about your business as graphics, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right.

The Ultimate Branding Checklist

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5 tips to choosing your brand colours

5 tips to choosing your brand colours

“Colour is a power that directly affects the soul”
– Wassily Kandinsky

Think of a famous logo.

  • What colour is it?
  • Does that colour evoke any feelings on your part?
  • Is it appropriate to the brand?
  • Does it make you want to buy?

When we think of a company’s branding one of our first impressions is of colour: it’s easily recognised, easily remembered, and creates a ‘feeling’ that goes with that company.

Cadbury’s Chocolate was established in the Victorian era and purple was used as a regal and venerable tribute to the Queen. It says “our chocolate is high quality; our chocolate is a cut above”. So successful is Cadbury’s branding, that they trademarked their own Pantone colour in 2008.

 Cadbury logo 

Apples are usually green or red, but Apple inventor Steve Jobs chose white for his branding, as it invoked a sense of cleanliness, precision and class. Other computer manufacturers of the time stuck with functional greys, but Jobs was looking past pure function: he wanted Apple to be a statement brand, and he certainly got his wish.

 Apple logo

 Then there’s McDonalds: the red was chosen because red is thought to stimulate appetite (people on diets are recommended to avoid red in their kitchens and on crockery!), while yellow is happy, sunny and upbeat; representing a ‘coming together’ of family and friends.

mcdonalds logo

These are not just random jabs at a colour wheel, these are carefully thought our palettes chosen with surgical precision and design to sell product.

Research has time and again shown the importance of colour, with 85% of consumers citing colour as the biggest motivator when choosing a particular product, and a massive 60% saying that they will decide whether or not they’re attracted to a message based on colour alone.

How to choose your brand colours

So how do you go about choosing the right colour palette for your business?

You need to start by understanding the basics about colour psychology, and how this relates to you and your company, and I’ve put together 5 top tips for helping you make the right choice:

#1: Understand colour psychology

‘Colour psychology’ refers to the ways in which colour can affect, impact & influence human behaviour. Understanding colour psychology will help you to build a strong, memorable and relatable brand.

So let’s start with common colour associations:

Red is associated with danger, excitement, and energy. It’s also known for being the colour of love and passion and, as mentioned earlier, is believed to stimulate appetite.

Pink is feminine and romantic. Different shades, like hot pink, can be youthful and bold, while pale or dusky pink can be calming.

Orange, like its namesake, is fresh and full of vitality. It’s also creative, adventurous, and associated with being cost-effective.

Yellow is optimistic. It’s a colour associated with being playful and happy and can evoke nostalgia and sunshine.

Green is natural, often used to demonstrate sustainability. But it can also align with prestige and wealth.

Blue is trustworthy and reliable. It’s calming but also often associated with depression.

Purple is royalty and majesty. It can be spiritual and mysterious. In Ancient Greece purple was a difficult and expensive colour to create and was therefore used only for the wealthiest of people – this reputation remains.

Brown is down-to-earth and honest, often used for organic wholesome products.

White is pure. It conveys simplicity and innocence, as well as cleanliness and precision, often with a minimalistic feel.

Black is both sophisticated and elegant. It can be formal and luxurious, but also sorrowful.

Multicolour is united or open to anything. It’s great for capturing the spirit of diversity.

#2: Define your brand’s essence

To do this you must ask yourself:

  • What is my brand about?
  • What does my brand stand for?
  • Who am I trying to attract?
  • What are the goals of my brand? (for example, do you want your customers to be more informed or do you want to excite and inspire them through the products you sell?)
  • How do I want my customers to feel? (empowered, supported, confident?)
  • What is my brand’s personality? (serious, quirky, intelligent, fun, inspirational?)

Once you have figured out how you want your brand to be perceived by your customers, and what your brand’s essence is then it’s time to choose a colour palette that supports your business.

For example, if your business sells natural products and cares about the environment then green is a great colour to choose because it represents nature and the natural world. It also has strong associations with tranquillity, good luck and health.

#3: Get inspired!

Once you have a good understanding of the essence and style of your business, then it’s time to get inspired.

Create a board of colour inspiration in Pinterest. There will be certain colours that you will be attracted to and because you have determined what your brand essence is, you will be able to make a judgement as to whether the colours you have picked are right for your business and what you want to convey.

