If you are familiar with Curate Well Co. you’ve probably noticed that our brand has a very specific look (hey, we’re nothing if not predictable). It’s actually one of the things we get complimented on most often, since it’s so unlike anything else in our space!
Editorial. Pacific. Elevated. Neutral. Sophisticated. These are all words we use to describe our brand. From the very beginning, it’s been important to me that Curate Well Co. reflected a lifestyle — not just a business. Because I had a long term vision for Curate Well Co., I wanted a brand we could grow into as the company took on new revenue streams and evolved formats.
Plus, I was sick of seeing the same script font in every logo, the same types of photos on every Instagram feed, and the same muted pink tones on every website. I wanted the Curate Well Co. brand to be like nothing else in the space and to embody excellence — one of our core values.
While your brand is so much more than colors and fonts (it’s also values, content pillars, tone, positioning, and more) the aesthetic of your brand is the thing people will notice first — and so making sure you have a strong, unique aesthetic is important to make a lasting first impression. Your brand sets an expectation for your audience of what they can count on you for. From your website, to your business cards, to your social media posts: everything you create should speak to your brand style.
Even though design isn’t what we do at Curate Well Co., it’s an essential practice that we bring into everything we create to make our business more successful. So, we’re going to break down why brand style and consistency!
Why brand style is important
Emotion + connection
Your brand style is all about how you want people to feel when they engage with your content.
A brand style is the series of efforts that communicate through the viewers’ senses. Everything they see, feel, hear, and read from your brand should be from a cohesive perspective that tells your company story. Your branding should set the tone visually for what your company is about before anyone even knows what you do, and elicit a specific emotion. This creates an immediate connection between you and your community and kicks off the relationship-building process. Be sure to create your brand style with your consumers, clients and community in mind. You want them to think, “Oh, I want to see more of this. Follow!” so consider what’s going to be most appealing to them.
Recognition + reliability
By establishing a brand aesthetic you create reliability and consistency for your audience — over time, your community starts to recognize your content at first glance. So aim for this goal when it comes to consistency: if a current client or audience member knows you already, they should never have to second guess who the content is coming from. Your audience should be able to look at all your content as a whole (like your Instagram profile) and have a cohesive experience.
A brand style also serves as a road map for your current and upcoming projects. Instead of always guessing and throwing together content pieces, you can create and utilize templates that save time and ensure you’re not deviating from your style. It also makes it easy to delegate tasks to a team when you have consistent brand guidelines they can follow for design elements, copywriting, and more.
Over time, after using your brand style, it will also allow for a natural flow into future evolutions (if you scroll back on our feed, you’ll be able to see this evolution clearly!).
How to establish your brand style
Whether you choose to use Pinterest, magazines or other sources, gather inspiration that reflects the brand image you are trying to reflect. Look for fonts, colors, textures, and images that mirror the inspired style, and arrange them in one central place (like a Pinterest board) so you can get a sense of how these elements work together. Look for inspiration outside of your industry — this will help you stay inventive and avoid creating a brand like everything else that already exists!
For example: although Curate Well Co. is in the entrepreneurial and online coaching space, we draw a lot of inspiration from editorial platforms, holistic skincare, and clothing brands.
Create a brand color palette for all of your collateral. Make sure the colors look well together and offer both harmony and appropriate contrast. Consider colors that elicit the emotion you want your audience to feel when they consume your content. For example: black gives a sense of luxury, while white offers a sense of wholeness and completion. Neutrals offer a classic, timeless feel and a sense of calm.
Brand fonts play a huge role in your aesthetic since they’re a quick way to visualize the tone of a piece. You’ll want at least three font styles: a header, subheader, and body font.
A serif font (with the feet — like our brand font Playfair) offers an elegant and sophisticated feel. A sans serif font (no feet — like our brand font Sofia Pro) is more modern, clean and even playful.
Consider the weight and spacing of your fonts as well. The weight of the font is how bold it is, and the space (or tracking/leading) is how far apart each letter and word is from the next. Vary the weight and size of your fonts to differentiate pieces of text.
Above all else with your fonts, make sure they are legible! Most content is viewed on mobile devices today, which means text is small to begin with. To ensure people read your content, make sure it’s an appropriate size.
Arguably the most important factor of your branding is your imagery. I highly recommend investing in high quality, professional, branded photos for your business so that your imagery adds to, rather than detracts from, your brand aesthetic.
When capturing branded imagery, consider the following:
Translate your brand into your photos
Bring it back to the original markers of your brand. For example: editorial, pacific, elevated, neutral, sophisticated. How can you integrate these same descriptors into your shot list?
Work with a photographer who can capture your style
Just like brands vary by color and font, photographers vary in their style. Find a photographer whose style matches your brand, so that embodying the aesthetic comes naturally to them.
Bring your colors into your shoot
Wear clothing that matches your brand colors, and include props that match your brand as well, so the pictures are cohesive when embedded into content like your website, social media posts, and client collateral.
Last but not least, remember that a brand is created and reinforced over time. Your band strengthens the more you use it — so practice discipline and don’t deviate from your brand. Ensure that every piece of content you create matches your overall brand aesthetic. It’s easy to see something that catches our eye and want to include it in our work — do your best to stay within your brand guidelines at all times.
Tools for implementing your brand style
This is our go-to platform for creating all of our day-to-day content. They have easy-to-use platform-specific templates that make everything a breeze. We craft our Instagram posts, Pinterest Pins, our Media Kit and so much more within Canva.
Adobe Illustrator + Photoshop
For our more design-heavy projects, like our GIF creation, we use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Illustrator opens us up to endless custom design capabilities and photoshop allows us to edit photos and create stop-frame animations.
We’re in the process of creating a new email newsletter and Flodesk is making it so easy. They have easy-to-use templates that allow for brand customization. The interface easily stores our logo and our brand colors. Click this link to get 50% off your Flodesk subscription!