Design Elements of Your Brand

This year marks the sixth anniversary of changing the name of my company from Cinematic Studios to Dare Dreamer Media. A lot went into picking that name, and perhaps I’ll share that story at a later time. But today I want to talk a bit about the thoughts that went into the logo, then get into other elements of design as it relates to your brand.

When we developed the logo, we had a number of options created by the designer. But the one we chose was a perfect combination of visual representation of our service and our name.

DDM Logo

The diagonal slashes at the top invoked the sense of a film slate, giving a nod to the filmmaking and video production aspect of what we do, without having “film” or “video” or “cinema” in the name. The upside “A” was a daring decision, staying true to our name. The lower case “media” as well as it’s position made the point that “Dare Dreamer” is the main message, and media is just one of the various “Dare Dreamers” (as in Dare Dreamer Magazine or Dare Dreamer Entertainment). I remember that when we showed this logo (and the other candidates) to a group of fellow colleagues, this one stirred up the most discussion (both for and against). That in and of itself was another clue this was the right choice for us.

As you know, the design elements of your brand are made up of more than just your logo. There’s also your…

  • Website: are the colors of your site in line with your branding elements? What color are links on your site? Are the fonts on your site serif or sans serif? Do you have a standardized size for posting photos and videos? What is the navigational experience of your site? If your blog is part of your main site, how well integrated into the site is it? (Or does your blog link open up a new page to a Tumblr?) What video players do you use on your site? (YouTube? Vimeo? Wistia?)
  • Collateral: if you use brochures and business cards, what fonts do you use? What color scheme? Are you following good typesetting font usage guidelines? Does the paper quality reflect the quality of your service?
  • Colors: what colors have you selected? Did you just pick whatever feels good to you, or did you put some thought into color science?

Should You Hire a Professional to Design Your Brand Elements?

If you have the budget to get a professionally designed brand, you absolutely can only benefit from getting the professional touch. An agency or individual with years of branding and design experience will bring a wealth of knowledge to your brand’s design. During the nearly two years I worked as the senior video producer for Mighty 8th Media, I was able to see first hand what a top-notch team of designers brings to the table.

Design professionals also have the ability to pleasantly surprise you because they just look at it differently.

I remember back in 2006 when we were designing the book cover and logo for my wife’s first major self-published book, Real Women Scrap. It was a book geared towards busy women and moms who loved to scrapbook. It had 12 creative scrapbooking lessons and 12 corresponding and analogous life lessons. When designing the cover, we gave our professional designer some very specific direction. We instructed him to make the book look like a cool scrapbook page.

The original three or four candidates he created all were cool, but something was missing. None of them felt special or unique. There already were a bunch of scrapbooking books that used scrapbooking designs for their covers. My wife’s book was a different kind of book. It deserved a different kind of cover.

Real Women Scrap 3D CoverSo we told him to forget about all of our previous direction, and use his own experience and ideas (this was the guy who had designed book covers for such best-selling authors as Max Lucado and Ted Dekker). We said, “Forget whatever we told you before and do what you would do.” What he created was so special and something we NEVER would have conceived by ourselves (see right).

The image of the woman expressed a sense of freedom. Showing her back instead of front eliminated the chance of it being connected to any particular race. The elements above the woman and the typesetting he sued added just the right amount  of  scrapbooking feel without having to make a whole page. That’s what a pro brings to the table.

But what if you can’t afford a professional? Then what? Well–and I know I may get flack for this–there are sites like 99DesignsLogo Sauce and Fiverr. Now, before all you pro designers out there start sending me hate mail, read this old post. As I said from the very beginning of this series–your logo is only one aspect of your brand. If you can’t afford to spend a lot of money on a pro, there’s nothing wrong with turning to sites like these. But, be smart about it. As I mention in that aforementioned old post, make sure whoever is designing for you has a clear understanding of everything that goes into your brand.

What Next?

So, if a brand is so much more than the physical elements, what else is there. Tomorrow I talk about creating an experience. Stay tuned…