As a former graphic and web designer, it was drilled into me early on that consistency is everything when it comes to branding. By remaining consistent, you get the same look and feel across, whether you’re handing out a business card, showing off your website, passing out brochures or sending an email newsletter.
Just like it’s important to be consistent in our photographs, it’s just as important to be consistent in our branding and marketing.
Develop brand guidelines
Your brand should ultimately be driven by one thing — YOU. It’s up to you to determine what you want your visual presence to look like. That means taking the time to develop a professional logo and come up with brand guidelines like fonts and colors.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, I strongly recommend engaging a marketing agency. Or, at the very least, a good graphic artist.
Regardless, put your logo at the core of your marketing materials. Why? For one thing, your logo should be on every single marketing piece you create. By having it look the same on your business card, postcards, thank you notes, website and more, anyone who sees it will immediately know who you are, and be reminded of your work.
After the logo, create guidelines for fonts and colors. Choose two fonts to use. One of these might be found in your logo, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. You might consider finding a serif (a font with feet) and sans-serif (font without feet) to combine together. In that case, you’d use one font for headlines, and another for the body copy.
In terms of colors, I recommend choosing only two or three dominant colors. Again, it’s all about branding and having clarity in your look. You’re welcome to also have secondary colors that you might use on certain materials, but don’t go crazy. Go with colors that work across a wide variety of mediums, and stick with them.
For instance, my logo has a blue and dark gray color scheme. But I’ll often put this against a very light gray background, which is one of my secondary colors. If you need help finding complimentary colors to use, check out Color by Adobe.
Once you have your branding guidelines narrowed down, you can then start to develop some templates. Think about the materials you rely on often. For some of us, this might mean a business card, website and email newsletter. If you photograph families and newborns, you might create flyers and postcards, too.
Regardless of what you create, it’s important to keep the same look and feel with these templates. Come up with two or three flyer templates, two or three postcard templates, etc.
Another thing to consider here is social media graphics. In today’s world where almost everyone has a smartphone and is checking Facebook constantly, it’s important to create graphical materials that you can share. These can highlight some of your recent photos, upcoming offers, coupons, etc. If you don’t have the graphical know-how, I suggest checking out Adobe Spark, which will give you some great design ideas that you can automatically apply your colors, fonts and logo too.
Look at it with a critical eye
… and if you can’t, ask your friends!
It’s important to look back at all the materials we create and make sure that they are not only branded in a consistent manner but that they’re clear and make sense to our audience. While you shouldn’t overthink this task, it’s important to make sure your branding is appealing to all different types of audiences. Spend some time with it. Once you’re satisfied, then it’s time to get to work.
For more on Photography Marketing, see my weekly column.