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How Indie Developers Can Polish Their Branding IGB 2020

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Slide deck for IGB virtual conference 2020, Rachel Presser of Sonic Toad Consulting presents how indie developers can level up their branding.

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How Indie Developers Can Polish Their Branding IGB 2020

  1. 1. How Indie Developers Can Polish Their Branding Indie Game Business #PitchYaGame August 2020 Rachel Presser, Sonic Toad Consulting & Media
  2. 2. About Sonic Toad Consulting  Business of games consulting  Indie, III, and freelance  B2B consulting  Business education  Game marketing and content strategy  HubSpot certified  Writing services  NEW E-LEARNING STORE COMING SOON!!!  Consult with me at clarity.fm/sonictoad  Visit sonictoad.com to learn more!
  3. 3. Why Do Most Indies Struggle with Marketing?
  4. 4. Why Do Most Indies Struggle with Marketing?  Information overload  Marketing methods constantly evolving  Not enough time to actively manage campaigns  Traditional marketing not always a good fit for indie games  Too many “wildcard” factors  But mostly, the foundation is missing: a solid brand
  5. 5. What Exactly is Branding?  Dictionary definition: marketing practice in which a company creates a name, design, symbol, etc. that easily distinguishes it from other products and services  Branding is an initial then evolving process; marketing is more ongoing and all-encompassing while advertising is shorter-term
  6. 6. Why Should Indie Developers Care About Branding?
  7. 7. Why Should Indie Developers Care About Branding?  Helps establish ownership of your work and builds long-term value  Demonstrates that you are invested in your games and company  Provides your audience with an idea of what to expect  Drives home the impression that you want to give people about your productions!
  8. 8. Branding is Important for B2B *and* B2C
  9. 9. Where Does Your Branding Go?  Website  Game distributor pages  Business cards  Swag (tote bags, chip clips, pens, etc.)  Official letterhead and documents  Game trailers  Box art  Opening fanfare of the game and any other appropriate points  Virtually any other time you’re asked for a logo
  10. 10. The Two Faces of Branding
  11. 11. The Goals of Branding: Business & Legal  Your game and web content gets copyrighted, your logo, slogans, and other “marks” can get trademarked  It’s a good idea to formalize and register your business and make sure the name and similar marks are not taken  Branding and trademarks helps prove you have a real business for tax and other legal purposes
  12. 12. The Goals of Branding: What It Says About You  What impression do you want to give?  How do you want people to FEEL when they visit your website, game pages, see your logo, or hear about you?  What do you want them to THINK when they hear about your studio?  What do you want to communicate with your imagery, words, and other branding elements?
  13. 13. The Elements of Branding Logo Language Color Schemes Textures & Shapes Fonts Audio
  14. 14. Logo Memorable Punchy Evocative  Logos foster brand cohesiveness  The logo should say something about your studio—or at least give the impression it does  How does your logo compare with other devs?  Why would someone want to check out a game, webpage, etc. that has your logo splashed on it?  What makes your logo memorable?
  15. 15. Language  Slogans: usually 2-5 words that are punchy and easy to remember, make an emotional impact  Taglines: longer than slogans, catchphrases of sorts  Webpage Copy: who is the audience? What impression should you give from how you write about your games/IPs and studio origins?  What kind of information is being communicated?  Social Media and Email Communications: how do you come across to your fans?
  16. 16. Forming a Brand Voice  Language that informs versus language that entertains and/or builds your brand  Formation of a style guide  Tone  Verbiage  Expected reading level of your target audience  Potentially taking on your game or game world’s setting and characters
  17. 17. Color Schemes  Colors make us FEEL things!  What colors do you see in items, rooms, and aesthetics that you like?  What are those colors associated with?  Why or why not would you want your brand associated with that color or aesthetic?
  18. 18. Finding a Color Scheme with Color Wheels  Hue: a color and how saturated it is  Tint: adding white to the hue  Shade: adding black to the hue  Complementing colors: opposites on the color wheel, like purple and yellow  Analogous colors: colors juxtaposing a hue, like yellow-green and blue-green  Try making a triangle, trapezoid, or parallelepiped on the wheel!  …or just say screw the color wheel and go with what you think looks great!
  19. 19. Color Schemes
  20. 20. Textures and Shapes  Shapes and textures make an impression just as much as colors  Geometric vs. abstract and free-form  Outlines  Bold texture or little to no texture?  Too much texture can be distracting  What does the shape(s) represent?
  21. 21. Textures and Shapes
  22. 22. Fonts and Text Styles  Text types can make a HUGE impact!  Line and character spacing  Kerning  Logo, headers, slogans  How do you want the text to look? What impression should it give?  Text on your website, game pages, physical branding (e.g. stickers, boxes)  Readability and accessibility
  23. 23. Fonts and Text Styles
  24. 24. Audio  Frequently overlooked aspect of branding for indies and small companies  Signature sounds  Opening fanfare  Voice acting
  25. 25. Audio  Sounds can become just as iconic as images  Mostly for ad placements and trailers, but an important part of your game’s experience
  26. 26. Audio
  27. 27. Making it All Come Together
  28. 28. Making it All Come Together
  29. 29. Brands Evolve Over Time! EXPERIMENT!
  30. 30. Simple Branding Tools to Get Started  Canva (disclosure: Sonic Toad affiliate link)  Krita  PicMonkey  Messing around with WordPress and PowerPoint themes  See if any graphic designers have templates or kits you can start with
  31. 31. Thanks and Q&A!