If you are thinking of starting your own business, one of the most important things to consider is how to present your company to the public. In person, that will be everything from how your customers are treated to the cleanliness of your store. Online, that can be translated through your website: the colors, fonts, images or videos, and the company logo.
While these things may not seem as important as the content or products themselves, too many of your customers, readers, or clients it is the very first thing they notice. So it’s important to have a skeleton structure of just what you want to present. That’s where a branding board comes in, and using one will make creating and maintaining the image you want to project to your customers easier, both on and off line.
What is a Branding Board?
So, what is a branding board? A branding board is the skeletal structure of your brand’s design. It holds a color palette, font types, logo and variant, and a few other cool things that you’ll use in creating the overall image that makes your brand stand out among your competitors. It is the blueprint and guide to the design elements of your website. A branding board will make adding any branded item a seamless task.
From business cards to t-shirts, your branding board can help you create a laser-focused brand that everyone will recognize. With these things in mind, let’s move on to what actually makes up the branding board.
The Keys Pieces
A branding board has a few key pieces. Once you have these keys, you can break each piece down into subdivisions, depending on how in-depth you want to be. At the very least, you will need
- Color palette
These can be broken down into sub-categories. The main logo can have a sub mark. You can have the main color palette, supporting palette, and any patterns that are used. Your fonts can be broken down into post and page font types and body font types. You can also add specialty categories like website buttons, social media links(think Facebook, Twitter, etc) and
The Logo and the Sub Mark
The main logo is what you’ll use for your professional advertising – things like business cards, the header of your website, letterheads, etc. It’s what communicates your company’s goals and purpose to potential clients and readers. A logo should convey your business purpose in a simple, easy-to-understand way. You can use a second variation of your logo on your branding board. Sometimes you may need a vertical image over a horizontal image. It always pays to have a back-up, after all!
The submark is smaller than the logo but draws inspiration from it and is usually used as an icon or profile picture for social media outlets. So it’s incredibly useful to have one already on-hand and ready to be plucked off your branding board. A sub mark offers a simple alternative to main logos, and can also act as watermarks for images or art created by the company or entity it represents.
With all of these logos, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. What will the logo look like on a white background? On a colored background? On a photo background? sizing of the logo and whether any spacing needs to be accounted for around the edges, and things of that nature. Keeping all of this in mind may seem excessive or even overwhelming, but that’s part of the beauty of the branding board: it helps you organize these thoughts.
Sizing of the logo is also important. Will any spacing need to be accounted for around the edges? Keeping all of this in mind may seem excessive or even overwhelming, but that’s part of the beauty of the branding board: it helps you organize these thoughts
All the Colors of the Rainbow
Now, let’s talk color. The colors you choose for your logo, website, and text bodies are immensely important. Color sets the mood for almost everything in our day-to-day life. Color can convey calmness and bring feelings of peace, or incite feelings of shock or excitement. The color you choose can evoke nearly any emotion depending on how you use it.
Shadows and lights, of course, can enhance or change the feelings portrayed by the colors, and patterns can add an extra layer of personality. There’s a lot you can do with just colors, light effects, and patterns! But of course taking in every scrap of information all at once will be overwhelming. Keeping all of your thoughts and plans in one place is why you need a branding board. Will you use shades of blue and gray to convey a calm, still water? Or do pastel colors and polka dot patterns better explain your brand at first glance? The possibilities are endless.
The Color Palette
You should always start with your main color palette. Your main color palette consists of three to five colors. Your main colors will set the tone of your brand. There are millions of different color combinations and all will convey a little bit different feeling.
If you need some help picking your colors, check out our post ‘How to Choose the Perfect Colors for Your Website’
Your supporting palette is a few colors are simply colors that complement the main palette. They can be used in brand graphics like blog or social media posts, borders, or text pieces on your site. Basically, the supporting palette helps to shake things up without straying too far from the main palette and what it conveys. A pattern (like stripes, polka dots, stars, etc.) can help add a bit of flair to your site, but it isn’t always necessary to add one.
Again, this is where having the branding board comes in handy, you can always test how a pattern would look before committing to anything.
It’s All About the Fonts
Now that we’ve covered color and brand logos, it’s time to discuss fonts. You want fonts that will add to your brand, to convey what the brand represents. Fonts should be easy to read and flow with the general idea of your brand. To find a font that feels right for your brand, Google Fonts is a good place to start. Never settle on a font when it comes to your brand; if it doesn’t feel right, don’t use it, because it can make or break the feeling you want to convey.
You need fonts for headers, footers, paragraph text, media buttons, and many use fonts in their logos. Make sure the fonts complement one another, though that doesn’t mean use one font face for everything – some variety, some subtle changes in each can go a long way! Make sure to add what fonts you used, along for what they were used for, into your branding board for easy reference.
Branding Boards Keep Your Organized
All in all, branding boards are pretty important when it comes to design. They make it much easier to stay organized, can help you layout how you want your website to look, and make it so much easier to remember hex codes for that specific shade that pops in your logo. Whether you’re designing on your own or simply want to know what you’re paying for when you contract a graphic designer, you are now armed and equipped with the knowledge of what a branding board’s purpose is, and ideas of how to use each element of them!