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Branding for your website

Getting clear on your brand is essential for a winning website, so it’s crucial to invest, either in a professional or with your own time and energy.

If you decide to do it yourself – this guide will help you create a fantastic brand that tells your brand story, it’s much more than creating a logo and choosing fonts and colours.

Implementing a well-designed brand on your website will;

  • make you stand out and differentiate you from the competition.
  • unify your message and provide consistency to everything that you do,
  • help build trust & loyalty,
  • speak to your ideal client and give them the confidence to buy from you,
  • help you command a higher price.

A successful brand is made up of three elements.

1. Brand Values

Your brand values are the foundations and core of your business.

Ask yourself the following questions.

  • What promises am I making to my audience? The way that you brand your business is a subliminal guarantee to your audience and trust and value come from fulfilling promises.
  • How do I want my business to be perceived? Do you want to be fun or serious? Or Solid? These are all things that we can portray through our branding.
  • What does your business stand for? Do you support charities? Are you passionate about the environment? Which of your personal values would you like to come across on your website and in your brand?
  • What keywords epitomise our brand? Can you think of 10 adjectives that describe your business? Really think about each one and then narrow it down to the best five. This will help you to get super, super focussed on what you want your brand to convey.

Once you have the answers to these questions, put them together, reiterate and condense until you have a concise statement that describes your values perfectly. A waffly couple of paragraphs is not going to help you moving forward.

Don’t worry too much if you’re struggling with this, your values aren’t set in stone, and you can refine them over time as your business grows.

2. Brand VOICE

Next, we’re going talk about the brand voice, which is the personality of your business, the way it ‘sounds’. Every word of copy you write and every caption and comment on social media should all sound like they were said by the same person.

Emotions play a massive part in creating brand loyalty and will create a lasting impression on your audience.

When defining your brand voice as yourself the following questions.

  • What brands do you admire? Look at them. How do they communicate through their visuals? How do they sound through their copy or on their recordings? And ask yourself, why do they appeal to me? I'm not encouraging you to copy, just understand why you like them. Analysing how other people are doing it will help you to find your own unique voice.
  • Which personality traits will your brand have?
  • What kind of friend are you going be to your audience? Are you fun, humorous, inspiring, positive, or do you have a dark sense of humour?
  • Look at the keywords you detailed for the brand values exercise, can any be tweaked to form your voice? For example, one of my values is to inspire and empower women. So a keyword for my voice is feminine.
  • How is your business unique? Maybe you do put the fun in finance, and that's your unique selling point. So fun would be in there but perhaps balanced out with other words to ensure the trust is kept.
  • What would appeal to your ideal client? Are they expecting a knowledgable serious website or something more friendly and approachable?

Now put your answers together and edit to remove any crossovers, creating a concise Brand Voice.

3. Visual brand

Now for the fun bit – your visual brand is all the design elements typically associated with branding – like the fonts, colour palette, logo and imagery. 

Fonts

Fonts are instrumental in creating a visually stunning website and improving your customers’ experience on your site.

Which typefaces you choose, and the effect that they create will frame the way your brand communicates visually.

We can split fonts into six different styles.

  • Serif - Serif is the oldest font style and is characterised by the little strokes at the edges of the letters called serifs. Serif is the perfect choice for traditional academic, classical, elegant or historic businesses. Serif fonts, project confidence and formality. The Serifs on the characters make each letter distinctive, so in some cases, they can be easier to read, especially in large paragraphs of text.
  • Sans-Serif - More modern-looking fonts without serifs. Styles can vary greatly. Some are square, some are rounded, but they're all simple, clean, friendly and suit a minimal contemporary aesthetic.
  • Script - Script typefaces mimic cursive handwriting and are perfect for historic businesses or where you want to evoke romance style or elegance. They can be formal like calligraphy, or casual and ornate or plain. Generally best reserved for titles or logos as they can be impossible to read in paragraphs of text.
  • Handwriting - Handwriting typefaces are more like real handwriting than a script font and have more and even letterforms. So they're great for conveying a relaxed, creative feel. They can be very distinctive and again, better used for logos, titles and larger text due to legibility of small sizes.
  • Display - Display typefaces are generally used for headings rather than body text. They're attention-grabbing and ideally need to be displayed at a larger size.
  • Monospace - Monospace typefaces have characters that occupy the same amount of horizontal space, so every single one is the same width. They have the feel of text written on an old typewriter or an early computer and are simple and less distracting than other typefaces.

How many fonts should I choose?

Ideally, you should use two fonts that express your brand perfectly. One for the titles and one for the body text with perhaps a third for your logo or on social media posts – something like a handwritten one, for example, but only if you haven’t got a handwritten one already. 

