This is the second in our series of blogs about What Makes Great Business Brand Design? In the first of this series of blog posts we shared our 3 top tips for great logo design with you. In this post we want to stress the importance of being consistent with your brand.
The importance of having a consistent visual brand identity
All the visual components of your brand add up to what’s often referred to as a visual brand identity system: colours, fonts, shapes, logo. Using these consistently across your business communications, signage, stationery, website, social media, marketing and promotional materials is crucial for the following reasons.
Instant brand recognition
The visual elements of your brand identity all serve as visual cues. For some well established companies, customers only need to see one small element of a brand’s visual identity for instant brand recognition and recall.
Colour for instance is a powerful element of some brands’ visual identities: think Cadbury’s deep purple and Virgin’s red. Cadbury attach such great financial importance to their colour purple that they have trademarked it. Virgin Atlantic take the colour consistency of their brand so seriously that they’ve even had their own bespoke shade of red lipstick manufactured for their female cabin crew to wear, complementing their bespoke red uniforms. Hopefully whenever you see the colour orange you will immediately think Geminus Design Limited!
Consistency = Trust
Consistent use of your visual brand identity across all your communications helps you build trusting, long-term relationships with existing and potential customers.
People form emotional bonds with their favourite brands. Start messing around with any part of it and you risk a loss of custom. We previously mentioned the public outcry when Gap changed its logo in our previous blog post. Cardiff FC also suffered a revolt from its supporters after the club’s blue strip was changed to red in 2012. It reverted back to blue in early 2015.
Consistent visual brand identity communicates professionalism
Mixing up and messing about with the visual elements of your brand don’t just undermine customers’ faith and trust in your brand’s offering, it also makes you look unprofessional. Chopping and changing the colours, fonts, shapes and key messages of your visual brand identity dilutes its impact and causes confusion.
Customers may not instantly recognise that something’s not the same, but they will instinctively know that something’s not right. Immediately they will question the source: has it come from you or an imposter?
Change is possible – but proceed with caution
Whilst being consistent with your brand’s visual identity is extremely important, we’re not recommending that you preserve it in aspic never to be changed ever again! On the contrary, sometimes it’s beneficial (and profitable) to refresh it.
If you are trying to appeal to a new or wider consumer base, revamping your visual identity can work a treat. However, this must not be at the expense of the customers that have been loyal to your brand and have strong emotional ties to it. That’s why we always suggest subtle and incremental changes over time. This is a tactic successfully deployed by brands like Apple and Marks and Spencer. Whilst the basic outline of the Apple logo has changed very little over the years (setting the original Newton Crest to one side) there have been modifications to the colour: from rainbow to monochrome. British retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) has refined their logo over the years to stay in tune with contemporary design trends, gradually moving away from a heavy, block, serif font to a sleeker, sans serif look over a period of approximately 50+ years.
Subtlety and caution are not words you could apply to British Airways’ decision to change the design of their iconic Union Jack tailfin in favour of international art at the dawn of the 21st Century. It was supposed to firmly establish them as an inclusive and international airline. The new tailfins were not warmly received and the Union Jack was firmly re-established.
Geminus Design Limited – consistently good brand design
If you need a new visual brand identity or perhaps you just want to give your current brand a bit of a makeover, check out our portfolio to see some of the brand designs we have worked on over the years.