Defining the brand is one of the most critical steps when defining your web presence. Your brand is going to be pervasive in all your media.
The brand incorporates what colors to use, creation of the logo, using images and standardizing on your contact information.
After this section, you should not only have and idea of the colors and logos you will be using, but you will have the EXACT codes required to replicate them across all media.
Contrast – Contrast – Contrast. You need background color and 1-2 other “front-ground” colors that can easier contrast AND complement each others.
Now, coming up with a color scheme that meets this is totally up to you and the industry your are in.
Check out The Importance of Website Colors to find the following chart:
Once you have decided on the colors you are going to use, write down the following information:
- Color (i.e. light blue)
- Hex value (i.e. #00628B)
- RGB value (i.e. 0, 98, 139
- CMYK value (1, 0.295, 0, 0.455)
Note that the Hex value is used most often to ensure that you are using the exact color that you have chosen above – do not rely on memory or “almost the same” color. You need to be consistent with the colors you’ve chosen on all your media.
You need a logo. Now, a logo does not need to be fanciful or contain images (abstract or not). It can simply be your Business Name.
However! You must create is so that it stands out from other text on the screens (and business cards etc.) The simplest way is to create your name using the IMPACT font. Once it is created, you should save it in the following formats:
- .PNG – for websites, brochures, printers
- .EPS – for printers (unless they accept .PNG)
If you are interested in creating a neat logo, then just remember that most companies on the fortune 100 have simple logos… go with a simple logo and it will definitely prove resilient.
For the do-it-yourself person, Six Revisions has 15 Excellent Logo Design Tutorials Using Illustrator. You do need Adobe Illustrator to learn the techniques and then you choose one to work on your logo.
For those of us that do not have the software or time or “creativity”, then having a professional company create a logo is quick and simple. Web Tech Logo Designs provides a fast and cheap ($50!) process to getting a logo created. You need to provide some idea and they will provide 3 examples back to you. You decide which one fits the best for your business and you choose it. Once chosen, you go back and forth with Web Tech Logo Designs until you are happy with it. Once you are happy, they will package up 5-6 formats of the logo and send it back to you. All this can be done within 2-3 weeks (if not sooner).
You need images for your website. Without images your website is going to look “blah” and we do not want that. If you are building a website around a product, then getting images could be as simple as taking photos of the product in different stages or usage.
For a service, you are more limited in what images you can use. You may be able to find photos representing the service, or you may need to use abstract image representation in addition. To get images you most likely will need to pay to use it on your website. There are some free images out there, but beware of just copying images from websites – this is VERY LIKELY ILLEGAL and can come back to haunt you. Images are cheap enough that you can get what you need without breaking the budget. Some sites to review are the following:
If you do see an image on a website that you cannot find in one of the sites above, send a note to website owner and ask them if you can use it! If they are the owner then they may be honored to have it shown on another website (appropriated credit should be mentioned).
A quick statement about using an abstract logo or image on your website. If the image is abstract, by it’s nature it may not provide the immediate information for the reader. As such, using abstract images requites additional description to explain them.
For logos this is less of an issue since it is geared towards the business and not the service. To help you decide if an abstract logo is something to consider, read Naming Famous Brands – Abstract Logos VS Literal Logos!
This information is going to be on your website, brochures, email and all other communication to your clients.
The following information needs to be decided upon immediately:
- Business Name
- Primary Contact – this is optional but normally it would be a person’s (i.e. you) name
- Address – if working from your home, you may want to consider a P.O. Box ($25 a year in most places)
- Email – do you want a generic email or a personal email?
- Telephone – do you have a personal number or and 888 that can be directed to your mobile phone?
Regarding emails, you may want to create generic emails as follows:
- email@example.com – this is used on all printed media as well as website and general email
- firstname.lastname@example.org – this is for all your Social Media websites. Alternatively, you can create info-fb for Facebook, info-tw for Twitter etc.
- first-name.last-name@mywebsite – this is used on business cards and personal emails
All generic emails should be auto-forward to the appropriate person in your company (usually you!) so that you can respond accordingly. As the company grows, you can redirect to new people without having to change anything on the website.
Having separate emails for Social Media sites allows you to do some informal analysis of where emails are coming from, though using analytics are still the most accurate.
We suggest that using personal mobile numbers be restricted to business cards – once you have listed on the web, it can be captured by a myriad of spiders and you never know who’s going to be calling you. Registering an 800 or 888 number provides the added benefit of looking national and you can still get it directed to your mobile phone!
Once you have decided on how you will be contacted, write it down.