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Your Most Common Branding Questions Answered

September 18, 2020

As a small business owner, you know how important a solid brand identity is. Not only does it allow you to stand out amongst your competitors (in a memorable way) but it also helps attract your ideal audience (aka paying customers).

But, creating a brand identity can be confusing and if you’re not in a place (yet) to hire a professional brand designer… things can get muddy. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of DIY-brands-gone-bad. To help you avoid that, I’ve put together a list of your most common brand design questions, answered, below.

So, use the insight gathered here to guide you in branding your small business until you’re in a place financially to invest in your business and hire a brand designer. Cheers!

Q: How can I make the most out of my company’s mission using visuals?

A: Your company’s mission is something we discuss during our strategy session. I personally believe that understanding your mission as a business owner is crucial to everything else and acts as a foundation to both your strategy and therefor your design. When you know what you do and why you do, with zero hesitation, you can start to better understand who you’re helping along the way (your ideal audience) and that helps us design a better brand identity overall.

Q: How can I be sure everything I launch in the future is inline with my brand identity?

A: When you invest in a professional brand design, you should walk away with a solid understanding of your new brand identity. That’s because a good brand designer will discuss and explain everything along the way PLUS send you off with brand guidelines that you and your team can use moving forward. Brand guidelines are what help keep your brand inline with your designer’s original concept, even as you grow. Also, most brand designers allow you to hire them to continue doing graphic design work using your new brand elements. This is known as a retainer package and allows you to buy out x-amount of hours from them per month, etc. to work on projects for you such as, social media graphics, email campaign graphics, website graphics, etc.

Q: What are the fundamentals of a good brand identity?

A: In my professional opinion, a good brand identity is 100% rooted in strategy research. If you’re designing a logo or other brand design elements without first understanding your business and your audience, it’s not rooted and will likely have to be redone or will never feel succinct.

Q: How do I increase brand recognition?

A: Brand recognition takes time. But I think that when you have a brand identity that can grow with you—one that’s easily consistent—that’s when you’ll see a growth in brand recognition. This is also why it’s so important to remember that a brand identity is SO much more than just a logo. If nothing about your business is consistent besides your logo, it’s a lot harder for people to recognize you as a brand.

Q: Why is brand strategy so important to brand design?

A: I touched on this a bit above but, it’s important because without it, your brand design is random—it has no roots; no meaning. Think of brand design like a tree—the ground is your audience and your niche, the roots make up your strategy and how it fits into your niche and your audience, the trunk is the core of your brand identity, and the branches are all the ways in which your business grows through the brand identity. You want a well rooted tree. One that has a strong trunk and can grow confidently. Right? That’s how you need to think about your brand strategy and how it fits into design and your business as a whole!

(Honestly, just came up with that on the spot ha! But I like it.)

Q: What do you think about done-for-you logos you can buy online?

A: Oh. Just no. You mean the “custom” logos you can buy on Etsy for like $10?

Sure, there’s a time and place for those types of logos. When you’re starting out and your budget is small… sure, they may help give your business a cohesive look and may be better than what you can provide for yourself. But guys, if you’re ready to take your business more seriously, promise not to give your business a $10 logo.

Not only do you miss out on all of the strategy but about 398,483 other people own that exact logo.

That gives you no leverage. No brand trust. No brand recognition. It just blends you in to the crowd… no bueno.

Q: How do I know when my business is ready for a professional brand design?

A: Hm, I’d say if you take your business seriously… you’re ready. Brand design is an investment. That means, it’s something you get a return on. You’ve got to spend money to make money as a business owner. That’s something I’ve struggled with myself but, as soon as it clicks… you’ll know.

Q: What do I need to have prepared before working with a brand designer?

A: Your designer should fill you in on this! As for me, I send my clients a questionnaire for them to fill out. We then hop on a call to fill in any blanks and chat about our project. If my client has any existing brand elements (like photography or an old logo) I like to see those, too! But that’s only if we’re expanding on an already existing brand rather than building a new brand identity. But in more general terms, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of what it is your business does (and for who), what problems you solve for your audience/ customers/ clients, what your audience values, what your business values, and why it’s important to you. If you’re unclear on any of that, your brand designer is there to help you clarify this—that’s part of the brand strategy experience (and what makes it so valuable)!

Ready to invest in a brand identity? Tell me about your project here!

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