What makes a sign, brochure or business card prestigious? We can often sense if a brand is prestigious and trustworthy within seconds of noticing its logo, without a deep understanding of its history or culture.

This is because certain design elements – from fonts to color schemes – are used by marketers and designers to make their brand look and feel more prestigious than its competitors.

If you’d like to make your brand seem more authoritative – whether on your signs or in a brochure – try incorporating one of the four design elements listed below in your next marketing campaign.

Use black and white photography

Black and white photography is an excellent element to use in order to build trust and prestige. This is because black and white photography creates the impression that your brand is old and established with a rich, detailed history.

Monochrome imagery also has a reputation as being more artistic and authoritative than color imagery. When people see a black and white image, they assume it has a deeper level of meaning – one that can indicate depth and history to your brand.

From brochures to signs, using black and white photography in your graphic design is a great way to set your business apart from its competitors, especially if the type of business you operate benefits from prestige.

Choose script and serif typefaces

Script typeface, in which all letters are linked with each other, and serif typefaces, in which letters feature small accents (or serifs) at the end of each line, are both suited to developing a prestigious and authoritative look.

This is because script typefaces, like black and white photograph, create an image of age and prestige. They mimic the appearance of handwritten text and printed type – in turn, your business is associated with centuries of publishing and writing history.

Script typefaces are best suited to established businesses with reasons to stand out as historical or prestigious. Likewise, serif typefaces are ideal for service businesses and other companies that want to have a handmade, service-focused appearance.

Use laurel leaves and other icons

Have you ever noticed that laurel leaves – the mirrored leaves icon used to mention awards and critical success on film posters and in other media – are often enough to make you think of prestige and value on their own.

Certain icons can be used to make your business look more trustworthy and reliable in the eyes of your target audience. Logos of leading publications, laurel leaves and a wide range of other symbols all have a significant effect on marketing perception.

Study your competitors and see if they use any symbols in their design and company branding. From laurel leaves to signatures, the right visual elements can have a huge effect on the way your target audience perceives your brand.

Prioritize colors like brown, gray and purple

Color has a huge effect on the way consumers view your brand, especially when it comes to building trust. Many of the world’s most trusted and prestigious brands have one feature in common: they focus on brown, gray, blue and purple.

These colors are closely associated with luxury and prestige. From Rolls Royce to Gucci, many of the world’s most prestigious and historically important brands are built around eye-catching, memorable and trustworthy colors.

The combination of scripted or serif typeface and the right color can be a hugely valuable asset to your business. Study your competitors (and brands you aspire to equal) and look closely at the colors they use prominently in their branding.

How could you make your branding timeless?

All four of the tactics above will help you improve your brand’s prestige and trust, whether used alone or in combination. How could you make your brand timeless, trustworthy and prestigious using graphic design?