What is Branding?
If you are a web designer, you probably hear the term branding being tossed around a lot. But, what exactly does it mean? In brief, branding refers to the elements that define the image, ethos and tone of the company or product your site represents. Everything about the website, from its layout to the palette you pick, is part of creating a brand. Good branding creates an instantly recognizable snapshot of what your site has to offer. Think about iconic branding elements like Apple’s logo or Taco Bell’s slogan. Hear or see those things and you’ll instantly know what the company is and what it stands for. Here are three pieces of advice for developing a strong branding element for your website.
Know your audience.
Understand who you want to “get” your brand. The user who gets excited about an app that can automatically help sort emails would look for a very different kind of branding that someone looking for a mobile game to pass the time. Identify your target market, not just by demographics but also by tastes. Is it quirky? Businesslike? Cutting-edge? Retro? Once you’ve figured that out, you can start to create a site that draws their attention (and business).
Keeping your brand consistent is key. That means that the graphic elements, text, and any multimedia all need to be part of the same concept. Each one needs to be tailored to the preferences of your target consumer. If you are going with a streamlined, tech-obsessed look, for example, you should concentrate on finding angular (but legible) font styles that complement that contemporary style. It might also be a good idea to avoid pastels and work with more dramatic colors. Similarly, make sure any promotions, whether on email or social media, reflect the visual brand.
Memorable is vital.
Standing out in the crowd is the only way to get your brand noticed. Taking some considered risks can make that happen. If you are working on a portfolio site, going for monochrome can pay off—it’s dramatic and can help highlight the images. Or, you can embrace your own creativity and create an immersive site where each element reflects a different time period or looks like a landscape, among other examples. Just make sure that all elements load properly and quickly across platforms.
These are a few important points to bear in mind when creating a website brand. It can also be good to make a paper sketch of branding ideas, to get a sense of how they look on the page before you actually create it. Try to review ideas from a consumer’s point of view. Would the branding you’ve created interest you? Are you the site’s target market?