Published Thursday 7th December 2023

The importance of brand alignment

When a start-up business comes to us for a website design, one of my first questions is whether they have an existing logo and brand guidelines yet, and the answer is nearly always that they don't. Sometimes the business is just so new that they haven't yet started to think about brand design, but other times they've already had business cards printed and flyers designed, they've already set up social media accounts, and they've maybe even had a go at throwing a website together themselves before reaching out to us, but none of these things look the same. They're all in different fonts and colours, sometimes with different logos, or more often with no logo at all.

Starting with brand design is crucial, whatever your business size. Even if a business already has a good looking logo design, if there isn't a brand guidelines document to go with it, we make sure it's the first item in our development proposal. If there's no logo, that's what we'll design before anything else.

What it all boils down to is quite simple:

Firstly, your logo is often the very first thing that anybody sees of your business. It might be a tiny icon next to a website link in a search results list, or the front of a business card, a sign outside a shop, the side of a van, or an advert on a billboard somewhere. It's going to be noticed by people before they even realise that they need what you're selling, and a lot of the time, it's going to be a passing glimpse that they later remember seeing when they do decide to search for a company like yours. This logo design needs to, in an instant, tell everybody what your business is. It needs to be bold, noticeable, and industry relevant. There's a reason why heating engineers tend to incorporate a red flame into their logo, and plumbers tend to incorporate a blue water droplet. Instantly recognisable iconography that tells you, at a glance, what those companies do. There's no point having a fantastic looking website if your logo design doesn't encourage anybody to look for you online.

Secondly, if you see an advert for a service that you're interested in, and this advert uses vibrant orange colours for example, with white text in a fancy handwritten font, but you don't remember the website address - you're going to search for it and whatever website pops up, if it isn't in those same vibrant orange colours and doesn't have handwritten texts in white, you're going to assume it's the wrong website and go back to your search. You'll probably eventually give up when you find another service that sounds just as good, and you'll spend your money there instead.

It's so very, very important that your logo shouts out the product or service that you offer and the industry you're in, and it's equally important that its colours and style follow through into the the surrounding elements of whatever medium it's on. If the logo is on a business card, the card needs to be in the right colours and of an appropriate, complimentary style. If you have flyers, they need to use the same colours, fonts, design style, and of course a matching logo. If you have an email footer, a website, social media headers, uniform, vehicles, or any other representative media, they all need to match this style. They all need to be in your brand colours, showcasing your logo, and they all need to use the right fonts. Brand alignment tells your potential customers that they're probably looking at something official. That they've landed on the right website, or that the email they've just received is from the same company they remember speaking with an employee of last week. Brand alignment makes people feel comfortable liaising with you, and confident about shopping on your website or downloading your mobile app. It confirms that they've found the company they were looking for.

If you don't already have brand guidelines, we'll put together a simple, straightforward document for you to hand over to any other designers that you work with moving forwards, ensuring that whatever it is they're designing or printing for you is on-brand and consistent with everything else. We'll use this same brand guidelines document ourselves, to design your website if that's what you came to us for.

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Ric is a senior web and game programmer with nearly 30 years industry experience and countless programming languages in his skillset. He's worked for and with a number of design and development agencies, and is the proprietor of QWeb Ltd. Ric is also a Linux server technician and an advocate of free, open-source technologies. He can be found on Mastodon where he often posts about the projects he's working on both for and outside of QWeb Ltd, or you can follow and support his indie game project on Kofi. Ric also maintains our Github page of useful scripts.

Blog posts are written by individuals and do not necessarily depict the opinions or beliefs of QWeb Ltd or its current employees. Any information provided here might be biased or subjective, and might become out of date.

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