So you’ve got consistency down and you’re using your Brand Style Guide every time you make graphics for your business. But now it feels like everything has gone beyond consistent and is starting to look pretty much exactly the same.
Building visual consistency is tricky that way. You have to find the right balance between using the exact same template for everything and freestyling every time you need a new graphic. And it’s not always easy to figure out where to draw the line.
You don’t want to haphazardly create a random collection of graphics. That confuses your audience, doesn’t communicate your brand message, and looks unprofessional. But you also don’t want to bore everyone by recycling the same graphic over and over.
How you do find the right balance for your brand? Here are some tricks you can use to inject variety into your visual identity without compromising on consistency:
- Make the most of your fonts
Sticking with your 2 or 3 brand fonts doesn’t have to be monotonous. Your brand font palette should include your logo font, a simple and readable body copy font that you use for large blocks of text, a headline font, and an accent font. Choosing fonts that you can easily distinguish from one another should automatically build in some variety.
You can take it a step further by choosing fonts that come in different weights and variations. Some of the best fonts include everything from a super thin hairline weight to a super bold condensed version. I like to make sure each weight also comes in italics for good measure. The headline font I use for my brand comes in 6 different weights, which gives me a lot to play with.
You may not end up using every single option available in each of your fonts, but it’s good to know they’re there. Try mixing different weights of the same font, different fonts in the same weight – whatever combinations you can think of.
When you have good tools, there’s no limit to what you can discover! You can see in this image how different combinations of your brand fonts can create different looks without feeling inconsistent.
- Add to your color palette
You probably can’t tell from my branded content, but I love color. In a completely head over heels kind of way. I totally understand if you’re tempted to sneak in some extra colors here and there or if you can’t commit to the color palette you know will work for your brand.
Whether you have a large color palette or just work in one hue, there’s a super easy way to add variety without compromising your visual consistency. Add some tints and shades! Start with your color palette and add a lighter version of each of your base colors. Then, add a darker version of each base color.
You can use these tints and shades sparingly as accent colors for your borders, buttons, and icons when you want to call special attention to something. Or build them into the core of your visual identity by using them prominently in all your branded materials.
- Play with your patterns and textures
You have a treasure trove of possibilities if your brand visuals include patterns or textures.There’s so much you can do even with just some simple stripes, polka dots, or gold foil. The trick to finding new ways to use them is simply to play.There are so many things you can try with your pattern.
Turn it on its side and see what it looks like in different orientations. Try zooming in and getting a really close crop. Try zooming out so the shapes are really small. Take it apart and isolate its shapes, then use those alone as embellishments. Try it as a background, a border, and as a little decorative embellishment.
For your texture, see what different things you can apply it to. You can use it as a background or apply it to text, your pattern, your logo, icons, or embellishments.
- Choose a versatile photo style
The photos you choose for your brand play a huge part in helping you create your brand story. But consistency in photos is probably the trickiest to nail down. You want all your images to communicate the same brand story across all platforms. But you don’t want to share the exact same product shot every time.
The easiest way to find the right balance for your photos is to choose an overarching theme.You can then brainstorm different ways to communicate that theme in a way that works for each touchpoint or platform.
For my brand, I chose a peaceful nature theme. I branched that out into a few different styles that still fit together and communicate the same message. You can see how much variety you can create within a themed cohesive style.
Building a consistent visual style doesn’t mean your graphics have to be boring or repetitive. If you use these tips, you can have fun with your visual identity and reap the benefits of creating a cohesive visual identity.