 

Pinterest

 

Once you have created your board then choose 6-8 colours that you feel are right for your brand and that will work together.

There are lots of tools that you can use to help you generate colour palettes. Canva has a really useful tool called The Colour Generator
(https://www.canva.com/colors/color-palette-generator/).

#4: Start selecting colours

Brands often have more than one colour as part of the colour scheme (remember McDonalds’ red and yellow). A business may use one primary colour in the main, but this colour will be supported by an accompanying palette (Samsung’s green Android is instantly recognisable, but its blue font is just as important).

Colours that are chosen in a brand palette must work together harmoniously. If the colours do not sit well together then the brand’s identity could end up looking messy and disjointed.

When you are choosing your brand’s colours, it’s worth creating a primary palette which consists of 1-3 core colours and a secondary palette of 3-5 colours.

Primary colours:

Your brand’s primary colours will be the colours most associated with your brand for example… Tiffany’s signature Blue or Coca Cola’s red.

Secondary colours:

Once you have chosen your primary palette, pick 3-5 secondary colours that complement your primary palette. These colours will either appear next to your main colours or they may appear independently. Different types of secondary palettes may include:

Analogous colours:

These colours sit very close to your primary colour scheme. For example if your main primary colour is green then you can add other cold colours such as blue and purple. Analogous colour schemes are harmonious in their appearance.

Monochromatic colours:

These are various shades and tints of your primary colour. For example, if your primary colour is red then your secondary colours may be light red and dark red. Monochromatic colour schemes can be used to enhance your primary colour.

Contrasting colours:

Contrasting colours are often seated across from each other on the colour wheel, or they are a selection of vibrant tones, such as red, blue and yellow. This colour scheme can help your brand to pop and can give it a contemporary feel.

Neutral colours:

Once you have picked your primary and secondary colour palettes then it’s time to choose your neutral colours. Neutral colours bring a balance to your colour palette and they are often the colours that appear across all your marketing collateral, such as backgrounds and text. Neutral colours often consist of white, cream, beige, grey and black.

It’s worth including both light and dark shades within your colour palette. A strong and distinct colour palette will include a mix of light, medium and dark tones.

Creating both a primary palette and a secondary palette will help to visually strengthen your brand’s look throughout all your design collateral. It will also make it easier to create a more distinct and memorable design. If you just limit yourself to 3 colours, it may make it harder to evolve your look.

Your colour palette is most likely to appear in your logo, website and emails, across your social media platforms, in your advertising, throughout your brand’s stationery and on staff uniforms. In fact your brand colours should appear anywhere where your business shows up so it’s worth taking the time to get it right!

#5: Test, test, test…

Once you have chosen your brand colours, bring them all together and create several different colour combinations to make sure that all the colours complement one another, and convey the right message.

If you are unsure then get outside feedback. Ask a few trusted people to give you feedback on the colours you have chosen. You can then measure their answers against what you were looking to achieve to see if the colours are aligned with your brand’s message and how you want your business to be perceived.

Summary

It’s exciting to start a business (actually it’s pretty exciting no matter how long you’ve been doing it!) and it’s very tempting to choose colours based on your own personal likes.

Whilst it is vital that you like your own colour palette (after all, you’re the one who has to live with it), it’s even more important that the colours you choose express the nature and goals of your company. I may have a fondness for yellow and pink, but I wouldn’t have used those colours if I’d been setting up a funeral home!

Sure, that’s a pretty simplistic example, but it illustrates just how wrong the wrong colours could be, while the century plus of success enjoyed by our old friend Cadbury proves that, with the right colours, the sky’s the limit!

Elevate Your Brand with Colour

If you are in the process of defining your brand’s colour palette and need a little help then download our free ebook which has been designed to:

  • Walk you through the process to defining a distinct colour palette for your brand
  • Break down the colour creation process into manageable chunks
  • Give you a step by step guide to creating your own unique colour palette
  • Help you to define your brand’s essence
  • Give you an insight into colour psychology
  • Create an effective mood board so that you can visualise your creative ideas

Download your FREE ebook ‘Elevate Your Brand with Colour’ and start creating your powerful brand today.

Elevate your brand with colour ebook

Book your complimentary consultation

If you would like to book a complimentary consultation to see how I can help you grow your business then please click here.

