How many times have you come across a quote on instagram…and then try to wonder what profile it came from or who said it?
Or…as you’re scrolling down your social media, you see a familiar blue color (or teal color, or orange color) and IMMEDIATELY know who the post is from?
Behold the power of BRAND RECOGNITION.
What does it mean to have a strong brand recognition?
It means you have incredible consistency in your presentation.
- Consistent and specific fonts;
- Consistent colors;
- Consistent style of posting content;
- Consistent wording;
- Consistent photography and imagery;
- Consistent tone of voice;
- Consistency in just getting your stuff out there.
Upon first glance, people automatically recognize that whatever thing or piece of content you put out there is coming from you.
Why bother having decent brand recognition?
Because it builds TRUST and loyalty.
It builds your customer’s ability to distinguish YOUR brand from a competitor's brand.
When you start building your tribe of followers and your loyal fans, they will begin to associate with everything that you do and everything that you post.
It is much easier to support, share, and refer your business when your brand and your image looks consistent and professional.
It is much easier for your clients to stand behind your brand and be proud showing it off when there’s an awesome logo to sport, a signature color to quickly identify, great photographs to share, or a professional website to send people to.
Imagine scrolling through your long feeds of twitter, facebook or instagram and suddenly coming across that familiar blue or orange color from your favorite gym. "Oh look! I recognize where that quote is coming from immediately, it’s from ______ gym."
While consistency in getting any sort of content out there is helpful for getting your clients and customers to develop more trust in you, having a consistent LOOK in your content will seal the deal and make your content:
- more immediately identifiable as coming from you when compared to a sea of other imagery
- more distinguishable from competitors’ brands
- more implanted subconsciously in your customer's brains - when they see more of your content, it takes less thinking to realize it’s from you.
Later on, when your clients are often seeking advice, trying to find an infographic, or wanting to repost a quote you make, they will be more likely to find you first (and remember it more easily in their visual memory because all of your graphics and images look recognizable).
How do you become better at building better brand recognition?
Here are several tips that I have to build the brand recognition of your small business or gym:
Pick your signature fonts and start making everything with those fonts.
I recommend having two fonts to use:
- A decorative display font (your “signature font” that has some character or personality to it.
- A secondary font to use for writing large amounts of content or to contrast your decorative font.
My decorative font that I use is Tahu! (which I got off of DaFont.com) and my secondary font (which also many times acts as my primary font) is Raleway. Often times I will use Montserrat because the numbers do not drop below the baseline.
Your decorative font doesn’t have to be all out wacky - but it should be a little bit more special than the generic system fonts that show up to give your brand some personality.
If you don’t have a signature font yet, I recommend finding one off of google fonts. Many website building programs and graphic-building sites offer google fonts in their collection, and google fonts are open source (meaning they are free to use for commercial purposes as well as personal purposes).
You’ll want to download the .ttf or .otf file of the font and have it available to use on all of your graphics, flyers and content.
For your secondary fonts, pick a font that you’ll be able to find across a lot of graphic and website editing platforms. Here are some suggestions for how to choose a great secondary font:
Your complementary font should have variations in styles and weights (bold, italic, light).
This is because you want to be able to use this secondary font for a variety of applications such as for headers, highlighting important information, distinguishing secondary information, and similar reasons.
The secondary font should be comfortable for the eye to read when at smaller sizes.
You’ll want to choose a font that does not have too much variation in the thickness within the letters, or a font where the width of the letters seems too varied.
Examples of common Google Fonts or system fonts that work as decent secondary fonts are: Avenir, Century Gothic, FF Meta, ITC Officina, Roboto, Lato, Cabin, Trebuchet, or Verdana
Lastly, a trick with fonts is to consider the SPACING of your font letters, as well your frequency of using capitalization. Perhaps your signature style might use all caps, or all lowercase!
If you are starting up a new brand or completely revising one, I highly recommend basing one of your brand’s secondary fonts with a font found on Google or with a popular system font as it will make it much easier to code in the font and incorporate it on websites and digital content.
Pick your signature color, and start pairing it with your neutral colors.
Do you know the Hexadecimal Number of your signature color?
If you’re not sure what it is yet, upload your logo or image to this website and click on the color reveal the 6-digit Hex code, which usually starts with #. (Mine, for example, is #ddab62). You can insert this code in any graphic editing program to get your same exact color for everything.
You can also use this cool slider tool to approximate your color (if you don’t have a logo to work off of) and go from there.
