Designers use quite a few tools and tricks in their work. The secret is, you can use them too 🙂
While creating your brand strategy and visuals it’s good to hire a specialist, after that you can do a lot to maintain the high quality brand image. Here a few of our favourite tips that will help you to save time and to ensure a coherent visual look for your company or project. And the best thing is that they are free.
1. Make a moodboard
Yes, designers love moodboards. They are also a good tool to use in communication between a client and a designer. Moodboards help to make sure all parties have the same idea and intention of the upcoming project’s feeling and visuals. A Moodboard can basically be anything from a physical photo collage to a Word file of images and links. One good tool for creating a Moodboard is Pinterest. It’s not only a social media channel for nice arts and crafts ideas for wedding invitations but also a useful tool in design projects. You can collect ideas you like, share the board with your colleagues and design agency. Furthermore, you can use it for benchmarking to check what your competitors or other brands have done. If you are creating a brand for your own project, you can use Pinterest for inspiration to get you started in the event of a designer’s block.
2. Write it down
Have you ever noticed how designers like to carry a Moleskine (a cool notebook) around no matter where they go? You can also make a habit out of it – and, no, it doesn’t have to be a Moleskine, any notebook is fine. If you start observing certain things like elements, colours or words related to your upcoming campaign you might just start seeing the world differently. So start writing the ideas down, or even better, doodle! You may have noticed that the best ideas rarely come forced in a meeting but may come to you when you are sitting on a bus or shopping at a Sunday market. For that reason it is good to carry a notebook with you so you can jot down the ideas straight away.
There’s just something about doodling on a traditional paper notebook that mobile notebooks can never replace, right?
3. If you don’t have it, borrow it
If you are on a low budget but still want to ensure high quality looks for your materials, it is ok to use pictures from quality image banks (such as Unsplash), since there’s a vast variety of these available nowadays. Stock images are a good option for blog posts, if you need to publish something quickly and don’t have a unique image for the post. After all, posts with images attract more readers than those of plain text. Sure, stock images are not unique and may be used by other companies as well but it is better to use one if you don’t have the skills or facilities to produce your own high quality images. Trust me, the images will affect your brand appearance.
In addition to this, the upside of image banks is the unlimited storage of photos. If you use stock images make sure you have a library of them so that you don’t use the same image twice but have a new image for each new post. Since the attention span of smart phone users is only a few seconds and people tend to skim through information, using the same image over and over again may trick the reader thinking they’ve read that post already.
4. Find it in the code
Did you know you can easily check the code view of your website with no login or other info needed? And don’t worry, you don’t really need to understand code for using this tool either! To get to this view on any website, simply right click your mouse and choose “Inspect” and you’ll see the code behind the website.
So, what can you use this for? For example to check font names! Long gone are the days where you browse a nice magazine and wonder what the font is. Now if you come across a nice font on any page online, you can check the name from ‘Styles’ view. Or if you simply forgot the name of your own company font and need to check it from your website, you can do it in seconds without sending an e-mail to your design agency. In addition to this, you can check for example image sizes to see what is the minimum size for your blog images or profile pictures.
5. Collect the colour
Have you ever seen a nice colour and thought you would like to use that exact same colour somewhere? An easy way to discover the colour codes of a specific colour on any website or image is to add the ColorZilla browser extension to your browser. ColorZilla has an eyedropper tool you can use to just click the colour and “pick it up” from anywhere. This functionality is also available in designer softwares like Photoshop but if you don’t have these you can do the same with this extension.
With these tips it is easier to make your brand project visually consistent. If you are working with a designer, they may also help you to find the mutual language to discuss design and ensure the best end result.
Now go and release your inner designer. 😉