1. YOU DON’T HAVE A PROPER BRAND STYLE GUIDE.
If you don’t have a proper brand style guide for your business, you should. & if you don’t know what a proper brand style guide is, you REALLY should. A brand style guide includes different assets of your branding such as logo, typography, color palette, mood board, imagery + pattern, + more.
When starting a business, many jump in too fast. They don’t ask themselves questions like, “What is the personality of my brand?”, “What colors speak to my brand’s purpose?” or “What typography represents the aesthetics of my brand?”. These are all very important questions (but not all) a business owner needs to ask themselves before starting a company. Why?
Think of your favorite brand. Why do you like it? I’m guessing it’s because of something they stand for as a business. A feeling + experience they stimulate. The most successful companies focus on giving their customers something. I’m not talking about something physical, but something emotional. And that emotional experience is brought to life through their branding.
The most important part of this brand experience is staying consistent. Not only throughout time, but throughout EVERYTHING your brand does. Whether that be an Instagram post, website, logo, blog, Pinterest, Twitter, marketing materials, packaging, etc…consistency is key. Whatever your brand does, it MUST stay consistent or your audience is going to leave because what they came for is no longer there.
And friends, THAT is why you need a proper brand style guide. Having one means no matter who works on your assets (designer, web developer, writer, social planner, etc.), the branding you thought SO hard about will stay consistent across all platforms.
2. YOU DID IT YOURSELF.
Unless you are an experienced designer, DO NOT MAKE YOUR OWN LOGO. DO NOT MAKE YOUR OWN STYLE GUIDE. DO NOT. PLEASE…just don’t. I know it costs money, but why would you skimp on your brand’s identity? It’s the first thing people see, and yes, people do judge your brand on how it looks.
Designers go to school to master their craft. They have branded an excessive amount of companies. They know what works and what doesn’t. They think about things you never would because they have the experience that led them to ask those questions.
You may think your logo looks great after you designed it, but honestly, you are probably wrong. Designers are creatives because they have a sense of style. Trust in your designer. Work with your designer. Believe in your designer. I promise you it will be worth it + the investment will pay off.
3. YOUR LOGO IS OVER-DESIGNED.
Less is more when it comes to logos. You need to think about how and where you are going to use your logo, and it needs to work within all of those platforms. It needs to be scalable — you should be able to put it on a pen or a billboard. & overall, your logo needs to be versatile. Complicated designs, unreasonable amount of colors, and excessive typography all put restrictions on your logo’s use. Keep your logo clean, on brand and unique. The best logos (in my opinion) are typographical. Design elements are fine for special cases, but wordmarks are the most important. Focus on creating something timeliness for your business that speaks to your brand.
4. YOUR BRANDING DOESN’T SPEAK TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE.
Your target audience should not include men if you have a “cute” looking logo, shades of pink as brand colors or cursive typography. It seems obvious, but oftentimes entrepreneurs overlook their target audience when it comes to branding.
Before you brand your company, think about who your target audience is, where they are in the stage of their life and how you can add value to them. This will help you determine the look & feel of your branding.
5. PEOPLE DON’T RECOGNIZE YOU.
Your brand needs to be unique. If you can take out your business name & replace it with another, you have a problem. It means your branding is not unique enough to set you apart from your competition. People should be able to look at your website and KNOW it’s yours without seeing a logo. They should be able to see a Facebook ad and immediately recognize it as your brand without having to check out the business name.
In order to do this, you need to create a unique look using different design elements. This can be done through various ways: a very particular photography style, custom patterns or gradients, use of space, etc. Whatever the way may be, you must stay consistent with it.
For instance, Apple is a recognized brand because they elevate simple design. They remove the complexity from their products AND their branding, which is why they are so powerful.