The Small Business Guide to Designing Your Brand
Congratulations on starting your own business. No doubt, you’re excited to get started on designing business cards, advertisements and building a website. But wait a second! Before you begin, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Your business needs an identity—one that will help it stand out in this 21st century world of web surfing and speed-reading.
You need a BRAND.
What Exactly is a Brand?
Your business’s brand is its face. It’s the first impression people have of your company, and for that reason, you need to ensure it’s the best it can be. You see company brands every day—from the Starbucks mermaid in green and white, to Google’s rainbow logo in your browser. A company’s brand is just as important as its product.
Think of it this way: if a financial advisor’s logo was designed in neon pink and green with Comic Sans font, would you even consider hiring them over their competitor? Probably not.
A brand should be focused on a style that compliments the company. For example: a technology business should keep a modern feel. On the flip side, if your business is a bit quirky—like a bakery with a passion for unique flavors—add some fun and flair into your brand.
What You Need For a Well-Rounded Brand
Aside from the logo, there are a few more things you need to include in your company’s brand.
Primary and Accent Colors
These should be the colors you use for everything related to your business—from website to print. The typical palette should include at least two colors, and no more than four. Ideally, you should choose both a dark and light color, and at least one neutral shade.
A good resource for creating your color palette is Coolors.co, where you can choose from existing color pairings or make your own. Keep in mind that some colors compliment certain business fields. A company that specializes in all-natural spa products would be better suited to using light purples and blues rather than bold reds and oranges.
This goes without saying, but every brand uses a font, and in order to stand out, you need to choose the right one for you. However, there are millions to choose from, and not all of them leave a lasting impression. So how do you choose?
Google Fonts are great choices because they are available across programs and operating systems, and are free to download. Plus, you can easily find a list of the latest and greatest fonts from their library.
Once you have a font chosen, you have another important decision. Pick another one. That’s right—a good brand uses a combination of two fonts. Think of it like using headers and body text. Using one font for everything would be boring, and too many fonts would make it difficult to focus on your content.
A great resource to help you choose your fonts is Fontpair.co—where you can browse pairings of Google Fonts. Canva.com also has a generator for those who already decided on one font, and can’t seem to find the perfect partner for it.
This is ultimately what determines everything else in your brand, from logo to font. Is your brand fun and artistic, with a love of color? Or is your brand traditional—with a strictly professional look to sell corporate services? Once you decide on your overall style (which should be based on who your dream customers are), let’s get into the details.
How to Find Your Style
Style is more than fonts and colors—although they are a major part. It’s also about the feel of your company.
To put it simply, try to imagine the homepage of your website, or a printed ad for your business. What does it look like? Is it mostly clean lines and modern sans serif fonts? Or are there circular designs and a script font? Maybe you’d like your branding to be as minimalistic as possible.
Here are some easy ways to discover the style you’d like to use for your own company:
- Search for companies in a similar field to yours, or for existing templates designed for businesses like yours. Here’s a little secret: professional designers do this too.
- Check out some of your favorite companies and see what you like and don’t like about their brands. Even if they’re in a different field than you, studying them objectively can help you determine how you’d like your own brand to look.
How to Make a Logo
The most identifiable part of a company’s brand is its logo. It’s what introduces your business and what services it provides. If you need some help with design, think about the logos you see that catch your eye. What draws you to them?
There are two ways to get a logo: hire a graphic designer, or make it yourself. When you’re first starting out, you may not have the resources to hire a designer. Thankfully, there are websites to help you make your own logo.
The following companies offer tools to help you make your logo from scratch, or modify one of their existing templates.
- Squarespace Logo Maker (free to existing Squarespace customers)
Designing Your Brand is Easier Than You Think
Creating your brand might have seemed like a daunting task before, but if you use our guide, it’s actually quite simple. Plus, it can be fun and rewarding! Use this time in your business’s life to pour some heart and soul into it, and ensure potential clients and customers feel as warmly about your company as you do.
And hey, if you need some help, our team of designers is here to back you up.