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Exploring the winter brand personality

Aug 25, 2022 | Brand personality, Visual Brand

Explore the characteristics of the winter brand personality and learn how to effectively inject elements of the winter personality into your brand experience. [affiliate links may be used, at no additional cost to you. thank you for supporting witt and company!]


When I first started learning about brand and branding, the question of ‘how’ always came bubbling up to the top.

“But how did they create such a kickass brand?”

“But how did she get to that point of raving fans?”

“But how does the brand look and feel so effortless?”

And then.

And then I stumbled upon a podcast episode featuring Fiona Humberstone and the ‘how’ started to take shape.

She talked about how every brand identified with a certain season and that season had a specific set of guidelines based on its desired experience. She used this concept in her own branding agency when working with clients and talked about how it was so easy to implement because it gave clients an understanding of their decisions. It became a common language she could use with both her employees and the brands they worked with.

As soon as I finished the podcast episode, I jumped online and purchased her two books, her Colour for Creatives course and downloaded all her free content. I read up on seasonal psychology and color psychology, taking in all the knowledge.

And then I started implementing these ideas with my client work; four years later, seasonal brand theory is still a staple in our client process.

Which brings me to today – we’re doing a deep dive into the winter brand season; not only characteristics and traits, but also guidelines on how to effectively implement said characteristics and traits into your own brand.

The goal is that when you utilize the guidelines of your most-aligned brand season (Not sure which one is right for you? Check out this post.), you enhance your brand’s personality. And because seasonal brand theory is rooted in color psychology and seasonal theory, they have purpose and intent behind them. I.e., Rather than picking a color palette just because it looks good, you end up making a decision with intention – and I believe, that’s the how in creating a strong brand.

Quick note/disclaimer: This isn’t an all-or-nothing perspective. Implementing your aligned brand season is not about checking all the boxes to ensure your brand aligns perfectly with the outlined traits and recommendations. But rather, viewing the seasonal traits as more of guidelines that you can utilize as a starting point and/or baseline for your brand strategy and identity.

Last note. Your brand’s season is about how your brand is experienced. It’s not necessarily how YOU feel as a human but rather, how you want your brand to be perceived and experienced by others.

Okay, let’s talk winter.

 

IN THIS ARTICLE

>> What is seasonal brand theory?
>> High level, what is the winter brand season?
>> Aligned brand archetypes
>> Winter brand season: voice and communication style
>> Winter brand season: colors
>> Winter brand season: typography
>> Winter brand season: graphics and textures
>> Winter brand season: photography style
>> Implementing the winter brand personality
>> Additional resources

 

What is seasonal brand theory?

Seasonal brand theory is a framework for brand personality creation. The basic idea is: once you determine how you want your brand to be experienced, you will identify with a particular season, and that season has a set of unique characteristics and traits that enhance your desired brand experience. From the words on a website to the photography styling to the color palette, each season has a set of guidelines that embody and evoke emotions based on color psychology and seasonal theory.

Now, to reiterate what was said above: these aren’t hard and fast rules. But rather, erasable boundary lines to help you stay on track.

 

High level, what is the winter brand season?

The winter brand is highly driven and decisive, with a love for drama. They’re self-assured and uncompromising which can lead to an intense, yet distinctive personality.

Everything is about extremes and contrast, which makes them great at seeing the big picture and also honing in on the details. They’re the epitome of the ‘go big or go home’ statement because they go to the extreme end of what their brand stands for. Precision and achievement are also important to the winter brand, which helps project strength and confidence.

You may most align with the summer brand if your desired brand experience is: Strong, objective, straightforward, driven, focused, decisive, luxurious, glamorous, determined, captivating, lavish

When using a framework like seasonal brand theory, I also find it helpful to identify a spectrum or pendulum of characteristics, to help identify what it leans towards and what it leans away from.

Winter personality pendulum: More dramatic and extreme, less refined and calm; more big and bold, less delicate and refined; more confident and self assured, less apprehensive and unsure; more precise and detailed, less bubbly and casual.

Aligned brand archetypes

Quick reminder, brand archetypes are characterizations of a brand’s personality based on their behaviors, patterns and images, and are derived from Jung’s original set of personality archetypes.

Before we dive into the aligned archetypes, let’s first dig into why. Why use brand archetypes with brand seasons; why not just one or the other?

At a micro level, these two frameworks provide different areas of support and information as you build out the brand personality. Archetypes mostly focus on behaviors and drivers (internal work) while seasons mostly focus on visuals (external work). Meaning, end up pairing really well together. Again, the entire goal here is to give yourself even more opportunities to create a memorable and identifiable personality for your brand, which increases the likelihood that your audience will connect with you.

Okay, now that I have you convinced (right?!), here are the archetypes that align with the winter brand season:

The Creator: They’re great at inspiring creativity and freedom of expression. Their brand voice is inspirational, passionate and creative.

The Explorer: They are all about inspiring change and seeking freedom. Their brand voice is daring, bold and excitable.

The Outlaw: They want to rip up the rule book. Their brand voice is rebellious, disruptive and energetic.

 

Winter brand season: voice and communication style

Your brand’s voice and tone are what draw your audience in and make your brand recognizable. They play an active role in every single brand touch point. Which means, every brand has an opportunity to create a distinct, memorable and personality-driven brand voice and communication style. Seems a little daunting, right? But, here’s the good news – when you identify your right brand season, you give yourself some structure and boundaries on how to best define and bring to life your brand’s voice and tone.

