In a previous Monday Muster’d post we talked about four key factors that help build relationships with your customers and drive sales. Today we delve into aesthetics and its role in promoting your business.
“Aesthetics” is a broad term for the study of art, beauty, and taste. Artists and philosophers throughout the centuries have studied art in its various forms to discover what evokes a thoughtful or emotional response. Your company’s logo, and other ways you communicate your brand, need not be museum-worthy, but it’s definitely in your best interest to consider how it “speaks” to your customers.
Walk with me for a moment in your customer’s shoes. Imagine the customer looking at your signage, a brochure, an ad, and your website. It’s not a beauty contest, it’s about what it makes your customers think and how it makes your customers feel. Does it match how you want your customers to think and feel? Is it primitive or polished? Retro or recent?
No matter your business, every way in which you share your brand’s image must be a consistent reminder of who you are and what you do. This includes your company’s:
- logo (the symbol of the entire identity and brand)
- stationery (letterhead, business cards, envelopes, etc.)
- marketing collateral (flyers, brochures, books, websites, etc.)
- products and packaging (products sold and the packaging in which they come in)
- apparel design (tangible clothing items worn by employees)
- signage (interior and exterior design)
- messages and actions (conveyed via indirect or direct modes of communication)
- other communication (audio, smell, touch, etc.)
- anything visual that represents the business.
The colors, typefaces (more universally known as fonts), graphic elements (shapes, lines, even use of white space), and photography style in all of your brand imagery evoke a thoughtful and emotional response. Use it to your advantage (we don’t mean that in an underhanded way)!
People have preconceived thoughts about different colors, and how they work in identifying your brand: blues illicit a feeling of calm and trust, while orange is a more energetic color. Take cues from other successful brands and use colors that compliment your brand personality and the message you want to communicate.
Typefaces (a.k.a. fonts)
Type has to do a variety of things: body copy needs to be easy to read so the customer can comfortably digest information. Think newspapers, but recognize that reading on screen and on paper require different styles of type. Headlines need to be clean and clear so they stand out as a customer is skimming text. If you’re trying to evoke a more emotional response, use script fonts for a graceful, feminine feel; use fonts with bold, straight edges for strength. Fancy fonts can be useful, but be sure they’re readable or your message will be lost.
Graphic Elements (shapes, lines, icons, positive/negative space)
There are many ways shapes, lines, icons, and usage (or omission) of space can affect your brand’s message: circles and other curved edges can give your brand a softer appearance, while using squares and corners provides more strength and an architectural feel. Your use of space around other graphic elements helps organize information for your customer and potential customers. Group thoughts together, and allow “breathing space” between them. If all the elements you want to communicate are crowded on a page, it overwhelms readers and they’ll be less likely to put in the effort to engage with your brand.
With the advent of digital desktop publishing and the Internet, the use of photography with branding has exploded. Remember, images are another opportunity to represent your business (and they will represent your business whether you use them strategically or not!). Perhaps you want a more literal representation of your business that shows your employees performing a service. Perhaps you’d prefer a more emotional example of customers enjoying your product, or how the product improves their lives. Use photos to help explain who you are and what you do as a business. Don’t forget that any photo you use should have proper lighting and composition.
Our consistent message to you is, be purposeful and consistent. Make your logo, your ads, your handouts, your website, and your social media look like they all came from you. Don’t waste an opportunity to show customers and potential customers the value of your products and/or services!
Kelli Roos is a storyteller, communicating messages through graphic design and illustration, and demonstrates the technical expertise to bring her stories alive online and in print. She enjoys baking cookies and muffins, as well as weight lifting and running, and finds that both of these passions balance each other fairly well. Kelli received a BFA in graphic design from Millikin University.