Dear Designer: Designing a brand and thinking social

December 2, 2015 |

This is my call to arms for creatives who work on the branding of projects.

We use branding documents a lot for social. They help to form an important part of the social strategy and the way the brand talks. We take brand traits and turn them into a brand voice with sample messaging. This is a big part of the road map we create to give a company a firm grounding.

We also create a lot of social media pages for clients. From YouTube channels to Facebook Pages and from Instagram accounts to Twitter profiles. To do so we often work from brand guidelines and digital assets c/o creative agencies. Often I come across the same problems. The new logo looks fantastic. The new colour scheme is a work of genius. It pushes all the right buttons for the customer and has just the right tone for the audience, but… There’s been no thought given to social media.

Over three quarters of new logos that I’m given to work with are horizontal. Most social channels require a square logo. Simple as that.

Designers need to start thinking about this as part of any brand bible. Come on folks, it’s 2015. How will that swanky curvy logo look as a 30×30 company comment thumbnail on LinkedIn? How will it look when Google+ crops it into a circle from the 250×250 original? What about when Facebook strips its obligatory 10px from around the edges or LinkedIn decides to display a 200×200 as a 100×60?

There’s other elements to think about too, not just square profile pictures. Designers now need to think about problems like how other application buttons will be kept in theme or how the Twitter cover image reflect the new look for mobile, tablet and desktop. We need to start considering social media as a part of the process. If we don’t – and social is your front end first contact for many people – it will be disjointed and defeat the object of a branding exercise. If it’s not considered I have to do it after-the-fact, which is far from ideal and doesn’t take into account the bigger brand picture.

A high-quality square 800×800 (minimum) alternative logo should be standard nowadays, and considered from the start. I’m not saying we need to cram a nice logo down to some unrecognisable mush in a box, but consideration should at least be given to alternatives. Could it be a single letter from the brand name? Could it be that stylish ampersand? Would a graphical element work best? What about a flash of the brand colours?

I’m lucky, we work with a couple of good agencies who get this. In the future it’d be nice to see more creatives taking this into account as a standard part of the process.

A call to arms. This is a good service agencies should offering as part of the mix that’ll set them apart. Please, let’s make this a part of the process? Thanks.