How to Create a Brand Board That You Will Love
How to Create a Brand Board Your Client Will love
Creating a brand board might seem like a daunting task, but following a step-by-step guide can make it a lot easier and a mission you can take joy in! Imagine that!
By creating a brand board or a brand guide, all other branding tasks become a piece of cake.
You will already have your visual brand identity ready to go alongside brand elements, so no matter what the job is – a website, advertisement, or social media everyone is clear on what needs to get done and how it should look. I always find that fewer changes are requested and clients are as happy as a clam.
Define and Refine
If you are defining a brand you are working with, they should be able to provide you with some direction. They should already have the demographic, brand messaging, brand vibe and brand personality thought out, but we all know too well a lot of the times that is not the case.
The first step is to work with your client and define their business goals, their target market, and overall aesthetic.
Questions for your/clients brand
The below questions are excellent starting points to focus on to really get to the heart and soul of the brand.
Why does your business exist?
For instance, Nike’s mission statement is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” Their three main areas of focus would be – inspiration, innovation, and athletes. Co-Founder Bill Bowerman’s states, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.” Making Nike for everyone.
Another example would be Coca-Cola.
To refresh the world in mind, body, and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions.
Their focus is – to refresh and provide happiness (optimism and spirit).
Your client may not be a Nike or a Coke, but I hope that it gives a general idea. Generally, It includes what the main product/service delivers, to who, and how they want them to feel.
You can use we aim to ____ (insert service), to ______(demo), to make them _________(feel or react).
Why is your product/service outstanding?
What sets the company/organization apart from others. This could also include a brand story.
What do you want to accomplish with a rebranding/branding?
Define audience/ target/ where they live where they work and play?
Defining the target audience
Defining the target audience is the most crucial part of building the brand aesthetic. If you are creating branding for a nursery, you sure aren’t going to use steel and bright oranges or reds in your branding. You need to set the target demo to get it right from the start.
Using the example of Nike again. Their colors are overall monotone with bright colors mixes in between. They appeal to a younger demo, both men and women but are more likely more male-skewed.
Nike’s demo would be younger (male-skewed) athletes. Either their work or play being sports related. See below for their We Run app brand guidelines.
See how it works for their demo? This look and feel would easily be attractive to young men, and the symbol has a warrior/shield feel to it.
Alternatively, The Honest Company, founded by Jessica Alba, is for new moms that are looking for safe, healthy, and stylish products baby products. This one may seem tricky as the actual demo is babies, but it needs to also appeal to the mother first.
The colors and graphics convey the idea that the products are gentle but still eco-chic. Which is attractive for moms looking for gentle, and trustworthy products for their babies but are also stylish, especially when compared to the blinding bright red Huggies boxes.
If you or the client are feeling stuck answering some of the questions above, short list style questions can be more straightforward.
5 words to describe the target audience –
Nike’s would be – strong, young, healthy, fit, energy.
The Honest Company – Moms, Young, Chic, Affluent, Eco-Conscious.
5 words to describe the desired aesthetic –
Nike’s – Power, Fast, Strong, Bold, Cool
The Honest Company – Light and airy, soft, gentle, natural, chic
Mood Board – Brand Mood and Brand Personality
Putting two and two together.
Start collecting images that match with the brand demo and personality you defined earlier. Using Google Image search, Instagram, or Pinterest, you can also try old school magazine clipping as well.
Let’s say I’m coming out with a new line of Organic Coconut Water. My target audience is young, adventurous, modern, fun, and healthy.
Mindmap and start collecting images to create the base style guide.
I ended up with a bit of mishmash of colors and a few different themes.
I then narrowed down my final images that looked like they worked well for the feel of the brand.
Brand Board Elements
While colors seem simple to select each color has it’s own meaning and feeling with it. This also ranges from around the world, but overall, most do follow the general rules.