Winter brand personality voice and communication style

The voice of a winter personality is confident, dramatic and distinct. They communicate in a way that is straightforward and to the point. This means not sugarcoating their thoughts, not being afraid to tell it like it is and communicating from a place of expertise and vision. They use language with intention and their copy is detailed, controlled and strong.

Winter personality pendulum: The voice is more confident and straightforward, less careful and held back; more edgy and distinct, less measured and reserved; more detailed and dramatic, less playful and casual.

Winter brand season: colors

Because of color psychology, your brand colors have a lot of power to influence and enhance your brand’s perception and personality. No pressure, right?! But again, when you lean into your aligned brand season, you’re able to utilize color psychology for your benefit.

Winter brand personality colors

Winter personality colors are cool, strong and clear. Think high saturation with blue undertones. The goal in using winter colors is to enhance the confident and dramatic persona that winter brands are known for. Looking for some more palette inspiration? Check out this post.

Winter personality pendulum: Colors are more cool with blue undertones, less warm with yellow undertones; more saturated and bright, less muted and pastel; more shade, less tint.

Winter brand season: typography

Typography and font selection is an often-overlooked visual element when creating a consistent and cohesive brand experience. But as with every branding element, type can play a significant role in enhancing your brand’s personality.

Winter brand personality typography

Winter typography is all about the extremes. As you can see in the examples below, high contrast type within each letter and very thin or thick weight (how bold it is) are great options. The goal here is to project confidence, so choosing a type that commands attention is the goal.

Winter personality pendulum: Typography is bold and dramatic, less delicate and quaint; extreme and distinctive, less elegant and bubbly; more definitive and strong, less playful and casual.

Winter brand season: graphics and textures

Similar to font selection, graphics, textures and patterns are a great way to infuse personality into your brand that are often left out of the visual identity. Not necessarily on purpose, but rather, for lack of understanding. I.e., the most common question we get from clients is, “But how do we actually use the brand pattern?”

Side note: If that sounds familiar, check out this post.

All of that to say, brand patterns, graphics and textures can really enhance your desired brand experience.

Winter brand personality graphics, patterns and textures

Continuing on with this idea of distinct drama, it will come as no surprise that winter graphics are clean and minimal with hard lines and strong, geometric shapes. The patterns are statement-making and can swing on either side of the pendulum – intricate and detailed or minimal and no-fuss. The goal is contrast and extremes. Textures are luxurious, opulent and clean.

In the examples below, you can see the distinct, strong lines and geometric shapes. This is about sharp edges, bold use of color and lines and distinctive placement.

Winter personality pendulum: Graphics and patterns are more sharp and distinctive, less chaotic and haphazard; more dramatic and extreme, less playful and busy; more bold and geometric, less refined and bubbly.

Winter brand season: photography style

I’m saving my most favorite for last – photography. When done with intention, photography is a wonderful way to enhance and accentuate the brand’s personality. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So, no pressure. But, as with every other element we’re covering, photography style is an important element of creating a consistent and cohesive brand experience.

Winter brand personality photography style

Winter photos are all about high contrast and clean lines. They’re dramatic with sharp, strong lines and distinctive prop placement. Luxurious marble or bold pops of color against a plain white or black background are great styling additions.

Closing up with our personality pendulum: Photos are more structured and organized, less busy and cluttered; more bold and dramatic, less elegant and quaint; more sharp lines and drama, less playful and informal.

Implementing the winter brand personality

The most important piece to remember – your brand’s personality will develop, evolve and grow as long as you keep taking action.

So, what action is the right one to take?

It depends on your capacity but I’m going to assume you’re wanting quick, actionable ideas. In which case, I’d recommend starting with your brand’s voice and tone since that is usually the quickest and least time consuming to implement. Take a look at your social media captions or email sequence and see how you can inject more of the personality into those brand touch points. Test and experiment to see what resonates with your audience and what feels aligned for you as the business owner.

Once you feel good about the voice and communication style, audit your visual brand (logo, fonts, colors, graphics, etc.) and see where the disconnect is between your brand’s voice and how it’s being brought to life through your visual elements. While this can be open to interpretation, there usually are one or two areas that can be improved.

Last, but not least, please keep in mind that enhancing your brand’s personality doesn’t have to be an entire overhaul (although, if you’re wondering if that’s your next right step, read this post) and can be done in small, baby steps. But of course, if you’re looking for support and want to do everything in one sweep, schedule a call. We’d love to help bring your entire brand experience to life!

 

With that, happy (winter) branding!

 

All my best,

 

Additional Blog Resources

For even more visual examples and inspiration, check out my winter personality Pinterest board.

Want the full rundown on Seasonal Brand Theory and Color Psychology? Check out this post.

Not sure how to pick your brand’s season? This faux case study walks through the process.

Read more about the spring brand here, summer brand here and fall brand here.

 

Additional Seasonal Color Theory and Color Psychology Resources

Color psychology resources from The Brand Stylist
Four season color analysis
Colour for Creatives course from The Brand Stylist
The hub for all things color psychology
Brand Brilliance by Fiona Humberstone
How to Style your Brand by Fiona Humberstone
Color Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson

 

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