In today’s episode, we’re talking about what it looks like to get online ready. It really doesn’t matter what you’ve done online nor what you’re wanting to do, there is one underlying thread that needs to be succinct within your online presence… and that is what your business looks like visually.
And of course, I’m talking about images and fonts and colors. These are the visual representation of your brand. Equally important is the messaging of your brand.
- What emotions does your brand evoke?
- What type of person is attracted to your visuals?
- Are you relatable?
- Do the visuals match your level of experience?
Because you’re transitioning from an offline brand to an online brand, you will want to look at every aspect of your brand identity and make sure that it translates as well on the screen as it does in 3D.
Let’s start with your colors. In the printing world, they use CMYK to create color — or in other words this model works by partially or entirely masking colors on a lighter, usually white, background. It is sometimes called subtractive because inks “subtract” the colors red, green and blue from white light.
In the online space, when we’re working with screens, we’re using RGB to create color — and this is the process by which red, green, and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of colors. The name of the model comes from the initials of the three additive primary colors, red, green, and blue.
You might have also heard of Pantone colors which are color codes that stand for a specific shade. Basically, pantone is the standard language for colors and might be what you’ve looked at when picking paint colors. It’s not going to translate one-to-one for print nor one-to-one for screen so we’re not going to focus on it here.
If you’re currently using CMYK colors be sure to use a tool to see what the RGB version of that color looks like on several different devices and screens. You may want to adjust your colors in order to allow them to pop on screens. Our screens can display 16,777,216 different colors because each of Red, Green and Blue have 256 shades but CMYK cannot translate to each of those colors because it uses pigments instead of light. They are really different entities and it’s worth the time to translate your logo and brand colors into online equivalents.
You do have the liberty to alter colors and shades as necessary to get the right look and feel online.
OK, now onto the fonts you use.
Online we use written word everywhere from our websites to overlays on our graphics. In the offline space, using the default font for printouts that you give your students or instructions you send home with your artwork is usually fine. Those printouts aren’t going to live in association with your brand for the long term.
You might use a few fonts for signage inside your studio, your business card and flyers. And this is the aspect of your brand that you’ll be carrying forward online. In addition to the fonts themselves, there are font weights and variations to consider.
There are nine font weights – 100 which is “Thin” through 900 which is “Black” and everything in between. Normal is 400 and bold is 700. You’ll likely want to bring at least those two weights online and possibly one or two more. When it comes to variations, we’re talking about italic and small caps. I don’t usually see a lot of small caps but I do see italic… so we’re looking at somewhere from four to eight different looks for the exact same font.
And we haven’t even got into font size yet — but don’t worry we’ll get there soon. Before that, a few thoughts on the number of fonts to use… two. Period. Only two fonts.
One is going to be your serif or sans-serif main text font and one is going to be your decorative font for emphasis and headlines. With fonts, I strongly recommend looking at the usage policy of the fonts you are already using — some might have web use while others don’t. Be sure to use web fonts and follow the rules set forth by the font creator or font distributor.
The two font repositories that I use most often online are Google Fonts and Adobe Typekit. If your font doesn’t permit web use, look at these repositories to find something that you’re happy to use in your online visuals. If you’re unable to locate a font, then consider purchasing a new one that has web usage rights.
Now let’s talk about font size!!!
I recommend sticking with standard and consistent font sizing — this means that as your website is being built out, you’ll want to define the font family, font size, font variant and font color for all the standard website building blocks, like headings and paragraphs and quotes and lists. Once it’s defined and you pick that website building block, you’ll be well on your way to have a consistent look online.
Feeling pretty good about this so far?
We’ve talked about translating your print and paint colors to online colors and fonts for written word.
So, now let’s discuss some of the parts of your brand that will likely be new to you now that you’re expanding online.
Yup, we’re talking imagery.
These are not only your headshots and brand photographs but also the swishes and lines and symbols and icons that you use within your website and social media.
- Are they hand drawn or computer drawn?
- What is the line weight?
- Are they modern or classic, frilly or simple?
- How will they be used to stitch your online identity together?
- Are they monochrome or colorful?
- Are they formal or informal?
The first few questions were more about the swishes and lines and symbols and icons whereas the last few were about your photographs. My brand photos were taken in front of metal siding and I use the one with the siding as my profile picture but for my website and within social media graphics I removed the background on the pictures so that I could overlay them and have them stand out. So think about how you’re going to want to use photographs within your online visuals and make sure to keep your brand and its message top of mind when they are being taken.
The last thing I want is for you to have no images that you can use that match up with the rest of what you’re trying to do online.
Icons and symbols are a great way to break up content, I use bullet points regularly within my podcast episodes and I made the conscious choice to keep them simple. When I want to spruce up bullet points on sales pages or other pages, I’ll use aspects of my submark and the bright pattern you see on the podcast artwork.
My brand is vibrant and fun and not intimidating because I want to attract fun and spontaneous artists who are looking to do something online.
We haven’t talked about brand messaging in this episode precisely because this episode was about getting your brand online ready and I believe that focus needs to be on the graphics, fonts and colors. Making these decisions and crossing that off the list is going to make everything else you’re wanting to do in this growth stage that much easier — you’ll have a basis from which to work!
I’m so excited to be on this journey with you. Thank you for tuning into the podcast each week. Have you downloaded the Expand Online Getting Started Guide yet? You can access it right here: https://techofbusiness.com/onlineproduct/.
Next week, we’re going to talk about Instagram and Facebook and how they play into gaining awareness of your business expanding online!