Your brand aesthetic is how your brand visually communicates – it’s the look that showcases what you have to offer. From colour palettes and photography to all things fonts, there are a number of visual elements that together help to create a strong brand aesthetic. No matter if you’re in the early stages of building a brand or you’re looking to refine or rebrand your current brand look, I’ve teamed up with Laura and Katie from The Fig Sisters to walk you through how to define your brand aesthetic.
1. It starts with an idea
Like all visual projects, Pinterest is the perfect place to find inspiration and begin piecing your ideas together! The more you pin, the more you’ll begin to see a pattern to the types of styles you’re drawn to and this will help to narrow down the look you want to achieve for your brand.
Laura Figiel-Davis, Founder and Creative Director at The Fig Sisters says, ‘Having a consistent style weaving throughout your creative will help you to become recognisable to your audience. You want them to instantly know it’s you. Thinking about where your brand will be placed will really help you determine out how you’d like things to look.’
2. Go beyond the visuals
It’s easy to get caught up in the visual side of your brand and not think about everything else that goes into building a consistent brand. We often see developing the visuals as the ‘fun part’, however, if you’re really going to cement a clear brand identity, your aesthetic needs to marry up with all the other aspects too; like your brand voice and communication style.
Katie Figiel, Director and Packaging Designer at The Fig Sisters notes, ‘Work on building your brand through words, feelings and desires and keep these at the foundation of your brand. It’s all of this groundwork that Charlotte at Medialuxe works on that helps you to then begin building the creative side of your brand. Start off your creative journey with your brand voice at the core. If we work with a client who is still unsure about their creative direction, we’ll ask them to give us 10 words that describe their brand, and we’ll also ask them to give us 10 words that do not describe their brand.’
Laura adds, ‘It’s just as important, if not more so to know how the brand shouldn’t look in order for us to start creating. It sets the boundaries and rules to start building a detailed creative brief.’
3. The world of colour
One of the most exciting elements when defining your brand aesthetic is choosing your brand colours, but, with a world of colour to explore, how do you know which colour palette to progress with?
Katie says, ‘When starting to build a colour palette, begin with a handful of colours that you like or that naturally show through your product. Explore different colour pairings and keep in mind that a limited palette will work well to define your brand and make it much more effective for you to use consistently in the long run.’
Laura says, ‘Some brands use just one colour and it becomes their signature shade. For example, Selfridges is known for their use of sunshine yellow, whilst Soap & Glory are iconic for their vintage-inspired pink. That single colour is very powerful. A good exercise would be to see how many colours you can limit yourself to? Can you narrow it down to just one as a signature shade?’
4. Time for typography
So you’ve nailed the colours you want to use, now it’s time for typography. Like choosing brand colours, fonts can also be a bit of a minefield with so many options available.
‘Ideally, you want no more than three fonts, one primary and two secondary’ says Laura. ‘When we select fonts for brands, we tend to look at a primary font to use for headlines, titles and product names. Whilst this font needs to be bold and clear, it can still be an interesting font but it will be the essence of your brand, so it has to be right. We then choose a couple of secondary fonts to complement. Secondary fonts are where you might use a script style because they are a little fancier and not always well suited to headlines. You may also select a simple font that is clear and easy to read for when you need to write large bodies of text.’
5. Photography notes
On-brand photography can often be overlooked as part of your brand aesthetic, especially if you’re in the early stages of starting a brand. Katie says to, ‘Analyse your inspirational imagery and look at it in terms of colours. Do they tie in with the colour palette you’ve picked? Are your images effectively describing what you do, or, do you need them to look a different way to show off the personality behind the brand you’re building?’
Ultimately, you want your brand photography to bring your audience on a journey with you, each and every image should help to set the tone and help to tell the story of your brand and products.
Now that you know the steps to define your brand aesthetic, it’s time to get pinning your inspiration and delving into creating a look that has character, serves your customer and is consistent – aka The Three C’s. Overall, The Fig Sisters top tip is to ‘Make your brand aesthetic clear and simple so that you can continue to implement this look across every possible touchpoint as your brand grows, like your website, social media and packaging.’
If you’d like to connect with Laura and Katie, make sure you’re following The Fig Sisters on Instagram for all the creative inspo, or, check out The Fig Sisters website to find out about their creative design services and view their very impressive portfolio – chances are, you’ll have seen their work many times before!