By Carrie Idol-Richards
Clipart is disrespectful. There, I said it.
I mean no affront to clipart. Really. In some instances, it can be very appropriate, even useful. However, it often gets used as a quick fix or last resort. Hmm…I don’t have enough text to fill up my flyer. I’ll find a clipart image! Please don’t do that. Your brand is begging you.
First, let me back-up. What exactly is your brand? Your logo? Your mission statement? That last-minute flyer you put together? The late-night Facebook post? Yes, yes, yes, and still yes. Your brand encompasses all of these things, and becomes something bigger. It’s the tone and feeling your organization evokes to your customers. So when you throw that clipart onto your flyer, you’re probably just thinking – great I’m ready to advertise my event! But if it doesn’t fit or represent your brand, it’s not serving anyone well. Without consistency, customers may not immediately identify this flyer with your organization, and we all know attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Hardly anyone takes the time to read every word, so you risk losing out without that immediate brand recognition. What should you do?
Please respect your brand. It’s really not that hard either!
Consistency is key. I don’t mean to use clipart as a scapegoat; it’s easy to get off brand in many ways. Your brand guide is the best tool you have. Use it! If you don’t have one – create it. Even a simple document that identifies your standard colors and fonts is a great place to start. Be consistent in your tone of voice and messaging too. Include sample messages in your brand guide if you can, something like a quick elevator speech, or an about us paragraph. Think of your brand guide as a working repository you can pull from; if it’s useful to you, you’ll actually use it!
Then the next time you’re putting together a flyer – with your brand guide open – not only will you know exactly what to fill that blank space with (perfect spot for that about us paragraph!), but you’ll complete it in record time with everything already spelled out for you. Your brand will thank you, I promise.
One last thing – share the joy of your brand guide! Now that you can create the perfect flyer, email, or advertisement effortlessly, don’t hide this joy away. Share it with your co-workers so they can respect your brand too. You can all benefit from a shared flyer template that makes everyone’s life easier – and your brand that much more recognizable. Share your email signature and tagline – each of your colleagues don’t need to re-invent the wheel – you all have your shared brand guide to, well, guide you! When you can all respect your brand together, your brand will thank you even more.
Feel like you need someone to help you out with developing your brand (or brand guide)? Contact Harpeth Consultant Advisory Group to discuss your needs and how we can help.
About the Author
Carrie Idol-Richards, Communications Director, Insight Memory Care Center
Carrie has had a keen interest in art and design since she could first hold a crayon. She completed her undergraduate studies at the College of William and Mary, double majoring in Sociology and American Studies. After graduation, she realized the ideal way of combining these two passions was through graphic design. To further her skills, she completed a Certificate in Graphic Design from the Corcoran College of Art and Design, and later a Masters in Graphic Design at George Mason University. Ever since, Carrie has worked to progress information design, branding, and communication in the nonprofit sector. She is currently the Communications Director at Insight Memory Care Center in Fairfax and also works as a freelance designer.