I recently agreed to facilitate meetings for the Photography Club in my residential college in University. At the end of our first session with the artist-in-residence, Samantha Tio, I asked for advice on how to make my photographs look coherent; like they belong to the same narrative. Her reply was simple: “Use the same equipment”.
This is exactly the same way we achieve a consistent brand image and brand voice.
By using the same design elements such as fonts and colours, different parts of an organization can be tied together to present a unified image to the world.
One immediate example I can think of is that of my University’s branding. Simple elements such as the corporate colours of blue and orange, together with the corporate font, Frutiger, makes anything instantly recognizable as part of the National University of Singapore.
Take the recent NUS Open Day. 16 faculties and schools with separate visions and missions are tied together with only those elements to form a larger corporate body. A visitor who goes down for Open Day would not notice anything jarring because various groups are synchronised through the brand elements.
That’s why most branding agencies would propose only one primary font and one secondary font, together with limited brand colours. This also means that the more unique your brand colours (Tiffany & Co.) and fonts (Saks Fifth Avenue) are, the more you are able to stick out in the minds of your customers. Of course, these elements would also have to be coherent with your business and the image you want to portray.
If you are tempted to vary your fonts and colours, be it for variety or for catching the attention of your customers, DON’T. You will be doing your brand more harm than good.