What’s a company without a brand design?
Not much, according to our audience.
While previous Twitter chats have discussed topics like content and data, social media, and artificial intelligence, Venngage’s social media manager Ryan McCready and I spent the morning of Thursday, October 24, 2019 talking about brand and design.
1. What are the first steps you should take when designing your brand?
Ryan McCready is the social media manager of infographic maker website Venngage, making him the perfect host for this topic. He and I encouraged others to participate in the conversation, and the results are below:
Our first question focused on the strategy that people should take when they’re asked to design a brand.
Our special guest Ryan noted that before thinking about any of the artistic elements, it’s important to go back to your roots:
Before even thinking about what color palette or logo your brand should use, I think you need to outline your company mission, culture, and values.— Ryan McCready (@RyanMcCready1) October 24, 2019
Once you have those figured out, the design process should be largely influenced by those ideas. #G2Fireside
G2’s own brand designer, Laura Weiss, agreed that brand design is about more than the colors and shapes we choose to use:
Couldn't agree with this more! Good brand design is far more than making something beautiful, it's about solving a communication problem. #G2Fireside— Laura Weiss (@LauraEWeiss) October 24, 2019
It seemed that Alice Corner, a content marketer for Venngage felt just about the same way – it’s all about knowing the values, personality, and overall “vibe” of the brand.
I feel like my catch phrase should almost be 'but what's the vibe' at this point. I'm a huge believer in working out what your brand vibe is before even thinking about names, colours, logos, or language and tone! #G2Fireside— al corner (@blerhgh) October 24, 2019
Remesh took the time to chime in as well with another point: not only is it important to understand your brand and what you stand for, but keep your audience in mind, too.
A1: Understanding your audience is key to designing a strong brand. Find alignment between your company and your consumers!🔑😎 #G2Fireside— Remesh (@teamremesh) October 24, 2019
In our next question, we touched on brand evolution in B2B branding: what’s changed over time, and how? Our own VP of SEO and Content, Kevin Indig, hopped in quickly to remark on the blurred lines between marketing and branding.
Ryan touched on the importance of having B2B and B2C branding:
A2: Yes! I think a lot of SAAS companies that have both B2B & B2C customers have led the way to improved branding in the B2B space.— Ryan McCready (@RyanMcCready1) October 24, 2019
Plus there are so many brands out there competing in the marketplace, B2B brands need to do something to stand out, especially online. #G2Fireside
A2: B2B strategy is evolving every day!! Lately I see more and more B2B brands including "consumery" tactics like storytelling and I'm HERE FOR IT. Putting the human back into the equation makes all the difference #G2Fireside— Cait Hassett (@CaitHassett) October 24, 2019
Next, we talked about what really grinds designer’s gears – turns out there’s a lot that can go wrong with branding and design.
Even though we asked for one, Ryan seemed to have a few pet peeves up his sleeves:
#A3 There are a few:— Ryan McCready (@RyanMcCready1) October 24, 2019
- When brands try to be "cool" online
- Not having a singular visual/brand voice
- Unneeded rebrands every few years
- Companies with no brand guide
- Poor stock photo usage
Ask my team @Venngage, I'm always complaining about bad design work. #G2Fireside
G2’s content marketing associate Rebecca Reynoso touched on how heavily adapting a design and passing it off as your own was something she doesn’t consider a form of flattery:
A3. Copying or heavily adapting from either a well-known brand's design or a lesser-known brand, then passing it off as original work.— Rebecca Reynoso (@G2Rebecca) October 24, 2019
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? No, we call that plagiarism.
🔌 on how NOT to do that: https://t.co/HSeoj546zX #G2Fireside
Relationship marketing consultant and digital media creator Dan Willis quickly agreed:
Christian Lowery hopped in to say how much inconsistency sets him off:
A3 #g2Fireside— Christian Lowery (@clowerycontent) October 24, 2019
My biggest pet peeve is when the design is all over the place - when there’s no cohesion. If a customer can’t spot you’re branding and immediately know it’s you, then you’re not doing something right.
