Branding is the foundation of a company's image in the eyes of the public. Brands are most often defined as a logo. However, there are many other ways in which your company's visual identity exists such as color scheme, font, photo treatment, mascot, etc.
Successful brands have a consistent visual appearance and message across all mediums of representation. An identity system and style guide* can help a new business build a visual presence in their market and an established company present a fresh new representation to reflect positive change.
An identity system typically includes:
- Business Card
- Style Guide*
* A style guide is a document that sets rules for how your identity is used and visually presented so that your brand image is the same on your marketing materials. It helps establish a guide for consistency. Rules range from color scheme to font and text position on the company letterhead.
Advertising is only effective if it produces results. It's not all about great design or all about great content. An effective ad finds the perfect harmony between design and content to express a clear message and encourage action.
There are three questions that will best determine your marketing strategy:
Who is your target audience?
Knowing your audience will help you determine the medium and avenue that will be most beneficial to advertise your message. For example, if your target audience doesn't subscribe to the newspaper, then that may not be the most effective place to reach potential customers.
What action do you want your audience to take?
Every ad campaign, brochure, direct mail campaign, etc. encourages an action. The action is what you want your audience to do in response to seeing your advertisement.
What message will cause your audience to take action?
Your message is what you want people to know, remember, and do. It needs to be simple and clear so that the message can be determined in a matter of seconds.
In addition to defining your marketing strategy, it is important to follow your branding image defined by your logo and style guide. Presenting a consistent image will create connections between marketing campaigns and the identity of your company.
Forms of print promotion include:
- Publication Advertisement
- Direct Mail
Most effective websites have what is defined as "User-Centered Design," which means the site is primarily designed and organized to meet the needs and desires of the user.
There are three questions that will best define the design and organization of your site:
Who will visit your site?
An understanding of your users will enable you to provide a valuable online experience and encourage users to become a loyal customer or client. Create a profile for at least 3 potential visitors and describe how they will use your site and what they will expect from your site. Conducting a survey can help you create accurate profiles of potential users.
How will users find your site?
A search engine is a blind user, only reading text in the form of headlines, sub headlines, paragraphs, and text links.If search engine rank is a high priority, it doesn't mean your site can't be visually beautiful, it just dictates how the content of your site is written and structured.
What will users expect from your site?
Organization is an important factor determining the "usability" of a site. The goal is to organize your site's information, using words and images your users recognize, so they will quickly and easily find what they are looking for. If your users have a slow connection like dial-up, download speed also becomes a factor affecting usability.
Web design options include:
- Search Engine Friendly
- Flash Animation
- Form Processing and Interactive Programming
Services to improve search engine rank for existing sites include:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Search Engine Marketing
Take a look at my portfolio to see examples of identity, print and web design.