Are the colors, font, and all that stuff REALLY important for my business brand?

After 4 years of professional graphic design, I have seen a LOT of designs, ideas, layouts, and printed goodies.  A very large part of my design services is taking on business branding projects.  I have worked primarily with small businesses, in creating a cohesive brand that they can use to launch their new business, or improve and expand their existing business.

I get asked frequently: "I'm not sure what colors to use", or "I really LOVE script font, can we use it?", or "I want a promo card designed, can we use these photos with the design?".

Don't get me wrong, having questions is totally valid!  However, much of my recommendation as the hired graphic designer gets lost in translation or plainly ignored.  Unfortunately, this only hurts the business brand.  Clients come to me looking for that special touch, that brand that reflects them as a person, but also that gives their business the edge.  You might ask, "well what DOES make a good brand then?"  I'd like to take a moment and discuss elements of a strong and SUCCESSFUL brand.  Choosing that beautiful script font IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST OPTION.  Here's why.

One of the big reasons to avoid script fonts for your business name is simply the readability of the text.  Script fonts tend to be complex in nature, losing your potential client's attention quickly. Script fonts are also much harder to continue with on marketing materials.  For example, your logo design may look fantastic digitally, on-screen, however when it comes time to order embroidered shirts, or an engraved flash drive or welcome kit packaging, suddenly the beloved script font is too thin to be embroidered or engraved.  This is a huge problem!  Bold and simple fonts are easily modified and can be used in a wide variety of mediums.

One last thing to note is the "memorability" of your brand.  Will potential clients remember the brand?  Why would they choose your services over another vendor, blindly without meeting you for a consultation?  What features of your brand stand out?

Script fonts generally do not provide the memorability you need in a brand.  They are beautiful, yes.  They are perfect for any fancy event or wedding, and can be used correctly in brand development.  A common trend today is the use of "hand-written" scripts and fonts.  This can be a great way to personalize your business: creating a "signature" of your business name.  Again, if done correctly, it can create a beautiful brand.  If done incorrectly or combined with too many other elements, it can ruin a brand.

Think Nike, Toyota, McDonalds, Hallmark crown - they all have something very important in common: the use of a symbol or graphic.  The Nike swoosh, the Toyota emblem, McDonald's arches all are INTERNATIONALLY recognized.  Why?  The designers of their branding realized the importance of creating an easily-recognizable design that could be used across ALL marketing materials and ad production.  Think about the last time you saw a landscaping truck drive by, with the business name written in Times New Roman across the door panel - you probably don't remember the landscaping business's name, do you?  Do you remember anything unique about the company or truck?  My point exactly.

A strong brand is SIMPLE, to the point, and EASY TO REMEMBER.  There is room and opportunity for complex logo design to have a stand as well, if done correctly.  But for the most part, branding that contains a motif: heart, butterfly, a single letter/initial, tree, stylized graphic, something related to the business, has a better chance at standing the test of time and becoming successful.

What will you include in your brand that will be recognized?  What elements or motif might you select that will reflect your personality while staying cohesive and memorable?


Many of my clients order promo card design, rack cards, and informational brochures to complete their initial branding.  Brochures and branded material can be a perfect way to get your name out there, and attract new business.  It can also be the death of your brand, before you even have a chance!

One great way to create an eye-catching marketing item is to include photos!  Photos of your own work, products, or services helps your potential client view into the window of your business.  Unfortunately, photos can also turn away a client, if the photo quality is poor.  The desire to include your latest event photos taken on your iPhone can be strong, and EASY!  However, RECONSIDER.  If you don't have professional quality photos to provide your designer with, then consider purchasing stock imagery until you can obtain professional photos for your services or products.  The images should be sharp, vibrant, AND CREATIVE.

YES. YES. YES.  There are infinite studies that have been done to analyze the reasoning and psychology behind color preferences, emotions, and representation.  While everyone's personal color preferences are as unique as they are, there are certain emotions that are evoked by different colors.  For example, the color red has been tagged as a POWER color, and has been used throughout modern branding.  It's easy to read, bold, and creates a sense of purpose when viewed.

The color black typically represents mystery and darkness - however in modern day, it's used and recognized to have timeless qualities, and implies control and self-control.  It can also be a very feminine color.  Think Coco Chanel, or little black cocktail dress.

In the logo design process, starting with the client's choice of colors, it's important to truly research, consider, and decide on smart color options for the business in question.  If you are envisioning a SHARP, timeless brand, selecting lime green and purple may not be the best option.  However, if you have going for a playful feel, something bright and whimsical, using a green and purple palette can be a good choice.

Branding is an important step in the business-building process, and not a step to be taken lightly or overlooked!  Take the time to really develop your brand, from brain-storming design ideas to writing down your business statement.  Think about your target audience, who you ideal client might be.  Consider the colors you'd like to include.  What element or motif represents you as a person, AND as a company?  What other logo designs are you attracted to?

I hope some of these tips help my readers and future clients!  Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.

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