We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, your brand is a wholeeee lot more than just your logo and brand colors. Yes, your brand is how you are distinguished from your competition which includes your logo but it’s also the feelings your brand evokes in your ideal audience. Think of it this way, your face is your logo but your personality and values paired with your face is your brand. See where we’re going with this?
We get it though. It can be pretty overwhelming knowing where the heck to start when it comes to your brand. How in the world do you figure out your brand style???
While a designer can help you come up with some of this, there’s some homework you need to do ahead of time. Luckily we’re sharing a handy-dandy step-by-step process to help you get that crystal clear vision for your brand! (Don’t forget to download the workbook to go along with this blog!)
Step 1: Identify Your Ideal Audience
The first thing you need to do is identify who your ideal audience is. Without knowing who you are targeting, there’s no possible way to develop an effective brand. You’ll just be grasping at straws. (Don’t worry you’ll still infuse yourself into your brand as well!) Identifying your ideal audience is a little more than say women between 20-30 years old. You’ll want to develop as full of a profile as you can including their likes and interests, where they hang out, etc. If you’re not sure where to start with this, we have a fullllll step-by-step right here for ya!
Step 2: Identify Key Attributes You Want Your Brand to Reflect
Now that you have an idea of who your ideal audience is, it’s time to identify the key attributes YOU want the brand to reflect. While your brand is what attracts your ideal client, you still want it to reflect your values, personality, etc. This is how you want your brand to make people feel. The way you want people to describe your brand to others. These attributes will help lead the design of your logo, the colors you choose, the voice you use, etc. It boils right down to the heart of your brand.
To get started with identifying these attributes, ask yourself these questions:
What are at least 3 words you would like to describe your brand?
What types of designs are you attracted to?
What are the words you’d use to describe the designs you’re attracted to?
Once you identify how you want to describe your brand and what types of designs you’re attracted to, you can start to piece together the similarities. What attributes pull you in while also speaking to your ideal audience? What are the attributes you don’t like and want to avoid in your own brand? (Yes, finding what you don’t like is just as important!) Having a list of words, attributes, and emotions will help steer the rest of your brand development.
Step 3: Identify Your Design Aesthetic
Now that you know the attributes you want your brand to reflect, it’s time to translate those into visual design elements like your logo and website. So get out that list of words and attributes you’d like your brand to reflect because we’re getting ready to brainstorm!
With your list front and center, start different lists for each of these:
Colors you’re attracted to and that reflect the words on your list
Symbols you may be drawn to that also reflect the overall vibe you are going for
Design elements you liked about other brands that have similar attributes you are going for
Now that you have a better idea on some visual elements, it’s time to put together your inspiration board! This is where you solidify your colors, the typography you’d like to use (script vs. serif vs. san serif, etc.), as well as imagery to evokes the brand style you are going for. Seeing it all together will give you an idea if you need to make any changes to fit the overall vibe you’re doing for and if not, it will provide direction for the rest of your branding. We typically create our own inspiration boards but you can also create a Pinterest board that will give you the same idea.
Step 4: Develop Your Voice
While your visual elements may be what others use to identify your brand, your voice is what helps bring it to life. Remember when we mentioned before that your face is just your logo but your personality and values paired with your face is your brand? You bring out that personality through your brand’s voice. So again, get out that list of attributes as well as your inspiration board and start to really think about the type of voice your ideal client would respond to. Do you need a professional, sophisticated tone? Or can you be more playful and whimsy?
This is arguably the hardest piece of a brand to develop and may take a little practice and readjusting (it took us a little while to nail ours down too!). One of the easiest ways for us to determine our voice or a client’s voice is actually through social media posts. You can see a pretty immediate response from your audience (if you have social media accounts already started) and you can see what they respond to and what they don’t. So take your time with their piece… Practice makes perfect!
Step 5: Bring It All Together
And now it’s time to bring all of these pieces together into one happy little brand! You’ve determined your key attributes, you’ve developed your design aesthetic and you’re working on your voice. Now you need to finalize that logo. Take or source photos that articulate your branding style on your website, social media and other marketing materials. Develop the copy for your website and social media posts. It all comes together in this final step to create one cohesive, strong brand.
Make sure all your pieces come back to those key attributes and are reflecting your brand as well as speaking directly to your ideal client. This is how you’ll leave a lasting impression.
Don’t forget to sign up for access to the workbook to help you as you read (or reread) through this blog post! We want this to be an easy but still comprehensive process for you whether you have hired a designer or not!