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20 tips for outstanding visual branding

Clear and consistent visual branding translates your business strategy into what the customer sees. And so much more than that. Visual branding is one of your company’s greatest assets. It can increase brand awareness, profitability, boost customer loyalty, even create new markets and services. In other words, it really matters! So, how do you go about it? How can you guarantee that your brand will stand out from the crowd? Unfortunately, there are no 100% sure-fire guarantees, but here are some very useful tips.

1. Colour can differentiate your brand

Colour evokes emotions, affects our mood and influences our behaviour. Before choosing a colour, decide what you want customers to think, feel and act. How will it translate to your offline and online communications? Also, how will it be perceived by employees and investors? Colour management is key to maintaining a consistent global look and feel.

(Van Straaten visual: BMI Creative Village. Text: Colour plays a vital role in branding and creating the right atmosphere. Van Straaten produced this colourful creative space for BMI, an international strategy and innovations agency.)

2. Typography is your brand’s visual voice

What typeface best speaks for your brand? Bold and powerful? Playful and light-hearted? Sophisticated? High tech and futuristic? Minimal? Modest? Outspoken. The typography a brand uses gives a strong impression to the consumer about the kind of brand it is

3. Make sure your visual branding is sending out the right message

Does your visual identity fit your brand values? Do your customers see these values reflected in your use of photography? Or illustrations? Or instore display? If the answer is no to any of these questions, it’s time to reassess your visual branding.

4. Create a brand guide

A brand style guide is essential for content creators to communicate consistent on-brand messages to your audience.  Implementing these guidelines guarantees uniform use of images and colour. Making it easier to maintain the quality and integrity of your brand.

5. Think further than social media (much further)

Almost every brand thinks that social media is the best way to reach their customers. More than 50 million small businesses are advertising on Facebook alone. That includes all of your competition. Think of other ways to engage your audience. Live events, dealer days, pop-up stores can be much more effective ways to reach your target audience.

These tips were provided by Van Straaten, who have over 100 years of experience in visual branding. If you would like to read 15 more tips, all you have to do is share your email address.

6. First brand, then visuals

Before choosing any visual material you have to know what you want your brand to say and to who. Then you can choose images to convey that message.

 7. Use your own unique graphic language

Each and every aspect of your visual language should be part of a cohesive system which is used for your company’s physical and virtual presence. These graphic elements include icons, charts, infographics and colour blocks. They signal and reinforce your brand.

 8. There’s more to visual branding than visual branding

You can create a brand experience with sound (music, special effects), taste (samples), Smell (baking/brewing) and touch (interactive displays, touchscreens and tablets).

Show visual of Nike store, with shoes in the shape of a tick. Text: Nike saw an 80% increase in intent to purchase when they added scents in their stores. (Source Pinterest) Link: https://nl.pinterest.com/pin/691654455242654428/?lp=true

9. Use your company identity consistently

It seems too simplistic, but when you incorporate your visual identity in all your marketing materials and visual content, it strengthens your brand.

10. Learn to love white space

Visual branding is not about overloading customers with multiple colours and messages. True beauty lies in simplicity. Think of love brands like Apple, Google and Volkswagen. All live very successfully by the philosophy that less is more.

11. Define image choices

What is the character of your brand? What message do you want to convey to potential customers? The more strict you are with image choice, the more your brand will stand out.

12. Know your target audience

You cannot create any visual branding without first knowing your target audience. Understanding what moves them. why they will choose your product above another.

13. Buying your product or service is not necessarily a rational choice

How people feel about your brand will influence their buying decision.

You should check regularly the value perception of your designs against changes in consumer taste and the competition.

14. Visualize your personality

Your target audience should have a very good idea what kind of brand you are without actually meeting you in person. This is especially the case with digital brands or brands whose products you just come into contact in a store.

 15. Imagine your brand in black and white

It is an accepted rule in the design profession: if your logo and brand design doesn’t work in black and white it doesn’t work. Black and white allows you to focus on hierarchy and visual weight between elements. Ensuring that everything interacts and flows.

16. Move with the times

Tastes change. Fashion moves on. Your brand changes too. It’s always advisable to have a yearly review to ensure that your visual branding is still up to date.

17. Do the “on the table” test

Lay out all the material you use for visual branding (visual identity, brochures, posters, website designs, etc.). Does it look consistent? Does it look like it’s coming from one company?

18. Educate your customers

Good visual branding includes an element of verbal branding. Using texts to lead customers into your brand story, immersing them in your products and services.

19. Make sure your brand is sustainable

These days it’s not a benefit that your brand is sustainable, your customers expect it. Always something to bear in mind for every aspect of your visual branding.

(Van Straaten case: Brussels motor Show. Text: Van Straaten worked with leading European stand builder, Conceptexpo, to create an impression at the Brussels Motor Show, featuring the world’s greatest car brands.)

20. Work with the best

Experienced and talented design companies will help you make the right choices and be able to clearly explain their thinking. the same applies to execution. If you’re making printed material, stands or store design it’s wise to work with companies who have vast experience in this area.

Alternatively, see our “How to create a pop-up store that pops out. The seven step plan” by just sharing your email address.

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