Making your brand recognizable boils down to being consistent with your visuals and presentation. This consistency helps speed up the process of getting trust and credibility with your audience – something that attracts new clients and keeps them coming back.
The easiest way to keep consistency in check is with a brand board – your guide on all things that define your brand visually.
What is a brand board?
Basically, a brand board consists of all the visual elements that make your brand unique and stand out. Whenever you’re creating something new like photos, graphics, or other images, you can refer to your brand board to see how it ties in with your overall presentation and business strategy!
So you can keep everything aligned.
How a brand board helps with your business strategy
As a reference guide and hub of all the visuals that differentiate you from other brands and attract your ideal customer to you, your brand board plays a key role in strategy.
People are highly visual creatures, and when you fine-tune your brand visuals to your ideal customer, you’ll have an easier time getting their attention. Once you have it, the consistency of your brand will keep them interested.
It also helps you avoid inconsistency: If you’re going for light, bubbly and welcoming, you can easily dismiss any dark tones, messages, or patterns that would bring down the whole brand image.
The best thing about a brand board is that it’s not set in stone!
Brands evolve with time and adapt to different situations. When you find that you need to pivot your brand and work on a new business strategy, they can be a great baseline for reinventing or even a guideline for staying consistent with visuals even when pivoting.
You can use it to test a new font, color, visuals, or style to see how your customers respond to it. If you’re aiming for a new market position, it will ultimately help you find it faster.
A brand board is more than the sum of all your visual elements
Your whole visual identity can be distilled into a few key elements that you’ll put on the brand board. Let’s look at these in a bit more detail.
#1 Your logo
The logo will take center stage of your brand board. After all, it’s one of the most recognizable elements, and most of your other visuals are built around it anyways. But you can’t stop at just one version of your logo. Your main logo is most often a horizontal logo – used in headers of your site.
But you need one or more variations – you might not be able to pull off a horizontal logo on each part of your site or social media. Variations usually have rearranged elements. The most common is:
- A stacked logo (with all elements fitting neatly in a square)
- A one-color version if you are using more colors
- Or, different colors that go well with darker backgrounds.
There’s also a specific variation of a logo called a submark, which you can also include.
#2 A submark
This is your logo simplified – think without the actual brand name, represented only by an icon or with initials. This type of logo is often used for social media, favicons, and watermarks. You’ll still be recognizable but won’t oversaturate your profiles with your primary logo.
Don’t worry if you’re not using any icons in your logo, you can easily create a submark by using just the first letter(s) of your brand name.
#3 The color palette
Picking your colours, aside from the consistency and appeal to your audience, serves as guardrails too: you know which colours you’re using so you won’t have to go outside of these options when making a new page, blog post, or visual. It makes the whole process faster and straightforward too.
Color palettes usually have between five and seven colors, divided into primary, secondary, and neutral colors. Your primary color is the one that is most used and recognizable.
This will be the color of your logo, that people will start associating with your brand. Go for the color theory approach here and pick a color that represents your values best.
Did you know that most health and wellness brands are going for blue, green, and orange as their main colors? These colors represent trustworthiness, nature, and vitality.
Top tip: Always include the HEX (or RGB, or CMYK) values of each color to your board so you can quickly set them up in color pickers when you need them later on.
Coolors has a brilliant colour palette generator that can make the process faster and more fun.
See what tone works best for you and lock in the values you like most. Is it pastel for warm and welcoming, or rich and lush for strength, or bold and neon for confidence?
How do you select colors for a brand board?
This is often the most fun part of creating a brand board because you can go hunting for images. Try going to free stock sites or even Pinterest and typing in a color like blue. It’ll bring up all the images and you can see the shades, styles, and vibes you like!
Plus it often shows you other colors that work well together. After you’ve done this add a few color inspiration photos to your board!
#4 The typography
A brand board will have a font pairing that works well together. One font will be used for the body of each text, while the other one will be used for headings and subheadings.
The font pairings and what works well together is a wholly different science project but always go with fonts that are widely used and accepted. Google fonts are usually a good go-to option, and for each font, you can see which pairings it works well with.
Top tip: Your logo font usually won’t be included here. It’s often unique to your logo and that’s okay but you should always check that your logo and fonts are all brand consistent!
#5 Patterns and textures
Go easy with these because they may make your content or website look too busy! That said, done right they add extra depth to your visuals which will definitely make them stand out.
If you’re confident in choosing patterns and textures had an additional design added to your brand board as an overlay but try not to overdo it. One to two textures used sparingly is usually more than enough.
Bonus: The personality
What is your brand like? How would you describe it if it were a person? Take a few adjectives that describe your brand well and write them right there, onto the board. For example, your brand is:
While not a visual element per se, it’s definitely a great way to stay in tune with the overarching theme of your branding.
When you put all these elements together, they should feel right and paint your brand’s personality clearly.
Tips to create a brand board
So how do you actually start creating your very own brand board? What are the elements that are needed? How do you define and create them? How do you know you’re on the right track?
Start with a mood
Also called an inspiration board, it’s best used very early in the process of defining your visuals. Pinterest is a great starting point since its whole concept is about creating boards that inspire you.
You don’t have to stick with color queries or focus on your industry only – try searching for terms like “fun,” “warm,” “sophisticated,” or any other that spring to mind and tie in well with your brand, and combine them with brand boards!
The above screenshot shows how well brand boards can communicate not just your style, but brand personality too.
Choose inspirational images and quotes that tie in with your brand
To add some finishing touches, find imagery and quotes that fill you up with positive energy and make sense for your brand. It could be photos of your studio, images related in colors and feel, images that portray feelings you wish to evoke with your brand – motivation, calm, happiness, and so on.
Go out there and create your very own board of inspiring and stunning visuals you wish to associate with your brand.
Use shortcuts when available
There’s a neat little book called “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon where he explains really well how you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when doing creative work like a brand board.
Use templates to have an easier time with arranging all the elements on your board. Use different tools to help you along the way – from color pickers, stock photos, patterns and textures, to free graphic design tools like Canva, or even Figma if you’re feeling up to the challenge. There’s a ton of neat solutions out there just waiting to help you create your brand board – don’t be afraid to use them.
One thing that all of these things require is learning new things, especially if you’ve never used digital tools or created brand boards. You don’t have to do it on your own! Contact me today and I’ll help you figure out the best personality for your brand and pair it with brilliant visuals that will make you stand out to create a brand that gets you more customers.