Design Basics to help Maintain Brand Consistency

How maintaining brand consistency with simple design basics will affect your brand:

Maintaining brand consistency is the ultimate way to grow your business. Brand Perception studies track how well consumers are accepting the ideas you try to associate with your brand. Maintaining brand consistency is the key to controlling the outcome. Perception can be broken down into four human factors that lead to brand affinity: cognitive, emotional, language and action.

– Cognitive

the ideas that a consumer associates with your brand

– Emotional

the feeling that a consumer associates with your brand

– Language

the words a consumer uses to describe your brand

– Action

the experiences a consumer has with your brand

Even if you’re not into psychology, it’s important to understand that branding is not just about making something pretty. Brand perception is measurable, it’s actual data that can be studied to understand how your audience views your brand. So, regardless of what you think of your brand, the viewers perception is what matters, and the best way to maintain that perception is by maintaining brand consistency.

This is the part where you step out of your shoes and get into the perspective of your target audience. If you have a hard time doing this, it may be best to get the opinions of others. Try reaching out to previous customers, potential customer, friends or family. Ask them to be completely honest but be aware of biases relating to age or other demographics.

Pro Tip: Write down your target goals for what you want these 4 factors to be. Then, ask the opinion of other and compare the results. How can you get closer to your target?

So, what is branding?

Branding is everything you do or say.

It is not just your logo and colors. Your branding includes everything your audience has experienced from your brand AND how they perceive those experiences. Maintaining brand consistency makes it easier to sell to your ideal clients because you have controlled the experience you want them to have. Your brand equity increases when you continue to deliver on your brand promise. Your audience start to build a relationship with your brand because they know what to expect. You build Know, Like and Trust quicker, resulting in quicker sales with the right people.

Maintaining Brand Consistency with design basics


Most brands have 2 primary colors and an additional 3-4 secondary colors. The secondary colors are not used very often but it’s important to have them chosen for when the situation represents itself. It’s best to already have those secondary colors defines so that same ones are used anytime you need variety.

When you have chosen your colors, you need to have CMYK, RGB and hex values for each one. These values should be in a common place for all of your team to use. Pantone is another good formula to have. Pantone is WAY better for maintaining consistency on and off the screen, however, it is much more expensive to print, but not completely out of reach. Most screen printers use Pantone formulas so if you plan to have apparel you need Pantones. Pantone.com has more information and makes it easy to color match.


Just like colors you need to have typefaces and font defined. I like to have four. Logo, headings, body copy and accents. You can have more but it’s important to know what pairs well. It’s best to just start playing around. You won’t know what will work unless you try putting them together. Contrast is key and never pair two serifs. If you find one that you love but can’t find anything that goes well with it, try searching: “font pairings with (typeface name)” and you should get some good recommendations. It’s nice to have resources but ultimately, you know your brand so stick to your brand attributes to make sure it’s the right style or feeling you’re looking for.


If you’re just starting out, it’s absolutely ok to use stock photography. But, if you’ve been in business a while or know a great photographer, its best to take original photos. Setting up a branded photoshoot doesn’t have to be difficult. Make a mood board of photos that you like that match the feel of your brand. Find a cool place around town or a space in your home or office will work fine. You know your brand best but if you’re not a creative person, look to social media for help. You can find local photographers or artist that may be able to bring some creativity to your shoot. To maintain consistency, simple use the same filter, editing method or color palette. When it comes to content for social media, just keep in mind that is takes time to get great. So, go ahead and start posting. Your work will evolve and blossom.


I was never a huge fan of English class but I’ve grown to appreciate language. Your tone of voice is a BIG deal. For example, you don’t want to be preaching confidence but then use a passive tone. Your voice needs to match your brand message. Some brands may be witty, other very professional. It’s important to speak to your ideal audience in the appropriate tone. Are you a friend, partner or a coach? Get very specific about your brand’s relationship with your audience. Mind mapping is a great way to discover keywords to associate with your brand.

Brand Message 

Your brand message is key point you are trying to convey to your audience, plus your brand promise and the value proposition. If you don’t have either of these, now is a good time to write them (hint, hint). A value proposition is your persuasion of why they should buy from you as opposed to a competitor. It’s what you have that sets you apart. A brand promise is what your customer can expect from you every single time they work with you. You MUST deliver on this promise or you will hinder building trust. Inspire your audience and motivate them to work with you, in a non-salesy way. We can achieve this with a consistent brand message that continues to build on itself throughout the brand experience. I find it helpful to have that list of keywords that relate to the brand. If the brand name is Jolt, we may want to sneak in words like energy, power, current, or flow. Using verbiage or keywords that reiterate the brand message will build on the brand story resulting in a more powerful brand.

Best Practices

Here are some things to pay attention to that will make your brand design more professional.


If you want to know the best way to stand out, it’s contrast. The more contrast you have, the better your design and brand will look. Keep this in mind especially when choosing fonts, colors or designing a layout.

White Space 

Don’t try to fill everything up. Less is always more. Don’t underestimate the power of empty space. Using grids can help with layout designs to ensure consistent spacing and empty space.


Hierarchy is the order of importance. The way the information is formatting, not just the order, can affect its level of importance. Let’s say you’re designing an event poster. You can put the location first, but the date and time is usually more important, therefore it should be larger or bolder. This can pertain to business cards, web design or any other layout design. The logo is always the most important element. It doesn’t need to be the largest, but it should never be interrupted.


Never use an element one time. It will confuse your audience and feel out of place. If you use a circle shape on one post, do it again somewhere else or don’t do it at all. Variety can be good, but you need to bring things back around and repeat. Don’t do the same things over and over either. Learn to balance this and you get a gold star from me.

File Type

Let me be very, very clear, file types are VERY different. Some are meant for web use and others are meant for printing. There are several modifications you can make when you save a file aside from the file type. Resolution and size are the other factors that play a large role.

For now, get to know these:


.jpg – images, lower resolution, social media

.png – best for logos and vector graphics, can have a transparent background


.tif – best for high resolution photographs

.eps – logos and vector graphics

.pdf – export as high resolution for printing



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