Our fourth question was a heavy-hitter: how do you know when it’s time for a change?
Ryan noted that you shouldn’t rebrand just to fit in with a trend:
A4: When your branding stops fitting those core values then it's time to change.— Ryan McCready (@RyanMcCready1) October 24, 2019
Don't rebrand just to react to all of the new trends. The strength of your brand will suffer greatly.
Like @Venngage our branding has been basically the same since we were founded. #G2Fireside
Others seemed to agree with that point, along with the thought that if your brand doesn’t match your vision, it’s time to say goodbye.
A4: If your brand design doesn't reflect your vision, it's time for a rebrand. #G2Fireside— Remesh (@teamremesh) October 24, 2019
Next up, we talked about what the importance behind a style guide is all about.
Ryan started off by saying that companies without a style guide should seriously reconsider.
A5: First, if you don't have a company style guide...what are you doing.— Ryan McCready (@RyanMcCready1) October 24, 2019
If your company is larger than a few people you need a style guide to make sure your brand is represented correctly and consistently.
A brand is really only strong when it's consistent. #G2Fireside
Squadhelp and Remesh helped to nail down the simplest point of a style guide: consistency.
A5: A brand style good is important to stay consistent across all platforms and mediums. #G2Fireside— Squadhelp (@squadhelp) October 24, 2019
A5: A brand style guide sets your company's design standards and helps your branding stay consistent ✅ #G2Fireside— Remesh (@teamremesh) October 24, 2019
Next up: we’ve talked about some things that are incredibly vital when it comes to branding. What are some things that are important, but are sometimes forgotten or unappreciated?
Ryan brought up visual voice and having consistency across platforms:
A6: A companies visual voice, mainly on social media.— Ryan McCready (@RyanMcCready1) October 24, 2019
Some brands just share a bunch of random visuals but others, like @SlackHQ or @CashApp have very consistent visuals across all their shares. #G2Fireside
Remesh brought up some things that nobody else thought to discuss:
Q6: Image/photography style selection and iconography design #G2Fireside— Remesh (@teamremesh) October 24, 2019
Christian brought up something I hold near and dear to my heart: why are you making the choices that you are?
A6 #g2Fireside— Christian Lowery (@clowerycontent) October 24, 2019
A commonly overlooked part of brand design is how it relates to the company's purpose.
You chose this color, that font, those images... but why?
How does your branding relate to WHY you're in business?
How could we forget to talk about software and tools? Our next question asked our audience what tools they use to succeed.
Ryan admitted, without shame, that he uses Venngage, along with the rest of his team. They even have a brand guideline template so that others can use Venngage’s designs to create their own.
Dan is a big fan of Canva:
A7 Couldn't do it without @Canva! @Photoshop is a powerhouse but it comes with a steep learning curve. For most #smallbiz out there @Canva just gets the job done. #G2Fireside pic.twitter.com/vteXLvv70C— Dan Willis #DOYOLive 🎙🎥 (@MLLNNLmotivator) October 24, 2019
Our other audience members (and myself) seemed to bow down to the Creative Cloud:
Our last question didn’t involve any hard thinking – we just asked what brand designs inspired our audience!
A8 Love the work @iSocialFanz and @robertoblake have put into creating unique brands. Tone, voice, content it all comes together. #pressthedamnbutton #createawesome #G2Fireside pic.twitter.com/Hid3fuRWvW— Dan Willis #DOYOLive 🎙🎥 (@MLLNNLmotivator) October 24, 2019
Am I allowed to add @BingingWBabish here since we're on food-inspired design? Andrew's design for BWB is *clean*.— Zack B. (@G2Zack) October 24, 2019
This discussion was full of opinion, discussion, and, most importantly, inspiration. We’d like to thank our participants for their insight!
Our next Twitter chat will be held on November 7, 2019. We’ll be discussing something a little more technical: big data in marketing, hosted by our own Devin Pickell.
Daniella Alscher is a content marketer for G2. When she's not reading or writing, she's spending time with her dog, watching a true crime documentary on Netflix, or trying to learn something completely new. (she/her/hers)
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