As you may know already, I have a degree in Graphic Design + used to work in a international non-profit marketing department as their Creative + Branding Manager for 2 1/2 years. Design is a passion of mine + I can always appreciate great design work! This week I thought I’d share 3 key components to create a visual brand whether you’re a designer or not.
A logo (+ logo family) is the first + most important step in creating your visual brand identity. You want your logo to represent who you are as a person + what your brand is about. I would have you start with a asking yourself a few questions like this…
What is your current business name?
What is your business about?
Why do you do what you do?
Using 5 adjectives / short phrases, describe your brand’s desired look + feel.
What are 3-5 brands that inspire you + what do you like most about them?
Remember it’s good to draw inspiration from people’s businesses that you look up to + strive to be like, but NEVER straight up copy someone!
After thinking about + answering those questions. I would then create a few primary logo options to choose from. After choosing which logo would best fit your brand you can create some logo marks. A logo mark is a smaller version of your logo to use when the primary logo can’t be used (ex. in a small profile image on a social media platform such as Instagram or Pinterest).
Here’s an example of a primary logo + a logo mark…
I highly recommend using Adobe Illustrator to create your logo + logo marks. Illustrator is a vector (mathematical equations) based program whereas Photoshop is a raster (pixels) based program. When you use Illustrator to create your logo, you will be able to make that logo as large or as small as you like without distortion or pixelation.
The next key component to a visual brand is having + using consistent typefaces. I recommend choosing 2 – 3 font families for your brand. Anymore than that can look busy + just messy.
Here is a breakdown of different typeface categories (using my brand typefaces as an example)…
Here is a simple definition to help you differentiate between Serif + San Serif typefaces…
“In typography, a serif is a small line or stroke regularly attached to the end of a larger stroke in a letter or symbol within a particular font or family of fonts. A typeface or “font family” making use of serifs is called a serif typeface, and a typeface that does not include them is a sans-serif one.”
Having a serif typeface paired with a san serif typeface is the perfect way to start choosing your brand typefaces. Adding in a script typeface as an accent font (headlines, titles, etc.) adds some nice character as well! Try not to overuse script fonts because they can be messy + hard to read when not used properly.
Choosing a color palette is always a lot of fun! I ALWAYS make sure my logo work can stand alone with no color (just black + white) before adding color to it. Adding a color to a logo should enhance it not make the logo complete. Once you know that you have a strong logo (+ logo family) you can start adding in some color. I recommend putting together a mood board on Pinterest + in Photoshop of some logos, photos + colors that inspire you + your brand. Than choose the colors from that mood board.
Here’s an example of a few I have done for some past clients…
Notice how all the colors come straight from the images on the mood board!
Things to keep in mind…
A brand is so much more than the pretty visual art that represents it. It is also, what your brand stands for (brand promise + core values). When creating a visual brand be sure to also establish what you do + why you do what you do. Figure out your brand promise + your core values for your business first!
Consistency is key! Using the typefaces, colors + logo you’ve established on everything you create is important to keep your brand consistent. This helps your potential clients + past clients be able to recognize your brand instantly.
Hopefully this helps you getting started on creating a simple visual brand identity for your business.
Learn more tips + tricks like this at workshop I’m teaching at this summer!