What's in a Vegan Brand? Designing a Kick Ass Brand for Buy Vegan

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

Developing a brand for a business - new or old - is like giving birth to your own business baby. By building a brand you’re essentially putting a face to the name. It’s the way your business looks and breathes.


It’s how it presents itself while out in the world. It’s the nice shiny clothes that it wears and the haircut that it's sporting. Your business is essentially courting customers / audiences with it’s beautiful colours, logo and codes.


So, how did I land on the current branding for Buy Vegan?


If you’ve ever spoken to me about branding you’d know that I’m obsessed with two things - codes. Yes, that’s one of the things. Codes, and my favourite code - colour.


What’s a code in branding? A code is any unique identifier of a brand. For example, colour. Or an icon or a tagline.


Let’s take Nike for example - they have a couple key codes that will probably jump to mind very quickly - (1) The Nike Swoosh (the tick icon) (2) Just Do It (their tagline). As soon as you see one of these codes you immediately know that what you’re looking at is undoubtedly a Nike. And, it comes with all the promises that the Nike brand comes with - high quality and fashionable clothing that is accessible.


But so what steps did I go through to land on the delicious branding of Buy Vegan?


Now, keep in mind, you can go and find a branding agency and they'll most likely give you an epic branding. And, they'll most likely charge you for it.


If you have the cash to splash then a branding agency may be the right fit for you. If you're trying to keep things neat then the below is built to give you the know how to get your brand right on a budget.


For me, I wanted a simple brand that was developed quickly that was affordable. And, that's what I got. Read on to see how I did it.


 

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First, I Chose a Colour to Make Things Simple

It was important to me for Buy Vegan to stay clear from any green colour. Green is often synonymous with anything vegan, vegetarian, healthy, planet friendly, etc. It’s overdone in the sense that it’s become saturated. There’s a tonne of players out there in the green space, which means that it’s going to be very difficult for Buy Vegan to be immediately recognisable with any form of a green tone.


So, I thought I’d go for something a little different. I went and visited Pantone’s website to look through recent colours of the year. And, lo and behold, the living coral was the colour of 2019 and I LOVED it. So, I went with that as a base for delivery to my graphic designer. I told them that I want to stick as close to this coral as possible but I want to ensure that the colour can do a few things for me:

  1. Be used on both a white and black background.

  2. Be used in isolation on a transparent background.

  3. Can simply have its colours inverted using a white or black text on the coral background.

These items are important for selecting a colour that can easily and simply be used across a variety of assets. Buy Vegan is a side hustle to my regular business and I didn’t want to be entering any design black holes.



Then, I Wrote a Basic Brief With a Few Key Points

I knew the name and colour of the brand - Buy Vegan in a colour as close to living coral 2019 as possible. This is a relatively tight brief for a designer as it cuts out a bunch of the back and forth of naming and colour matching.


The brief included a few items that you’ll want to deliver to whoever is building your brand:

  • Other Brands I Like - Pointing to other brands and saying “I like that” or “I hate that” helps a designer know where your personal preference lies. It does not mean that it will tell the designer exactly what to do, but it will help guide their trajectory.

  • The Purpose of my Brand - Design is important. It is the look and feel of your brand. Just like you dress with purpose (you might wear a suit to work or athletic wear to the gym), your brand should too. It has a rhyme and a reason and its design should speak to that.

  • The Intended Tone of Voice - Your brand is a separate entity. It is not you. And because of that, it deserves to have its own voice. For some this can be frightening while for others it can be liberating! You have a whole new chance to be someone new, protected by the delicious visuals of your branding.


As well as some key roll out elements that were important to me:

  • An Email Newsletter Template - I wanted something simple created that I could simply duplicate with each new newsletter. I could then change the copy and images over to be new content and voila, making a new newsletter is now a 1 hour job. Subscribe to Buy Vegan and check out the newsletter here.

  • A Social Media Template - Same goes for social. Not only did I want my Instagram feed to look beautiful, but I also wanted it to be simple to produce content for. I briefed in the need for 9 tiles that I can replicate. That means 9 different posts that I can then cycle the content for. Check out the Buy Vegan Instagram page here.

  • Some Key Website Banners - Inserting the branding through the website, so that users would see the colour and brand on most important pages, was important to me. I also wanted to ensure that key call to actions were branded to drum up that brand recognition. That’s why I also had key website banners built. For example, on Buy Vegan the ‘Submit’ banner at the bottom of every page is branded. Check it out here.

  • Logo Lockups - A logo can come in many forms. Some are suitable for social profile pictures (square), some for cover photos (landscape), some for favicons (the little icon in the tab of your browser). Some need to have a white background, some transparent. To avoid the back and forth of going to and from a designer for all elements I asked for all logo lockups to be produced upfront.

  • Font - Ah, yes. Choosing a font and sticking to it is one way to quickly inject a code into your branding. But, it’s important that this font (or one similar to it) can be used on common marketing tools. For example, email newsletter platforms (like MailChimp) have a list of fonts that you can use in emails. If you use something else then you run the risk of it reverting to Times New Roman when your email hits the inbox of your audience. Make sure that your font is usable across all your digital assets - website, email, social, etc.

  • And … Codes! - As I mentioned above, it was important for me to develop codes with my branding. That’s why we came out with the white circle and clouds that contain the products on the Buy Vegan Instagram feed and newsletter. These are unique to Buy Vegan and are surrounded by the coral to drive it home.

Then, I Found an Amazing Designer Who Cares


The design back and forth becomes a tonne easier when you’re working with someone who shares a vision with you. That’s why I chose to work with a graphic designer that is vegan. They work at an agency that regularly works with food businesses, are vegan and specialise in branding.


We shared a general understanding of the purpose of the brand and it was simple for them to understand where it fits within the general market. Because, being a vegan and a designer, they intimately understand the market.


How could they not produce an epic brand?


And That’s How I Built the Buy Vegan Branding


And there you have it. That’s the essence of how I developed the branding for Buy Vegan to be the smack you in the face, “I’m here!” pink/coral that is splashed across the site and dominates the newsletters and social feeds.


One thing is for sure - no other vegan brand, let alone vegan product directory, is owning this colour or code. So, it’s mine for the taking.


And there you have it. Those are the steps I took to set up the branding for Buy Vegan in a cost effective, simple and seamless way.


 


About the author, Josh Berg

I’ve worked with over 50 vegan-friendly businesses, spending thousands of hours analysing their performance to advise on marketing best practice.


Over the hours there have been several key recommendations that have been consistent for almost all of my clients.



 

Sell Vegan is a marketing consultancy firm that specialises in helping businesses to sell more vegan products via direct online channels and offline support. Learn more about Sell Vegan here.



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