Descriptive vs. Prescriptive Branding

Approximate reading time:1 minute

I love personality tests. (Surprise!) As an INFJ, I am hardwired for navel-gazing, but these tests also fulfill my science-minded urges to classify and analyze. Over the years, I’ve learned that personality tests ought to be used descriptively, rather than prescriptively. No one fits squarely into one category or another, and it’s important to resist oversimplifying. Personality tests merely show us how we tend to think and behave. They don’t tell us what we should do or say, because there isn’t one personality type that is “right.” (Read more about how I use personality tests with my clients.)

Branding is the same way. I often hear people get stuck on whether their Instagram feed looks “on-brand” enough, or whether they need to “rebrand” because they found a new font they like. The visual aspects of your brand are merely a symbol for who you are as a creative. More to the point, your brand goes far beyond your logo. Your brand is the promise you make every client or partner about how you will do business. And frankly, unless you’re Coca-Cola or IHOP IHOB, no one really cares about your logo or color scheme.

Consistency is important, don’t get me wrong. But let your brand describe the type of person you are and how you work, instead of prescribing how you can and cannot decorate your website.

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