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Why Your Business Needs a Brand Style Guide

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Branding Style Guide

First impressions help in shaping the way new people perceive you before they start knowing more about you. An inaccurate first impression is hard to change.

Your visual brand identity should have a huge impression that will denote what your business is about. It can either draw people in or turn them away.

Visual styling will amplify your business awareness, which consequently will help define your brand name in the market. Why is that important? Well, most brands need to boast promise about their service or products at the forefront of customer’s minds. Without a brand persona, your brand will slowly wither away.

What Is It & Why You Need It?

A brand style guide is a catalog that regulates how an organization presents itself to the world. It includes the elements of your visual identity as well as a list of how and where to use logos, colors, and typography. This guide aims to maintain consistency by demonstrating what a brand looks and feels like when presented in any channel or medium.

How to Set It Up?

  • Base It On Your Brand’s Intangible Pillars

According Percolate marketing agency blog post Defining Brand Identity, visual branding is just one part of your brand pillars, which includes your business’s mission, values, purpose, positioning, the tone of voice, look and feel.

Parts such as mission, values, purpose, positioning, the tone of voice are all intangible brand pillars, but they are the core stone of each marketing material you use. Basing your brand style guide on them will help you determine the best way you want your brand to represent itself visually to your potential clients, and how you want them to perceive your business. If your visuals do not match your mission and values, it will frustrate and confuse your clients.

Setting your mission and values will help you determine the picture that you want your visual elements to reflect when used across different mediums.

  • Create Your Logo, Create Your Flag

Imagine a world without logos. Imagine your favorite football team without their customized clothes, your country without a flag, and your favorite watch without a brand logo. A lot of unique attributes will be missing without them.

Visuals are the first thing our brains process. Having a compelling logo is the most valuable visual element in your brand identity. It’s your flag. It speaks about your business, delivers a visual message about your mission, and gives clues about the level of service or product you are offering.

Have variations of logo designs within your brand style guide to help you utilize the appropriate brand image on different marketing channels and materials.

  • Choose the Colors that Trigger the Right Emotions

When it comes to brand recognition, colors play a primary role. The choice of shades influences audience’s emotions and help them differentiate between competing brands. Lots of studies proved the effect of colors on the clients’ emotions.

That is why an intensive research should be done before choosing the final colors of your brand.

According to Colors Psychology website, a lot of tech firms chose or green to reflect a sense of liveliness, calmness, and refreshment. Financial institutions chose shades of blue to reflect trust, security, and dependability. Meanwhile, many retail outlets picked orange or green as a brand color to reflect a cheerfulness, optimism, and stability. Most food outlets chose various shades of red because of its ability to trigger people’s appetites.

Have your approved colors in your style guide to use the same shades across your marketing materials to ensure building a reputable brand and minimizing the room for error.

  • Pick a Typography That Reflects Your Brand Image

To have a reliable brand, you have to select a suitable typography. Fonts play a significant influence on people’s purchasing decisions and help in emphasizing the message your brand tries to deliver. Choosing the wrong font style can be bewildering and may leave them feeling blasé about the whole experience.

Typography concerns the style and appearance of any lettering or fonts used as part of your visual brand identity. These characteristics can have a significant influence over people’s purchasing decisions and help to emphasize the message of your brand further.

Typeface and font choice can affect whether the right message is communicated and these should conform to the overall visual brand style. Wrong decisions can be devastating, for example, Comic Sans font, which reflects a sense of playfulness, is not the right choice if you want it to reflect a serious brand image.

Decide your primary and secondary fonts and their preferred font size and add them to your guide.

Keep Your Brand Style Guide Near Your Hands

In today’s competitive market you can’t afford to fail in making the decision when it comes to your visual brand identity. In business, first impressions matter. That is why having a brand style guide is important if you are aiming for a reputable brand image.

Why Your Mobile App Must Be “Thumb-friendly”?

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Thumb Friendly

Have you ever browsed a website on your mobile phone and the buttons were smaller than your thumb, so you had to zoom to click the button? Maybe used an app that had unconventional button placement, either because the buttons are not designed for your finger size or because the location is placed in an inaccessible area.

Having bad user experience design (UX) will make your user runaway and possibly find an alternative to your app without thinking twice. That’s not what you want now, is it?  We browse apps and websites on our phones all day long. Aiming to provide an immersive experience is key to a good UX design, at least that’s what expert Steven Hoober thinks.

In his book Designing Mobile Interfaces” his finding showed that 49% of the people held their phones with one hand, 36% cradled their phone using both hands, one to tightly secure it in place and the other to tap with, and 15% held it portrait or landscape with both hands. In all cases, they were using their thumbs to browse the screens.

