What A Brand Kit Includes + How You Can Make One
Let’s talk about branding, baby!
Brand kits in particular, that is. :)
When it comes to strong brands -- like Nike or Apple for example, there are a few things that are so consistent about their branding that make them so strong. In fact, I bet just reading "Nike" or "Apple" probably triggered some visual in your head. That’s because their marketing and advertising team know how to connect all the elements of their campaigns directly to the brand.
And you must, too! For your blog and your blog's success.
So, what is a brand?
I’m not just talking about a name here. I’m talking about brand as in the idea, perception, and beliefs behind the name. It’s the identity of a business, and it’s the first impression made on consumers -- or readers, or whoever your ideal client is.
Let’s put this into perspective.
If I visit a new website, there is about a 10 second window for me to decide if I want to pursue the site further or leave and find a new source. If I stay, it’s because the brand invited me. If I leave, it’s because the brand didn’t appeal to me, wasn’t effective, or didn’t seem relevant to the purpose. (Ex. a wedding blog with dark visuals and symbols like, lightning bolts. Relevant? Not slightly.)
In this case, trusting that the reader knows what she's talking about would be hard to do. I might not take their advice because I can't see the connection between content + brand. So, they lose credibility and a reader. That’s why it’s important to build trust right off the bat.
Got it? Good. :)
There a few key elements each business needs to have. And they need to be consistent, consistent, consistent!
Together, they make up what’s called your brand kit:
This is the easiest thing for people to remember about a brand, which is why it’s so important to get it right. My personal best tip I can give to people trying out designing logos for the first time is this: Would it still look good when printed on a business card? Logos that have too much going on rarely look good on small areas, like business cards.
Stick to one or two fonts, and just one or two colors. If you have any more than this, it might get too busy. You also want to consider what kind of logo you want. There are more than 3 types, but let’s just focus on these for now.
A wordmark logo is what it sounds. It’s a word (or your blog/business’s name) written in a strong font. It has no symbols or anything to accompany it. Think Google or Disney.
A logo symbol is also what it sounds. It uses a symbol to represent the business without the help of words to define it. Think Target or Batman.
This type combines both a strong font-written word and a symbol to create one cohesive logo. Think Taco Bell or Walmart. (Also LRC! This is the type I use)
**If you’re just getting started, it might be best to avoid using a logo symbol, just because your audience won’t be able to recognize your brand or learn its name.
Color is super important mainly because they carry feelings. Think of the main color in the following brands: Chase, Facebook, Ford, PayPal, BCBS Insurance… (blue!), which certainly isn't unintentional. Blue is a trusting color and obviously those companies want us to trust them.
When it comes to color, ask yourself: What do you want people to feel when they engage with your brand?
My personal favorite... (I’m a font freak)...
Typography is important because it’s an opportunity to give background to your business. What tone do you want to set? If you run a wedding blog, chances are you’ll play with romantic fonts like serifs and scripts, but if you own a futuristic company investing in technological advances, you’ll play with sleek, modern sans fonts. If you don't know the difference between serif and sans serif, use the image below to show you the difference. Notice the feet? Sans just means "without," so it has no feet.
Font is also just a really basic way to make your brand look nice.
I like to suggest having around 3 fonts in your brand kit. One for logo, another for headlines, and another for body text. You can play around with variations of these fonts for different headings -- like having Heading 1 all caps, or Heading 3 all lower case (psst.. this is what I do.)
Use these consistently throughout your website, social media + graphics.
The images you choose to represent your business have to represent it accurately. Choose styles that are (I’m gonna say it again) consistent to your brand. Everything you make for your blog or business should all feel and look the same -- while remaining different.
Does that make sense?
You should also consider taking your own photos rather than utilizing all the free stock photos on the Internet today (which are great for those starting off and totally OK to use once in a while... but I wouldn't make a habit of it.)
Play with different textures, shapes, colors and shoot your own photography! This is the only way you can control the look + feel of your blog inside and out.
If you’re not grasping this, the best you could do is do a quick Google search on the brands you love.
Why do you love them? How do they make you feel? What are you attracted to?