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DO YOU KNOW BAD DESIGN WHEN YOU SEE IT?
We’ve all see them…those truly awful websites and designs.
• The web pages full of clashing colors that make your head hurt just to look at them.
• Or the ones that have the yellow highlighted on top of lines and lines of barely readable text.
• Or the business card that has so many fonts it makes you look like a “font” salesman.
How do you brand a professional looking website and corporate identity package?
SEND THE RIGHT MESSAGE
The colors and fonts you choose are important because if you choose poorly, they will send an unfavorable message to your potential customers.
These days, you don’t want anything getting between you and the customer, let alone confusing fonts and ugly color choices.
At the end of this lesson, you’ll understand the tricks that are used by professional designers to create authority with your brand.
You’ll use a variety of low or no-cost tools that are available through the internet to solidify your branding concept while keeping your costs down.
PROJECT YOUR IMAGE TO THE WORLD
You’ll review color and font choices to find ones that are consistent with the image you want in your domain, tagline and branding strategy.
THIS LESSON’S OBJECTIVES
Over the course of this lesson you’ll:
- Choose a color palette that supports your branding
- And select a group of fonts to use in your messaging
YOU CAN DO THIS!
Each lesson includes the three styles for adult learners with:
• An Audio File
• A Written Transcript
• And a Practice Guide that gives you “hands-on” training customized to your own business.
LESS IS MORE
The first trick of professional designers is to limit the color palette.
This means the colors that are used get more emphasis.
- And the simpler the choices…the better!
Take it from the professional sports teams.
They pay millions of dollars to branding experts to come up with just the perfect colors and fonts.
- And most teams use just one or two colors to send their message.
(Just in case you’re wondering, white, gray, and black do not count as colors in this exercise.)
SIMPLE WORKS BEST
Color is vital to creating a positive image among consumers.
- Limiting the color palette also simplifies your life as a business owner.
If you know that your primary branding color is red, all of your branding will be based on that color-you don’t have to think about it with each new brochure or sign.
TAKE IT FROM THE PROS-ONE COLOR WORKS
Here are some examples of companies that brand based on just one color:
- UPS brands on the color brown
- H & R Block brands on the color green
- IBM brands on the color blue…so much that they are known as “big blue”
- And who could miss Coca Cola with red
- Or Sprite with green?
Even charities understand the importance of color.
- How about pink for breast cancer and blue for prostate cancer?
- Or tie a yellow ribbon around your tree to support the troops away from home?
Color makes it easy for customers to remember you and your message.
- It triggers a sensory response that customers can connect with your company.
WHAT DOES COLOR SAY ABOUT YOU?
- Color also says a lot about what image you want to portray as a business.
Here are some examples of what colors represent from “Entrepreneur Magazine” in an article by John Williams.
ARE YOU TRUSTWORTHY OR ATTENTION-GRABBING?
According to the article, blue is perceived as trustworthy, dependable, fiscally responsible, and secure.
- This color is popular with financial institutions because the concept of stability inspires trust.
Next, red is a color that increases your heart rate and causes you to breathe more rapidly.
- Red is perceived as an aggressive, energetic, provocative, and attention-grabbing color.
- Red can also represent danger or warning.
FUN OR HEALTHY?
Then, “Entrepreneur Magazine” looked at green.
- The color green denotes health, freshness, and serenity.
- Light greens are viewed as more calming, while deeper greens are associated with wealth or prestige.
Next, yellow is a color that is commonly associated with fun.
- It communicates optimism, light, and warmth.
- The reason you see bright yellow in so many point of sale displays is that the human eye sees bright yellow before any other color.
REGAL OR ROMANTIC?
Purple is a color that is favored by creative types.
- It evokes mystery, sophistication, and royalty.
- Lighter purple denotes nostalgia and sentimentality.
Then there’s pink.
- Pink’s message depends on what shade of pink.
- A hot pink shows energy, youthfulness, fun, and excitement.
- Lighter pinks are considered more romantic.
EXUBERANT OR STABLE?
Then the magazine article moved on to the color orange.
- Orange is associated with exuberance, fun, and vitality.
- It is viewed to have the excitement of red and the cheer of yellow.
- Research has shown that lighter shades of orange appeal to an upscale market.
Finally, there’s brown.
• The color of earth conveys simplicity, durability, and stability.
• It also can bring a negative response because some consumers view the color as dirty.
• On the positive side, brown has a functional effect, in that it hides dirt.
PICK ONE TO SUPPORT YOUR IMAGE
Look through these color descriptions again and pick a color that supports your marketing message.
- What does this choice say about you to your potential customers?
- Is this consistent with your value proposition?
- How about your domain name and tag line?
- What colors best support those?
Let’s look at an example:
If your branding for your nightclub is all about energy, youthfulness, fun, and excitement, a hot pink would be more consistent with your message.
You would probably not brand around the color blue which is perceived as trustworthy, dependable, fiscally responsible, and secure.
In other words, boring!
DO YOU COMPLEMENT OR CONTRAST?
Before we move off the topic of color, let’s look at the concept of complementary and contrasting colors.
Complementary colors are colors that are close to each other.
- Choosing 2 complementary colors will have the effect of presenting a calming effect.
By comparison, contrasting colors can be thought of as accents to each other.
- Choosing 2 contrasting colors will have the effect of creating excitement.
For this reason, when sports teams use 2 colors, they are usually contrasting colors.
GET TECHNOLOGY TO HELP
Does all this color talk seem overwhelming?
- Don’t worry.
There are a number of “color palette generator” websites that offer color selection services for you at low or no cost.
If you have a general idea of what colors you are contemplating for your branding, we recommend that you go to these websites and look at the color selections.
- Most of these websites will choose colors that fit in the color palette with the primary color you are considering, as well as suggesting complementary and contrasting “accent” colors.
Our current favorites are:
Next, let’s move on to the concept of fonts.
The subject of fonts is sometimes overlooked in branding discussions, especially by small businesses.
- But just like color, your font really says something about your business.
Branding experts recommend that you select 1 to 2 main fonts and perhaps an accent font when it is needed.
- Just like colors, a smaller group of choices is better.
EXAMPLE: FUNERAL HOME VS. ART GALLERY
Here’s an example of the impact fonts makes:
Let’s say that you run a funeral home.
- It would be highly inappropriate for you to have a font that could be called frivolous like “Jokerman.”
Similarly, if you run an art gallery, you would probably not have a stodgy old font like “Times New Roman.”
TIME TO MAKE IT REAL!
Now turn to your Practice Guide and spend some time looking at colors and fonts that support your branding message.
- Pick 1 to 2 complementary colors and a contrasting (or accent) color.
- Select a primary font and an accent font that are consistent with image you are presenting for your company.
JOIN THE RESISTANCE MOVEMENT
It can be hard, but resist the temptation to go crazy with the colors and the fonts.
- This is one of those rookie mistakes that differentiate small businesses that do design in-house from small businesses that pay for professional guidance.
Use the tricks of the “pros” to your advantage.
Now that you’ve selected a color palette and fonts for your branding message, let’s spend some time creating a basic logo image for your business identity using PowerPoint.