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Best of Both - 6 Steps to Stay on Brand, Play with Creative

Best of Both - 6 Steps to Stay on Brand, Play with Creative

A house divided. Do you stay true to your brand standards or dive in on the latest design trend?

You’re in good company as we wrestle with this one too. When it comes to your brand, consistency is critical, which means staying the course on its many components across channels - message, voice, colors, design elements, imagery, etc… The goal here is that, with time and persistence, your identity is recognized and recalled at a glance.

But what about those sexy design trends stopping your scroll and making your heart skip a beat? Or that nagging fear of becoming stale? Surely there’s a way to keep up with the cool kids while staying true to your brand.

Absolutely. Change is the spice of life after all. But, as with most things, it means asking the right questions and making good choices.

Calling on The Cohort, we asked our friends at Landy Design Co. about having our cake and eating it too when it comes to design. Here are 6 steps they shared with us to stay on brand and play with creative:

  1. Be selective. We like fun, but introducing slews of new will give your audience whiplash. Avoid chaos by being choosy about which design trends you want to try out and limit yourself to one or two per quarter. Pro tip: Pin and pause. Create a Pinterest Board around the design element you dig and sleep on it for a night or two - if you’re still in love after stepping away then it’s worth a whirl.

  2. Start small. Look at seasonal campaigns, social media series or promotions before your brand staples - these are great sandboxes in that they serve a specific goal, are meant to stand out and have a shorter shelf life. Ex: creating a mascot for a product launch or introducing a display script for an e-course.

  3. Tie it in. Now go back to your brand standards and find that thread to weave through. For us, the path of least resistance here is usually color. Ex: gradients and tie dye are having a moment - these elements can easily be adapted to incorporate one or two of your signature brand colors.

  4. Gut check. Is it all coming together or does your shiny new design feel far out in left field? If we’re feeling good, move to step 5.

  5. Pilot. Social media is a great space for testing in that it lends itself to the new and different as well as giving us tangible insights and quantifiable metrics on performance.

  6. Take or leave. As our dear friend and client Taylor DeBartola of TD Interiors would say, “if you like it, then it goes.” Sometimes we love design trends for a season, and, others, they find staying power. If over the months you keep coming back to a <insert color, font, element here> then it may just deserve a spot in your brand standards.

When it comes to establishing your brand and earning that sweet, sweet recognition, consistency is queen. However, this does not mean creativity and curiosity have no place at the table. Quite the opposite. Let your brand be your guide, but don’t shy away from exploring, expanding and, above all else, having some fun .

Want a sounding board or support team to help you find the sweet spot between staying on brand and testing trends? We’ve got you. Get in touch with the Front & Center team today.

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