All right, you know it is time for you to build your brand and start helping others with your products or services. Congrats! It is a big step but I promise you it will be such a fun and rewarding experience!I want you to make the best of your online presence (Website and Social) and to achieve that you need a good foundation: Clarity about your visual identity.You are probably very excited to start posting and building your Website but please take a moment to reflect on your current branding and see if you got the following branding basics:
I am sure you have thought about creating a logo for your business. Normally that is the first thing small business owners will do after they decide on a name for the business. And I know that these two steps can be very time-consuming, because no one wants to make the wrong decision, right?
If you don't have a logo yet there are a few different ways you can approach this. You can:
- DIY from scratch (very personal solution, but not very easy if you don't have the tools)
- Get a template on Canva (it is an easy and cheap, but limited in formats, and maybe every second business out there will have the same logo as you)
- Find a template on Creative Market or other platforms (affordable solution but also the risk of repetition is real)
- Buy a template from a designer you love (Some designers only sell templates once or very few times so you can still have something beautifully done that is not 100% exclusive for you, but will do the job)
- Hire a designer to do it for you (If you want a more strategic approach and a custom-made solution for YOU, your business model, and industry. This may seem like the most expensive option (at first) but you won't need to rebrand anytime soon, so maybe it is indeed worth the investment.)
Even if you have a very simple logo: make sure to have different file formats available. SVGs are great but not all platforms accept SVG files, that's why I think PNGs are more versatile.
Technically you don't need a bunch of different colors to build your website, but let's be honest that a black and white website is not the most visually interesting option out there (even though I am sure we can find amazing examples proving me wrong). Normally "black letters on a white background" would just look so very boring and outdated hahaha.
Here is just a reminder that it doesn’t cost you extra to use beautiful color palettes for your online presence (that is not the case for print products).
The most important thing when it comes to colors is to make sure there is enough contrast between Type and Background and also between Call-To-Action (Links and Buttons) and Background.
I would say you need at least 3 colors to build your brand, but of course, you can use some more. Just remember to have a hierarchy and to use them consistently. Make sure to have the RGB, CMYK, but most importantly: the HEX Codes - you will need those all the time!
All right everyone, this chapter can be very tricky. If you are not a designer this can be even more challenging than choosing the right colors. There are just so many fonts out there, how can someone decide?
I always try to use two different fonts for a branding and web project. One for the Headlines and one for paragraph text. Maybe you want a third one for subheadings or navigation/buttons. If your logo is typographic, let's do our best not to repeat that same font (exceptions will happen for sure). If you have a handlettered logo you don't even have to worry about that.
I advise my clients to go with a payed, great quality font for their Headlines, since those are the most prominent ones and it's nice to find something a bit more special that you dont see in every other site.
For the paragraph text I like to go with Google Fonts. They have a lot of good options and the best part is that the fonts are free to use.
Typewolf is my favourite site when it comes to researching type and how the fonts are applied in real life projects and combined with others. This step helps me and my clients get a better feeling on how to use a specific font.
Pro-Tip: many foundries offer trial versions of their fonts. If you can't find it on the website, you can always reach out to them and ask. Please make sure to purchase the right kind of license. When in doubt: get in touch with the foundry and they will be happy to support you.
I have to say that it will be a mission impossible to build a website without amazing photos. If you don't have photos you will need amazing illustrations or other graphics to make your website come to life.
I always help my clients to find the right photographer for their needs and we all work together to make sure the designer and photographer are on the same page. Hiring a photographer is (in my humble opinion) one of the best investments when establishing a brand.
If you don't have enough budget yet, maybe you can find a photographer that will be interested in a collaboration. This way you can both help each other and build your local network.
What I don't recommend is choosing one branding color and going all-in with that one color on your photoshoot. There is nothing more boring than a set full of red props just to match the red on the logo. Instead: do not be afraid to play, use similar colors, different shades and have fun. Let's not be too uptight about it.
This issue is a real struggle for me, since I see those images everywhere, also at huge sites. I think those images can be soooo boring and it bothers me so much that I prefer to leave certain websites because of that (I know, I am just a "tiny-bit-too-nerdy" for this sh*t).
So if you see that the image you want to use has hundreds of thousands of downloads - I would suggest you keep searching for less obvious options.
My favorite stock images are from Moyo Studio. If you are a creative professional I am sure you will enjoy their products as well.
When you are ready to upload your images to your website don't forget to optimize them for a better SEO. Name your pictures in a way that describes the image and reduces its size. The easiest way to do this is with TinyPNG - highly recommend you check it out.
I hope I could give you some insights on how to get your branding right! If you have any questions don't hesitate to reach out on Instagram - just send me a DM and I will get back to you asap. :)