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Is Your Brand a Shady Situation or Just Non-Existent? The Step-by-Step Guide to Designing Your Own Visual Brand

Usually when I write a blog post, I start off with a personal anecdote to get you to see the significance of the post’s topic.

And that’s because I really want YOU to want THIS information.

I really want YOUR BRAND to want to look amazing and credible to your audience.

I can’t express how it feels when I’m approached by a brilliant person with talents and ideas I could never even dream of, but her/his brand doesn’t reflect that.

It sucks.

And don’t get me wrong. It reflects something. Your brand ALWAYS reflects something.

Just not what the brilliant, talented person wants it to reflect.

I know . . . I know. Your next thought might be . . .

“I’m so busy, I don’t have time to develop my visual brand” or “I don’t have the money to hire a professional to design my visual brand,” but that’s why I’m writing this post for you.

Ready to learn step-by-step how to design your own visual brand? Let's do it together.… Click To Tweet

I got your six. (Get it? Like your back.) I got your back.

Also keep in mind that as you are developing your visual brand, the look has to be more than just attractive.

It has to be you! It has to fit and speak to the people you want it to speak to.

Just in case you are still wondering why this is even a thing, let me give you a few key reminders.

When you have the right look:

  • Your first impression goes through the roof.
  • You attract the type of client that is ready to invest in you and their own business.
  • You gain credibility and confidence with your audience
  • You increase your collaborative possibilities with other professionals
  • You stay relevant to your audience longer because your brand “lingers”
  • You are one step closer to establishing yourself as an expert in your field

So what’s the alternative?

You get judged.

Come on. You know you’ve done it. By “it,” I mean landed on someone’s site and immediately judged their entire existence based on how well put together the overall brand looks.

It’s OK. We all have had that experience.

And why shouldn’t we? How would you feel if your first visit to a new doctor’s office led you to a back alley with a folding table for the check-in desk and room dividers separating exam “rooms.”

Stop!

Not Safe!

Shady situation ahead.

Is your brand a shady situation? Think about it.

Well, it doesn’t have to be.

I’m ready to take you through (step-by-step) my design process when building a visual brand.

To ensure that you get the most out of this completely free chunk of information, each step will have a rationale and resources.

It’s not enough to blindly follow a step. You have to know why.

I have taken tons of brands through a visual transformation and every step of the way I have had to explain why something mattered or convince the client that this tiny element could prove to be a big piece of their brand.

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Go ahead, get your copy. I think it’s time to let your brilliance SHOW.

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So pay attention! Here we go.

1) Figure out what you like, what your audience likes, and what represents your brand properly. Then make them play nicely.

I have heard that you should design for your audience. I have also heard that you should design for yourself since you have to live with it and the right people will naturally be attracted to who you really are.

Well, both of those may be true in a vacuum. But this is the real world and your design has to be more intentional and thorough than that. It also has to go one step further.

Your design has to be a three-way marriage (I could make so many jokes right now) of your aesthetic preferences, the look that attracts your ideal audience, and visuals that represent your brand appropriately.

shadysituationblogdiagram
You see, what you like may not be what your audience would like or what represents you well.

So find the happy middle.

Signficance: In order for your visual brand to be effective, it must be shareable, relatable, and credible.

Take Action: Using either Pinterest or Dropmark, create a collection of items that fall into these three categories (you, your audience, your presentation). Don’t be shy! Go for it.


2) Select 3 to 8 colors and 2 to 4 fonts.

Why so many Brittany? Mainly because you need variety. Different colors will work for you in different ways. Some colors will be your main go-to colors while other will hang around until you are ready for an accent.

Same thing goes for your fonts. You need fonts for the following areas of your brand: Logo, Headlines, body text, and a font to break up the monotony. Some of these concepts can definitely overlap, but usually choosing one main font isn’t enough.

Significance: As you start designing items for your brand, you need to have assets available to you so you can flow creatively. If you have to keep stopping to add another color or add another font, your concentration and creativity will be fractured.

Take Action: Visit a site like Coolors.co to start playing with color palettes and try a site like FontSquirrel.com for font options. I like FontSquirrel because all of the fonts are already approved for commercial use.


3) Design a logo and create a few variations and badges.

I have a few thoughts about logos people:

  • Remember that they are not your entire brand
  • If you are not comfortable with design, the simpler your logo, the better
  • You want to create a few variations of your logo to use in different circumstances (ex: horizontal version, vertical version, and versions for both light and dark backgrounds)
  • When you have your logo designs, imagine an abbreviated version of that and create a badge that can sit at the bottom of blog post or social media images, so that your designs always point back to your brand.

Significance: If you don’t have your logo designed in a variety of ways that is readily usable, you will be forced to use it somewhere it doesn’t work. That always looks unprofessional.

Take Action: You can try an online software like Pixlr.com or Canva.com and design something from scratch or you can try an online logo designer like Tailorbrands.com.


4. Gather some patterns and textures for your brand.

You know those brands that feel rich and full? Usually it is because they are consistent through and through.

A great way to stay consistent is to an arsenal of background and textures ready to pull out for social media designs, websites, landing pages, eBooks, workbooks, banners and content upgrades.

Significance: Certain backgrounds and textures add spice and interest to your visual brand as well as provides an automatic “look” when you are struggling to establish it with other elements.

Take Action: You can create your own patterns at a site like bgpatterns.com or find some cool backgrounds and textures at a site like sublepatterns.com.


5. Find some on-brand visuals to use in various situations.

By visuals, I mean photography and icons mainly. It’s important to know the type of photography you are willing to use to represent yourself. There are some super cheesy stock photos out there, but there are also some really great ones.

As for your icons, think about how you may use them. Will you put them on your website? Do you create workbooks and eBooks where they would work? Once you know how to use them, you can find a set that should work well for you.

Significance: Visuals are key. You want to engage your audience with a strategic visual plan for your brand.

Take Action: Check out great free stock photos sites like Unsplash.com, Pexels.com, and Stocksnap.io for photos inspiration and CreativeMarket.com for great icon sets.

Always look for the free . . . that’s what I say. Get 6 free awesome design resources every week and build up your arsenal. Click below for more details (and don’t forget to come back for your final step).


6. Create brand guidelines.

It’s not enough to have your assets. You really want to map out how to use them as well.

Significance: You can have all of the pieces to the puzzle and still not be able to put the puzzle together. Or you can force pieces into places they don’t actually fit and what are you left with? A distorted version of the puzzle.

Take Action: Think about each element of your brand. Take time to write down important dos and don’ts for each. For instance, decide which are your primary colors and which are accents. What should the accent colors be used for? Will your headlines be a certain color?


NOW . . .
You have this information, but what do you plan to do with it?

Are you ready to let your brilliance SHOW? I have a great place for you to start.

 

Go ahead and sign up below for two awesome things:

  1. To get a copy of 25 Quick Ways to Improve Your Visual Brand Now +
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