29 Mar A Guide on How to Market An Athlete: Sports Brand Logos (Part 2 of 6)
In our previous article, we’ve discussed the initial steps you need in branding athletes. And now that we’ve tackled the foundations of your brand, it’s only apt that we proceed on strengthening these building blocks with the help of great design and branding logo!
It’s considered a no-brainer for businesses to have a unique logo — as a matter of fact, it’s considered to be a vital factor in creating a brand. And this is because logo is no longer just an image, it’s part of a business’ whole identity!
Your athlete business’ logo becomes the face of its entire brand. People will associate your brand with the symbol you choose just as how most of us associate the swoosh sign with Nike. The design takes everything the brand hopes to stand for and brings it together into one cohesive recognizable visual!
Unfortunately, only a handful of businesses take great design seriously. If you’ve been wondering what the real role of logos are, we’re here to talk about sports logos and good design! But before anything else, it’s only apt that we debunk the common misconception that brand logos are just images.
Unfortunately, there’s still a large number of people who think logos are just images. While it may be true that a logo is one of the physical elements of a brand, it has a responsibility that’s not limited to just representing a business.
For one, they can make or break the success of a brand. Logos will always be the first thing potential customers see in a business — so much so, that their opinion about a brand is said to depend on what a logo looks like. Its design should be able to set the right mood and create a good initial impression to ensure leads.
It must be remembered that a brand is people’s perception towards your sports team or your athlete business. Should your brand logo design fail to reflect what your brand hopes to be perceived, it can easily set customers off.
Successful logos matches company’s values. People should be able to look at your logo and quickly see the perception your athlete business wants to have. But at the same time, it should be unique enough to set you apart from your competitors. For instance, it can’t be helped to use symbols that are associated with your industry but great design can help you gain competitive advantage when it comes to visuals.
Another key point often overlooked is that logos actually play a major role in the crucial step of building brand identity.
What Your Brand’s Identity Says
Brand Identity is defined as the visible elements of a brand — such as color, design, and logo — that distinguishes the brand to the consumers’ mind. It’s part of the general process of branding athletes, only that it focuses on tangible elements that represents the brand.
The visual cues that will be used on the brand’s logo — and other logo ideas — will depend on the values a business wants to stand for. For example, Ikea’s iconic blue and yellow color scheme signifies trust and reliability as well as friendliness and affordability. Its bold typography creates the impression of a strong, established and inclusive brand. The more cohesive and unique elements are, the higher chances of it shaping into a brand that’s easily recognizable.
But its scope doesn’t start and end with a logo. Brand identity design should cover all the external characteristics of your sports team’s brand such as iconography and imagery. For instance, in order for your fans to easily identify your brand, it needs icons and artworks present on its website and other channels. Its art style should be able to successfully communicate the core of the brand’s internal identity.
How you convey your sports team’s personality to its target audience matters the most. If they get the wrong message, you’ll have a hard time maintaining a following. Hence, it’s important that you know the key elements of brand identity design!
Key Ingredients to Build A Memorable Branding Identity
Brand identity should be the result of the process — that’s why it’s expected to compliment the core ideas of the entire brand. And how do you achieve this? By ensuring that all key elements to your visual cues are cohesive with the brand.
Here are the four key elements you need to make note of in building brand identity!
Unforgettable Logo Design
There’s been several discussions on which should come first, creating a logo or creating a brand. But admittedly, it’s hard to say because both logos and brands are being adjusted and improved. However, looking at the bigger picture, a clear brand is needed before any other tangible elements that will enhance it.
Memorable logos matter because it acts as the center of your brand identity design. It’s the visual cue your customers will be exposed to the most. Your brand logo design should be cohesive with the rest of the elements of your brand identity as well as to the broader emotional appeal of your brand.
For example, Disney’s logo often elicits feelings of nostalgia and magic. Its script gives off a playful vibe that matches with the rest of the brand.
Sports teams who hope to have higher chances of having an unforgettable mark should go for a simple look like Apple, Google and Coca Cola did.
Summarizing the three, all of them are simple and easily recognizable. While it may be true that Coke’s logo is the more complex in comparison to the two other logos, it’s still a straight line of text.
Taking a quick look at some of the well-known professional logos around the world, simplicity is a common theme. And this is because a simple logo become a blank canvass for customers that can be used to fill in memories and other positive experiences with the brand. Furthermore, logo creators use this style so that it can be easily scaled to different mediums such as social media graphic design and other traditional marketing collaterals like brochures and flyers.
The simpler the logo is the more flexible it becomes. It must be remembered that your sports team’s logo will be used in different platforms. Hence, it should be able to look great on a large billboard or a tiny icon on social media.
Cohesive Color Palette
Another key point to think about is your brand’s overall color palette. It may be tempting to just pick whichever color piques your interest but learning the emotions conveyed by different colors can help you pick out the right ones!
