When clients approach us for web design, one of the first things we ask is "do you have a brand?" A quality brand, one consistent with your company's values, translates directly to an effective, consistent, and visually appealing website.
What is your brand identity?
For any business, this is an important—but often misunderstood—question. Your brand identity is:
- The visual representation of your business,
- What people think of or visualize when they hear your business or organization's name. For example, if someone says "The Nature Conservancy," your impression of that organization comes to mind. If they say "Honda," you'll have a different reaction.
- The expression of the unique characteristics which represent your business,
Why your brand is so important
- It sets the stage for everything you produce - visually and otherwise.
- It sets you apart from other businesses.
- It is authentic, a manifestation of the cultural values of what is being represented. If it’s not consistent with these values, it may appear inauthentic.
How is your brand expressed? In a branding guide.
A branding guide, or "brand standards" sets the tone for all your company's communications. At bare minimum, a brand will consist of a logo and a color palette. A more complete picture includes:
- Short statement outlining the mission or purpose of the business and defining its audience
- Headline and body fonts
- Guidelines for use of photography
- Copywriting guidelines
- Additional design elements (glyphs, textures, shapes)
Why your brand is so important to building a website
One of the first steps in the web design process is to decide on a visual look and feel. Without at least minimal branding, your design is starting completely from scratch, and essentially has to create a brand identity for your business on the fly. This may or may not be consistent with the image you want to project. Your brand needs to come before a website because the site is an extension of the brand—don't put the cart before the horse.