6 Essential Branding Elements for Small Business

by | Jan 5, 2022 | Branding | 0 comments

brand essentials

Do you find creating marketing graphics in your business takes you hours?

Fiddling around with different colours, fonts and images and it all ends up looking a bit like the dog’s dinner?

Suffer no longer! I’m going to show you the 6 Branding Essentials, that you need to nail, to transform your design process and make putting together those essential graphics so much quicker, easier and effective.

Each of the branding essentials I’m going to talk about come together to create your overall brand identity in different ways. Miss one and you’re missing out!

Branding Essential 1: Your Logo

The first of the branding essentials is of course your logo! This element plays an important part in appealing to the correct audience. However, I don’t want you to think that your visual brand identity is just your logo. It is actually just one tiny little element of your visual branding.

A logo is not your brand.

Think of it as your business’s signature. In fact, I work with a lot of entrepreneurs who are building a personal brand and I’ve actually used a form of their signature to create their logo. It’s a trick a lot of the big entrepreneurs employ to show that they are real people, approachable and experts in what they do. Keep it simple. Use as few colours, fonts and elements as possible so your audience can recognise it instantly.

Top Tip: If you’re an online or personal brand just go for it! I’m so going to get hate mail from all the graphic designers out there! Investing in an expensive logo when starting out just isn’t necessary and won’t be a huge part of your brand strategy. However, If you’re a product-based business and investing in packaging then you might need to invest in something a bit more future proof.

Branding Essential 2: Your Colour Palette

Your colours set the mood! Use the right colours and your customers will feel right at home. Use the wrong colours and you can really put people off! This is because colours have a remarkable psychological power! They can influence our mood, our feelings and even our behaviour which is a powerful place to be when creating your persuasive marketing graphics.

Ah the control!

Top Tip: Deciding on what your colour palette needs to be will tie all of your marketing together and make your powers of persuasion much more effective. I suggest including no more than five or six main colours at the most with one standout action colour to make people take those actions and buy from you.

Branding Essential 3: Your Fonts

The fonts you use, set the style of your brand. We are opinionated beasts and fonts come with a whole raft of preconceptions. Use a font that is misaligned with your brand and you could be sending out completely the wrong message to your audience. For example:

  • Using a childish font for something serious can make your business look unprofessional
  • Having a handwritten font for signage can be hard to read and look like you just threw it together yourself on a word doc.
  • Using overused default fonts can make your business seem bland and old-fashioned.

These are not the impression you want to make!

Top Tip: A great rule of thumb is to stick to two fonts. One with a bit of character that you can use for your big titles and the other for the smaller body text that needs to be easier to read.

Branding Essential 4: Your Patterns

This is a much-missed but essential element of your branding because patterns can be such a flexible tool. You can use them as backgrounds, to fill space and to make stock photographs look like your own. If you have a set of patterns that you use consistently – and consistency is the key when building a strong brand across all of your marketing – your audience will instantly recognise your post, your videos, your products and your downloadables as uniquely yours.

Top Tip: Don’t go overboard! Choose just two styles of patterns that suit the character of your brand.

You may want to check out this fabulous little website creativemarket.com for some pre-prepared patterns and graphics. Let me know if you go on there – it’s a little addictive I warn you!

Branding Essential 5: Your Graphics and Icons

These are so helpful because you can use them pretty much anywhere. Get a set of icons or mini graphics that match your brand and your marketing will be so much more effective. Consistency – I might have said this before – is key to building your brand.

Items like arrows, circles and icons all the way up to illustrations help to establish your look. Once you have them you’ll be able to easily brand up all your marketing so it’s recognisably you.

Top Tip: I know it’s tempting to pick a random arrow or free illustration in Canva when you’re trying to create your pics but this can really make your brand look unprofessional and thrown together. So, choose a graphic style and stick to it!

Branding Essential 6: Your Photos

Images can really evoke emotion. Using the right image at the right time can communicate the right message in seconds. Nowhere is this more evident than on websites, where decisions to stay on the site are made in a scarily short three seconds of landing on the page. An image really does say a thousand words – quickly!

Deciding on the style of all your images, that reflect exactly how you want your audience to feel about your brand, will make your marketing far more consistent and effective.

We don’t all have the budget to get professional photos done. And with the number of images needed for social posts, we often have to use stock photos or just take our own some of the time. (Or all of the time!) Just make sure they match your image style. So, use similar lighting, colours, filters and subject matter.

Top Tip: What do you do with all these brand identity elements once you’ve pinned them down? I always suggest creating a simple style guideline sheet that you can refer back to when you’re creating your marketing graphics. The elements of a style guide include:

  • Your colours
  • Your images
  • The colour codes to use on canvas
  • Your patterns
  • Your fonts

Having this sheet will help you save so much time deciding and it will make your graphics far more consistent and much more powerful.

If you still need help pinning down your brand identity elements, I’ve created an easy and fun brand design course for complete beginners, untechys and not at all arty business owners called BrandUp. Shimmy on over for more info on the course or if you’re ready to start creating some of these elements for yourself, check out this blog for some easy ways you can get started.

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