Using semiotics to your advantage
How can your brand design help you connect with your target audience? Using the science of semiotics – the study of the meaning behind the image – your choices can affect how your brand is perceived by your target market.
“In this country, what we need is more intellectual input into design.” - Jonathan Barnbrook, one of the UK’s most active graphic designers
Your logo is a massive part of your overall brand. It will be the first visual point of reference to the customer for the service you offer. If you are using an image, ensure it’s an appropriate choice, to retain the professionalism of your brand. The font needs to be relatable to your service – do you go for a classic serif typeface to suggest tradition and reassurance, a humanising hand-written font or something like a custom-made sans-serif font that gives a more dynamic, modern and minimalistic feel?
You will also need to choose a colour scheme that you can apply to everything - from your signage and stationery to posters and advertising. Blues and greens are natural, calming colours. They put your audience at ease and generate trust – which is why many financial institutions use these colours for their branding. In Western culture red often represents danger, and will make your audience more alert and attentive. Yellows and oranges are energising and cheerful, while black and white often denote luxury and elegance. Which colours best represent your product or service?
A tagline says a lot about the service you are looking to provide. Using a cleverly thought-out line will instantly become more appealing than a brief, generic industry-driven statement. Try to be as creative, yet concise, as possible to summarise what you as a business are aiming to achieve and offer to customers, whilst in keeping with your tone of voice. But be careful of overstepping the mark – don’t over promise or make the tagline too wordy.
The key to good branding is to ensure there is consistency across all your platforms and marketing material such as your website, business cards, and other stationery. To maintain a strong position within your market, you need to have something that you’ll be easily recognised and remembered for, so customers always know who you are and what you stand for.
It doesn’t matter how great your product or service is, if people don’t know about it you won’t succeed. So establish who your target audience is, advertise where you know they will see it, whether that’s by door-door leaflet drops, local or national press or specialist publications, and test different offers and messages to see which ones drive the most response.
These guiding principles will help you to develop your brand, but the only people qualified to tell you if it’s a success are your customers. Once your brand is in the public domain they’ll let you know if you’re on the right track.