Red: Aggressive, powerful, bold
Blue: Calmness, Serene, inviting, trustworthy
Yellow: Happy, Friendly, cheerful
Green: natural, healthy, peaceful,
Grey: Cold, formal, gloomy, modern
Beige: Calming, earthy, neutral
Black: Luxe, sophisticated, prestigious and edgy
Orange: Playful, energetic, fun, cheap
Pink: Feminine, young, innocent
Purple: Luxury, successful, royal
Brown: earthy, sturdy, rustic, dependable
White: clean, virtuous, healthy, pure
Every color comes with positives and negatives as well. Ignite brands has a great blog post that goes into depth about the positives and negatives for each color. So don’t be quick to throw together a color palette.
The fist thing you want to consider who your demo is and how you want them to feel
Young demo branding is typically more bright, vibrant, and fun. On the flip side, an older demographic is more monotone, neutral colors, think Burberry, who is known for their houndstooth pattern and beige trench coats. For new moms, pastels for baby products are very attracting as they are very soothing and natural.
You can take your images from the mood board and enter them in a site like Coolors. Ta-da! Instant color palette options based on the image selected. It provides you with hex codes, so all your branding is consistent. Another option is to take the words of your central theme or demo and browse until you see a good fit for your brand.
See below a few options that my images generated and searches like tropical color palettes.
From the below here is the set that I believe will work well based on demo and brand personality.
The second step is Typography.
Typography and font selection is an art. It conveys your brand messaging quite possibly more than other elements. For typography, there are three styles of fonts – Serif, Sans Serif, and Script.
Serif – It’s text that has “ticks” or “feet” called serifs. They are a mix of thin and thick strokes. It is traditional more formal and is used for newspaper print, high fashion, and generally used more in print for body copy.
There are styles within serif fonts – old style, transitional, slab, and modern (my personal favorite). The personality or feel of these fonts is classic, elegant, and romantic.
Sans Serif – This essentially means they are without serif (there are no feet on the letters). These have a more modern feel and are great for tech, and even many more high fashion brands are embracing sans serif fonts to keep up with the times. Such as Burberry, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Yves Saint Laurent.
Script – There has recently been a surge in script font usage, with everyone obsessed with the bounce calligraphy look. Script fonts are used for very formal type (think wedding card) and also are on the opposite spectrum as very friendly and approachable.
Think Disney, Hallmark, Kleenex, or Kellogg’s. Primarily it is used to feel close, or heart felt like this was handwritten just for you.
When selecting your fonts, you want to consider having 2 different styles of fonts. You can use three, but sticking to two usually works best, and every piece looks more consistent. Traditionally it is said to pair a sans-serif with a serif font. It adds some contrast, which naturally catches the eye.
It’s like peanut butter and jelly, you want both fonts to compliment each other and at the same time, not be fighting for the viewers’ attention but be a harmonious marriage.
The most important thing is to have a font hierarchy. One gets more eyeballs, and the other is support. It works like painting your home, the deep red is the accent (gets the eyeballs), and the serene calm beige quietly supports.
My favourite site for font combinations is Canva. I love how you can enter in the font you had in mind, and it will find different font combinations and also provide examples of how it’s been used. This makes it even easier to connect which fonts will work for your needs.
Patterns & Graphic Elements
These are visual elements that you can incorporate into your branding touch points. Graphic and patterns make the brand easily recognizable and further help in creating the brand identity.
Think Louis Vuitton and their pattern emblem, or Chanel and how they use tufting, think of Kate Spade and your mind automatically goes to bright colors and polka dots. All of these brands incorporate these elements into their products, store display, and advertising.
Brand Board Template – Putting Your Brand Board Together
You can use a template like this one I put together, or use canvas to put one together. The important part is seeing how they all work together and are used as blueprint for any content you are putting out.
We didn’t go over logo as of yet, but I do plan on creating a post about logo creation as it is the most important part of your branding.
Here is how my mock up coconut water worked out.
Having a brand board helps you clarify your message, your branding, and really get clear on how you the brand will be visually represented.
If you want to download my template for building a brand board like this click here. Brand Board (272 downloads)
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