Once you have a logo and launch your business, you may think that the “branding” process is over. Oh, friend, do I have news for you. It’s only just beginning. Creating a brand that people know and trust takes work to keep your visual presence streamlined and cohesive. The work doesn’t stop once you have a logo.
If you’ve DIY’d your initial visual identity and have a primary logo, you’re off to a great start! Now it’s time to add on in order to build a strong and recognizable business. As you build your brand identity, it’s important to have a style guide to help keep all of your visual decisions cohesive with your brand. Much like the mood board you created, your style guide helps to guide your ship on a straight course to ensure that you aren’t confusing your ideal client.
Today I’m breaking down the brand style guide on what you should be including in yours and including a download to the exact style guide I use for my clients.
Maybe you decided that DIY-ing your brand wasn’t something that you weren’t ready to do, or maybe you’ve established a consistent enough revenue stream that you’re ready to invest in a full brand design for your business.
Whatever the case may be, hiring a designer to bring your vision to life is a big deal. Not only from a monetary investment, but also from an emotional investment. Especially for small business owners, their business is such an extension of themselves. Creative business owners pour their heart and soul into their business that it’s sometimes hard to hand over the reigns and trust someone to properly make your vision a reality.
Brand designers come in all shapes and sizes—from logo designers who work to create that singular mark to identify your business or full brand designers. When you’re ready to invest money into the look of your business, it’s important to do research on exactly what you’re looking for and how much you have to invest in your brand.
Here are five questions that your designer should be asking before you get to work.
So, you’ve got your idea for your business and have been busy working on a plan, defining your why, and narrowing down your ideal client. You’ve decided on what you’re going to offer and the products for your inventory. You’re so close to showing your hard work to the world.
At the beginning stages of your business, there are so many different areas you’re managing. And starting a business can get expensive, especially if you are a product based business. Having a visual representation for your business is important, but at the beginning you may not be ready to invest in a full brand identity design. I get it.
I understand how tight cash may be at the beginning stages of your business. You can’t make that full investment into hiring a brand designer and think a $15 pre-made logo is the best option for you.
I’m here to tell you to save that money for later and bootstrap your brand design yourself.
Rather than spending the money on a logo that isn’t exclusively yours, instead invest that time in DIYing your own logo and save for the future. You’ve already defined your why and created a mood board, so you have a visual and emotional idea about what you want your business to look like. Now it’s time to create something uniquely yours. Knowing a few smart tips about logo design will help you until you can invest in a full brand identity.
The first thing you should know when DIY-ing your brand is what makes a logo.
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.
If you’re just getting started on building your brand, there are so many things that you are considering and working on all at once. You had a brilliant idea to take your side-project or hobby and turn it into a money making machine, but there are steps to take in order to get there. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to throw your goods and services out there on the internet and expect people to be knocking down your doors. It takes a lot of hard work, research, and trial and error.
Last week we took the time to define your why and lay the groundwork for a cohesive brand. This week, we’ll talk about how you can keep all of your brand visuals clean, cohesive, and all on the same page. In an age when consumers connect with brands on a deeper, dedicated level, you need to be sure you’re standing out and telling a story. Brands that can make those authentic, deeply rooted relationships with their buyers are more likely to be successful and see repeat business than those who have a scattered brand strategy.
Let me give you an example:
J and I are planning our next vacation and we’re looking into doing some camping. When I mentioned that we would need to get sleeping bags, J’s immediate response was, “What about Patagonia ones?” While Patagonia only just introduced sleeping bags to their lineup, my husband is a HUGE fan of their products, quality, and values, and feels it’s safe to assume—no reviews required—that this sleeping bag is the worth the price tag.
J and I both feel a deep connect with Patagonia because of the values that the company stands for—they’re champions for the environment, they work towards creating sustainable products, give back to communities, and they create a high quality product. These values are portrayed through their visual strategy and brand. And because of that, we feel loyal to that brand.
So whether you’re just starting out and hiring a brand designer isn’t high on your priority list, or you have a brand you love, but maybe struggle with the details, creating a mood board for your brand is important. A mood board will help keep your visuals consistent, keep you in tune with your ideal client and aesthetic, and… they’re just fun to make.
Let me ask you a question, have you taken a moment to really think about why you do what you do? What problem you want your business to solve? Have you thought about who your ideal client is? What they do?
As a creative business owner, there are so many things to consider as you’re getting started. Chances are you got to that point because there was a hobby, or a passion that you’re pursuing that you thought would be a great way to make a side (or hell, full-time) income. However, as creatives, most of us know nothing about what it takes to own and operate a business. There are so many things at the surface that seem obvious—think of a name, create your product, register a domain, find some way to keep track of your money, that’s it…right?