Brand Design: How to inspire authority and trust

Brand design process

The simple truth is this. Humans are not logical animals, we long for connection and buy on emotion.

So if you want to succeed in business you need to be able to connect with your clients on an emotional level. This is where brand design comes in.

Brands that are designed to transcend logic and communicate a deeper message of what you stand for, differentiate you from the crowd and will help you to attract your ideal clients, inspire authority & trust.

Brand design doesn’t just offer great returns on investment (people will pay more for brands they love), but it also offers incredible returns on impact. It helps build trust with your audience and creates authority in your industry.

Put simply if you want to stand out from the crowd and create an impact, you need to invest in your brand design.

I’ll discuss how brand design is all about finding your voice, being authentic, expressing your values and layering meaning through carefully chosen logo design, typography and colour palettes.

What is Brand Design?

A brand is an experience, a perception of who you are and what you stand for. Brand design seeks to create an intentional experience.

Brand design is made up of 2 elements – the internal and the external. The internal are invisible elements are the things we can’t see – for example, your brand values, your mission, vision, personality, brand voice, brand essence.

The external, visible elements are made up of all that you do and say to communicate your brand’s values externally through marketing materials such as website graphics or social media images. More on this later.

Brand design is about crafting an intentional, consistent experience for your clients and target audience that is designed to evoke certain thoughts, feelings and actions when it comes to your brand.

Building an authentic brand

“authenticity” is a buzz word that’s thrown around a lot in today’s detached and scattered digital world. Put simply, authenticity is about walking the talk, being unique and standing out from the crowd.

Definition of authentic. : real or genuine : not copied or false. : true and accurate. : made to be or look just like an original

Merriam-Webster

As a business, if you claim to stand for something – do you live and breathe by those beliefs and values? Does how you act match what you say you believe in.

Building an authentic brand is about being consistent in what you say and what you do, it’s about being transparent and honest with your customers.

An authentic brand is about being real, not just in what you say and do but also how the way that it is communicated through brand design choices. Visual identity, brand personality, packaging and messaging can be a powerful tool for communicating authenticity to potential clients who are looking to buy from someone they trust because of their values-driven approach

If you’re a small business, building an authentic brand often means infusing your personality as the founder into your brand and sharing elements of your personality, especially for service-based businesses where your customers are effectively buying your time, skills, knowledge and talent.

As Elon Musk put it “Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time”. If you want people to think and feel a certain way about your brand then you need to be and act that way.

It’s important to be honest with ourselves about our company strengths and to strive to create a perception of your brand that is authentic and true to who are.

Expressing your values through brand design

Consumers, especially millennials, are willing to pay more for a brand if it aligns with their values. So becoming a values-driven business has never been more important for attracting and connecting with your ideal customers.

With brands expected to be visible across so many different platforms and media these days, brand design offers a powerful way to communicate your values.

Visual identity, brand personality and packaging are all important parts of a successful branding strategy that will help you connect with the people who share those same beliefs as well

Brand design is not just about what you say or do but also how it’s communicated through these choices.

Being a values-inspired brand gives you a clear framework for decision making from everything to events you attend, choosing brand colours, selecting brand imagery, building a website.

Does this sit with our values? Yes? brilliant, do it. No – got it, politely decline.

This video shows how brand values can impact website and brand design choices. (forest tails – typography for dyslexics, uplifting colours for Dr Nina, calming colours and simple navigation for Dr Ann Seide

Inspiring Authority through brand design

There’s no doubt about it, having a cohesive, professionally designed brand brings a level of authority with it.

It’s basic human psychology – we believe what we see – If it looks professional, it must be. A well-designed brand and website is the equivalent of a shiny Harley Street clinic for a doctor, an Oxford Street shopfront for a clothing store or a broadway play for a playwright. We assume that if you’re good enough to be there – you must be good.

Because so much of brand strategy and brand design includes getting really clear about what you offer, why and to whom, your message is laser focussed.

Professional brands communicate their message in a clear, concise way. As consumers, we instantly understand what they’re offering. We don’t have to think about it too hard and so we trust that they know what they’re saying.

