A successful brand is something that’s often difficult to define, but it usually begins with a great design.

The best brands are identifiable by a specific color, font, word or shape. When consumers see an effective brand logo, for example, they usually associate it with a specific product or service — as well as a certain level of quality.

To instil this subconscious reaction in the minds of your own customers, you should ensure all of your branded communications are consistent. Whether you’re creating a social media post, designing a presentation or a flyer to hand out in the street, consistency of design is crucial.

In a perfect world, the quickest of glances at your branding should tell your customers that they’ve come to the right place. From the font to the color combination you choose, every aspect of design has to be nailed — every time. If it isn’t, one of two things can happen: consumers doubt your brand’s attention to detail or they don’t recognize the brand at all.

Thankfully, there are tools out there that help business owners and entrepreneurs to deliver brand consistency without too much effort or expense. But in order to use them effectively, you need to understand the basics of creating a strong and consistent brand.

The Key Elements and Assets of a Great Brand

The visual elements of any good brand are vitally important; they must be consistent and of a high quality. By breaking them down into their component parts, delivering consistency becomes a lot easier.

The Logo

Think of some of the most iconic logos in the world of consumerism right now — most of them are probably very simple. Coca-Cola, Nike, Starbucks, Apple and other global brands are instantly recognizable by their logo. But the slightest imperfection in these logos would start alarm bells ringing in the minds of their most loyal customers. The only way to ensure your logo is recreated perfectly every time is to use design software that makes adding your logo to any document simple.

The Font

Again, many brands can be identified simply by the font they use. Indeed, some companies have created their own fonts for this purpose. Think of Walt Disney Studios and Coca-Cola — both of which have unmistakable logos that are defined by the font used within them. Some would say that the font IS the logo. The choice of font will have a big impact on the overall style of your brand, Serif fonts add a touch of luxury and prestige to your brand while San Serif fonts are modern and flexible. Before you agree on a font, decide where your business best fits, high-end and luxury or modern.

The Color Scheme

The strongest brands make a simple color their own. When consumers see this color in a particular context, their minds instantly turn to the associated brand. The likes of ‘Starbucks green’ and ‘Cadbury’s purple’ are great examples of how important color is to a brand. Get the shade just slightly wrong, and there’s a chance that your brand could be dealt serious and long-term damage.

Logo Variations

While it’s important to recreate your branding perfectly in all of your communications, there may be times when a variation is needed. For example, you may need to reproduce your logo in black and white for certain publications. Some companies — including Apple — change their logo during Pride events, while others add festive elements during religious holidays. The right design software can deliver a logo variation while staying true to the most important elements of the branding.

File Types

There may be times when you need visual branding elements in different file formats. For example, a printing company might ask for a PDF file, while a social media expert might require a high-quality JPG file. Choose a software package that exports all of your branding elements in several different file formats.

How to Achieve Brand Consistency When Creating Your Documents

Creating Brand Guidelines

The chances are that several different people and third-party organizations have the responsibility of recreating, printing or publishing your branding. To ensure that your logo and other visual brand elements are well looked after, create your own branding guidelines for use across all platforms. This will include all of the issues listed above, as well as anything that might affect the look of your branding — or how it’s interpreted. This isn’t just a tool for your collaborators to use, it’s something you can use to audit your brand on a regular basis.

Your Logo as a Seal of Quality

Your logo should be the one visual marker that tells your customers who they’re dealing with. Over time, people will see the logo and instantly think of your company — or the products it’s known for selling. Take every opportunity possible to display your logo in order to plant it into the subconsciousness of your typical customer.

Place your logo on every leaflet, flyer, business letter, social media post and marketing message you create. But make sure your branding guidelines are always being followed, and that any variants are still recognizable as yours.

Use the Exact Colors Every Time

It’s not usually good enough to rely on a generic shade of light blue or dark red — your branding must use the exact colors consistently. The most important area to get right is your logo, but there are others. For example, you are probably using titles, sub-headers, text, photo descriptions and different backgrounds in your marketing communications. Decide on a color palette that complements your main brand logo, and stick to it.

Ensure Font Consistency

After your logo, the main font you use in all of your communications and presentations is the most crucial element of your brand’s visuals. Choose a main font and stick to it for titles — which might be corporate in nature. However, don’t be afraid to use additional fonts with a more contemporary look, as they are often capable of setting a brand apart from the competition.

Use the Right Branding Tools for the Job

No one is expecting you — as a business owner or manager — to learn the art of graphic design. However, when you have the right tools at your disposal, you can take full control of the brand building task yourself. Xara Cloud allows you to create brand first business and marketing documents, ideal for growing your brand. Make crucial changes to the branding of your documents with the click of a mouse, and see the results instantly.

Check Out Xara Cloud

Xara Cloud includes everything you could possibly need to deliver the brand consistency every modern business needs. Play around with fonts, colors, backgrounds, alignment, graphic elements and images using a simple design page — until you’ve made your vision become a reality. Many aspects of the design process with Xara Cloud are easily customized, so you can rest assured that delivering a consistent message is as simple as it should be. Xara Cloud puts you in charge of your own brand’s destiny, without the need for formal design skills and know- how.

Sign up to Xara today for a free trial and unify your brand documents