Once you have a signature color, start using it! Some of the best practices for incorporating your color are:
Use your signature color as a background color to place light or dark text on top.
Dark text will make your tone have a “darker” feel overall whereas white text will give your overall brand a “lighter” feel – both are totally valid approaches, and it depends on if you want your brand to have a deeper or lighter feel to it).
Use your signature color as your text color on top of a dark or light background.
Take caution using your color strategically and sparingly as vibrant colors can look very loud and overpowering if used as large blocks of body text.
Incorporate small shapes, lines or icons using the accent color throughout your graphics.
Examples are with:
- bullet points
- abstract or geometric shapes
- color overlays on top of photos
- as the “link” or button color on your website
Use your signature color on any printed content, handouts, apparel, stickers, post-it-note colors...you get the idea.
Create a system and set of rules for where you decide to place your logos and colors.
Aside from having consistent fonts and colors, the location of where you decide to place these assets matters just as much for brand recognition. If your logo is always displayed in a different area of your images, then it won’t be consistent.
Some common techniques you can use for consistency in your images:
- Create a thin colored band or border at the top, bottom, or edges of your graphics using your signature color placing your logo icon in a small colored box in the same spot on your images.
- Give your photos the same color overlay using your accent color.
- Always choose to left-justify or center-justify your images.
Now, you probably don’t want all your graphics to look cookie-cutter identical…but what you can do is create some basic rules to follow and then design within those rules.
Make templates that you can swap content and modify for most pieces of visual content you create.
If you’re constantly posting inspirational quotes or thoughts, announcements (“free class”, "registration open…”), photographs of your athletes, or infographics, then why not make a file that uses the same background color and fonts that you can change every time you need to post something?
Put a logo/watermark on the bottom corner of all your photos through making a template that already has your logo on it.
Create and save an editable file that’s already the size you need for social media:
|Common Image Sizes for Social Media|
|Instagram:||1080 x 1080 px|
|Instastory:||1080 x 1920 px|
|Facebook:||1200 x 628 px|
|Twitter:||1024 x 512 px|
|Youtube Thumbnail:||1280 x 720 px|
|1200 x 1800 px|
Canva is my recommendation for a FREE website that you can use to make and publish graphics, and it automatically has blank templates specified for each social media application. The Pro version allows you to upload your own fonts (if your branding is VERY specific), but there are plenty of great fonts available in the free version as well.
Need assistance getting some templates started on Canva? I can help you create some! Learn more about it here.
Use the same filters on your photographs.
A simple way to establish more consistency in your photos is to add the same color filters to all your photos and videos so they have the same undertone.
You might notice some photos are cooler in color or warmer in color…or maybe more saturated in color (or less saturated in color).
Instagram has several filters to pick from, so don’t be overwhelmed! Pick one, remember the name, and stick to it!
Have a logo that’s versatile, responsive for different sizes, and can easily convert to 1 color (all black or white if needed)
If you begin with a logo, color scheme and font style that is versatile and responsive to different formats (square, horizontal, black & white or color, etc) then it will be much easier to bend and modify it to fit a variety of applications.
If your logo is currently super long or has a lot of detailed components, then it will be hard to break down, read when it is miniature, or fit into square or tall formats.
Your logo should be in a vector format (so it can be resized without becoming pixellated or losing quality), and should also be applicable with a transparent background, as a white image against a dark background, or as a dark image against a light background.
A well-balanced logo that can be placed in a variety of areas (and still look legible and sharp) automatically elevates the sophistication of the images it is placed on or next to. If your logo is very long and horizontal, consider making an abbreviated version of the logo that is an icon (either a simple shape or initials) so you can apply it to square formats such as on instagram, or as a watermark on photos.
If you have a short slogan that encompasses everything you do, start incorporating it when you can.
Aside from just using your logo as a watermark, you can also use a short phrase or slogan as a watermark too. Start hashtagging your slogan, or incorporating it in your email signature.
If you want the words of your slogan to be just as recognizable as your logo, then start using it as often as your logo would appear!
The best thing that you can do to show your support for someone else’s work and design is to give them the proper credit. By doing so, you are not only demonstrating your appreciation for other contributors out there, but you are also clearly showing that the content isn’t inherently yours and that it can be excluded from having your branding.
What tips and tricks have YOU used for establishing better brand recognition?
If you have other ideas that you’ve used yourself, feel free to comment and add them below. I love being able to add more tools to the design arsenal for improving graphics and branding design.