Branding your business is, without a doubt, the most challenging aspect of building a business. It’s very often the first step of creating your business, and sadly for so many of us, it can really hold things up.
It definitely doesn’t need to be this way!
We’ve been there ourselves, and we help countless women each day get there as well. That is why we’re so excited to share our process with you!
In order to create a cohesive brand, you need to develop the base as to why your business exists, what you want to do with it, and how it can add value to others.
Branding isn’t just about creating a pretty color palette. It’s the entire essence of why your business exists.
We have created a fool-proof guide to get you from the ideas floating around your head to a tangible business. If you are ready to dive in and create a gorgeous logo for your business you can check out our Instant Brand Blueprint!
I hope you’re excited to follow along in our step-by-step process of creating an Instant Brand for your business.
Stage 1: Developing Brand Guidelines
1. Establish your Goals and Purpose
First and foremost before you do anything else, you need to develop your “purpose statement.” It’s the entire “why” behind your brand. And just so we’re all on the same page, your “why” should never be sales or money.
If the entire driving force behind your business is to only generate sales, it’s going to present some serious challenges.
You need to think of a purpose statement in terms of value. What value can you provide to your future clients and customers? Your purpose statement needs to revolve around this value, and how your brand can inspire potential clients or readers and make them want to support your business.
I strongly encourage you to really take some time to shape your purpose statement. That doesn’t mean you can never re-visit or edit it, but having this strong basis is only going to further assist you in the steps that lie ahead.
2. Who is Your Ideal Client/Buyer/Reader?
Clients, buyers and readers are a pretty crucial part of your business. Without them, you don’t actually have a business, you have a hobby. All parts of your branding, your purpose, goals, logo design, color palette, and marketing all directly relate back to the needs of your ideal client.
If you are creating a handmade, organic cotton blanket business catered to women between the ages of 27 and 57, you probably won’t want to choose a logo with harsh, bold colors and a cupcake in it… you get the gist?
Think of your ideal audience and choose a color palette, fonts, and images that evoke the overall feel and aesthetic of your ideal clientele.
You also need to consider the type of feelings to want to invoke in others. Do you want to get them fired up, excited or motivated? Or maybe create a feeling of calm and peacefulness?
If you are stuck trying to understand your ideal audience, ask yourself these questions:
- Who are you serving and what are they looking for?
- What is the pain point they are struggling with?
- What could possibly be holding them back? And how can you help?
- If they overcome these problems, how will their lives change?
Establishing and defining these expectations will allow you to better serve your audience. You don’t need to appeal to everyone.
Set your ideal audience, establish strong goals and a purpose, stick to these measures, and work on perfecting them. This way, your ideal client will come to you, as they will have a strong understanding of what you have to offer
Stage 2: Building the Visuals of Your Brand
3. Naming Your Business
This is another part that can be really tricky, but the best way to start is to just jump into brainstorming!
When I am trying to think of a new name for a business, I like to first jot down anything that pops into my head related to that niche. Then, further refine your list. Maybe start jotting down feelings, colors, or objects you feel represent your brand/business.
Take a step back and maybe let an hour or a day pass by.
Revisit your list, and highlight all of the words that stand out. Maybe your name will pop out from this list. Maybe not.
Go back in and refine your list, and try a few combinations of words.
Once you feel like you have a name you’re happy with, I always recommend sitting on it for a few days. Or maybe try it out on a logo template.
You might have a killer name, but it may translate poorly over to a logo design. It all takes a bit of experimentation, and a bit of patience.
You may even want to test it out on a few friends and family members. Personally, I like to tell them the name I am thinking of and ask them to tell me the first business that pops into their head that they assume it is associated with.
If they are way off, you may want to reconsider the name you have chosen.
Here are a couple of dos and don’ts when it comes to choosing a business name.
- Pick a name that is simple and short
- Research the meaning behind your name
- Say your name out loud, and often!
- Test it out on friends and family
- Research business names of your competitors
- Pick a name with a location in the title
- Pick a name with a poor first impression
- Pick abstract names
- Pick a name that is difficult to spell
- Choose a name with overly creative spelling or extra letters
4. Building your Brand Inspiration
This is the part where things really start to get exciting!
Researching and organizing your inspiration for your brand is going to help you design a cohesive brand identity. Taking the previous values and purpose you have established for your brand, you can now directly apply them to help you narrow down your brand visuals.
First, I want you to harness the power of Pinterest. Start by creating a new secret board called your newly established “Business Name.” Now, search through Pinterest for different colors, images, emotions, and terms that suit your brand.
You can search terms such as “feminine color palette”, “modern chic branding”, or “gold logo design”. You can also try terms that are specific to your niche like “modern furniture”, “rustic restoration”, etc.
