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the circle R: branding & distinctiveness

Branding was invented to make it easy to tell which herd a given animal belonged to at a glance –– even when the livestock were mingling freely or on long, shared cattle drives.

Today, "branding" ostensibly serves the same basic function of making it easy for potential customers to tell YOUR stuff apart from everybody else's kinda-similar stuff, without having to squint to read the fine print.

If you are using the same Canva template as 12 other organizations and accepting the default suggestions, just like those orgs are doing? Yeah, your stuff is going to look pretty much like theirs does –– and, sure, people who are paying close attention will be able to tell your brands apart, but the point of branding is to make your stuff recognizable at a casual glance ... not "after close scrutiny."

TWO of these screenshots are from the same profile grid. Without reading the copy on each post, can you tell WHICH two?

I'll grant you that the black-and-white grid in the center at least has a different color scheme from the others –– but it's using the same font combinations as the "prestige" people over on the left and the "blossom" people at the bottom right.

Most of you probably could tell all these grids apart, if you took the time to read the copy on each image –– because many of them include a reference to the business name. That's all well and good, but the point of branding is to make that level of attention unnecessary.

It isn't impossible to achieve a distinct look from starting with a template. I've designed with and without templates, and there are advantages to either method –– but neither will work well without some thought and effort!

Keeping your end goal in mind will help. Remember that branding was invented as a quick way to tell which herd a given animal belonged to. A branding strategy that makes the cow recognizable as a cow is not really doing its job. We don't need help telling your bull apart from that stallion. We need to know that the bull and the stallion both belong to your farm.

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