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We live in a visual age that has long lost the art of waiting. Our eyes consume metro ads, Facebook feeds, and viral videos all at rapid speed. We expect images to change faster than we can blink. We DVR shows to skip commercials, have panic attacks when Facebook takes a moment to load, and get bored when our Pinterest View More link stalls. The speed and amount of visual consumption makes it difficult for brands to remain consistent, as they feel pressure to constantly change to catch the consumer’s eye. But it’s exactly because consumers are looking and looking fast that consistency is essential.

Separating and understanding the functions of a brand can help simplify this task of consistency and help establish brand loyalty with constituents. A successful organization needs three things to successfully attract and keep consumer interest:

  1. Brand:
  2. While this word is used a lot, what exactly does it mean? Your brand is the perception and emotional response a consumer has to your organization and its ideas. Branding communicates who you are, what you are promising, and how someone can get it. An inconsistent brand is an identity crisis, and sets your audience up for confusion and disappointment. Know who you are and what you are committed to, then prove it.

  3. Identity:
  4. An organization’s identity is made up of the visual devices used, as a guide to ensure a company’s branding is consistent. An organization’s identity acts as guard rails to keep it from merging into the wrong lane. A strong brand is a consistent brand, and identity keeps it on the right track.

  5. Logo:
  6. a visual element that helps customers remember and share the brand. Your logo is synonymous to your reputation. If you do not like Sarah’s Sardine Snacks, changing the logo may change the look, but it won’t change the taste.

The flood of visual information consumers are faced with has changed the way they react. We are less likely to remember catchy jingles, but rather now respond to visual solutions. A study done by the University of Amsterdam found that product-to-logo recognition begins at ages 3-5 and, 100% of the 8 year olds polled could match logos without word-marks to their product. This shows how important it is to have a strong mark for your company.

Logos have the amazing job (when done right) of communicating the personality, commitment, and values of a brand. However, a logo alone can’t do all the work. Even a great logo surrounded by contradictory graphical elements will have a hard time communicating the desired reputation of the company. Here are some helpful tips to make sure all designs follow the rules advised above!

  1. Give your logo breathing room:
  2. A logo too close to other elements looks crowded and disorganized to consumers. Give it space.

  3. Don’t change typefaces (size, color, font, spacing):
  4. Veering too far can be confusing to consumers and may make it hard for them to identify it as your brand. This goes for color and graphic elements as well!

  5. Design with the logo in mind:
  6. Never stretch, drop shadow, or change your logo to make it fit a particular design. Keep your mark consistent and avoid the question of “why does this look different” popping into your consumer’s mind.

Managing a disfunctional brand does not always mean starting over, its never to late to correct the problems and set your guidelines.