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According to renowned designer and educator Debbie Millman, branding is deliberate differentiation. It’s the ability to command a point of view about any product — or in this case, any video.
Branding is primarily known for lending a “personality” to products, but in videos, its most important function is the indication of ownership. Online sharing allows almost anyone to circulate any kind of content far and wide — the downside of this that credit to the owner often gets lost during the sharing and reposting process.
Using logo and branding means sending off your creations with a permanent name tag — it’s identity and security rolled into one. In this article we’ll teach you how to brand your videos by adding your logo and watermark to them.
1. Consider your logo
There are seven types of logos, but the ideal ones for video branding are:
Pictorial marks, abstract logos, mascots, and emblems wouldn’t work quite as well, unless your brand is established enough to be recognised by a majority of the internet.
Monograms or lettermarks are typography-based logos that spell out your company’s initial — for example, the all-red TED logo stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. Wordmarks spell out the whole business name — as in the Google logo. Monograms and wordmarks are great for getting your name out there, and they tend to be easy to apply onto different branding materials.
If you happen to have something symbolic or graphic combined with a wordmark, then you have a combination mark. In terms of branding across different materials, a combination mark is the most flexible. You can choose to use the icon on its own or use it with the wordmark, depending on what the particulars of the material are. When you’re branding for video, the main idea is to leave a mark of ownership as clear as possible without cluttering the space.
Just in case you don’t have a logo yet, you can easily make one using an online logo-maker or logo maker app.
2. Determine the best logo application
Once you jump over the hurdle of coming up with a logo, you have to consider the application. There are two main ways you can infuse a video with your logo and branding, depending on your time and budget:
Watermarks began as a security feature on money, but its function of proving authenticity and discouraging counterfeits is much the same everywhere else — stamps, photos, or videos. Digital watermarking is much much easier than its traditional paper counterpart.
The idea is to superimpose your logo on the video you’re publishing. Usually, video watermarks are semi-transparent and positioned at one corner so it doesn’t clutter or distract from your video. There are plenty of videos with this type of branding: The Economist has a watermark on the upper left side of their videos while Vice’s logo is on the upper right side, for example. This is easy to achieve with video editing platforms, like Clipchamp!
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to add a logo to your videos online:
For YouTube users, the platform allows its users to set up a watermark in their channels settings.
Another way to incorporate your logo into a video is as a title sequence. A logo maker is pretty handy if your don't have one yet. One of the most recognisable examples online is TED Talk’s opening visual:
Unless you have some background in video animation, you’d likely need to hire a professional for something as dynamic. However, there are many simpler routes you can take in logo animation, which we discuss in our blog post on How to Make an Intro for YouTube.
This might sound like quite some effort, but an animated sequence is something you can add to all your videos. Fixing it as the first few seconds of your video is a cinch in any video editor.
Incorporate branding elements consistently
Although marking your content with a logo is already plenty, there are other ways to incorporate identity into your videos. Maybe you can take your cue from the color of your logo and expand it into a color palette. Consistent use of a color palette imbues your videos with a visual identity associated with your brand.
Lessons from the Screenplay accomplishes this by using the color purple as background whenever the video cuts to a quote. Here it is in action from their video on Parasite — The Power of Symbols.
Kurzgesagt — In a Nutshell goes above and beyond in every palette-conscious video animation that they publish. Having one narrator for all their videos is also branding — it’s a consistent auditory cue. Video is a visual and auditory medium, so there are two senses you can engage to convey branding or identity. Aside from one narrator, you can also use background music for branding. Check out TED-Ed’s intro sound:
Over to you
There are many ways to brand your videos, but one key factor is to apply them consistently. Putting your name tag on a video is one thing, but associating your content with an identity takes time.
The benefit of taking heed is two-fold: branding marks your video with a unique identifier that comes with a specific set of associations, while the logo safeguards your content from theft. Good luck!