The Building Blocks of Visual Vocabulary: Flexibility

Just like the sidekicks help out a superhero, your Visual Vocabulary together with your logo helps put the kapow into your brand identity.

These Visual Vocabulary “sidekicks” are the graphics, font styles, colors, and layouts you use in your materials, and even the type of paper you print your materials on.

One of the best features of a Visual Vocabulary is its flexibility.

It’s important for a small business to use the same logo for the life of the business. Using the same logo will improve the memorability and appearance of stability of your business. By using a Visual Vocabulary in conjunction with your logo, you’ll be able to have a flexible set of visual elements in your brand.

There are several reasons why you might want to change your Visual Vocabulary elements. There may also be circumstances where you want to use different Visual Vocabulary elements to distinguish your offerings from one another. Some of the main reasons we recommend switching out your Visual Vocabulary include:

– To make better use of the limitations of the media that you’re using. You might limit your color palette to 1 or 2 colors when printing materials to lower the production cost on those materials. When designing a web site, you might use a different set of fonts to increase compatibility and on-screen legibility. If you’re printing an ad in the newspaper, you might want to use a simpler photo than if you’re printing a high-quality brochure because of the poor print and paper quality in the newspaper. A Visual Vocabulary enables you to create the best design under each production circumstance.

– To distinguish one marketing piece from another, or one product line from the next. Imagine that you’re at a trade show, laying all of your marketing pieces out at your booth. If you stick with the same design template on all of your pieces, they’ll blend together and a passer-by might not think that you have much to offer. They may just pick up one flyer, and if they don’t get the right one for their needs, they won’t call you to buy.

Making your materials or different products or services look visually different will make the true breadth of your offerings immediately apparent. Even if you don’t display at a trade show, distinguishing each offering will make it easier for clients and prospects to see what you can do for them.

This can be as easy as using different color palettes, fonts or photos on different materials. To create materials that stand out even more, or have greater distinguishing characteristics, consider creating whole new layouts for different pieces. The consistent logo will hold the brand together nicely.

– To update your graphics to keep up with design trends. Just like fashion, popular design trends come and go. One season will be marked by bright colors and clean lines. A few years later everything will be designed in muted colors with elegant patterns. To keep your materials fresh, follow these design trends and apply them to your materials when they’re appropriate and a good match for your brand.

– To avoid Entrepreneurial Boredom. Business owners move at a fast pace, and entrepreneurs – especially owners of one-person businesses – tend to spend a lot of time working with and reviewing their marketing materials. These two factors together combine to create “Entrepreneurial Boredom” – where the entrepreneur becomes bored with their designed materials and gets anxious to create something new.

Entrepreneurial Boredom is actually one of the most common reasons small businesses want to redesign their logo. Changing a logo takes a lot of time, money and work – not to mention redesigning all of your other marketing materials along with it. This is probably unnecessary particularly when you consider that no one else has looked at your company’s logo as often as you have. You’re probably the only person who’s tired of it.

Instead of redesigning your logo, you can mix up your marketing materials by changing out your Visual Vocabulary elements. That way, you can create materials that look new and different while still keeping the memorability and consistency of your logo (which is the foundation of your brand). Changing the Visual vocabulary enables you to create new, fresh materials and to make your marketing look different when you start to think they’re bland or old fashioned.

The flexibility that your brand gains by pairing a Visual Vocabulary with your logo makes your brand timeless. Your logo, the superhero of your brand, can stay the same, saving the day by giving you the benefit of having a consistent brand foundation. At the same time your Visual Vocabulary “sidekicks” can change based on the media you’re using, the product or service offering you’re promoting, current trends, or just to keep you from getting bored with your own materials. All of these capabilities will help your brand to weather the years gracefully, and to help your business to stand out from its’ competition.