When most people think of a brand they think of a logo, but a logo is actually just a small part of a brand identity.
For example, if I tell you that an advert features the colour red without any more information a number of possible brands will spring to mind. If I then tell you there is yellow writing, with a red background and it’s a fast food chain, you’ve probably guessed it’s McDonalds.
This is an example of fantastic branding – these colours are used so consistently that the mere mention of them brings to mind the brand, without even needing to see a logo (note that it has to be yellow writing on a red background, not the other way round. If it’s other way round it’s not the same brand).
A brand can consist of many things including colours, fonts, photography, graphics, wording or even sounds. Household name brands will tend to have all of these things, for the top brands these things will remain consistent for many years (think Guinness, Coke, Shell, Cadbury’s etc).
The thing is though, if you’re working on a design project for a startup or small business, more often than not when asking for brand assets to be provided it will be a logo and perhaps an additional font, if you’re lucky. For small business owners, the creation of additional brand ‘assets’ can seem like an unobtainable or frivolous expense – why spend money on a professional photographer to take photos when you’re friend can do it on their iPhone?
It’s understandable that small businesses are looking to cut costs, but in actual fact by creating a well established brand identity you will save yourself money in the long run.
Why do you need a brand?
In a nutshell, the more assets your brand has, the easier it will be for designers to create work for you. In turn this means that any design work you have created will cost less.
To understand how, it’s helpful to consider things from a designer’s point of view:
Imagine you’re a designer and you have 2 poster design jobs on the go, one from Brand A, who has provided you with fantastic photographs, some graphics, a great logo, supporting colour scheme and fonts. Then one from Brand B, who have provided just a logo with no further brand assets.
Before you even start work on the Brand A design, many of the creative decisions have already been made. Designing the poster should simply be a matter of arranging the provided assets in a visually appealing manner. This job is very straightforward and may take only a matter of minutes.
For project B however, there are many more variables. Since no colour scheme has been provided you will have to choose colours. There is no stock photography so you will have to either source this from the internet, or consider alternatives such as creating graphics. All of these things take time, which means that ultimately you will end up charging more for the job.
Spending money to establish a solid brand is a worthwhile investment. If you don’t invest the time and money in the beginning, you’ll only end up spending more money in the long run.
In addition, having brand assets means it’s much more likely that you’ll get things like posters or advertising created, as most of the leg work will have already been done.