Yesterday, I was reading an article in Family Circle that discussed the importance of building your own brand identity. Of course, I’ve always heard that branding is important. What I never realized though is that I was misunderstanding what branding actually is.
In the past, I thought branding was only about having a pretty logo and your colors matching your website. That stuff is important, but that’s only the half of it!
What really resonated with me in the article is when the writer discussed how your brand should be an example of what you are trying to portray to the world, rather than just design appearances. Once I read that, it was like a lightbulb clicked in my head. It caused me to take a look around my own blog and see if my brand was on point. I hate to say that it was not. My old logo just seemed way too formal to me and cold, which isn’t the look I am going for.
This resulted in me coming up with a whole new branding board over the last few days and digging deep down to realize what I wanted my brand and identity to be. I’m in the midst of updating everything, but the process was so fun for me and so helpful in helping me decide where to take this blog that I decided to share with you! I hope this helps you develop your own brand also. 😊
1. Write a List of Adjectives to Describe Your Brand
When I first started the process, I decided that I really needed to figure out what my brand actually entails. This is harder than it sounds! When I found myself getting stumped, I got out a pen and piece of paper (you know, the old fashioned way 😉) and wrote down a list of adjectives I thought could be used to describe my intent behind CL. On my list, I had things such as simple, classic, clean, and inviting. This helped me narrow down the look I was going for.
2. Find Inspiration Photos
I know this is near the bottom of the branding board, but I feel like this is one of the most important steps! Take to Pinterest, your favorite magazines, etc. to find images that you feel could be used to describe your brand. You could also do this first if you have a hard time with #1. What do the images have in common? Are they traditional or modern? Busy or simple? Warm or cool?
This was probably the easiest part for me in the process because I automatically knew what images I wanted my blog to portray. I’ve been obsessed with this kitchen for years and hope to have mine look like it one day. The flowers with the vase is one of my favorite arrangements I have in my house and just screams classic/cozy to me.
3. Choose Your Color Palette
After you have chosen your inspiration photos for your brand, next is a good idea to choose your color scheme. These are the colors that you will be using throughout your whole branding, so it is not a decision to take lightly! I recommend pulling colors from your inspiration photos (I mean, you did choose those for a reason 😉). It will help keep your brand on point.
4. Next Up: Fonts!
Oh fonts. Honestly, this was the hardest part for me. I would pick a couple and create the whole branding board, then decided I did not like them and started all over again. The best advice I can give for fonts is go with your gut and take cues from your inspiration photos. Simple and traditional? Go with some serif fonts. Whimsical? A handwritten calligraphy font might be the one for you. Modern and mainstream? Try a font with clean lines, such as a sans serif.
For my photos, they each screamed simple and traditional. When I tried a calligraphy font, it just didn’t look right. Pair a thick with a thin font and when in doubt, use italics! Try a few out and just see which you like best. It might surprise you!
5. Logo Time!
Now that you have picked out your style, it is time to get to designing your logo. Use the colors and fonts that you have already chosen (that’s really half the work!). Getting stumped? Pinterest really will be your best friend. Take a look at other businesses and see what elements you like from their logos. Whatever you do though, make sure you do not copy. The point of branding is to be unique and original, so be yourself! 😊
For my logo, I knew I wanted to put my name as the bottom line. I also wanted to include our wedding year as the established date. I also knew I wanted to include some kind of graphic, but I wasn’t sure. I absolutely love laurels, but one of my favorite blogs uses this already and I didn’t want to copy. After a lot of brainstorming, I finally decided on a hydrangea since it is my favorite flower.
Just remember that there is no time limit for this (or any) of the steps! If you design a logo that you are on the fence about whether or not to use it, take a couple of days to think about it. It will help give you perspective.
6. Add Some Variations
After you create your main logo, you might want to create variations of it to use in other places as well. Instead of doing a logo variant, so to speak, I decided to just do a circular logo that I can use as a watermark if need be. It still has the feel of my main logo, but looks different at the same time. 😉
Also, in this step, you want to create a favicon to match your branding for your website. A favicon is the little image that appears in the url bar next to your domain name. They are generally 32×32 px. In addition to this, I decided to do a pin it image as well just to match my colors.
7. Add Patterns
The final decision step of your branding journey is to add some patterns! This is mainly used if you are going to incorporate them in social media and is completely optional. I thought about not doing them, but then created a few just in case.
8. Put It All Together
In this last step, you are putting your board together. I really recommend doing this just to make sure it all matches and goes into the direction that you intended. You can use mine as an example of where everything goes. 😊
Have you started your branding yet? I’d love to see what you come up with in the comments!