Five tips for easy brand consistency
As we are constantly creating multiple social media posts a day, how-to guides, emails, event and promo flyers, website updates, preparing PowerPoint presentations, etc. that have to reflect our brand it can become overwhelming. You are looking up colors, finding multiple versions of a saved logo, figuring out what fonts you need to use, searching for images that fit your website or Instagram theme and more. Thankfully there are ways we can help ease some of this work of maintaining a look for your brand that is consistent and does not have to become overwhelming.
Lightroom Preset Filter
One way to have a consisetent look to your photos for your website and Instagram is with the help of an Adobe Lightroom preset. Lightroom is a program many photographers use to edit 100s of photos in a shorter time period. The preset filters are a group of settings that can easily be applied to a photo to give the image a desired look. The settings control things like contrast, colors, temperature, sharpeness and more. Since it is preset these are not settings you need to adjust every time you go to edit a photo.
The app can be downloaded on your phone for free and you can purchase presets for the mobile version on Creative Market or create your own. You can also purchase the desktop version with more features at adobe.com.
Brand Style Guide
Having a brand style guide is something I cannot recommend enough. I create one with each of my logo clients as well because it is a source of reference for all visual elements and messaging in a brand. A brand style guide includes your logo and logo alternatives and the proper uses for each, your color Pantone names and values for RGB and CMYK, other visual elements that are tied to the brand like patterns or photo treatments, fonts, word usage, appropraite use templates, who to contact with questions or brand resources, and more.
The guide is a good reference to quickly be able to find the exact fonts and colors you need to match your brand idenity. But it is also something you can provide others on your team with or to anyone who may use your logo, like a designer for an event you are sponsoring. Doing so helps ensure that your brand is being protrayed in the manner you desire in all situtations.
Socal Media Templates With Canva
I love Canva for social media graphics. They make it easy to grab sizes appropriate to the platform you are using, whether Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or another. They have many premade templates and stock graphics avaialbe to use. Plus they save and store the designs you have already made to be easily updated and used in the future. With the free version you can also add up to three of your brands colors to a color pallet to easily grab and add them to any pre-existing template.
Using templates will also help you maintain a consistent look throughout social media because you can resuse them. Of course, I wouldn’t make every graphic with the same one or two templates, be sure to switch them up so it doesn’t become stale and overused. But as someone who has managed many social media accounts for clients in the past, trust me – on brand templates make quick updates for posting so much easier!
The paid version is not necessary to create amazing content with Canva, but it is worth it to note that with the paid version you can create a complete brand kit. This includes uploading logos, brand fonts and full color pallets. The paid version also gives you access to use additional image and graphic resources. However, you really can do a lot with the free version.
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This same concept of templates can be used with web pages like blog posts or PowerPoint presentations.
Have a Design System or Pre-Made Elements
Design systems are something that is used a bit more in the web space but the idea is very helpful for any content creation. Basically it is having access to icons, images, textures and other elements that are regularly used as part of your brand. Likely you will keep them in a folder that is easy to access when you want to grab them. If you create a new element that you feel you would often reuse, add it to the folder. This keeps you from having to recreate it or opening many different files while trying to remember where you last used it.
I love re-using past designs. Maybe you reuse the format of a webpage to create your new one. Perhaps it is a flyer design from a past event that you update to share about an upcoming event. It is like a template that you get to update with fresh photos and text, but it saves you time from having to think about how you will format all your information. Pro tip: just be sure to double check you are updating all information when re-using a past design or reformatting the design for another medium!
I’ve seen it happen before where a year was not updated for an event, or the number for the annual year was left untouched. I’ve also seen a web graphic be reformatted for a billboard, leaving a “click here” text on the billboard. Oops! That is a bit difficult.
All these are ways to streamline your processes to save you time and remain consistent in your brand identity. Do you have another way that helps you make keeping your brand identity consistent easier? Leave a comment below to share with others.
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