Lytho Shares: How We Discovered Our Visual Style

Mar 24, 2021

Lytho holds branding and recognizability in high regard – so much so that aiming for a consistent brand image is a key part of our business! We believe that companies will only reach their full potential and value if their branding is effective, consistent, and easy to manage.

Despite this strong belief at the core of Lytho, we realized that we were letting our own brand down.

Since the initial launch of Lytho in 2019, we had left the visual style untouched. Our style was not recognizable through all our channels and communications which was going to become a big problem as we continue to rapidly scale internationally. To avoid scaling our problems as we grow, we decided to prioritize working on our visual brand now.

Lytho’s first order of business was hiring a talented visual designer who could help us focus and expand on the style that was working for us. Now, after some months of hard work, we’ve invited Nana Halonen to share her process and Lytho’s progress with our audience.

Hopefully our story will inspire companies that are struggling with achieving visual design consistency.

Why Is Visual Consistency Important?

Visual design is not just pretty pictures and slight logo variations. It has deep-rooted impact on making all stakeholders feel connected to your brand. The consistency of your visual design also impacts your brand. But did you know just how big the impact of your brand’s consistency is to the success of your companyLucidpress did a deep dive into the topic in their ‘State of Brand Consistency’ report. Here are some highlights of what they found:

  • For organizations with brand consistency issues, the estimated average revenue increase attributed to always presenting the brand consistently is 23%.

  • Study participants whose brands are consistently presented are 3-4 times more likely to enjoy excellent brand visibility than those with inconsistent brand presentation.

  • 95% of organizations have branding guidelines, but only 1/4th have formal guidelines that are consistently enforced.

  • Over 60% of organizations report that materials are always, often or sometimes created that don't conform to brand guidelines.

What Needed to Improve at Lytho And Why?

Lytho was in an interesting position compared to most companies because we weren't looking to rebrand or find a completely different style. We didn’t have to start from scratch, there were some really good elements and visuals that worked. The visual style wasn't consistent because after the launch, our content got a bit more complicated.

We now create blogs, videos, interviews, product demos, infographics, white papers, checklists, and much more and needed to both expand and focus the brand’s visual style.

Because Lytho did not have a dedicated visual designer that would be in charge of the external visuals (outside of our customer work and product), everyone was basically creating the visuals they needed as they best could. This resulted in many different styles and a less-than-professional look sometimes.

Screenshot 2021-03-24 at 10.01.23

 

What Was the Practical Approach?

I hope that by making the whole process of evaluating Lytho’s visual style very concrete, other companies can be inspired and get practical tips to do the same thing.

Here it goes, step by step:

1.     What is our visual brand identity?

I started off by connecting with different stakeholders at Lytho and finding out how the company (the people) perceived its own brand identity, what Lytho aspired to be and how we should show that in a visual way. I believe that a brand’s visual identity should always be an extension of the brand itself.

2.     Mood boards

After getting a solid idea of the different views and perspectives on who Lytho is, I set out to create some visualizations of possible styles, how they would connect to what we already had on hand, and how these new directions could represent the brand. I first presented my findings and ideas to the key stakeholders and finally to the whole company to keep everyone in the loop of what was going on.

image (2)

When I was creating the mood boards, I made sure that they didn’t only represent Lytho as I understood it but were scalable as well. It’s important to keep in mind the amount of resources you have when designing a new look.

For example, since I am currently the only designer focused on Lytho’s marketing, branding, sales, and communications, it was important that the main elements were kept simple so we could implement new visuals quickly and not get stuck in a designer bottleneck.

3.     Defining priorities

After we landed on the style and look that everyone was on board with, it was time to think about our priorities. What do we need most urgently and why? It’s easy for a designer to get swarmed with requests and lose sight of our goals and business objectives. My advice is to really look at these three things:

What will have the biggest impact?

How long will it take to create the different visuals?

How can they be recycled for other pieces of content or different materials?

This will allow for creating a collateral calendar that will help with the process.

First draft@2x

4.     Creating a scalable asset library

For growing companies, scalability is key. Lytho really wanted to create a library of visuals that would function in multiple ways. Once we added new visuals that followed our priority list and our expanded style, we needed to make sure that all the marketeers, salespeople, and other colleagues and partners have easy access to the collateral they need in pitches, website designs, blogs, social media and other relevant places.

Thankfully, our own Lytho solution features a DAM that we use as a single source of truth for all our own assets internally as well.

5.     Ensuring consistency

Finally, we needed to communicate our improved style and how it should be used and NOT used to everyone. It’s not enough to just host one session on how important consistency is and then hope that everyone follows suit. There will be new colleagues and changes and it’s not feasible (or scalable) to keep hosting live sessions on our brand guidelines.

Again, our own product came to the rescue. We documented all the new additions to our interactive Brand Center where everyone is able to find all the information and accompanying files and resources in real time. No more inconsistencies in the Lytho style, yay!

What Was The Most Challenging Part About Creating Our Visual Style?

It’s challenging to find the golden balance between the existing brand and expanding it. It was important to respect the brand guidelines that we already had in place and were happy with and to find out what all our stakeholders were missing on the current style and what needed to be added. But it’s been an exciting challenge since Lytho had a good and solid brand to begin with.

What’s Your Favourite Thing To Design? 

Social media collateral is always fun to create since it needs to accommodate multiple elements in a small space, and it’s important to attract attention at the first glance.
Also creating explanatory illustrations for the website is a big, yet fun, challenge since it’s always inspiring to explore and experiment with different styles that could fit the brand and explain complex text with relatively simple illustrations.

Screenshot 2021-03-24 at 10.02.57

What’s Next For Lytho’s Visual Identity?

Next up on our priority list is to freshen up the look of our white papers, so the same look will work for all the different types of downloadables that we have. Other than that, adding more template possibilities for our Create & Publish solution will allow all colleagues to unleash their creativity in a way that is easy for them without any design skills and brand consistent. The work never stops, which is great!

Thanks for sharing Nana!

If you’d like to get more inspiration for creating your own visual style and brand guidelines, check out this guide:

create your own brand book and style guide banner

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