Happy New Year! And what a start it’s been. With any new year, business owners are inevitably stuck doing a little bit of reflecting. While we could recommend that you, say, finally change that light bulb or fix that MailChimp problem, we have decided to instead direct your attention to something even more important! Your brand.
For business owners of any size, it is good practice to consistently check on your brand. But what does this even mean? Let’s dive in.
What is considered your “brand”?
Your brand is many things, but to keep things simple: your brand (in the visual context) is your colors, logo, fonts, textures, patterns, photography, and iconography. Use your style guide as a base reference for all of those elements.
How to check for consistency
Using your handy-dandy style guide (if you don’t have one, we can help you make one!) and take a big inventory of everything you created for your business in the last year. Compile it all into a folder, then with your style guide up and ready, begin to sort through each piece and check for the following:
- Logo usage: Is it used appropriately, sized correctly, and are the colors correct?
- Colors: Do you have specific colors identified in your style guide and you accidentally introduce any NEW colors that were not in your brand?
- Font: Have you used only the fonts that are in your style guide? Have you accdietnally introduced any new fonts?
- Texture: If you have approved textures, are you only using those?
- Pattern: Ditto to textures.
- Photography composition, color, saturation, hue, and staging: Do all of your photos look similar?
- Graphic elements: are you introducing any new graphic elements that are not in your style guide?
Using the above list, check your materials. Is that letterhead still on brand? Is that the right shade of red on your social media header? What about the photos you share on social media? Compare images and look to see if your photography composition, color, saturation, hue, and staging are also on brand. Take notes as you go. How many items were off-brand in some way? Reflect on this process and see if any themes become evident. This will help you get a good understanding of whether or not your brand is in need of some assistance.
Refreshing materials to keep them on-brand
Now that you have gone through all of your past materials, you probably have a good idea of what work needs to be done. If you come across a small number of things that need changing, make a battle plan to get those done. But, if you’ve come across a lot of inconsistencies, maybe it’s time for a little professional help. This help can come in many forms, but the two most common ways are contracting for the design of a style guide OR refreshing your brand materials starting with your logo.
Working with a limited budget
If you have determined that you need a larger overhaul of your materials BUT you are also working with a small budget, never fear! There is a simple solution: consistency is key. Instead of focusing on investing in a new logo when you don’t also have the funds for a new matching website, work on improving the overall consistency of your brand. Even if you don’t like it or it’s outdated, stick with one singular look and feel while you save up to address those larger items.
And that’s it! Entering the new year with your best foot forward doesn’t have to be hard. Simply remember that consistency is key, and depending on your capabilities, working with what you have is the best way to go until you can get around to a complete rebrand.