Branding is a rather broad term used to describe the art of creating a distinctive brand identity.
You want your brand to be both instantly recognizable and look like you. That means sticking to one design look instead of constantly changing things up.
Branding is one of those things that you can spend a whooole lot of time and money on — which makes it one of those intimidating topics for the average solopreneur.
But even the most beginner of business bloggers can create a professional brand image with spending any cashola.
Tackling your brand style guide is the first step of your branding journey and it’s one that you can easily tackle all on your own (trust me!).
Creating a branding style guide simply involves sitting down to decide on a few key design features – then sticking to them.
Good branding not only makes you stand out in a crowded marketplace but it can make your brand appear much stronger than it actually is.
Today I’m giving you five pointers for creating your own brand style guide – as well a downloadable PSD template to get you started!
Your Brand Style Guide
To create a successful brand, you need to think not only about your personal style but also the preferences of your target audience.
So think about who are you selling to: are they stylish and avant garde or fun and fancy-free? Where else do they hang out online? What kind of vibe do those sites have?
Whatever you come up with, let it set the tone throughout each design decisions.
Your chosen brand colors say an awful lot about your brand visually so it’s very much worth it to take them time to choose them carefully. I know this one is hard for many people: there are so many options out there how do you commit? But even though it can be overwhelming, you really don’t want to skip this step.
Using a strict palette you make all of your graphics distinctively you.
Need a little help? Here’s an online palette planner that’s insanely useful when you’re feeling stuck.
Just like your fonts, you need to stick to 2 or 3 main fonts only throughout all of your site and branding graphics.
(Hint: you have probably already chosen a few for your website).
Here’s how that breaks down:
Body – the main body font. This is he workhorse of all of your design materials.
Headlines – Pick a complementary font to make your headlines stand out.
Accent – This is where you can have some fun! Choose a font that is more unusual to help express your business personality. Use a handwritten font on your graphics for a homey touch for an Etsy shop or go for the trendy handwritten look for your small indie clothing store.
If you are using an out-of-the box WordPress template, now is a great time to swap the existing fonts to your newly chosen fonts. (You might need to enlist the help of a designer friend to do this!)
Not all images are created equally! So decide right now on what style you want your images to have. Bright, washed-out and super-dark images each set a different design mood. What best serves your product/service and clients?
Think about choosing set dimensions as well. For example, square images have that Polaroid/Instagram-style look that can help strengthen a causal style.
Design elements are just a way to add design punctuation to your brand image.
If you can design it, you can use it so the sky is the limit here! Think: icons, bars, borders etc. Choose a two or three simple pieces that you can re-use in order to give your design style consistency.
Of course, personality is a key factor here! Using hearts throughout your graphic elements might make perfect sense for your business (see Gala Darling’s list posts!).
It’s not enough to simply think about each of these things and move on. Recording all of your choices in a handy graphic is a smart way to make sure you stick to your design guns. To help out, I’ve included a free downloadable PSD file for you today so make sure you click through to claim your copy!
Hope you enjoyed this bit of branding insight today! If you liked this article, please help me out by sharing it or pinning it. And as always, feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.