When you take time to invest in brand design it shows that you take your business seriously, and in turn, others will take you seriously.

On a deeper level, a brand is a promise of an experience, If you can consistently deliver on that promise when you interact with your customers over different touchpoints, they will trust you to deliver. Brand trust puts you ahead of your competition, you become the ‘go to’, that’s how you build authority.

How brand design builds trust

A brand is a promise of an experience. Over time when you deliver a consistent experience you build trust with your audience. You become dependable, you walk the talk.

Brand design builds trust through consistency and reliability. Showing up in predictably repeatable way across different platforms and media.

Consistency is the key to building trust, which can be seen in a brand’s consistency across all touchpoints and interactions with customers – from website design through packaging or even how you interact on social media channels like Facebook for example.

A consistent brand will make your customer feel safe because they know what type of service and experience to expect. It’s predictable, reliable and they know what to expect.

A consistent brand will make your customers feel safe because it’s predictable, reliable and they know exactly what to expect from you.

Even budget, low-quality brands can build trust when they show up consistently and they are honest about what they offer, hence the rise of the budget airline – we know it won’t be a particularly pleasant or luxurious experience flying with Easyjet but they deliver on providing cheap and cheerful flights to handy destinations.

Brand design is more than just a logo

Your brand is the foundation of your business and your brand design deserves some serious investment in time, thought and money. Your brand is more than just a logo and if you want your brand design to have a real impact then you need to give serious thought to the strategy behind it.

Your brand is the driving force behind your business, the embodiment of everything you do and what you stand for. A logo is a trademark that you use to visually represent your brand. Without a brand a logo is meaningless.

Yes you probably need a logo for your business (maybe even several logo variations) but your brand design should consist of far more than that. Your brand is not something you can buy off the shelf at etsy, it’s something that must be understood, translated and crafted unique to your business.

Brand Design is multifaceted, made up of your:

  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Story & Your Why
  • Values
  • Beliefs
  • Promise
  • Ideal customer
  • Visual identity
  • Logo, colours, fonts
  • Messaging
  • Brand tone of voice 
  • Brand personality
  • Design Aesthetic
  • Experience
Elements of a brand

All of these fall into 2 key areas, the internal and external aspects of the brand:

The external aspects of the brand are what people see, they include your logo and any other visual elements such as packaging or signage.

The internal aspects of the brand is how you see yourself and how you behave; this includes everything from customer service through to product or service quality.

Of course, the internal aspects need to be underpinned by a strong company ethos which can be communicated internally with staff but also externally via social media channels. The external aspects won’t have any substance if they’re not underpinned by a clear sense of the internal brand. This is why it’s important to start your brand design with a clear brand strategy.

Your brand will resonate more powerfully if there’s an authenticity about what you say your business stands for, your values and that matches how you portray yourself

The internal aspects of your brand include

  • Brand vision
  • Mission statement and values
  • Your why
  • Your brand story
  • Brand personality and
  • Brand essence

The external aspects of your brand include

  • Messaging and language,
  • Tone of voice,
  • visual elements including
  • your logo,
  • typography,
  • colour palette,
  • design
  • photography and
  • imagery.

The external, visible identity needs to reflect the internal aspects of your brand or you’ll have a brand that feels inauthentic and misaligned.

What you say verbally needs to match the experience of interacting with your brand as well as the visual experience – you can’t claim to deliver a sense of peace and wellbeing if your website is impossible and frustrating to use and you use a jarring colour palette.

If you truly want to inspire authority and trust you brand must create a cohesive, coherant and consistent story across all aspects of your brand. That’s the magic of brand design.

Need help creating a brand that inspires trust and authority? Check out my brand design packages.

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Danielle Garber

Danielle Garber

I'm a brand designer and strategist who creates stand out brands for Wellness Experts and Spiritual Entrepreneurs. I teach passionate small businesses to supercharge their impact, income and reach through a holistic and integrated approach that encompasses brand strategy, design and brand-aligned SEO & content marketing

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