Elevate your brand with colour ebook

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Are your business cards lacking zest?

Are your business cards lacking zest?

Picture the scene, you are at a networking event and you manage to finally get in front of a prospective Client that you have been wanting to talk to for ages…

Picture the scene… you are at a networking event and you manage to finally get in front of a prospective Client that you have been wanting to talk to for ages.

The discussion is going great guns and you feel as though you are really making a great impression, after all they seem really hooked on what you have to say. Suddenly, this said prospective, asks you for a business card; all of a sudden you panic!

You fish around in your bag for what feels like ages and then finally you manage to pull out something that resembles a rather sad looking piece of paper. You go to give it to the prospective client and then… OMG, it flops!

Standing there feeling rather embarrassed, all you can think is ‘why didn’t I just pay for some professional business cards….!”

How many of you have been in this kind of situation, where you feel embarrassed with your business card?

OK, so it might not literally flop but everything from the thinness of the card to the way it has been designed screams ‘DIY’….

So why you should you spend your hard-earned money on business cards?

Well, where do I start…

1. First and foremost, it creates a first impression
First impressions are extremely important, especially when networking and business cards can leave a lasting impression. If you received a flimsy, poorly designed business card, would you be jumping through hoops to do business with that person? I suspect not.

2. They are inexpensive
In terms of your marketing spend for your business, business cards are relatively inexpensive however they can be quite powerful in terms of marketing your business and telling people what you do.

3. Easy to carry around
Business cards are portable and as such, I keep a stack of business cards in my work bag at all times and they go wherever I go as you never know when someone may ask for a business card. They take up very little room which means if the right opportunity arises, I am able to market my business. Boom!

4. They are a direct marketing tool
Your business card is a valuable, effective and direct marketing tool that people can take away with them. It carries your branding and helps to create an impression of your business. It can also showcase your personality as well which can help your business to be memorable.

5. Creates a sense of professionalism
A well-designed business card can enhance credibility and create a sense of professionalism. It also makes you look prepared and ready to do business!

6. May help to generate potential leads
A good quality business card can help to generate leads which of course can turn into revenue. I have personally experienced this so it really does work!

7. Provides a personal touch
Business cards provide a personal touch. We live in such a digital age where everything is pretty much done via our phones or on the computer so it’s actually quite refreshing to exchange something physical. It helps build connections and you are more likely to remember the person who gave you a business card, as opposed to someone who sends their details digitally.

8. Easy to follow up
By giving your business card out, it makes it easy for prospective Clients to follow up with you at a later date. You are more likely to receive a LinkedIn request or a follow-up email, in which case you are then able to develop a business relationship.

9. Makes you referable
A business card can easily and effortlessly be passed on. Only recently I received a business card from a Solicitor who I met whilst networking. Talking to a friend the following day, they were telling me about their personal troubles and asked if I knew a Solicitor who would give them some advice. Of course, I passed over the business card I had been given the day before and before I knew it, I had made a referral. How easy was that?!

Summary

So, if you are in any doubt as to whether business cards are still needed, the short answer is, absolutely!

Why pass up an easy and inexpensive way to showcase your business and brand? It doesn’t mean you can’t still be digital in your approach but I personally believe it is still a key marketing touchpoint of your business.

I am more than happy to give out my business card whenever someone asks, in fact please go ahead and take one…

Pink Lemon business card

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Why you must invest in your branding

Why you must invest in your branding

Let me start by asking you a question… does your branding, website or marketing material convey the passion you have for your business?

If not, why not?

Believe it or not, branding isn’t just about creating a nice-looking logo or even a great looking website (even though both are important), branding is so much more than that. Branding is about creating something that communicates the essence of your business to your audience and that can’t be achieve through just a simple logo.

Don’t get me wrong; logos are of course, an important part of your branding however a logo is quite simply an identity stamp. It helps people to recognise your business but it doesn’t communicate your brand values or your business’s mission.

Branding isn’t also just about a well written strapline; although a strapline does help to tell people what you do, it doesn’t tell the full story.

In truth, a business’s visual identity can simply make or break a business. If it doesn’t connect or resonate with the right audience then it simply won’t lead to revenue. A business’s branding needs to really set the tone of what customers can expect from the services or products which the business provides. It needs to set the professional standards of the business.

