In design, as in life, consistency builds trust.

We all had that “fun” friend in our twenties who was super cool to hang out with, but when you really needed someone who could show up on time, be supportive, and generally act like a responsible adult, they were nowhere to be found. They probably also changed their hair a lot, had a different job every few months, fell in and out of romantic relationships with ease, but they never really had it “together.” They weren’t the person you called in a crisis.

But what does a look back at the toxic relationships of our twenties have to do with the non-profit we work at now?

If your materials and messaging aren’t consistent, you are this friend. Worse yet, you’re coming across as the flakey friend to people who really need your help!

Do you have too many variations in your materials? One type of font & color scheme for one event, and something entirely different for the rest? While this is not generally an issue for smaller organizations, larger companies with many departments may find that they’ve lost control of the brand. This is an excellent reason to revisit the design — and create a strong Identity Standards Manual — and then make one person responsible for managing consistency.

While you deal with your brand day in and day out and know it like you know your Starbucks order but your audience will never be as familiar with your brand as you are.

If you truly want your organization to make a positive impact on people, you first have to earn trust. If your branding materials are inconsistent, you’re creating unnecessary obstacles for your clients to benefit from what your organization has to offer.