This has to be my favouritest ever quote about branding, from one of my favourite people – Karen Gunton. Your brand is not something that’s cemented onto you permanently, so don’t stress about choosing colours and fonts and then feeling anxious because you’re stuck with it. Or even failing to choose anything at all.
You’re not stuck. As much as you should be deliberate about choosing your branding (and you absolutely must take your time, choose carefully and deliberately), as much as you should be consistent with it, and as much as you should live with it and give it time, take the pressure off yourself.
Choose it, use it. Love it, live it. Tweak it.
And change it when you’re absolutely certain it’s no longer a good fit. Like I said last week, you’ll know when that is.
OH MY GOODNESS. So freaking proud of this little baby – it’s the new e-course I wrote for Jess Van Den over at Create & Thrive, specifically aimed at makers in business who want to get all their ducks in a row (and their branding right).
Seriously, how good are these testimonials about it already!? –
I am so glad I decided to do this course – I wish I could have done it years ago!
Even though I’ve had my business for a couple of years and have been continually working on creating a cohesive brand, this course really helped me to identify some areas where I was lacking and some that I hadn’t even thought of.
It’s delivered in manageable chunks, is easy to follow and is full of thought provoking ideas. The daily action steps are easy to complete and very worthwhile. – ~ Vicki O’dell-Fontana
The Brand Your Craft course is a definite must-do for anyone running a handmade business, or even looking at starting one.
With simple step-by-step daily actions, it will help you to develop the design skills you need to create your own unique brand.
You don’t need to be a designer to start.
This course will give you everything you need to learn the basics so you can build your own beautiful brand for your business. ~ Donna Duncombe
Or this –
[This] latest class on branding is amazing whether you’re just getting started in business, or have been doing this for a while.
It’s delivered in a way that’s easy to consume yet packs a huge punch – you end up accomplishing so much over the 14 days!
I’ve done a lot of work on my brand, but there’s always room to grow, and this course helped me step back and look at my branding with fresh eyes, tightening and adjusting to make it even stronger.
Most of all: I love that it’s aimed specifically at product-based businesses, so I could really relate it to what I do!~ Arielle Rassel
So yeah, I know I wrote it and all and of course I reckon it’s pretty darn good, but you really can’t beat testimonials like that. If you run a handmade biz, you’ll love it. Promise.
It’s a $65 investment, runs for 14 days, with one lesson per day delivered in written format. Check all the details here.
OK! You’re excited! You’re busting to go! You’ve got those fonts sorted! You’ve got your colours too! You’ve found the most awesome-est collection of public domain/creative commons images EVA, and you’ve been to the photographer and got some super hot shots for your profile pics. Let’s do it! YAY!
But here’s the thing: your brand will not, in all likelihood, come together at once. How on earth do you put those graphic design elements together in a meaningful and consistent way? How big should each element be? Where should everything go?Layout/composition is yet another piece of the branding puzzle. You need to consider it for every graphic you put out into the world. What goes on your business card and where? Your website design? Flyers? SM graphics? Packaging? And what about those fancy watercolour overlays you want to include? Or those colour blocks? Where do you use them? And how much do you use? How much is too much?
It seems there are endless decisions to make (and perhaps there are). But the important thing is to start. Keep your brand style guide close by, and keep one eye on it every time you make yourself a new graphic. At the same time, keep the other eye on your ideal customer and ask them, do they like it? Is it balanced/edgy/real/beautiful/wild/romantic/whatever enough for them? And does it feel right for you and your brand?
Once you’ve settled on your style guide, stick to it (for a good while at least). Tweak it, don’t change it. You’ll grow into it, and it’ll become more and more comfortable, like your favourite pair of jeans. And like your favourite pair of jeans, you’ll get to know what accessories look good – use your style guide frequently and you’ll know how to mix and match your elements so that they look right every time. Keep practising, keep going, and get inventive with what you have.
And yes of course, in all likelihood there’ll come a time when those jeans don’t feel right any more – they’re old and daggy and it’s time for a complete change. You’ll know when that is.
(Update: You can find all 5 of my best tips for branding here)