3 Tips for Digital-First Brands

Your brand is so much more than just a logo — it’s the full extension of your user’s experiences across your organization’s touchpoints. Your business cards may look great, but how is your visual presence on LinkedIn or YouTube faring? If your answer is anything but ‘fantastic’, you might want to start taking a harder look at the digital limitations of your brand.

At Adage, we are digital and mobile-first so some of the challenges we as designers have to face involve brand interpretation and implementation. To keep your brand looking its shiniest across your digital spaces, consider some of these common problem areas and think about incorporating some digital flexibility within your brand.

1. Don’t forget the small spaces

The top issue we typically run into with brands is their ability to be flexible in small spaces. Our mobile-first approach means tiny screens and not many opportunities for rich brand expression so it’s important to get your message across as efficiently as possible. Here are some tips to consider when you’re evaluating your brand:

Legibility

Some wordmarks need more tracking (space between the letters) when they fall below a certain size. Consider creating a small-space version with a little more breathing room to increase the legibility of your wordmark. If you haven’t already done so, it’s also important to define a mark’s minimum size for digital (millimeters, inches, points, and picas don’t really translate evenly to pixels), so test out a few really small sizes on some low resolution screens to determine what the threshold is for minimum legibility.

Brand Legibility Example Using Adage Logo in Different Sizes

Clear space

Defining rules for some breathing room around your logos and marks can really make a difference with hierarchy and recognition. Too little space around a mark can make the brand seem crammed and unprofessional (unless that’s your thing). Intentional clear space will imbue the perception of considered design and care for the brand. This is extremely critical in social media applications such as avatars and background graphics.

3 Tips for Digital-First Brands -

Breaking

Sometimes layouts can get tight — especially when it comes to navigation. If your logo has a combination of elements such as a wordmark and a symbol, consider breaking them apart and stacking them or using just one element to define your brand when the spaces get small.

Examples of Breaking in Digital Brands

 

2. Make it inclusive

Most brands have a defined color palette, but make sure yours translates to digital well. All screens render color differently, so it’s a good idea to test them out in a few places and tweak them if they don’t feel authentic to your brand’s expression. Additionally, you want to ensure all your text has enough contrast, so play with combinations of text and background colors to see what works for users that might have vision impairments such as color blindness or low vision. Find out more about inclusive design and site accessibility in this presentation.

color contrast for digital brand

 

3. Keep it sharp

Wherever possible, an SVG (scalable vector graphic) file format should be used for your logos and graphics. They keep line art super sharp and can be scaled infinitely without the need for multiple files with different resolutions. Pro-tip: make sure that any vector files sent to your designers aren’t just an image embedded into a vector file (we wish it worked like that, but sadly it doesn’t).

Image sharpness examples

 

Need help?

Adage’s designers are experts in brand expression and implementation across digital spaces and can help you navigate these blind spots. Just drop us a line and we can help build your digital-first brand.

Will Moran

Author Will Moran

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