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The Pink Samurai: 6 Things That Will Help Your Branding Stand Out

The Pink Samurai

Friday, March 28, 2014

6 Things That Will Help Your Branding Stand Out


Good branding and design are amazingly important to help your business stand out.  This goes for personal branding if you're a freelancer or blogger and business branding for online and brick and mortar stores.  Branding helps to define you and makes you stand out from the crowd.  When I was a design student (many moons ago, haha!), I found branding one of the most challenging and fun kind of assignments.  It's definitely the most challenging when you're doing it for yourself.  I'm always my worst client!

So I've got some thoughts on branding and an example of good branding in practice to share with you.  I think Ledbelly Vintage has amazing branding and I'm using them as my example ^_^  

Let's approach this from two different angles:  Principles and Practice!  Go!



PRINCIPLES

1. SIMPLE
  • Keeping your design simple and easy to read (visually, and in terms of legibility) will help people recognize the brand and know what's going on quickly.
  • Be sure your logo is easy to read, especially when it's small.  That way, you can use it for business cards, buttons, and anything small without having to worry about size.  
  •  Limit your use of fonts and color palette.  This will help when you're working on print materials or posts on your blog, because you'll have a template to go back to and you can spend more time making instead of worrying what colors or type to use.  I suggest two fonts and five colors (one main color, two contrasting and two neutrals).
  • Ledbelly does a great job with this because Melinda uses one font in all her signage and has a theme of wood grain that adds texture without being distracting. 

2. CONSISTENT
  • Another reason to limit fonts and color palettes is consistency.  All your advertising, posts, shop banners, etc will have a common theme and will be instantly recognizable.  This means that you're work will shine across all medias, online or print.  No one will be confused if they click from your blog to your twitter or your shop because everything will be the same.
  • Ledbelly is consistent throughout their signage, packaging, business cards, you name it!  The brand is easily recognizable and undeniably memorable. 

3. MEMORABLE
  • Aw yesss...sweet segue!  Simplicity and Consistency in your branding work together in helping people remember you.
  • And the more people remember who you are and what you do, the more likely they are to think of you when they're in the market for what you're selling.
  • The first thing that stood out to me about Ledbelly, besides all the gorgeous vintage inventory, was the branding.  And that's what sticks with me the most.  That attention to detail elevates the brand and leaves a more professional and sophisticated impression.

So now that you know the basics, how does that translate into real world examples?  What aspects of your business should you be addressing?  Let's seeeeee....


PRACTICE

4. SIGNAGE
  • When you've got a store, you probably have different sections around the floor that need to be clearly marked.  Online, you might have ads on your blog or different features to highlight.  This is a great place to keep colors or fonts (or both) consistent.  
  • In a retail setting it helps customers understand the physical layout while getting to know your brand's personality.  
  • Online, you might have ads on your blog to differentiate from features and sections.  These are great places to use elements of your branding that call out the differences in a consistent way, while keeping them separate.  
  • You can see a good example of the retail signage below.  Using the same type and texture for all signs through out the store, Ledbelly keeps everything easy to read and understand.  It cuts down on customer questions and looks pretty.

5. PACKAGING
  • I love good packaging!  It's why Modcloth invests in custom printed boxes and why Apple uses beautiful, clean materials to hold their products.  It's an experience.  An extension of the brand that hopefully leaves the store and goes into your home.  Modcloth wants you to be excited when you get a package in the mail.  Apple wants to give a high-end experience to add value to the product.  Packaging helps them both achieve this.
  • If you have a retail or online shop, it's pretty straightforward.  What do you put your products in when a customer checks out?  This is a great time to showcase your brand and who you are.  Go back to the first examples: Modcloth is fun, accessible and quirky.  So they put a hand-drawn design inside and sweet pug on their invoice.  Super cute, right?  And Apple wants you to experience exclusivity.  The product you just bought has a high enough value that it's not worthy of just a plain cardboard box.
  • Take another peek at Ledbelly's packaging at the top of the post.  The natural kraft paper harkens back to the wood motif in the shop.  The angle of the custom stamp on the side is consistent with the angle on the product's label.  And the engraved key chain serves as a more substantial reminder of the shop and brand.

6. REMINDERS
  • Aw yeah!  Another smoooooth segue.  Have a takeaway.  Give something that will survive the unwrapping of the product and will be a more lasting reminder of your business.
  • Ledbelly's keychain is a good example of a takeway for your customers.  A lot of vintage shops around Austin have free stickers on their counter for folks to take (I've got a collection of them on the back of my planner).  For my scarf shop, I include pin-back buttons in each order.  All of these things will hopefully survive the trash and be something fun that your customers will keep.  
  • Each takeaway becomes free advertising!  If you've got good products, branding and design, then people will be proud to show off their association with you and you'll get some sweet word-of-mouth advertising.  


This is a super high-level look at a very complex subject.  You could have a semester-long class dedicated to branding and still not cover everything.  If any of this doesn't make sense or you you'd like me to take a look at your own branding and give some advice, feel free to drop me a line at becky@thepinksamurai.com.  I'd love to help!

If you found this post helpful and would like see more content like this on the blog, let me know!  I could talk about this stuff all day.  Literally.  ALL. DAY.

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