What’s the difference between ‘brand’ and ‘branding?

Now I know it can be a little confusing knowing the difference between what a brand is and what branding is so let me explain…

A brand is simply a name given to a product or a service which can then be communicated to an audience. It is the promise that you make to your customers which sets their expectations about your business / service / products.

Branding is the visual styling applied to the brand so that is has an individual look, feel and style that consumers can then identity.

Branding is everything from the colour palette you use, to the way you lay out your website, to when and where you place your company image. Even the font on your letterhead can have a massive impact on your revenue, so when it comes to really effective branding, the devil is in the detail.

Working on your brand messaging, knowing your USP, understanding where you want to take your business and what your business stands for are essential for being able to brand your business effectively.

It isn’t just about looking good, it’s about getting under the hood of your business, understanding what’s important and then applying the right visual styling that will convey the essence of your brand. It’s vital that there is a sense of cohesion and consistency right across your marketing collateral and throughout your entire brand.

3 key considerations

With this is mind, I’m going to provide you with 3 things to think about when it comes to your own branding:

1. How is your business currently being perceived?
How would you want your business to be perceived and do they match? If you are not sure then why not ask a few people in your network that you trust or perhaps a Client that you get on really well with, you may find the answer quite surprising!

2. Are you being consistent?
Are you being consistent across all your media channels? Whether it’s your design styling or the language you use – everything needs to be consistent. Develop a style that is unique to your business, create templates, decide on a tone in which you are going to deliver your message then stick to it. Be consistent.

3. Are you being social?
Social media (if done right) is a very powerful way of delivering your message. Create original content that will engage and resonate your audience – not just about your business but about your industry as well. Build an online presence through your website, blog and social media platforms. This will not only help you to communicate your business’s mission but it will also gain you brand awareness.

Summary

When branding is done right, it can really help to showcase a business’s products, services, ethos and standards. It builds trust and credibility and can also help to position a business in the marketplace. It will also have a positive effect on the company’s revenue both in the short term and long term.

Branding a business is not an easy task and, of course it does take time but it is vital to a business’s success.

If you are still wondering if your branding is worth investing in then please remember that branding really does matters because branding helps to sell and most importantly, it is what makes your business unique.

Please do share your thoughts and let me know what you think.

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What is branding?

What is branding?

The first question people tend to ask about what I do is “what exactly is branding?”

You see, people understand that a business needs a logo or a strapline, but they often think that branding stops there.

Worse still they think that branding consultants are just ‘paid for doing nothing’ – remember when the Post Office changed to Insignia and was then forced to change back at a cost of millions of pounds? That’s what people think of branding.

In truth they simply couldn’t be more wrong. Your brand is your identity and a good brand can make or break your business. It’s not just a logo; it’s a logo that is instantly recognisable. It’s not just a strapline; it’s a strapline that tells people what you do. It’s everything from the colour palette you use, to the way you lay out your website, to when and where you place your company image. Even the font on your letterhead can have a massive impact on your revenue, so when it comes to really effective branding, the devil is in the detail.

What do I do?

First and foremost I learn about your business, from your places of origin and your reasons for starting your company, to your current demographics and your hopes for the future. I research your business thoroughly so that I can understand exactly what you’re trying to communicate and to whom.

Once I know your business inside and out I can work with you to put together a brand. Often that brand will begin with a logo, but sometimes it might be something as simple as picking a single colour! Your complete brand package will include house guidelines on colour, font, images and style, and can even extend to the words you want to use and the places you want to advertise. That means that if you want to communicate with your clients at any point in the future you and your staff will be able to do so, without disrupting your company image.

Why does it matter?

Branding is all about cohesion and consistency. Imagine if you were searching for a McDonald’s and the ‘M’ was in a different font; would you still pull in for lunch? What if the Times newspaper journalists suddenly started using text speak, or Nike changed their tick for a cross?

The most successful brands are instantly recognisable and that’s because they have a style that is purely, and unchangingly their own. That’s what I can do for you: create an all-encompassing brand that helps your company become instantly recognisable for all the right reasons. A brand that showcases your product, your service, your ethos and your standards, and that helps you become firmly established as one of the best in your field.

The fact is that my services can increase your business in both the short and long term.

Branding matters, branding sells and it’s your business’s branding that will ultimately makes you unique.

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