The Branding Process: Your brand is more than just a logo; Tips for a successful brand design


Do me a favor—think of your favorite brand.

Close your eyes and envision what it’s like to browse their website, scroll through their social media accounts, or even step foot in their stores.

The world’s best brands don’t rely on one single logo, and neither should you. No matter what point you are in your business, you deserve to be recognized, and to do so, that requires a visual strategy.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve started to lay the foundation of a cohesive visual identity; from defining the purpose of your business to the importance of a brand mood board. Today we’re talking about the actual logo part.

So...what is a logo?

A logo is a single visual representation of your brand. A stand alone identifier of a company. When you think of brands like Nike or Starbucks, what’s the first thing you think of? The swoosh and the Siren. Iconic brands have logos that stand apart from their competition and trigger emotional responses tied to them.

Today, logos are everywhere. Sitting at my desk, I’m probably staring at 25 different logos. So many companies are vying for attention that creating an impactful logo is important. In many cases that’s where business owners stop—they think that is the only piece. “Well, if I have this amazing logo, people will buy from me!”

It’s not that simple.

Think about the industry that you’re in, how saturated is it? In the wedding industry, there are thousands of stationery designers. In the business branding industry? Thousands more. Needless to say, graphic design is a pretty saturated industry, so I know that I can’t just create a logo, slap it on a website, and expect the masses to come knocking on my door needing my services.

It takes creating an experience for your consumers to help easily identify you in a pretty crowded playing field. It takes creating a brand, in which your logo is just one part of.

Creating a brand involves more than just a singular logo design. So often I see other business owners looking for just one logo, or they see pre-made designs from shops on Etsy and want something like that for their business. I’m here to break it to you: those aren’t logos. Many of those pre-made designs are just raster based, clip art images with text included. Not a true logo, and not uniquely yours.

If you are just starting out in your business, it is still possible to have a brand that is uniquely yours without shelling out a ton of cash. If you have already defined your why and created a mood board, part of the work is done. You’ve already created the emotional and visual direction of your business—now it’s just time to implement it into a cohesive brand design and you can by following these three tips:

1. Choose typefaces that reflect the personality of your brand
If your brand is feminine and flirty, choose a script font or a rounded sans-serif, like Sacramento or Quicksand.
Modern and minimal? Bebas Neue and Oswald are great options as strong serif typefaces.
Classic and elegant? Use a script like Great Vibes or a timeless serif like Playfair Display or Old Standard.

Leighwood Paperie >> The Branding Process: Tips to a successful brand design

Sacramento / Qucksand / Bebas Neue / Oswald / Great Vibes / Playfair Display

2. Choose 2-3 primary brand colors and a texture
Take a look at your mood board, you should have pulled colors out of the images that you curated. Your brand should have a couple primary brand colors to use as your headline colors and to use throughout your brand graphics. You can even use these primary colors to help source props for branded photos. Take Leighwood Paperie, for example: my primary brand colors are merlot and mauve for the stationery side of the business, and sage and navy for my brand design. These two are tied together by the common use of dark woods and marble for my brand textures. As I take photos for Instagram, I try to keep in mind these textures to use for backgrounds and try to keep my colors in this family.

3. Create templates for social media and blog graphics
If you are blogging in your business, or using inspiration quote graphics as part of your Instagram strategy, it’s important to create templates. This has been an important part in keeping things cohesive within my brand. Within Illustrator, I have created a template of blog graphics, each with a different brand color and icon, but with the text laid out the same. That way, when it’s time to put up my post, I’m not continually making graphics from scratch. The same goes for any quotes or text I post on Instagram. I have one template for the text and can change the background color depending on the mood of the text. If you are using a program like Illustrator, it’s easy to set up templates by creating a new document with your artboard(s), and you can File > Save as Template. When you open your template (File > New from Template) it creates a new document, so you never have to worry about overriding the original template.

Leighwood Paperie >> The Branding Process: Your brand is more than just a logo; Tips for a successful brand design

These are just three of my favorite tips to help establish a cohesive visual identity for your brand. By implementing these into your business, you’ll begin to develop a recognizable look that clients will remember. Think about scrolling through your Pinterest feed, there are certain businesses that I just recognize because they use the same (slightly modified) template for their blog posts. Even if you are DIYing your brand visuals, you can have this too.

If you are ready to invest in a brand designer to help create a cohesive visual identity, I’d love to talk about what you’re looking for. Together we will create a unique visual identity and get to the soul of your business so that you have a solid foundation through logo development, template and package design, and Squarespace website development. Tell me more about your business, and let’s talk about how we can create a beautiful, professional look for your brand.