5 MOST COMMON BRANDING MISTAKES

When it comes to branding a business, there are some very specific steps that one should take in order to get a consistent, memorable and durable branding. For professionals, it is more or less common, but nowadays, you can easily create a logo online without ever opening Adobe Illustrator or knowing what vector file is. Why that is not a good idea you’ll see in the text below.

 

1. DIY LOGO ONLINE – not hiring a professional designer

Nowadays you have a lot online tools to create an instant DIY logo for a small charge (or even for free). That is the biggest trap you can fall into. Why?

First of all, it is not done by a professional designer. That means, it wasn’t created with specific branding steps. No one went through the appropriate branding board, color palette, typography options or layout, but instead you chose what was given to you among limited options.
Branding process must follow 6 steps. These are:
 1.  MOODBOARD
 2. COLOR PALETTE
 3. TYPOGRAPHY CHOICE
 4. LAYOUT CHOICE
 5. SYMBOL USAGE
 6. STATIONERY BRANDING
You can check how a moodboard and a 4 steps from above should look like.

 

Photo Credit: Pinterest

If you skip them and go for the available online DIY options, you will end up with a logo that has pretty limited usage. You won’t be able to do your business cards alone, nor the stationery.
I have a lot of clients coming to me after they did a DIY online logo asking me to make them buisness cards, or stationery or even change colors and make a color palette for them with that logo that they created. When we come to the questions: “OK, sure, but do you have vector files for your logo? That would be the file with .ai or .eps extension.”The answer is usually NO.
What happens at the end: they end up hiring me to do new logo design from scratch so we can move on to stationery. Which leads us to the mistake #2.

2. WRONG FILE FORMATS – not having vector files for your logo
When creating a DIY logo online, you will often receive only JPG and PNG files. That is totally fine if you are going to use your logo only on web (for your blog, social media, etc).
The problem comes when you want to expand your branding, and print a business cards, for example.
With a JPG logo, yes, you can print business cards but only if the resolution is very high. If not, you’ll end up with pixelate business cards and look unprofessional in front of your customers and business partners. Even bigger issue comes out when you want to print a banner or a shop sign.
There is a big difference between JPG / PNG (raster formats) and AI / PDF / EPS ( vector formats).
Raster formats are composed of pixels of various colors, which together form an image, while vector graphics are composed of paths.  Because vector graphics are not made of pixels, the images can be scaled to be very large without losing quality. Raster graphics, on the other hand, become “blocky,” since each pixel increases in size as the image is made larger. This is why logos and other designs are typically created in vector format – the quality will look the same on a business card as it will on a billboard.
All of my logos are initially created in Adobe Illustrator which works with vector graphics.
For each logo that you bought from me, you can buy an add-on – vector files in order to have a complete branding possibilites.

3.  ONLY ONE LOGO VERSION CAN’T DO IT ALL
You have a logo and that’s it. Isn’t that all you need? Well, no.
For a consistent and professional looking brand (and that is how you want your customers to see your business, right) you need much more than just one logo version. You need a complete branding. That means, besides logo, you will need a few more logo variations. What are those, you’ll ask?
Well, if your logo is, say, vertically positioned, like in the example above, you will probably have a problem when uploading it to your website – it won’t look nice, since it will enlarge your header and put the important content too much down. But, if you have an alternative logo which in more horizontal, then your problem with website is solved. And you still have your main logo for the business cards, letterhead design, stickers, etc.
Also, with either vertical or horizontal layout, your social media profile photo won’t look nice either. That is where the circle watermark comes in. Now, that Facebook profile photo is going to rock.

4. GOING FOR THE TRENDS
Today trends are definitely rose gold, marble, gold and blush. I looooove those colors and textures so much, I admit. For my branding, they are perfect. But, are they going to work for every business? No.
Going only for the trends is tempting, but not so wise. The reason for this is that trends come and go too quickly.
If your brand is based only on trendy colors, you may end up outdated sooner than expected.
It is much easier when you choose some neutral colors to keep up with new trends. No one will consider black, navy or beige outdated. Those colors are just eternal.
But, going for the trends, can also be beneficial. You should carefully consider what your business is about, who is your target audience, what is their age (because, frankly, if your audience is above +50, they won’t follow trends that much – they will probably look for something more traditional and stable that they can indentify with).
That is why, no matter what color the logo for my client is, I always provide black & white option, so the logo can be used more versatily and long-term.
That leads us to the mistake #5.

5. NOT FOLLOWING THE TRENDS AT ALL
Beleive it or not, this is a problem too. You wouldn’t beleive how many people don’t follow trends and don’t know what is IN at the moment. It is not a problem, as long as you don’t do something that is totally opposite – you make your logo completly outdated.
Following the trends can be tricky, but no following them at all can be a business killer.
3D logos with shadow behind lettering – that is just one example of completely outdated look, but you wouldn’t beleive how many of logos like this are still out there – LIVE and in USE. Who knows when they were created, maybe 10-20 years ago, when that kind of look was IN. But leaving the logo as is for so many years and not tweaking it a bit, or at least color-updating it is a design crime.
Logos should be updated from time to time, and sometimes even rebranded completely.
All major companies have done it – Apple, Adobe, Microsoft, Airbnb, GAP, etc. Here is just one example:
After reading this, I hope you are more familiar with some design terms, design process, and you’ll be able to avoid these mistakes.
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If you have any questions you can write here or on my social media, I will be happy to help.
Until next Friday,
Ana Marija

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