Branding consists of much more than just a logo, it represents everything that consists of your brand. Some, but not all of the things which branding consists of are a logo, logo variations, colors, fonts, graphics, images, emails, headers, social media profiles, photography and much more! This post will be a brief overview of branding. I will be going into more detail about different aspects of branding in future posts.
Creating a Style Guide helps to keep track of the overall design of your brand.
The Style Guide should include the following:
Fonts – Stick with a limited number of fonts, two to three at most.
Colors – Keeping the color scheme small as well. This keeps it from looking to all over the place and cluttered, three to five colors at most.
Patterns – If you’re including patterns into your brand, they should count as one of your three to five colors.
Logo, plus variations – Including your logo and its other variations is very helpful when looking at your overall style guide. Having a text logo variation, graphic only variation, and a combination of the two is super helpful when it comes to logo variations. You could even have a few different colors in the graphic only variation, especially a black and white one.
Social Media Icons – What change will your brand make to the social media icons to make them just for you? It may only be a color change or it may be more in depth. It all depends on how in-depth you want to take your branding. Be sure to check the social media guidelines for changing their logos.
Navigation Bar Quick Tips
If your logo is clickable, skip the home link in the navigation bar.
Keep links all on one line for your top navigation bar. Otherwise, it looks too cluttered and you only need what’s absolutely important on your top navigation bar.
Helpful items to have in your sidebar:
Picture + short bio to introduce you to your new readers
Social Media Icons
Email Opt In Form
List of Popular/Featured Posts
Skip the blogrolls, post archives, and networking buttons. These are very distracting and can keep your reader from doing what you want them to do when they come to visit your site. (Having a separate page for archives can be helpful.)
Helpful items to have in your footer:
Social Media Icons
Email Opt In Form
All pages need to have a purpose, don’t have any useless pages
Link everything that needs to be linked – social media, email and more
Make sure that all the information on your pages is scannable and useful to your readers
Blog Post Branding
Make sure that it’s easy to read, use a serif or san-serif font
Keep handwriting/script fonts to accents in graphics and design, not to post titles
Permalinks should be easy to remember – theashleydavisproject.com/design-tips-for-bloggers, instead of theashleydavisproject.com/2015/10/08/design-tips-for-bloggers
San-serif or serif font for body text, no fancy or handwriting fonts, they can be too difficult to read.
Text should be left aligned or justified when text is centered it’s harder to read.
Use H2, H3, or H4 headings to make posts more easily scannable. This also makes it more SEO friendly, since more keywords are peppered throughout the text.
Blog Post Graphics
Be sure your images are the same width of your column, whether that image is vertical or horizontal. The images may be very large, but it looks clean and aligned, instead of all different sized images.
Keeping blog graphics looking similar will help your brand be more recognizable, especially for Pinterest.
Images that are vertical and taller than they are wide (800 x 1000) are more easily pinned on Pinterest.
Make it plain to your reader what you want them to do next – leave a comment, share the post, download the content upgrade or read another post. Call to Action (CTA) – gives them something to do on your site, so they don’t leave your site so easily.
Author bios are helpful if you have people guest posting on your blog.
Adding a sign-up form for your newsletter, similar to what I have below, is another great option.
If you want people to leave a comment, make it easy for people to do that and not have to jump through lots of hoops to leave a simple post
Online Presence Branding
Profile pictures should be the same across all social media. Keeping the same profile picture makes it easier for your followers to find your profile and know that it’s you. That goes with profile names as well. Keeping them similar or the same is helpful.
Design elements, post graphics should all be the same. If you have the opportunity to add your own design elements, keeping the same/similar to your brand is best for continuity.
Whatever colors, fonts, and graphics you’re using on your blog, you’ll want to carry those over into your newsletter branding. MailChimp is great when it comes to having spots for graphics and changing the color schemes. It is a very visual newsletter company. They are limited in their font options, though.
This was a very brief overview of all the details that can be included in a brand. This doesn’t even cover the physical collateral that comes with a brand like business cards, letterhead, etc.
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