Business · Uncategorized

Branding DIY

{This post is written by guest blogger Sami Yuhas}

Starting a business can be daunting, especially if you’re on a tight budget, or still balancing a nine-to-five. Having the right copy, the right photos, the right marketing are all keys to success, but paying someone else for them adds up quickly.

When you’re launching your business, your brand identity is your single greatest asset. It’s the welcome mat that greets people when they click on your site or blog. It’s your calling card on social media. It’s how you present your business to the world.

In other words, your brand identity is kind of a big deal.

Building an identity that rings true to your business and appeals to your target market is an essential step in launching your business. Creating that brand yourself, especially if you’ve never designed before, can be a daunting task, but it is doable!

diy branding chantal boyajian orange juice diaries gust blogger sami yuhas.jpg
Here are my three tips for amazing DIY branding:

Know Your Audience, And Your Competition

In order to create a brand that speaks to your audience, you need to know who they are. You need to know how they describe themselves, how they present themselves, and how they want to be seen. Your goal is to position yourself as a standout professional aligned with those ideals.

You can then use these qualities to create mood boards. I like Pinterest for this, as the search feature is literally designed to let you pop in any term your heart desires and find corresponding images. As you create your boards, certain trends will emerge. Colors and font styles will pop out, as well as imagery. This may be the first sense you get of what your eventual brand will look like!

But, it’s also time to do a little research. As you pin, you’ll likely come across others in your field, trying to do the same thing your business does. Pay close attention to your competition, not to steal from them, but to stand out from them.

I’ll give you an example. In certain niches, brush script fonts are big these days. Generally, these niches are targeting women anywhere from 21-35 across a variety of needs and interests. The brush script style, while beautiful, has reached saturation, it won’t create a memorable impression unique to your brand. You’re better off to define what qualities you like about a particular style and look for alternatives that meet those criteria.


Pull From Quality Resources, Not Google Images

Part of what can make branding so pricey is the cost of resources. Fonts, stock photos, and custom clip art can add up quickly. If you’re not careful, you’ll invest enough in graphic goodies to have paid a professional branding expert before you even realize it.

Finding free resources can be every bit as daunting. Google Images will give you images with copyrights. Not all fonts on DaFont.com are cleared for commercial use. Microsoft clip art looks cheap and cheesy, as it probably should, in this case.

So, what are you to do? Let’s get crafty.

Markerbook serves a clearinghouse for free, high quality design resources, ranging from patterns to tools to stock photos. Unsplash provides beautiful photos that don’t feel like stock. FontSquirrel is a library of gorgeous, commercially-licensed fonts. If you need something a little more substantial, and are willing to play the proverbial slots, Creative Market has six weekly freebies; they’re always high-quality, but may not always be what you’re looking for.

Limit Your Palette, Less Really Is More

I can’t overemphasize this: whether you’re choosing fonts or colors, less is more.

The goal is to create a palette you can consistently build from, not keep’em guessing with variety. Ideally, you want a color palette of no more than three colors, knowing you’ll be able to add in black, white, and grey as needed. For fonts, you want to select a flashy header font and a subdued, eye-friendly body font that work well together.

Branding is an investment in your business, even if that investment is just your time. Think things through, follow these tips, and you too can create a brand that’s every bit as beautiful as you!

 

sami yuhas guest blogger chantal boyajian diy branding

Sami Yuhas is a graphic and instructional designer, with an M.Ed in Learning, Design, and Technology from Penn State.

In July of 2015, she left her job to found what would become Orange Juice Diaries. Sami has crafted courses for K-8 students, women-owned startups, and the United States Department of Defense. She offers complete course design and development services, as well as a full suite of branding and graphic design for all your business needs.

Twitter: @ojdiaries

Pinterest: @ojdiaries

Instagram: @orangejuicediaries

Facebook: /OrangeJuiceDiaries

 

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