Brand Identity

Brand Design 101 | Brand Design Tips to Help Your Creative Business Grow

In this article, I’m here to talk to you about Brand Design, A.K.A Brand Identity. I want to give you a Brand Design 101 class with amazing tips for how you can help your creative business grow, through branding.

What is brand design?

Firstly, it’s important to explain how Brand Design differs from Brand Strategy.

In a recent post I was talking to you all about Brand Strategy, what it means, why you need it, and what's included. Today we're talking about Brand Design, but how is that different? In the brand strategy ultimate guide I gave you a metaphor about baking a cake, explaining that Brand Strategy is all of the preparation that you do before you build the cake; before you get stuck in with your apron on and start baking.

Brand strategy is all about the planning and preparation work beforehand. It's getting the vision, goals, mission, ingredients and the instructions together so that you're ready to bake your cake.

Brand design is about actually baking the cake. Once you have clarity around what you do, what you offer, and how you're gonna do it, it’s about putting it into action, putting the ingredients together, and turning it into an actual cake that people can see take part in.  

Brand Design is all about creating these tangible things that people can hold or see or read or hear or experience, when it comes to your brand. This is all about standing out and representing yourself in the best way possible, and elevating your brand and your business to match who you are and where you want to be.

When you have a really great Brand Design you feel super confident, excited and passionate about sharing your brand and your business with the world. It's a really powerful thing for you as a creative to feel that confidence and clarity, and feel like the creativity in your brand matches the creativity of your art.

The three stages of brand design

So let's talk about how it's done. Step one or pillar one in my Make Your Mark branding model is clarity, and that covers the Brand Strategy portion of things. Now we’re talking about creativity – this is all about Brand Design. The three steps within creativity are:

  • Defining your vibe
  • Making your vision visible
  • Boosting your brand.
The Make Your Mark Model
The Make Your Mark Model

DEFINE YOUR VIBE

Translating clarity to creativity

Defining your vibe is really exciting. It's the transition point between all of that clarity work that you did in figuring out the foundations of your brand's personality, voice, tone, the people that you're talking to, the direction that you want to go in, and the goals that you have, and then turning that into something visual.

In defining your vibe we're figuring out how do we do that, and what direction we want to go down visually.

You should be thinking about:

  • What are my brand attributes?
  • What does my brand look and feel like?
  • How should people feel when they experience my brand?
  • What are some visual things I can be inspired by?
  • Who has some messaging I could be inspired by?
  • What other parts of your brand can I find inspiration for?

Then you can put this together into a moodboard. I *love* moodboards so much.

Moodboards

This is a really great snapshot of what your brand should look and feel like. It's kind of a pre-design design task, because you can really refine what your brand is like before you get too stuck into what colours, fonts, and logos you’re using. You can really set the direction from the beginning. It saves a lot of time, money, stress and hassles down the road because if you spend the time getting the moodboard right and defining your vibe really clearly, then when you get the next part, all of that stuff is super easy and straightforward because you know the direction you're going in.

MAKE YOUR VISION VISIBLE

Then that leads to the next part which is making your vision visible. This is about finding those colours, fonts, logos, patterns, images, icons, and whatever else it is that you want to put into your brand. It's also non-visual things so things like audio and copywriting and customer experience – these are all things that are part of your brand but are not necessarily visual, so it's important to remember these things as well.

BOOST YOUR BRAND

Lastly is boosting your brand. This is where you take everything that you've just done figuring out the direction, defining your vibe, choosing all of those colours, fonts, logos and patterns and everything, and applying that to your whole business. This shouldn’t be done in a frivolous way just because you can, but in a really thoughtful and intentional way.

This could include applying your brand to things like your:

  • Website
  • Social media profiles
  • SEO
  • Customer service
  • Business cards
  • Flyers
  • Signage
  • YouTube banners or thumbnails
  • Patreon graphics,
  • Podcast artwork
  • Content
  • Client onboarding information
  • Employee onboarding
  • Invoices
  • Contracts

This is all about making sure that when people land on something of yours they know that it’s yours and they know what it’s about. If they do land on your podcast, Patreon or social media – wherever they might find you – they know that they've landed in the right place, they know who you are, they can see exactly what you do, and they can recognise you.

Creativity

So, let’s recap. Everything that goes into creativity and transforming that clarity that you've created into something tangible that people can experience, is defining your vibe, making your vision visible, and boosting your brand.

We want to figure out the direction that you're going in and get really clear on that, transform the clarity into a clear direction, use that direction to inform choosing colours, fonts, messaging, and everything that makes your brand tangible. And then you're gonna boost your brand, applying all of the things that you created across your business to keep everything consistent.

Hollie stands resting her hands on the white desk behind her, wearing a black t-shirt tucked into orange pants and clear glasses, and smiling into the camera.

by hollie arnett

The brand coach for creatives, hand-lettering artist for herself, and cup of tea lover forever.

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