You hear the word branding and your first reaction is – what is branding? In this post I will explain to you the concept of branding, and why you should brand your blog. This is the fourth installment of my beautiful blog series, and while it works as a stand alone article as well, you should definitely read up on the rest of the blog design articles here.
Before we start chatting about your blog, let’s talk branding.
What is Branding?
It sounds like such a fancy word. And not every blogger is a graphic designer. In fact most are not.
The term “branding” here originates from the use of a hot brand to mark livestock. I won’t delve into it too deeply, as I’m assuming you’re not here to learn the history of livestock. In a nutshell, livestock were identified using marks made to their bodies.
So what does livestock have to do with design, and of course, with your blog?
Branding in terms of design means creating the imagery associated with a brand. Think Coca Cola. If you see the word “Pepsi” written in the coke font, you’re still likely to register “coke” in your brain.
I actually did an experiment as part of my graphic design course. It wasn’t exactly the project assigned but the teacher really appreciated it, as it brought across a strong point:
As you’ve noticed, I haven’t only changed the fonts around. I also used the colors. I changed the positioning of the text. Added shadow where needed. All those together make you think “Google” when you see the word “Yahoo” and “Yahoo” when you see the word “Google”. Or you’re just thinking “What the… is wrong with this?”
So your answer to the question, what is branding? It’s all the elements that come to play together to set a visual image of a company, making it “recognizable”. These elements are normally repeated throughout the company’s marketing, packaging, and everything else so that the consumer (or potential consumer) will automatically think of that brand any time they see that set of elements.
Elements? Which elements are you talking about?
I’m rambling on and on about elements, and just expecting you to understand. Here’s the thing. I can create a list of elements that you an use in branding. But the problem is, it should not be limited to a list that I create. There are so many things you an include in your branding – it’s the repetition that turns it into branding. I’ll give you that list, though to give you a boost.
- Fonts or font combinations
- Colors/color combinations
- Shadows/outlines/other styling type elements
- Repeated imagery. For example, you might want to use lots of brush strokes, similar type filters (think instagram) or similar style cartoons so that people recognize you.
- Positioning. As in the lettering in Yahoo!
- It can even be your style of writing
- The list is endless…
Why you should brand your blog:
I have a feeling that many of you are here for this.
You see, there are many, many, many blogs out there. Many many of them probably have similar type of content to yours.
If you want your reader to read the article, leave and still not know that your blog exists, go ahead and skip branding. But if you want that reader to recognize that it’s the same blog the next time he or she visits, branding is the answer.
I’m going to give you a scenario from my blog. One of my most popular posts is my 14 Cool Crafts for Teens roundup. Here’s the cover image that I use when pinning it:
As you can see, I styled it using vivid colors, and a collage of images that are kind of “layered.” A little bit later, I tried to follow the example of the popularity of that post by putting together a roundup of DIY gift wrap ideas. This is the image I used:
It has nothing to do with the previous image. While someone can easily enjoy both, they will not associate with those two as belonging to a single blog. Those two are standalone articles.
Recently I decided to try and do another roundup, this time of upcycled cans and jars crafts for moms, and made the image quite similar to the first.
You can see that, while the colors are different, and the fonts are different the layout is very similar. In addition, the TYPE of color combination, and overall color theme is definitely reminiscent of the teen roundup (though more mature and mom-ish).
I’ll just explain, that the reason I’ve been changing the fonts on my post graphics is simply because I have found that the Amatic SC font is very difficult to read when it’s incorporated onto Pinterest-friendly images, as they show up too small in Pinterest feeds. I will explain more about fonts and legibility in a later post. I am actually considering changing my logo completely for this reason.
In any case, while I’ve only published that article less than a week ago, it’s already gaining momentum. When someone passes by these two and likes them both, they are so much more likely to click on another post they see in a similar graphic style.
Not only that, but when they keep finding good posts on my blog, they are more likely to subscribe and become permanent visitors. But they’ll only know it if they can tell they’re on my blog.
So, here’s the thing. There are about twenty blogs I’ve visited in the past month that have the same unaltered theme. It’s a very nice theme. But I don’t remember a single one of those blogs.
If you want your blog to be remembered as your blog, you must brand it!
There are more reasons to brand your blog.
What are you doing with your blog? Do you plan to turn it into an income? If so, why should an advertiser choose you? Usually it’s about who your blog is, and what you represent. All that is displayed at a glance by… your branding. And the last message you want to give about your blog is that you’re “just another blog”
Here’s where I’ll reassure you that if your blog is just to keep your family updated, and you’re emailing them all your posts anyway, there’s no need to brand…
But, if you want to build a consistent flow of traffic, if you want want to build a brand in your blog, you must stand out. You stand out by inserting your personality in your blog using various elements which, don’t worry, I will guide you through one at a time to help you create them.
So make sure you stay tuned, as I will be going on to teach you how to brand your blog, without hiring a designer, while keeping it beautiful and professional!
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