Color psychology is often intuitive. For instance, shades of blue express calmness while red and yellow both communicate passion and energy. Depending on the shade or tint of each color you use, its conveyed emotion can be adjusted. To explain, tint is a color made lighter by mixing it with white while shade is a color made darker by mixing it with black.
Reiterating, it’s recommended for brands to have few primary colors but secondary colors can be used for other materials. Selecting few additional colors can help your brand stand out while remaining consistent with your entire branding!
Now, you might tease those obsessed with finding the right font as ‘typography nerds’ but finding the right script that work well with your color palette and logo actually gives you competitive advantage.
Unbeknownst to many, fonts have the power to be recognized even without context. A single typeface that works well alongside your logo and color palette is recommended. And just like memorable logos, it should be simple.
A few great tips on using the right typography for your brand identity is avoiding fancy and default fonts as well as avoiding using more than two font families at a time. While it may be true that these are a few of the best practices, they’re not exactly rules. They can be mended so long as you know what you’re doing.
On-brand Graphic Design
With the emergence of digital marketing and social media management, the last element on building a brand identity is cohesive, high-resolution graphics! These extensions of your brand’s visual language often include design assets, icons, and photographs.
Let’s take a look at Google’s Visual Assets Guidelines and learn about their take on icon design. If you line up all of Google’s existing icons, people won’t need to take another look to know that it’s Google’s — and this is because of their keen attention to their design principles.
All of their icons has a reductive approach and consistently features geometric shapes. Additionally, Google made use of straight and hard shadows alongside standard background colors.
And when placed on a pixel grid, all icons align! Plus, its icon padding is according to shape.
It’s important for athlete brands to create a guide discussing the different elements of your brand’s design. So that graphic designers can ensure that all ad materials and other materials created in the future will adhere to the same standards.
But aside from these key ingredients, there’s another crucial element that athlete brands should keep in mind!
What is Brand Language To Your Identity?
Wikipedia defines brand language as the body of words, phrases, and terms that an organization uses to describe its purpose or to reference its products. It’s used to help consumers relate specific words or ideas to a certain company, product or services.
While it may be true that visual graphic matters most for a brand, the language your brand uses still affects your audience’s perceptions. Your vocabulary and tone of language should be taken into consideration in building brand identity!
Just like creating your brand’s visual language, the audience comes first in deciding the verbal style you will be using. Having a great understanding of your targeted consumers is key but aside from this, you must also think about your brand’s culture!
What does your brand hope to stand for? What is its mission? Some of these questions have been mentioned earlier but they remain relevant when it comes to deciding your verbal language.
Aside from the aforementioned considerations, one thing should be kept in mind: consistency. Just like in creating your on-brand supporting graphics, your language should adhere to the same standards.
Once your brand’s language becomes inconsistent it can create an element of distrust between you and your audience. Hence, brand guides are recommended to ensure that everything — from your visual language down to your verbal language — is cohesive and consistent.
Why Design Matters
Nike’s Vice President of Design and Special Projects Tinker Hartfield who designed the well-known AirMax 1 was meant to be Nike’s corporate architect.
After he began working there, Nike decided to create an internal design competition. And because he once dreamt of becoming a professional athlete, he spent an entire night coming up with a giant presentation board.
Hartfield ended up winning the competition and after Nike hired him, he designed Air Max based on a factory in Paris. He thought that exposing the airbags of the shoe would be enticing to customers.
And though the AirMax 1 grew to be the design that gave Nike the competitive advantage it needed during that time — Hartfield confessed that people hated him for it. He almost got fired for exposing the airbag and for using the color of red, which was an unusual color for the brand.
Despite this, Hartfield continued to revolutionize Nike by breaking through barriers and trying out new things. He admitted that the scenario of almost losing his job happened to him several times despite being successful in design.
Hartfield even went on to say that most designers will not be trusted by everyone they meet. While this may be true for a majority of those in design, it does not mean it no longer matters. Hartfield went on to design another iconic pair of shoes for Nike and Michael Jordan — the Air Jordan.
It’s hard to imagine the iconic sports brand without two of Hartfield’s design. This just shows how important design could be for businesses. Some sports brands spend years working on groundbreaking projects but they often fall flat due to the lack of good design.
Hence, it’s best that budding athlete brands pay much attention to their brand identity as they do with their marketing efforts.
Great Design, Great Futures
If you want to see what professional design can do for you and your athlete brand, don’t be afraid to reach out to sports marketing companies!
Organizations like us, offer a wide range of services that can help you in marketing athletes! We can help you build your brand identity consistently starting from your logo down to your web design.
And if you want to learn more about our process of marketing an athlete, make sure to stay tuned for our next posts in the series!