Let’s face it, running and operating a small business is no easy feat. You wear many different hats out of necessity. From marketing to accounting and customer support you need to cover it all. One area that’s hard to “fake” is graphic design and branding. Unless you have a keen eye or studied design you’ll most likely find this challenging. Here are five helpful tips on how to create a professional brand for your small business.
Decide on Your Brand Message First
The first and most important step is to decide on your brand message. What story do you want to communicate through your brand assets? Each piece is an opportunity to reinforce what you and your business stand for. Once you decide what message you want to communicate it is time to choose a color scheme. Your brand message and color choice go hand in hand. Each color conveys a different story so it’s important you make this decision carefully. The psychology of color has a long history and is an important aspect of marketing.
Use Your Logo as Your Brand Foundation
Your logo is the visual foundation for your branding. It sets the tone and direction for any other graphic design items you’ll design. With your brand message and color scheme in place, it’s time to come up with a professional logo. This order is critical. It will ensure your branding aligns with your company mission.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs rush this process. They’re excited to get their business off the ground. So, they rush and choose the first logo they find appealing.
Setting a rocky foundation for your brand can cause issues down the line. Then you’ll end up with a costly rebrand. Whether you’re hiring a logo designer or using a free tool like the GraphicSprings logo maker or Looka’s free logo maker. Make sure to try different concepts. Don’t settle for the first draft. Once you land on a few designs you like, gather some unbiased feedback. Do this through direct surveying or an online survey tool.
Build out Brand Assets with Purpose
With your brand colors and logo in place, it’s time to build out all your other brand assets. What you need in brand assets depends on your business and promotional strategy. These days the next logical step is to build out your website. Your logo should inform all the design choices for your web pages.
The same goes for your social media channels. If you are looking to promote through social media, treat them as an extension of your website. (i.e. use your logo and brand colors.)
The point is to show consistency when you build out brand assets. Whether you are creating presentation decks, flyers, banner ads, or business cards: make sure they are all consistent and in line with your other artwork.
Create a Visual Experience
Creating a professional and consistent brand doesn’t stop with your logo and brand colors. Your designs should include images, icons, fonts, and illustrations. Every one of these aspects provides another opportunity to create consistency. That gives you a holistic visual experience.
When you choose images don’t do so on a case-by-case basis. Choose a set of images that is consistent in style and tone. Using those across your brand assets will further strengthen your brand recognition.
The same goes for icon sets, fonts, and illustrations. A quick Google search will provide lots of resources for:
- Free stock photos
to get you started.
Besides creating consistency through repeating visual elements, be sure to be consistent in your content as well. Whether a customer is reading your sales letter, website copy, or latest Twitter post be sure to use the same writing style and tone.
Create a Memorable Experience as a Whole
Branding, of course, isn’t just visual; it’s much more than that. People will remember you and your business based on the experience they had. Your logo and other brand assets simply represent the visual form of this experience.
If you want to elevate your brand elevate all aspects of your business. From customer support to product and website user experience. If what you deliver exceeds customer expectations they will automatically think pleasant thoughts next time they see your logo or brand colors.
Creating a recognizable brand takes time. As you grow your business your brand recognition will increase. Follow the tips above to make sure you lay the right branding foundation and grow in the right direction. Although this takes some effort, elevating your brand assets will help you stand out from your competition. And strengthen your position in your niche.