Gain Trust with Visual Consistency
Keep your visual style consistent and your customers will recognize you as you.
Let’s say you have a coworker who comes to work every day dressed in khakis and a polo shirt with neatly trimmed hair. Then, out of the blue, one day they arrive with green hair, leather pants, and biker boots. You might raise an eyebrow.
Not because there’s anything wrong with green hair, but the look is out of character for this person. You might wonder what’s going on in their life that created this change. You might question their authenticity.
The same is true with brands. If your brand shows up with a different style each week, your customers won’t know what you stand for. Your brand’s “outfits” may not seem important in the big picture, but the subtle cues they give off help your clients and prospects gain trust in who you are.
Here are some of the elements that need to remain consistent for your brand to be trusted.
Your color palette is a key differentiator for your brand. According to a study performed by the University of Loyola, Maryland, color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent. So, it is very important for you to use the same colors and in the same proportions for all your marketing materials. Establish primary and secondary color palettes so you have the flexibility you need, but stay consistent.
A lot of people can’t consciously tell one typeface from another, but subconsciously we all know when something seems off. Typography aids in telling your story. A bold sans serif conveys a very different meaning than something handwritten or a delicate italic. Make sure your brand’s typography is saying what you want it to say. And saying it clearly. Too many typefaces can muddy your message.
There are many other parts and pieces that add to your brand’s style. These include styles of photography, patterns, textures, and other graphic elements. Just as with your color palette and typography, you want to make sure they are sending the right message and stay consistent. If one of your brand attributes is human-centered and you don’t have any people in your photography, you’re missing a beat.
Of course, all of this consistency is much easier to manage if you have established a set of brand guidelines. This is especially important if you have a team of people managing your brand or are using outside resources to create materials.
Just as there are times when you change your personal look, such as for a formal party or digging in the garden, there might be times when you want to deviate from your brand standards. This is possible, just remember that any variation needs to fit the context. And don’t change everything at once. Switch out a typeface or add a color to the palette for special occasions. Don’t get an entire facelift.
Staying consistent with your visual system will send the right message and make your brand more trustworthy. You may be sick of the same style everyday but it’s how your customers recognize you as you.