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Branding 101: Graphic Design

Your brand is more than a logo or design element. It’s the feeling consumers get when they think about your business. However, the design you choose to represent your brand tells consumers a lot about who you are and who you want to be to them. A cheap, inconsistent or awkward-looking design element can be off-putting and unprofessional. If a company isn’t willing to put in the time and money to make its company look great, then what makes a consumer think that it delivers a great product? You have to get the design right.

Design Your Brand

Find a Graphic Designer: The first step in designing your brand is to find a graphic designer. Ask around, check portfolios and ask for references. A good graphic designer isn’t going to be cheap, but if you do find a cheap graphic designer, they aren’t going to be very good. Trust us on this one: You want a competent graphic artist. The neighbor kid who designs his high school yearbook isn’t going to cut it.

Brainstorm: Your graphic designer is a professional who is likely to have better design ideas than you do. Designers know what looks good and what they can do to make your brand pop. They have a vested interest in making your design look great, too. Take your ideas, current logos, letterhead and any other images you have and put them somewhere that both parties can access. This will make it easier for you to review large design files, too. A cloud storage service is a great place to organize these materials. You can research cloud storage providers to find the one that works best for you. Once your designer has access to all the documents and images, he or she will have a better idea of what you want to achieve. Then let them design.

Proof the Design: Proof your images and don’t be afraid to send something back to the designer if you don’t like it. You are paying for the service, and it’s your brand. You want something you are proud of and that represents your company well.

Roll Out Your Rebrand Efforts

Be Consistent: A complete brand redesign should include logos, letterhead, business cards, collateral marketing materials and your website. If you aren’t ready to commit to such a big change or can’t afford it, wait until you are ready to go the distance. Your brand needs to be consistent across the board. Discard anything that doesn’t have the new brand.

Inform your Employees: In order to stay consistent, you will need to talk to your employees about sticking to the new branded materials. Every company has that rogue employee who doesn’t like change. Make sure that person doesn’t continue to use old marketing materials or old business cards.

Launch: You’ve done the work, the designer has delivered the materials and your employees have been briefed. Now it is time to launch the rebrand. Your launch can be subtle or over-the-top. With the former, you go about business like nothing happened and let your customers notice on their own. With the latter, send out marketing collateral to everyone and hold a large party to unveil the new brand. It will be fun, but expensive.

Patrick King

Patrick is the Founder of Imagine and advisor to places on brand strategy and creative. His insights have been published in Inc. Magazine, SmartCEO, Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, and Chief Marketer, among other publications, and shared at conferences throughout the US. He also has an amazing sock collection.

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