Working with a brand consultant or coach can be invaluable, because without professional help and input, most of us will hardly be able to explore the depth of our brands, and will be lacking the strategy to reach our full potential and goals -be it through design, copy, or marketing strategy. Think of doing your accounting without an accountant or building a new bathroom without a contractor! Tough, right?
But many creatives like the DIY approach, others want to grow things on their own, and many are on a tight budget. I get you! So, today I decided to share some of my signature steps to create a strong branding design you will love.
Keep in mind that in some specifics, like UX (user experience) in a website or blog, you might still need to hire help. But this post and cheatsheet will help you get clarity on what aligns visually with your brand. Having a solid idea of what you want (and why!) is essential to have a successful start on creating something you love.
1. Collect Inspiration
I constantly suggest Pinterest for collecting your inspiration. Create a board where you can collect the images that you feel have some level of aesthetic connection with your brand. This is a very simple process, but be careful to not be overflown with images that are attractive, but not necessarily represent the branding aesthetic you’re going for. Adding 3-4 of each image type to your board is enough (like logos, brand kits, photos, font styles, colors, etc).
5 Steps to Build Your Heartfeld Brand and Design Your Unique Visual Identity are the perfect workbooks to assist on this task.
2. Absorb All Fantastic Designs Out There
I mean this in a very conscious and selective way. Don’t go around collecting just anything that is visually appealing, instead, collect the things that truly speak to you and see how these things look together. We may like flowers and polka dots, but mixing them in a brand may or may not work…. So, dedicate time and attention to your new collection.
3. Create a Vision Board
During the vision board (or moodboard) creation process, you’ll keep only the few images that deeply connect to each other and create the ideal “vibe” for your brand. If you’re ready to build your vision board, read Gathering Inspiration and Building a Vision Board For Your Brand to get the details of this process.
4. Create Your Logo
After developing your brand story and studying the visuals, you will have an idea of who you are talking to (target market), brand colors, font style, etc. Considering you’ve explored your brand’s mission, vision, audience, and got your design inspiration in place (the moodboard), creating a logo should be relatively easy.
If you know how to use Photoshop or similar image editors, great! If not, there are several logo creators online, like the free LogoMakr online logo creator. Canva.com is another great place to create your first logo.
Read the post The Logo – Branding 101 to help you develop your logo better.
5. Build A Basic Visual Identity Guide
A small brand guide or board can be so helpful! This will be your “go to” document once you’re ready to create any visual element for your brand.
The brand guide will help you make sure your branding is always on point!
It is important to have a deadline, so the project doesn’t extend forever. But it is also important to take your time with every decision you make, as rushing will only cause you to create a branding design you love today, but won’t love that much in 2 weeks. Branding is a rather complex process, can definitely start small and develop with time.
This post was originally posted on March 23, 2015