Touch Target Size vs. Average Thumb Size

Mobile app designers tend to create buttons and icons following the suggested target sizes. Apple’s iPhone Human Interface Guidelines suggests that an ideal touchscreen target size is 44 pixels wide and 44 pixels’ length. Android Material Design suggests that is must be 36 x 36 pixels. Microsoft Guidelines for Targeting suggests a touch target size of 48 x 48 pixels. Nokia also indicates that a target size 28 x 28 pixels. So do these target sizes align with the average dimension of the adult thumb?

According to Smashing Magazine, all of these target size suggestions are smaller than the size of the average adult thumb, which equals 2.5 cm, and converts into 72 pixels. Designing icons with this size does wonders as you want the user to ‘single tap’ his way through your application.

Locate Your Content on “The Thumb Zone”

When planning to design a mobile app, you must think about accessibility of content. The ‘contact patch’ will vary based on the patch size of the user. Look at it this way. The entire screen is segmented into primary, secondary and tertiary.
The primary has content situated in the middle of the screen. Text messages, stories, news feed, photos and videos, any content that will instigate the user to interact easily using opposable thumbs.

Hoober used the term “The Thumb Zone” to the map that he created to show app designers how to locate content based on priority on touch screens for a thumb-friendly experience.

A great example of an app that follows the “The Thumb Zone” structure is Facebook. The main highlight of content in the app – which is the newsfeed – is located in the middle of the screen, also known as the natural area. This gives the user the ability to scroll over the app quicker. We can also see the friend request icon included in the natural area.

Since viewing the Facebook stories is not the main goal of the user, it’s placed in the stretch area.

In the upper “Ow” area we can see a small part of the search bar, in addition to the ‘more’ button, which is considered less relevant.

Keep the Thumb-Friendliness on the Top

There are a lot of elements that should be taken into consideration while designing for a mobile app user experience. Making it thumb-friendly should be on top of that list. Give the users something to think about, a good user experience. Don’t design a pretty little app which is sluggish, chunky and inconvenient to navigate through. Always out design comfort Make it reasonable with a clean design that comforts their thumbs to encourage your users to stay more on your app.

Why You Shouldn’t interrupt a Web Developer

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Web developers are unique individuals. Their lives function in a certain way that differs from other people. For example, we all get interrupted at work, and we all need a certain time to regain focus when we go off track. It is not the case when it comes to web developers because they will require more time to reorder their thoughts for when start writing codes.

Some developers rely on the “mental model” for when they code – in which the process of reflection coincides with how they arrange their work priority structure on what they need to do first in their mind. All of the work is saved in the frontal cortex for long-term storage when fetching information is necessary. If you interrupt them, chances are, that chain of thought will pretty much be lost.

Imagine having a phone call, or a small talk that a colleague started every two hours! It’s grueling.

What Happens When You Interrupt a Developer?

Jaxenter programming news website stated that a study suggested that a person will need 15 – 23 minutes to regain focus after they get interrupted. This is not the case when it comes to a web developer because he will need 15 – 23 minutes to regain focus, in addition to extra 10 minutes to start editing a code again.

If at least four interruptions happened every day, this would waste a minimum of 2 hours of your developer’s time, not to talk about the pressure that interruption might create when they occur.

Planned Interruptions Are the Real Evil

Unplanned interruptions such as receiving a phone call or answering one of your colleagues’ questions are not as evil as a planned one, which we call “meetings”. According to Paul Graham the British computer programmer and venture capitalist, a planned interruption like meetings, can ruin a working day by dividing it into two parts where it was difficult to accomplish a task. The idea of having a scheduled meeting will let the developer rush into finishing his tasks before the deadline and sometimes that might not be possible and ultimately deviate from the project’s original timeframe.

Controlling interruption the most right way possible

Interruptions are the worst enemy of a web developer, if you control them by knowing how to help a developer deal with them, you will be able to avoid paying the costs when it comes to your business.

When it comes to small interruptions, you should start controlling the interruptions you create yourself, such as having your mobile device near you and getting distracted by every single notification that appears on the screen. If you’re using the computer to finish a task, also try to close all the tabs that are not related to your original work. You can turn off the email notification on your device’s screen and specify a particular time later to check your email as it will be more suitable for productivity.

Headphones are developer’s best friend. You can use it as a way to give people a sign about your working process. So if you are putting a pair of headphones that should help solve the problem. If you tend to have it cover one ear, they will be more inclined to come and talk to you, regarding anything. Another solution is to directly deal with the interrupter and politely explain to tell them about how a one minute of interruption may lead to wasting around 15 minutes of your time.

When it comes to planned interruptions, it is not easy to keep everyone happy when arranging meetings, but the best tip in this case is to schedule time around the meetings in a way that will help you to be able to have a normal productive day.

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