I don’t know if you’ve ever stumbled upon Creative Live – if not then go and take a look when you’ve read this, it’s a brilliant resource for learning in depth about different creative subjects. Recently I saw a clip from the training by Stanley Hainsworth which was all about using brand guidelines (or what I call a Style Guide and he calls a Brand Book) to pull a brand together.
At the end of the clip I saw (click here), he said: “What great branding does is it allows you to find stuff”
He was talking about shelving and presenting Lego for sale, and he’s absolutely right. He showed the shelves before and after the branding and what a big difference there was! The change really did let people find stuff more easily.
When you create a brand you create a new system for doing things. A new way to present information, to arrange things. A brand filters into everything – not just how your website looks but how you lay out your shop, which colours you use for your packaging. All the things which are visual about your business and also the things which aren’t. How the phone is answered for example, the systems you use.
Design is essential to make it easy for people to find stuff.
Imagine you’re creating a brochure for your business. You have lots of products that you want to show off. You have lots of photographs and lots of text to include. You need to plan that brochure out before you start. Group the items together maybe so you can have different sections – maybe colour code them. Consider the order they’re going to be shown in and how each page is going to look. A large photograph on one side and text on the opposite page, or 4 rows of 3 items. Whatever works best. You need to plan out exactly how many pages you’re going to need and how you’re going to group them. You need to consider how someone will find item number 212 in your brochure and how they will contact you to order or ask questions. Will it be obvious to them how to go about it?
The same goes for a website. You might have products. You might have services. You’ll have a contact page and you might have an about page, a blog, a FAQ page – the options are endless but you’ll need to decide which pages you need (really need. There’s no point in having unneccessary information on your website. Keep it simple, make it easy) and organise your information and your layout so that people can find what they’re looking for really easily.
Branding ensures that you don’t just fling these things together willy nilly, but that you take some time over them so that people not only see your brand – your business – and get a taste of what that’s all about – but so that people can find stuff easily.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful something is if people can’t find the information that they need.
What do you want people to be able to find? How easy is it for them to find it?