THREE MUST HAVE DESIGN ELEMENTS FOR YOUR BRAND
Joanna Waterfall is the owner of boutique design studio Waterfall Creative and the founder of The Yellow Conference, a gathering to help creative women turn their dreams into reality. We asked her to share a bit of expert advice about creating graphics for your branding.
Why did you become a graphic designer? I became a graphic designer because of my love for the arts. I’ve loved art and drawing since I was very young. I started out as an art major, but then had to transfer schools. My new school didn’t have a great art program, so I decided to try graphic design and fell in love with it! It turned into a way for me to make money with my creative, artistic skill set.
Tell us what you love about your work: I love seeing people who have a great idea be able to expand their business and get more credibility through great branding. Often people will have a great business or organization, but they won’t have anyone give them a second glance because their website or branding isn’t done well. In today’s digital world, it’s so important to have consistent, good-looking visuals. It can make or break your business. I love allowing people to have that and giving them the tools they need to get the credibility they deserve.
How you have seen people benefit from using a professional vs. doing it alone? I have seen people try to do things by themselves, and it might work depending on their skill set, but it won’t bring them to the next level. Branding is more than a logo. It needs a consistent look, it needs to be in line with your business values, and it needs to show who you are. A professional can walk you through those steps and show you how to get a great visual brand that is consistent, has depth, and will attract your ideal customer.
How do people work with you, both locally and nationally? First, we chat over phone about what the business needs are. I determine whether we would be a good fit and then propose a package price and lay out what that includes. If we have agreed on the cost and the scope of work, we sign a contract and I take a 50% deposit and then create a calendar with the project scope and deadlines all laid out. Next we move into the branding questionnaire. This asks questions about the heart of your business. What are your goals? Who is your ideal client? Where are you headed? Where are you now? After that is complete we start moving on your visuals and then your website. It’s all creative and fun from that point on!
How many colors should be included in a website’s graphic elements? Three would be ideal, and definitely no more than four. Have a punch color, a lighter neutral color, and a dark color.
How many pages should a website contain? It’s really dependent on the kind of site and the needs of the business. Generally, the less information the better. You don’t want to keep the customer guessing, but you do want to present the details of your business in a way that is clear, concise, and easy for people to understand. This isn’t easy. You have to be intentional about every word, every sentence, making sure you are getting your information across but doing it in a way that is not overwhelming or confusing. The most important page is your homepage. It needs to give the viewer an idea of what you do and who you are right away. It needs to pull them in. Next, an “About” page that goes into a bit more depth about who you are is key. Your call to action page, blog, and contact page are important as well.
What three design elements are must-have to create a cohesive brand image through the logo and graphics and website?
- Depth. It can’t just be done because you like this font or these colors. There has to be purpose and meaning behind every color and font choice.
- Clean. These days having too much of anything is a no-no. We are so constantly bombarded with information that people want to be able to rest their eyes and feel calm when looking at your logo.
- Versatile. Your logo will be used all over the place. In small spaces, in spaces that are more horizontal, spaces that are more vertical. It needs to look good and work in all of the different mediums and spaces it will be used in.