One of the hardest aspects of branding is working out how to build a brand that does more than just attract attention, but one that stands out while representing the core values that your business holds.

All of the world’s most successful brands have represented a value of the company they were designed for. Apple’s iconic Think Different branding showcased its open, creative nature. Nike’s Just Do It spoke to its dedication to sporting excellence.

Even companies that most people don’t think of as focusing heavily on branding are deeply invested in their brand’s relation to their culture. Google’s simple logo acts as a statement to its focus on simple, functional, data-driven design and engineering.

As a small business, it’s often difficult to develop a brand that matches your culture and values. In this guide, we’ll share four ways that you can design a brand that acts as a signal of the values, culture and qualities that define your business.

Have a mission statement that guides your design principles

Every great business has a mission statement. This statement generally guides the company’s decisions and actions – the products it designs, the marketing methods that it uses and the focus of its activities.

A mission statement can also define and direct your company’s visual identity. The right mission and values can influence your choice of images, help you choose what fonts should be used in your logo and influence your company’s slogan.

When you’re designing a brand for your company, keep its mission statement and major goals in mind. The design of your brand shouldn’t just be due to aesthetics – for a truly great company, it should be a visual statement as to its mission.

Make your company’s brand part of everything it creates

Here’s an important aspect of branding that many businesses forget about. While it’s obviously important to include your branding on signs and business cards, it should also appear on everything else your business creates.

Look at an Apple iPhone or MacBook – not only does their unique design identify the product as belonging to Apple, but it also features a large logo showing who designs and produces it.

This concept is taken to extreme extents in the fashion industry, where a brand isn’t just part of everything the company creates – it’s also often the selling point. As part of your brand strategy, make branding part of everything your company produces.

Be consistent with your use of colors, typefaces and other elements

The world’s most powerful, memorable brands share one feature in common: they are extremely consistent. From color to fonts, the design elements used by many of the world’s top companies are rarely different from one another.

Companies like Nike, Coca-Cola and Apple have used the same color schemes and fonts over and over again in different products, advertisements, corporate letters, press releases and more.

Consistency is the key to memorability, and the best brands are always consistent when it comes to design. Once you’ve discovered your company’s best fonts, colors and other design elements for branding, be absolutely consistent in their use.

Understand who your company’s target customers really are

Entrepreneurs and investors often talk about product-market fit – the fit between a product and the market it serves. A far less talked about concept is design-market fit – the fit between a company’s branding and design and its target market.

Your company’s brand shouldn’t just represent its values – it should represent them while targeting its real audience. Think about who uses your product or service and design with them in mind, representing their needs, desires and values.

Understanding the type of design that your audience responds to is the key to great branding. It guarantees that your brand doesn’t just represent your company, but it does so while connecting with the people that matter the most: your customers.