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How to Add Variety to Your Branding Without Confusing Customers

December 15, 2014
Tony D

Many companies like to mix up their branding for different events or at different times. Adding some winter sparkle to holiday swag such as brochures, business cards or web banners can help highlight the spirit of the season at a conference, for instance. Similarly, softening a color palette for spring is an ideal way for certain businesses, such as wedding planners, baby photographers or retailers, to stay on trend.

However, while it's great to match the tone of your branding to your purpose, it confuses customers to use more than one logo, change your color scheme too much, or otherwise depart from your core design. Doing so makes customers suspicious, because they wonder how else you’ve changed your business (such as ownership or pricing), so you want to avoid making major changes. That doesn’t mean you can’t modify your brand to suit your needs, however.

One thing you can do is play within a certain palette without departing from it entirely. LinkedIn, for instance, does this remarkably well by offering a standard palette that starts with basic blue, black and white. They then expand to incorporate a range of grays, four main accent colors, and an “extended accent palette.” You can do the same by choosing colors that all work well together, defining your basic scheme, and using a wider palette to vary branding by season, event or item.

Another option is to design a few subtle twists on your main logo. You might employ a different accent color, or put a colored band around the outside of your logo, or change its usual positioning on printed letterhead. These are all acceptable ways to vary its look.

Lastly, you can also use images to influence your branding without changing the main design. Most big social media profiles now offer space dedicated to header images. These large areas at the top of the screen in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others are perfect spots to show a little personality. While your logo, headshot, tagline and other branded elements can remain unchanged, you can switch up images to suit your purposes. You can use this same trick on the printed materials you keep in your office or hand to business partners and customers.

Small changes can influence your branding a lot while keeping your core message consistent, so don’t be afraid to experiment!

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