Creating a unique brand identity can be challenging, especially if you are not a designer. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all of the gorgeous imagery on social media these days and end up with something that isn’t quite you. So, how do you pinpoint your brand style so that you don’t end up looking like everyone else on Pinterest? I’ll help you get started.
There are several tools and processes that designers use to craft unique brands. But I always start with is a simple brainstorm. This involves simply jotting down a list of all the words that I associate with the brand. But you can easily miss some unique ideas if you don’t have a list to use. So I’ve put together a worksheet to help you out.
Click on the link below to download your free worksheet and let’s get started.
- Now that you’ve got your worksheet in front of you, take a look at the questions and consider your answers.
- Now circle all the words that you associate with your brand and the image you want to portray to your target audience.
- Reduce this list down to your top ten and write them down in the space provided.
- Now let’s reverse the process. Read through the list and identify which words that don’t reflect your style and write them down as well.
- Feel free to add any of your own words to the list.
Did you have an aha moment?
So how did you go? Did you discover anything new about yourself? Like who you are? and who you definitely are not?
Now compare your word list with your current brand style. Have a look at your Instagram feed, Facebook page, or website. Do they match? Or are they conflicting? Are your design elements communicating the right message to your target audience?
When I did this exercise not only did it help me to clarify what brand I wanted to create, but also helped me to identify who I wasn’t and were I was going ‘off-brand.’
Too many small businesses get this wrong
Too many times I see small businesses with poorly thought out branding that doesn’t reflect who they really are. They choose colours based on personal preferences, typography because its free and outdated poor quality images.
But if you know who you are you can avoid making these mistakes and communicate the right message to your target audience.
Applying your new style
By using elements such as colour, typography and imagery correctly, you can create a unique brand style that reflects who you really are. Think of them as tools you can use to communicate with your audience. How? Let me explain…
Colour theory is a whole area of expertise in itself. But let’s keep things simple. Colour evokes emotion. Imagine walking into a hospital with bright red walls! How would you feel? Angry? Unsettled? A little crazy? It’s for this reason that hospital interiors are painted in soft soothing shades of green and blue to create a calm and balanced environment.
Colour has a language of its own so it’s important that the colours you choose for your brand are communicating the right message to your target audience.
Cool Colours – If you selected Calm, Harmony and Serenity, then a cooler colour palette would be a great way to communicate this. Or maybe use an Analogous Colour Palette (colours that are close to each other on the colour wheel), so the colours are harmonious and not competing against each other, like blue and green. But I would steer clear of using a primary colour palette like blue, yellow and red as it would be too jarring and wouldn’t communicate calm, harmony and serenity.
Warm Colours – If you have discovered that your style is Warm, Earthy and Rustic then you can easily reflect this in your colour palette. Reds, yellows and oranges are all warm colours. Whereas, blues and greens are cooler colours. So, using pale blue in your logo design wouldn’t communicate ‘warm and earthy’ to your target audience.
High Contrast – If you choose Strong, Striking and Shocking you might want to communicate this via your colour palette. A great way to do this would be to use colours that have a high contrast – like hot pink and bright yellow. That would definitely be shocking.
Target Audience – Don’t forget to consider your target audience when choosing your colour palette. What colours will appeal to them? If your target audience is primarily children, then a fun vibrant colour palette may apply.
Saturation – the amount of saturation of the colour can also have an impact. Using lighter colours can portray a soft and gentle tone. Whereas using heavily saturated colours can portray a rich and heavy tone.
Just like colour, typography can also provoke emotion and be used to communicate messages. Imagine you walked into your local bank only to find their logo was in a childish handwritten font. What message would this send? Does this say professional, trustworthy and corporate? Typography is another tool you can use to communicate the right message to your target audience. Things to consider when selecting your fonts:
Target Market – Who are you trying to target? Men, women, children or maybe other businesses? What fonts will appeal to them? Some fonts feel more feminine, whilst others have a more masculine feel. Tall thin lines look feminine, whereas bold thick lines look more masculine.
Type Empathy – You can easily find fonts that have a distinct character about them – like retro or vintage. The typeface you choose can easily communicate your desired style.
Legibility – You know the drill you’ve found the most gorgeous font and can’t wait to use it for your logo…only problem is you can’t read it. It’s a basic concept that some overlook. Before making your choice make sure you the typeface you choose is legible and readable.
Free fonts vs Premium fonts – There are some awesome free fonts on the market, but I’m a big believer in using premium fonts if you have the budget. Free fonts are easily accessible and have oversaturated the market. Using free fonts mean you run the risk of looking like everyone else. So many brands make this mistake. Which is crazy when you consider the whole process of branding is to set yourself apart from your competition. So, if your serious about creating a unique brand then invest in some quality typefaces.
And lastly imagery. A few things to consider:
Quality – As the saying goes – you only get one chance to make a first impression. So if you are using outdated poor quality imagery…then what do you think your potential customers are going to assume about your brand? Outdated and poor quality? Nobody wants to be known for this, so don’t use images that reflect this.
Hire a Professional – If you have discovered that your style is more Corporate and Professional then you may consider hiring a professional photographer to ensure this is portrayed through your imagery.
Expression -You can easily express who you are via your imagery. I live in Australia and love coffee, so I use tropical imagery and coffee imagery to reflect this.
I hope this resource was helpful and set you in the right direction. Remember to continue to reassess and check in to ensure your brand is one that truly reflects who you are.
Creating a unique brand identity can be challenging, especially if you are not a designer. Use our worksheet to pinpoint your unique brand style.
Want to make your designs faster, easier and more effective? There’s no need to spend hours crafting layouts page by page. By using master pages you can create consistent page layouts in Adobe InDesign fast.