Last week, I wrote a blog post titled "3 Reasons Why your Business Needs Visual Consistency." But how do you actually achieve that? Today, I'm going to explain just how you can ensure your brands visuals remain cohesive and consistent!
1. Look At What Colours You're Naturally Attracted To
To begin with, you need to know what kind of brand you want to have, and how you'd like to be represented. This comes back to your ideal client most of the time (no idea what I'm talking about? Read this!) and what visuals they would be attracted to. But if you're totally stumped, one way I like to figure this out is simply by looking at the colours I'm naturally attracted to.
In my case, it's cool colours like blue, white, black, grey, and various deep shades of green. If you look at my photography, those sorts of colours come up time and time again. The same goes with my Instagram feed!
No idea where to look? One point of call could be your wardrobe. What colours do you always wear? What colours are around your house? Those are the colours you're attracted to, and as most businesses "ideal clients" are very similar to themselves (not always the case though, so use your own judgement) it's highly likely that your ideal client will be attracted to the same colours as you are!
2. Use the same colours All The Time
Now that you know what colours you or your ideal client attracted to, you need to create a colour pallet for yourself, and stick to it! Keep it somewhere nearby (on your desktop, as a cut out on your desk, on the wall near your workspace) and look at it regularly. Use it as a comparison between how your website is looking and how your Instagram feed is looking. If it doesn't match up, time to readjust what you're posting!
3. Use The Same Filters
This goes for Instagram, or if you use software like Adobe Lightroom to edit your images before you post them anywhere. If you can, try to always stick to the same filters. If you use too many different ones, your images will all start to have weird contrasts between them, and thats a fast track way to NOT achieving visual consistency!
4. Shoot In The Same Kind Of Light
Now this isn't always easy, especially if you're a photographer, as sometimes you won't have a choice what time of day to shoot. However, where you can, it would be wise to look for similar lighting sitations when you take photos.
For example, if you are a jewellery designer and you want to take flat lays of your new pieces for your Instagram feed, and you love really soft window light, make sure you use the same window, at a similar time of day, with similar light (ie. cloudy skies) to get similar light in all your images. Don't go from soft, cloudy window light one day, to dark, orange, tungsten lights another!
5. Use Similar Angles
If you regularly shoot from above, keep that up. If you love to shoot at a bit of an angle, do that! I think this ones speaks for itself, really.
6. Use The Same Lens
If you're a self employed business owner who shoots everything with an iPhone, great! Keep shooting with your iPhone! If you've got a DSLR with a 50mm on it, stick to that. What I'm saying here is, try to be consistent with what kit you use. This will be an easy way to keep your images consistent, without having to worry as much.
7. Pay Attention To Pairings
I'm not sure if "pairing" is the right word, but I couldn't think of a better one... essentially, if you pay attention to how images look next to one another, you'll be onto a winner. I use an app called Planoly to plan my Instagram feed in advance, and I pay close attention to how the images will all look next to one another. It doesn't take long, and isn't as hard as it might sound. If one image is standing out like a sore thumb, perhaps it's not the best image to post!
8. Create a Template
You may have noticed that the banners I use for my blog posts are always very similar. That's because I have created a template which I use to recreate a new banner for each blog post. It took me a few minutes to create, and once I was happy, I saved it and every time I write a new blog post, it takes me literally 2-3 minutes to create a banner to go with it! This means that my banners have now become quite recognisable, and consistent!
9. Use The Same Fonts
Visual consitency isn't all just about photography, its about graphic design too. I'm not the best graphic designer in the world (check out Anna's blog if you want more tips on this sort of stuff!) but one very important thing is to pay attention to using the same fonts throughout all your business platforms (or at least as much as you can!). I'm pretty sure the rule is to stick to 2-3 fonts maximum, always!
10. Have The Same Photographer Shoot Your Content, Always
Now, this may be the most important point. I know that not every business can afford to hire a photographer every time they need visual content to be created, but I would always recommend that businesses make it a high priority to aim to get as much professional photography done as possible.
Spend time looking at the work of photographers in your area. Study what they do. Do their colours match your brand colours? Does their style fit with your brand? There's absolutely no point in hiring a photographer who feels totally different to what you do.
Once you've found someone you like, use them. Keep them. Grow with them. A professional photographer will be able to naturally create that consistency you want. Invest in photography and you'll be consistent with your visuals right from the get go!
11. Be Careful What You Repost
The ability for businesses to repost on Instagram/Facebook/Websites is amazing! Its a wonderful way for small businesses to get extra content for their sites. A lot of businesses (especially wedding businesses) take part in lots of styled shoots, offering to have their product as part of a shoot.
That can be great... if the photos end up fitting your brand. If they don't, do not share them. There's no point in sharing content that looks completely different to what you normally share, because it will only confuse your ideal client.