Let’s talk about several design tweaks you can make to seriously uplevel your brand and your business.
The branding process is complex. Popular to contrary belief, it’s not just a matter of designing an attractive logo and setting up a pretty website to match. An effective brand requires a careful combination of style and strategy.
Once you’ve devised a strategy however, there are a few simple tweaks you can make to take your brand styling to the next level.
1. Start with an Inspiration Board
An inspiration board is a great tool in terms of refining your vision and creating a cohesive brand style.
Things to Consider:
Steer away from pinning too many images of logo designs, brand style boards and website designs. This will allow you to create a one of a kind, authentic brand identity. Don’t overthink it. There is no right or wrong image. If something appeals to you, then put it on the board.
Follow these steps:
- Sign up to Pinterest (www.pinterest.com). You can sign up as an individual or as a business. If you don’t have a Pinterest business account already, it is a great social media tool in terms of increasing exposure, traffic, connections etc.
- Create a secret board specifically for your brand inspiration. Give it a name, such as ‘Brand Vision’ or whatever works best for you.
- After exploring the search categories, ‘pin’ any images which you feel represent your ideal brand identity to this board. Think about fashion, interiors, quotes, travel, home decor, photography. You can also use the search field to narrow your investigation e.g Romantic, Monochrome, etc.
2. Create a primary colour palette
Too much colour can be off-putting and hard on the eyes. Less is often more when it comes to sleek and professional design. It is best to stick to a main colour palette of about four to five colours.
You don’t always have to use all colours at once, but in terms of creating a professional brand identity, everything that you display (from headings, images, header bars, buttons and icons etc.) should reflect this colour palette. The choice of colours and the power of colour psychology is also significant when it comes to a high-quality blog design.
You want to make sure that the chosen colours succeed at conveying the right message. For instance, you wouldn’t use red for a lifestyle blog focussing on the importance of healthy living, calmness and well-being. Red is a colour which represents passion, energy and desire. A more appropriate choice would be blue or turquoise, representing calmness and tranquillity.
3. Stick to 3 main fonts
Seeing numerous fonts on one page is one of my pet hates!! There is no consistency, it looks extremely messy, unprofessional and just plain ugly!!
As a rule of thumb, stick to three main fonts to use on your blog/website (one for headings, subheadings and one more for paragraph text). A fourth can be brought in (but only if absolutely necessary) for quotes or standout points. The goal is to create consistency and cohesiveness – to put it plainly and simply, you just can’t achieve this with an overload of font types.
Make sure your font choices reflect the overall style and message that you want to convey to your ideal audience. For example, serif fonts generally represent a classic, more traditional style. Whereas, sans-serif is generally thought to be more modern and contemporary.
Things to Consider:
When choosing your three fonts, make sure they can be differentiated from each other. If you choose fonts, which are similar it may appear as though you’ve made a mistake rather than a conscious design choice.
4. Watch Your Font Size
Font which is either too small or hard to read is going to impact the experience your readers have with your website. Particularly when it comes to paragraph text, it is important to choose a font which is clear and crisp.
Colour is also important when it comes to legible text. Having a black background with fluoro yellow text is a big no, no! In fact, a black background will always be harder to read from regardless of your font colour.
Personally, I prefer a crisp white background and black text for the majority of my content. I may change the font colour for headings or quotes, but this is always minimal. In terms of font size, there is a fantastic tool which I came across a while ago called, ‘The Golden Ratio Typography Calculator’.
This free-to-use little beauty will not only tell you the ideal font size to use based on your content width but also suggest an ideal font to use for your website. Definitely one of those must-have tools which will make your life a lot easier!!
5. Use high-quality imagery that is “on-brand”
The need for high-quality imagery is essential when it comes to marketing your business. Images add a sense of richness to your content and help to keep your audience entertained.
The key is to include relevant images that assist the reader to feel the point you are trying to make. Images also help to break up the text if your website page or blog post is long!
In terms of legalities, your best and safest bet is to use photographs that you have taken yourself.
If you don’t consider yourself a photographer, however, another option is to hire a professional to take photographs for your website. I am not suggesting that you do this for every blog post obviously, but for images displayed on your ‘About’ page, ‘Home’ page, ‘Contact’ page etc, hiring a professional could be a wise move when it comes to getting your blog looking it’s best. Make sure your images aren’t pixelated or blurry.
These days, there are also a ton of stock photography sites where you can get beautiful images, either free of charge or for a reasonable price. It’s not always a case of ‘you get what you pay for’ because I have found several sites which offer beautiful imagery at no cost which are better than some of the images you have to pay for.
6. Easy Navigation
One of your goals as a business owner is to keep readers on your website for as long as possible. Design is not just how everything looks, but how it works as well. Not only does good navigation improve the experience your readers have with your website, creating a sense of convenience and ease of use, it also encourages them to stick around, gaining a broader insight into what your business is all about.
Make sure your site menu and your search bar are easy to find. Think about where you want your readers to go when they are on your website? If they land on the home page, is it obvious as to where they should click next? If your readers visit your website and start thinking, ‘what do I do now?’, ‘where do I go?’, there is a very high chance that they will lose interest and click off of your page.
It is also important to make sure readers know where they are on your website and where they need to go. Changing the link hover and tab colour as they select a page will help with this. Linking to other blog posts throughout each individual post will also encourage readers to spend more time on your website.
When your site goes live, make sure you check (and double-check) the desktop version as well as the mobile version. Your overall design may appear to look fine on the desktop version, but look dramatically different on a mobile.
7. Text alignment
Centre-aligned text can look very messy and unprofessional in large blocks. It can also be hard to read as opposed to text that has been justified or left-aligned. When you centre-align all of your text the reader’s eyes have to work harder to find where the next line starts.
Left-aligned or justified text makes text easier to read because the reader knows all they have to do is simply move their eyes to the left each time. I personally like justified text because I think it looks neater in terms of overall presentation, however it is up to you. Stick to using centre-alignment for headings or short lines of text, such as quotes or standout points made within your site page or article.