Your Voice as your Corporate Identity

Your company’s ‘voice’ is an integral part of you company’s identity. Just as color or fonts give the viewer a feeling about who your company is, so does the writing of your copy.

If you’re a small company, particularly a sole proprietorship, you may be doing your own copy writing and your voice may well be your company’s voice.

On the other hand, if you’re a 50-year-old tax attorney launching a social networking site for tweens as a side business, you might not speak your target audience’s language. Hiring a professional copywriter is probably a good idea.

Whatever your business, your voice should align with your audience. A company with an older, more conservative target customer should ‘speak’ in proper English, triple checking grammar and punctuation.

A young, hip, urban company, on the other hand, might choose a casual, conversational tone peppered with current slang.

Design your voice, just as you design your imagery and align the two for a stronger, more memorable identity.

Using fonts to extend your identity

Fonts are an integral part of your identity. Selecting the right typefaces goes beyond the font or fonts used in your logo.

Where to Start

Consider where text is to ge used. Adverttising? Brochures? Posters? Signage? Website? A combination? You’ll need fonts that work in all your media.

Web vs. Print

Is your business primarily web-based with little print visibility? Choose fonts that are html friendly like Arial, Helvetica, or Times Roman.

If your marketing will be primarily in print, your font options are considerably wider. An equal mix of web and print? Some companies have two sets of fonts – one for the web and one for print.

How much is too much?

Too many different fonts distract from your message. While it’s possible to create strong designs with a multitude of fonts, it generally takes an especially gifted designer to do it well. Limit yourself to 2 font families – one for the bulk of your text, and one for headlines, subheads and pops.

A font family is all the styles of a particular font. For example, Helvetica Regular, Helvetica Bold, Helvetica Oblique, Helvetica Bold Oblique, etc. You might even limit yourself to a single font if it has a particularly extensive family.

What style?

Coordinate with your logo, but don’t get too matchy-matchy. For example, if your logo uses Frutiger Ultra Bold, consider Frutiger Regular for your text. Alternately, contrast your text font to your logo (or headline) font. Use a serif font for text and a sans serif font for your headline, or vice versa.

What’s in a name?

Choosing a good name these days can be especially challenging. Everyone wants Unfortunately, much of the time, or the url you want is already taken. So what do you do?

You want to create a name that’s memorable, that stands out. And yet fits in. Remember, your name sets the tone for who you are as a company.

Over the years I’ve developed a formula that helps me when I’m tasked with creating a name for a new company or brand.

First, boil down the essence of the company to two basic concepts. Then, choose single words that describe those two concepts and marry them together.

For example, I had to come up with a name for a women’s apparel company that catered to women in male dominant sports, like motorcycle racing and extreme sports. I boiled it down to femininity and speed, which then became Sonic Butterfly. Of course there were a few names that were shot down before we got to Sonic Butterfly, but ultimately this name was the strongest.

Creating an Identity When You Don’t Know the First Thing About Design

When you’re launching your own company, you have to wear a lot of hats. Sometimes that includes designing your own logo and identity. But if you’re not a designer, it’s easy to get it wrong. So I’ve created this blog to help start-ups and business owners get it right.

There are lots of things to consider:
• Your Name
• Logo
• Tagline (always a good idea if your name doesn’t explain what you do)
• Tone (are you funky & fresh, solid & trustworthy, a friendly neighbor?)
• Color
• Fonts
• Business Card
• Letterhead
• Website
• Sales Collateral
• Signage
• Advertising – Print
• Advertising – Web
• Events
• Promotional Items
• When to Hire a Professional

These are just the basics, but in the coming weeks I’ll show you how the choices you make can make or break your identity, and sometimes your business.