Are you one of many business owners and bloggers who often get confused when they hear the term branding?
If so, you are not alone.
Maybe you think that branding is reserved strictly for large businesses and public figures. Or, even worse you think that your little business/blog has nothing to do with a brand. Or maybe you think that branding is just the logo.
This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth.
To put it simply: branding is the unique style, feel, and experience your clients, customers, and readers will have when they interact with your business, buy your services or goods, what impression they will be hit with when they come to your blog. Everything from your logo, business cards, how you interact with them, the quality of your services and goods, the tone of your posts, the overall look of your blog, how you interact with your readers in your blog comments on or social media is a part of your brand.
For example, if you are a personal development coach your overall goal is to make people feel better about themselves. Therefore, it would make no sense to utilize overly dark or overly vivid colors. Likewise, it would make no sense to use a very thick font, or promote products and offer services that have nothing to do with personal development.
If you are in the food business on the other hand, various shades of brown, tan, and orange colors would work well with your brand.
Your design and branding should be different if your ideal clients are women than if you target men. The same goes for age. If your audience is primarily teenagers you want to avoid dull and muted colors.
Knowing your ideal customer/client/reader can be a great asset in creating your brand.
What creates a successful brand?
Your business, whether you want to admit it or not reflects your personality. It doesn’t matter if you run a brick and mortar business or an online business. Your persona will come out.
One of the most important advice when it comes to branding is to stay true to yourself. This is even more important for an online-based business.
Even though we cannot see the expression on your face or your general body language, we can sense a lot from the tone of your writing.
Creating a fake persona online can backfire, and has the potential of ruining everything you worked hard for.
In order to create a successful brand, you have to be consistent. That is a lot easier to achieve when you are who you are. You don’t have to sound like an official statement from the government in order to be taken seriously. You can be professional and keep a sense of humor at the same time.
How does that apply to online entrepreneurs?
When it comes to consistency in general you have to keep this in mind:
- the general tone of your posts which also has to reflect on social media updates
- the color scheme used in your blog should translate to your social media profiles, your business card, and your media kit
- your fonts should be consistent – if you are creating graphics for your blog, try to keep the fonts used the same as the ones used in your blog design; likewise you shouldn’t change fonts with every blog post your write (I know a few who do this and it gets even worse when they choose a font that is hard to read)
Things to avoid:
- clashing colors (using yellow text on a white background is EXTREMELY hard to read!)
- hard to read fonts or script/handwritten fonts for your body copy
- please avoid using Comic Sans, Papyrus and Brush Script – those fonts have been used and overused so many times that it’s not fun anymore
- making a different cover image for different profiles. If people come across you on Facebook and then later on on Google+, you want them to know it’s you. Don’t confuse them by having a different look.
- background images that distract readers from reading your posts
- having ads all over the place
The meaning of colors
I mentioned colors several times. Every major color has been associated with a certain feeling. Color theory is a very broad area and some people have a knack for picking out colors that go well together, while others struggle in this area.
Generally speaking this is what Western world associates with each color:
- Red – Passion, love, energy, danger, strength, importance, powerful
- Orange – Heat, endurance, vitality, health, inviting
- Yellow – Happy, courage, energizing, pleasant, cheerful
- Green – Safety, wealth, nature, freshness, calming, renewing
- Blue – Loyalty, calming, truth, tranquility, responsibility
- White – Innocence, purity, clean, sterile, light
- Black – Elegance, power, death, grief, formal, authority
- Brown – Earthliness, warm, dependability, wistful, woodsy
When picking out colors, limit your choice to three colors at most: one that will be your main color, the second one that will complement your main color (used in collateral designs), and a third one that will be used for accents.
If you struggle with picking out colors for your brand, think about what you want to convey. How do you want your clients to feel when they interact with you?
How to choose fonts?
When it comes to fonts, they can play a large part in your brand design.
There used to be a time when you were limited on the font choices. Now with the introduction of Google Fonts and Typekit, the world is your oyster so to speak.
Keep in mind, that the more fonts you choose, the more complicated your branding will be. That’s why it’s a good idea to limit your fonts to two, or three at max.
When choosing fonts for your blog it’s important to know which roles will the fonts have. Bear in mind your:
- Blog Name
- Blog Description/Tagline
- Sidebar headings
- Navigation menu
It’s a good idea to group the roles together in order to achieve a consistent design. For example, headings, sidebar headings, and blog name could all share the same font. Your paragraphs, blog tagline and navigation menu can belong to another font family, and you could use a special font for your quotes (like a legible script font).
Branding may sound intimidating, but it is actually a fun process when you approach it with common sense and a good understanding of what you want your business or blog to represent. I hope these beginner tips help you get on the right track of creating your own brand.
Ready to get started on your creative brand? Download our handy worksheet to get you started!