Making your brand stand out can be hard. If you are using the same free resources that every other designer is using, perhaps paying for quality resources might be a good option to differentiate yourself. Especially, if you are trying to create a lasting and distinctive brand.
When your design work has the same fonts and same stock photography that a dozen other websites or print ads use than how can your products be any different? If your products are competing strictly on price than maybe this isn’t important for you, but if you have premium products in your brand, you need to set them apart in every way possible. That means eliminating the chance that a weaker brand can bite your style.
It doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars to get started. Talk to your designer and mention a few thing you want to do and he/she should be able to help you determine those that are within your budget.
Resources like Dafont.com, FontSquirel.com and the Google Font Library are great to use for many projects but if you need to be really professional and don’t want to see your same font on everyone else’s projects, there are two thing you can do.
Purchasing a display font, especially for web, will greatly increase the chance that you won’t run into this same font on 10 other websites. Most web designers look for the fast and cheap way out.
For print purchasing an entire font family will create consistency and sameness. Especially for a new product or brand, it is best to stick with the same fonts over and over to instill that look. There is no guarantee that another company picks that same font. But chances are, they too are a premium brand. Even if you are not completely original with it, you fit into the same category of product with them.
Having A Font Made
If you are working with a decent budget and really want to create a distinctive brand, pay to have your own font made. This will cost a whole lot more money but you can guarantee your font will be original. Especially for premium brands where design is of the foremost concern, this attention to detail will really prove useful.
Some Font Foundaries to Consider:
Some really excellent information from people who know a whole lot more about typography than I do: Typophile
The print process you use can tell a lot about your brand. To ensure all of your marketing material stays consistent, consider using one or more Pantone colors.
Sometimes it isn’t the product itself or the salesman but the packaging that makes the sale. Unique packaging materials and/or shapes can really set your products apart. If you are working with a print shop already, they may not be able to produce the work you need but try to pay them for their advice. If you can meet with your print shop and your designer at the same time, it may save you money and many revisions going back and forth between the two.
Open up the floor and see what kinds of unique ideas your designer and print shop can come up with. There is a good chance they can think of something better than you could come up with on your own.
Unique Packaging Designs
A clever idea executed well.
Sometimes it just takes a unique shape to make a design stand out.
Take an existing material and repurpose it.
Finding an artist to create custom artwork is a great way to set your design apart. Just make sure it is something your designer can work with and that will work with your existing branding material. In case you didn’t know designers are not always artists and artists are not designers. Consult with your designer and show them samples of work that you like or what you are trying to accomplish. He/she may have suggestions of people to work with or might have an opinion on which style to go with.
Web design is the one area where custom art is seriously lacking, and where you can create a great look that really stands out simply by having some artwork created. It is also important to know that most artists do not know how to create work that will translate well to the web. Your web designer and the artist will need to work together. Have the web designer put together wireframes and have him/her explain to the artist the dimensions and basic layout they will need to create.
Photography can be an easy and affordable way to set your brand apart. Try to find one photography with a style you like and work with them exclusively. Hiring a professional photographer can help come up with unique photography for ads and to spice up product shots.
Chances are there are a number of good photographers in your area, it just takes a little bit of time to find the one you like.
The foundation of any brand is the logo. If you only have a little bit of money to spend, spend it here. It is sad to see companies like Google who are now stuck with a horrible logo.
If you have a logo currently and it isn’t something you want to live with indefinitely, change it now. The longer you wait the more it is going to cost. If you are worried about brand recognition with chaning the logo now, just wait tell your company is twice the size, it becomes that much harder.
Can You Afford It?
You might not be able to afford everything. Talk to your designer and anyone else you trust with business advice and think about which ones will benefit your company the most and start there. If you need to divert some of your advertising budget to get it done it may be worth it.
You also, don’t always have to pay for things. A photographer, artist or designer may trade you for products or services.
Focus on one thing at a time. Your logo is the biggest priority. The better your design assets are, the strong all of your design pieces will be. If you can build a solid foundation with a solid logo, photography and typography, you can go a long way just with that.
When you go the cheap route with your design, people tend to notice. Invest is some quality assets and design and your brand will improve because of it.