Equally, don’t be afraid to use one typeface across your entire brand. Some fonts have multiple styles that can be used in different areas of your website to show the hierarchy. For body text (the paragraphs of text on your site), you should choose a font that has numerous styles. Including regular, italic, bold and bold italic.

If you choose a strong font, for example, display, script or handwritten. Then pair it with something simple to avoid a busy design with fonts competing.

Contrast is also essential – choose two that are too similar, and you’ll have a flat design.

Brand Colours

There’s so much more to choosing colours for your website than aesthetics. 

Colours evoke an emotional response, and the right colours communicate your brand’s message and personality immediately before even a single line of copy is read. Colour psychology is not an exact science. Preferences are personal, and they can be influenced by many things, such as culture and upbringing. Using the guide below, you should be able to choose the perfect colours for your brand.

  • Red - is bold, it's exciting and attention-grabbing. The colour of love and passion, for warning signs and danger. It's an emotionally intense colour, and using too much can be overstimulating. Darker shades of red can inspire confidence and passion. Tints of red like pink are associated with caring, love, romance and femininity.
  • Yellow - it's bright, sunny, hopeful, cheerful, positive, warm and optimistic. It stands out, and that's why it is used on road signs and warning signs, and it stimulates mental activity.
  • Blue - it's authoritative, dependable and trustworthy. Shades of blue such as Navy are perfect for financial and corporate Websites where success, strength, authority are essential. In contrast, tints of blue are relaxed and calming.
  • Orange - is vibrant, comforting, fun and energetic. It's associated with autumn, success and is a fabulous colour to motivate.
  • Green - is calming like blue but has more energy because of the yellow in it. Associated with nature, it represents freshness and growth, the perfect colour for a sustainable business. Darker shades of green are linked with wealth and leadership, and greens with more yellow in like lime green are vibrant and youthful.
  • Purple - Bright, vibrant purples are the colour of choice for creative, artistic, unconventional businesses. The darker shades of purple are associated with royalty and luxury, and the paler tones evoke romance and summer. Purple takes on the qualities of both red and blue, it can be stimulating or calming, depending on the amount of each colour added.
  • Brown - is a rugged masculine colour and is associated with earth and authentic or organic businesses. Brown can be made by mixing the opposite colours on the colour wheel. So, for example, yellow and purple or red and green with the brown result taking on the attributes of the parent colours
  • Black - is a really tricky colour to use, and even though most themes have the default text colour as black, it's not the best choice for everyone. Black works well for luxurious brands. It's elegant, formal and dramatic and can help portray a prestigious and strong brand. List Item
  • White - as with black, it doesn't work for everyone and should be used cautiously. It's clean, pure and innocent and works well to portray fresh, practical businesses.
  • Grey - is the perfect neutral. It's calming, sleek, refined, practical, balanced and contemporary. It's often used by designers as a background colour as it shows off other colours well and doesn't change them in the way that both black and white can.

Try to stick to two or three colours for your website that work harmoniously together.  Using different shades or tints of these colour across your website to create interest and drama.

Think carefully about which of the colours you use for buttons – use your most eye-catching colours to ensure your buttons stand out.  

Use contrast to ensure your text is easily readable and using colour to highlight areas can also be useful.

Colour has a powerful psychological effect on people’s emotions and decisions, and it’s the strongest tool in your branding arsenal.

Logo

People often think that branding is just the logo. However, you can’t create a successful logo without understanding the fonts and colours that will work well for your brand.

Now you’re clear on those, it will be much easier for you to get a logo designed.

Images

Images are the final element of your visual brand, and I don’t just mean photographs. Graphics, illustrations and icons are equally powerful and allow you to inject some personality into your brand.

They illustrate your brand aesthetic and help you to connect with your ideal customer. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”, the right image can build a narrative that customers can engage with, relate to and identify with. They can get them to read on and stay on your website more than any written copy could.

Choosing images for your brand and website

  • Choose images that speak to your perfect customer, in your brand voice. For example, fun and friendly photos are very different from stylish and elegant ones.
  • Choose images that speak to your perfect customer, in your brand voice. For example, fun and friendly photos are very different from stylish and elegant ones.
  • Ensure they match your brand values, a photograph of a customer eating meat is not appropriate on a website selling supplements for Vegans, for example.
  • If your image contains people, ensure that they resemble your target market.
  • Focusing the colour palette of each of your images to your brand colours will help maintain your brand aesthetic. If you were to use a colour that wasn't one of your brand colours in a large amount, then that image would really stand out and would dilute your whole brand.

Now that you’re clear on your brand personality ensure it comes through in every message across every platform. They should all have the same look and feel, be true to your values and be spoken in your brand voice so that you can rise above your competition and attract your ideal customer.

Do you have any website branding questions? I’d love to hear from you!

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