Now is not the time to be overly curated.
Once you’ve saved around 30 images, go back to your board, and take a look over it. Now just like what we did with our business name brainstorming, you’re going to leave your board alone for a couple of mins.
Let your mind focus on something else. Maybe go for a walk.
Once you come back to your board, take a full look over it and delete a couple of pins you don’t feel strongly about.
Now shut it down, and repeat.
Take a look at your further refined board, and go back and search Pinterest for more pins that are representative of your favorite images. Ideally, you want to end up with anywhere from ten to fifteen pins to work with. It’s alright if you have more, as long as they are all within the same idea.
Now look at that! You’ve just created your first unofficial Mood Board without even realizing it!
You’re on your way to having a seriously killer brand!
5. Choosing a Color Palette and Fonts
Once you’ve created your inspirational mood board, you should be able to step back and see some color consistency throughout it.
Is there a specific color that you are drawn to? For me, it’s pink. She shows up everywhere, even when I’m not trying to do so!
And that’s ok!
Maybe this will be your main color. There is nothing wrong with that!
It is best to choose 6 colors to represent your brand. Three of them will be your primary brand colors and the other three will be your complimentary colors.
You can use a free program like Coolors.co to pull the hex color codes directly from an image. It will also generate a color palette for you if you need a little extra help!
It is important to have a different tonal value within your palette and it is also ideal to include a complimentary color in there as well!
Monochromatic color palettes definitely have their place, but if you do choose to go this route a difference in the tonal range is a must!
As a general rule of thumb you can follow these guidelines as such:
- Dark colors for text and accents
- Light colors for backgrounds
- Contrasting colors for highlights and accents
Just like your color palette, you want to choose 2-3 fonts that complement one another. It is very important to have a main font that is easy to read, and doesn’t have too much “fluff.” This will be for your main body text.
Your Headline and Title fonts can be a bit more unique, but still, need to be highly legible. If you have chosen a serif for your main font, you might want to choose a sans serif for your headlines.
It is always fun to add in an accent font. A script font or something a bit more experimental (but still legible) will work well!
Another little tip to keep in mind is to consider the types of stock photos or images you will be using and test your color palette and fonts up against them.
Make sure they complement each other beautifully.
6. Designing Your Logo
Things are starting to get pretty serious, aren’t they?
Lucky for you, if you are not a graphic designer, we’ve created a fool-proof system for you to easily and quickly design a stunning logo!
Our Instant Brand Blueprint provides you with over 50 logo trios and over 300 custom-made elements to create your dream logo on your own fast and easy! I recommend you check it out today here!
When building your logo, you’ll need to design the main logo, alternative logo, and a sub mark logo.
Yes, you counted right!
Three logos, that all serve a very important purposes.
The purpose of your main logo is pretty self-explanatory!
It’s ideal for design purposes to generally have a logo that is in nature. Of course, there are some exceptions, but you will notice most websites utilize a horizontal logo above their header.
An alternative logo is a redesign of your main logo that has a different shape and will fit in different spaces. Here is where you can experiment a bit. You may want to create a more square or vertical logo.
The alternative logo still needs to scream your brand, and it needs to be able to be recognized instantly. You want it to be different, but we are not going totally rouge here!
A sub mark logo can be used as a favicon, social media icon, in your email signature, business cards, etc. Think of it as a small icon. Ideally, you will use initials or a single element to represent your sub mark logo.
When you are designing your logo, it is important to keep in mind that you are not trying to shove all of your brand colors into it. Stick with 2, maybe 3 at most.
Additionally, use the rest of your brand colors to compliment and provide a strong contrast among your brand collateral.
The same goes for fonts, we suggest using 2 maximum of 3 fonts that complement each other, and stick with them!
Stage 3: Building the Visual of Your Brand
7. Finalizing your Brand
I promise this is the easy part!
After all, you’ve already spent the time building all of your individual components, now you just need to wrap it up in a nice little package!
We recommend, using a Brand Board to organize all of your components. And best of all, you get one for free with the purchase of the Instant Brand Blueprint!
All you will need to do is just copy and paste in all of your images, add in your color palettes, logos, fonts patterns, and there you have it! A beautifully designed, cohesive brand!
We’ve covered a ton of information on how you can achieve an Instant Brand, but as I am sure you can gather now, creating a cohesive brand is a major priority for your business!
Odds are, your brand will evolve over time- and that is a great thing! It means that you are gaining experience and evolving as a business, but now you have the tools to establish a cohesive structure.
I hope you’ve learned a lot, and truly enjoyed the experience of creating your brand!
Let us know in the comments below if you have tried out our Instant Brand Blueprint.