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Thinking about designing your own brand? Awesome! This has got to be one of the most fun parts of starting your online business. Trust me. There’s a reason I love being a designer so much!
I’m guessing you’ve probably heard the narrative of “the only way to have effective, professional branding is to hire an expert” or “you have to design everything the right way using all the top-notch, expensive software”… To be perfectly candid, I think that’s crap.
I think this narrative comes from people who are either 1. afraid no one will hire them if they feel empowered and capable to DIY (which I don’t believe for a second) or 2. get a sense of significance and importance out of knowing the superior “correct” way to design things.
Either way I just fundamentally disagree. 🤷♀️
The reality is that it doesn’t always make financial sense to drop 4 figures on a brand designer. Especially not in that first year or two when your brand identity is going to be shifting and changing so much. That’s an investment to save for when you have a clear vision, and need some help taking it to that next level of awesome.
If you’re able to hire a designer right off the bat, that’s great! But to say that designing your own brand is a bad idea is just not true. Yeah, you’re doing it yourself, but why does that have to mean your branding can’t be gorgeous? You can totally create your own really strong, well-designed brand as a DIY’er…
But I will say if you’re not a designer, it can be a little tricky to know how to design your own brand so that it communicates your personality without looking like a hot mess.
So in this post, I’ll be telling you the 5 mistakes to avoid to keep your branding looking sharp and professional (even if you’re designing it yourself.)
I see this a lot, especially on Instagram. I know that using the same 2-3 fonts all the time seems like it’s boring for you audience, right? Well… it’s not. Being repetitive isn’t boring your viewer’s eyes to death, it’s actually helping to create instant recognition for your brand.
Have you ever seen a text graphic on social media and knew immediately who that graphic was from without even having to look? That’s what we’re aiming for so once you have your brand fonts laid out, stick to it.
And don’t forget, When you’re designing your own brand, you want to choose fonts that compliment your brand’s voice and personality.
Just like colors, you really have to think about your brand personality when you pick out your fonts. This is something I cover much more in depth in my DIY branding course, More Than a Logo. But for now, just keep in mind that each font has its own personality and tone.
Your brand design is more than just your logo. You have to give the other elements of your brand room to speak for themselves. Using your logo (or even your URL) on every social media post can be pushy and tacky.
Rely less on your logo and let and let the other elements of your brand like your type, color palette, and patterns work to create a cohesive and signature look. Your viewer is a smart cookie, if you’re doing it right, they don’t need your logo everywhere to know who’s content they’re viewing.
The magic happens when you repeat the same colors, fonts, patterns, and graphics in a consistent way across all platforms. Meaning your brand looks the same on Instagram as it does on your website.
That doesn’t mean you have to slap your logo everywhere. It means you have to create a signature style that goes beyond the logo.
This relates to Mistake 2, but I think it’s important enough to stand on its own. Being able to see your face helps build up the know like and trust factor with your audience. Ever heard of stranger danger?? It’s really hard to trust someone you’ve never seen before.
The only exception to this is if you work with a really large team, you’re not the face of your business, and there is no relationship building between you and your audience.
To be honest, I doubt that applies to you. There aren’t many small businesses owners that wouldn’t benefit from building a relationship with their audience. So before you write it off and say that you don’t want to be the face of your business, ask yourself if you would take on that role if you weren’t afraid of judgement or rejection.
If that struck a chord with you, definitely check out this post with 3 mindset blocks that are keeping you from growing your brand.
Every visual element you use from your photos to your text needs room to breathe. Make sure all your headlines, paragraphs, images, icons, etc. have a healthy amount of space in between. Clustering things too close together is harsh on the eyes, difficult to process, and takes away from the beauty and intention of your branding
Trust me negative space is your friend. And it doesn’t all have to be white or blank. You can use color blocks, and little stylized brand accents to keep things looking interesting, but still giving the rest of your elements the space needed to be visually processed.
Like I said on mistake 2, your brand styling should be consistent across all platforms. And I don’t just mean on your different social media profiles. I mean your blog covers should look cohesive with your business cards and your business cards should look cohesive with your website (and so on.)
If you gathered all of your marketing materials for web, print, and social, it should look like one collection with the same signature style.
This is going to start creating recognition and familiarity with your audience. And that familiarity is so powerful because humans are creatures of habit! If someone is familiar with your brand, and your content has helped them in the past, they’ll come back to you over and over again.
A beautiful brand design is there to serve as your building blocks, but how you actually use this design determines how effective it will be. You can avoid common styling mistakes by making sure you:
To the growth of your beautiful brand,
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