Written by Mike Krankota, Art Director
There are a lot of elements that go into creating a real estate brand. Everything from voice and tone to visuals like color palettes, shapes, and patterns must be considered in order to develop a coherent brand identity…but in the process of developing a visually striking brand, design efficacy sometimes becomes an afterthought. When this occurs, marketing results suffer, because if your brand doesn’t stand out from the pack, then it doesn’t really matter how pretty it is. In order to stand out, a brand has to not only be eye-catching, but also interesting and memorable against the backdrop of other competitors. As we discuss how to create effective real estate branding, we’ll focus on logo design specifically, but these principles can and should apply to everything from naming to advertising.
Consider brand logos that you’ve encountered and remember. Chances are very likely that it’s not something that looks ‘trendy’ or similar to other brands in its space. The reason it sticks with you? Boldness. For example, consider the candle aisle at your local Target or similar. Can you think of one single brand that has a memorable logo? Not really. They all kind of look the same. It’s either filigree and florals, or stark and modern. “But,” you may be saying, “who cares about the logo, it’s the scent, right?” But when you do see something that stands out for being different, you’re compelled to at least pick that candle up and give it a sniff.
The same applies to your property. Ultimately, a flashy logo design isn’t going to compel potential tenants to live on that property. It’s going to be the interiors, the amenities, the space, the location. So why even care about a big bold brand?
Easy! Because we want to be bold and eye-catching to make that potential renter stop and take a look. We want something that will pique interest and make that person think, “I could see myself living here.” This is doubly true for new construction. When what you have is a construction site and fence wraps, creating an entire vibe with bold branding is extremely important for pre-leasing and lead generation.
Be smart with your logo design as well. The days of just being able to slap some trees flanking “The Oaks at Washington Heights” or whatnot are over. Consumers have become more sophisticated, and demand brands that are tailored to their lifestyle. More to the point: brands that are tailored to their perceived idealized vision of self. It’s always aspirational. This especially plays into the importance of a decision like where a person is going to live. You’re not just selling a place to store your stuff. You’re selling a community. An area. A lifestyle. And overwhelmingly, people want to feel cool and interesting—and to have their home reflect how unique and interesting they feel.
So how do we do that? By embracing the unexpected. Take elements from the location. Consider the design of the property. Analyze the area. Establish the target demographic. And then the key is to execute based on an idealized aspirational vision of that target demographic. For example, a bold brand that targets millennial creatives who want a live/work/play kind of community is very different from a bold brand catering to active adult senior living. But both can be achieved! It all starts by asking the question, “If I were the target resident for this property, what would be a logo that would inspire me to stop and learn more about this cool looking place?”
As you’re considering the answer to this question, don’t fall into the trap of believing everything has to pretty and perfect. Embrace dissonance. Perfectly perfect design is often boring. It’s blandly pretty, with no unique features that create a WOW factor. Imperfections, asymmetricality, bold typographic choices, and even unexpected bursts of color can create a pleasantly dissonant effect that will get your brand described with those words all marketers love to hear: Edgy! Bold! Brash! Unique! Interesting!
Ultimately, the goal is not to blend into the neighborhood. If it was, you could simply put a for rent sign out and not even bother naming the building. Your real goal to stand out. Yes, you want to create something that resonates with the community and the target demographic, but you also want to be a linchpin of that community and not simply a cog. In order to accomplish that goal, it’s important to prioritize bold and impactful design choices over elements that are pretty, but innocuous.