6 Ways to Improve Your Branding Right Now
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I wholeheartedly believe that branding is the most fundamental part of your business. Yes, you need a good product or quality service, but you’re going to REALLY STRUGGLE to bring in the clients and potential customers you need to achieve success if your branding is lacking. Understanding good design is something that comes with time and education, but as a small business owner, you are expected to wear all the hats and play many roles within your side hustle, and one of those roles is “graphic designer”. But don’t worry: I’m here to show you the ropes and give you the exact steps you can take to lead you down the road to a beautiful, fully-fledged brand design.
I want to remind you that as you’re working on your brand, it might be tempting to just revamp it in a hurry and get caught up in the excitement of a new look. I’d actually recommend that you take your time and make sure that every decision you make is going to serve your brand. And if you find that you don’t want to prioritize your time in this way and would rather outsource this design work to a professional who works with logos, fonts, color schemes, and small businesses daily (non-shameless plug), then I’d love to chat with you.
Without further ado, here are my six recommendations for improving your brand design right now:
1 | Use a consistent color scheme.
One of the foundations to your brand is going to be the colors you choose to represent your message and the emotions they evoke in your audience. Be sure to spend some time researching what your preferred colors represent and make sure that you are choosing a color scheme intentionally. For example, if you’re a health food nut or promote healthy living as a blogger, consider a bright green, or maybe some yellows for your brand colors; something that communicates freshness and life.
Pick out your colors and then start your official Brand Guide with about 4-6 colors and their HEX codes, to use for easy reference for future designs. Some places you can incorporate these colors (other than your logo) include your website, social feeds, and even in the clothes you choose to wear for your next upcoming photo shoot! That way you know your new photos will be consistent with your website and social media feeds, without a doubt.
2 | Keep your logo easy-to-read.
Often when I’m looking at a brand I just don’t vibe with, it has nothing to do with the business itself or the name - I’m repulsed by the hodge-podge, clashing design trends. I love watercolor backgrounds, floral elements, and elegant script fonts just as much as the next boss babe, but all together? No thanks.
Pick a design element you want to incorporate in your logo, like maybe an icon or a texture, and develop your logo around that. When you think about some of the places your logo will appear, like in that tiny circle on your Instagram profile, you want to make sure that the words are going to be legible to allow for some immediate brand recognition for your brand.
3 | Pick a limited number of fonts to use for everything.
Another way you can give yourself away as a brand design amateur is by using too many fonts. Remember, brand recognition is the goal here, and you can often communicate the same message about your brand with just one or two fonts, still allowing for some contrast. You should also put some thought into the aesthetic behind your brand and who you’re looking to appeal to.
My recommendation (or at least the fonts I’ll usually include on a client brand guide) is to choose one font for your body copy, and then just one or two fonts to use for headers. If you MUST use a handwritten or display font that doesn’t work as well with large amounts of text, then go right ahead, but I’d suggest saving it for special occasions like a signature at the end of a post or the “hello!” at the front of your website homepage.
4 | Maintain a consistent brand voice.
Another way you can spread cohesiveness across your business and brand design is to use the same brand “voice” in all your captions, blog posts, and communications with customers. This is probably one of my favorite pieces of the design because I LOVE seeing how clients and fellow business owners use the language of their text to appeal to certain segments of the market.
For example, if you’re marketing primarily to a teenage audience, you want to avoid complex language. Not because they’re stupid, but because they’re not coming to social media for a lesson: they’re coming for entertainment. Whereas on the other hand, if you sell products to other businesses, you may want to pull out the thesaurus and impress other business owners with your fancy vocabulary, because you know they know what you’re talking about. You also probably won’t use as many emojis marketing to professionals as you would if you were targeting a teenage audience!
5 | Appeal to your target audience.
Going along with that last message, make sure that your overall brand appeals to your audience. If you’re a fine artist looking to build a portfolio and one day make it into your own studio, then keep things neutral and minimalistic, maybe opting for a brand guide that utilizes a good balance of black, white, and grey, and let your artwork bring a lot of the color and personality to your feed.
Another example: my friend Calli Richards is a wedding photographer looking to attract clients who are just as eager as she is to climb a mountain in their fancy wedding clothes or hike to a hard-to-reach point to get those gorgeous photos that are as timeless and endearing as the love these couples have for each other. She makes sure to post a lot of photos that show “movement” and earthy tones to appeal to these types of care-free, free spirit adventurous couples.
6 | Give your brand flexibility while keeping it cohesive.
A lot of my clients are surprised when I explain to them that I’ll be sending over more than just a logo file at the end of the project. I send over a main logo (editable Adobe Illustrator file) as well as several other versions: a main logo without a background, a main logo with a background but in a square (perfect for social media profile pictures), a main logo without a background and saved web-optimized (perfect for their website header), as well as a favicon for the website and a watermark or alternate version of the logo, if applicable for their business.
I like to make all these logo versions match each other and represent the brand, but I use a little variation to allow the client to have the designs she needs, whatever she’s working on. For example, if your business name is super long and wide, let’s come up with a way to shorten it to use in a square or circle profile picture spot where the sides don’t get cut off. Maybe we have it run onto multiple lines for this alternate logo, or perhaps I create an icon for your brand, and that’s what you use as your Instagram profile picture.
Utilizing cohesive variations of your brand make it appear ultra-professional and legit, and improve your brand recognition right away.
Again, don’t let this list be an overwhelming representation of what you HAVE to do for your business. Take this with a grain of salt, because depending on your business, your season of life, or even your level of design capabilities, you may take some and leave the rest. Regardless, I hope this post is helpful for you as you take your creative side hustle to the next level.
PIN THIS POST!
free business & marketing tools
Take your hustle to the next level! Subscribe to our
email list today to download your free copy of
5 WAYS TO RUN A MINIMALISTIC BUSINESS