How to make your brand sparkle

brand sparkle - god


“God is in the details” said the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

I’m inclined to agree. Structure is essential, and having an overall plan is a must, but the thing that makes it sing is in those little bits at the edges of perception – so, so good when you find them. It’s not just choosing the right font, the perfect colour; it’s how you use them, it’s what you add, it’s what you alter in a subtle way, it’s those bits that’ve been thought about, it’s how it’s finished.

When it comes to branding, I’m talking borders, overlays, underlays, textures. Not to mention devious twists.

Whatever you choose to add in, ALL of it should be filtered through your brand personality first. Of course, when you’re using colour – use your brand colours! Beyond that, when you’re choosing your flourishes and your curlicues, always ask yourself, what fits?

Before we go any further, Mies Van Der Rohe had something else to say.


Less is More.


Now you’ve got that, we can move on 😉

Let’s take a look at one of my favourite sites on blogging – Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog.

Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog

Design Your Own (Lovely) Blog


Marianne uses blocks of colour in her sidebar to group things together – not only does this separate it effectively from everything else, it also draws attention to different aspects of what she has to offer. And of course, she does it in her brand colours of coral, aqua and grey. Another way she adds interest is to use circles to draw attention to specific things on her site – her profile photo, and the word “lovely” on her blog header.

You can add life to your own site by adding in simple blocks of colour in strategic places – across the bottom of your website banner, as the headings of your sidebar sections, on your business cards and stationery, and on any press releases, e-books or other material you publish.

If you’d like something a bit more delicate or homey, use a fancy border style instead – zigzags or scallops add instant fun. Here’s an example of a very pretty WordPress theme from my friend Libby at Crimson Pear.

brand sparkle - crimson pear

The ‘Eloise’ WordPress theme from Crimson Pear


Or, try this sweet sewing border detail across the top of the beautifully clean yet feminine SewSewShoppe.

It's the details! Love the zigzag stitch border on SewSewShoppe

It’s the details! Love the zigzag stitch border on SewSewShoppe


Another idea to tie all of your design together is use a simple overlay. The immensely talented Jo Klima at The Darling Tree uses her own snowflake mandala-style geometrics to overlay images, with a wonderful result. Note too, the matching triangles in both the Menu tab and the shapes within her geometric. She always uses lots of white to offset the stronger main brand colours of purple and magenta and accents  with tiny bits of black.

one of Jo Klima's offerings at The Darling Tree

one of Jo Klima’s offerings at The Darling Tree



Special effects are also a great way to add in personality – try watercolour or goldleaf.

watercolour themed home page for

watercolour themed home page for

Watercolour’s been around for a little while, but I don’t see it going away any time soon. ReverieMade is the website for a New Jersey event manager.

Adding gold leaf (or any other texture – basketweave, crumpled paper, grass, velvet…) to an image is very easy if you want to add that kind of sparkle to your site. Marianne’s got a fab tutorial over at DYOB here.

how to add gold leaf (or any other texture) to text and images, on DYOB

how to add gold leaf (or any other texture) to text and images, on DYOB


Of course there are a zillion more ways of adding interest  your site; try googling a term like “feminine website design inspiration” to find plenty more inspiration!




Have you seen any great details on sites recently, big or small? Tell us about them! Share your inspiration around, and help make the world a prettier place for everyone.

Julie X

Getting the right branding for your business is the key to making it memorable.

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