Creating a brand identity is one of the most important things that you can do for your blog or business. If you want to take your blog to the next level, appear professional, and builds your audience’s trust, then you need to focus on your branding. Branding is your vision + your voice + your visuals. Branding is the set of expectations and relationships that a consumer takes into account when purchasing a product or service over another. Brand Identity are the elements used to visually represent the company and usually compiled in a Brand Board or Style guide. So we are going to discuss how these play a part in your brand identity and how it all comes together to create a brand board that you can use across your blog or business. Branding is more than just making things look pretty. There are many pieces that comes together to create your brand identity.
Your Vision and Research.
Before creating your visuals you need to have a vision. Your vision includes your mission, your values, your target audience, knowing your competitors, etc. You want to make sure that your visuals are going to reflect your vision appropriately. You should be able to answer the following questions about your brand:
– What is your unique selling proposition (USP)? What makes your business or blog unique?
– Who are your competitors? Know your competitors but don’t do what they are doing.
– What are the values and beliefs behind your blog or business? What is your purpose? What benefits do your customers get from your product or service? (Solve a problem, help people achieve something, or diminish fear?)
– Who is your target audience? How do you plan on marketing to them?
– If you need to pitch your business in 25 seconds, what would you say you do?
Now that you have done your research and know more about your market, you need to decide on what your voice is going to be. What is going to fit well the best with your brand and your audience?
Determine your voice: Casual, Proper, or Unique?
Casual: Very conversational and approachable. Using words that are more like a conversation with a friend.
Proper: Informative and direct. Most large corporations use a proper dialogue.
Unique: A voice that is unique to that brand could deter some people but it really attracts a specific group. Some brands choose to use cuss words in their every day branding. This will attract a certain group of people, while others may hate it.
For most, this is the fun part. We have to take all the information and apply it to the visuals so that it represents the brand. So your logo, colors, fonts, patterns, etc have to reflect your business/blog. Before creating your brand board I suggest creating a mood board. This will help you put your ideas into a visual mood board. If you need help creating your own mood board: read this post.
Your Brand Board usually includes the following elements:
This is the main logo that you should be using as much as possible. This is the one that people will use to recognize your business so you want to make sure that you are consistently using it. If you need help designing your own logo, read this post. I also offer premade logos in the shop.
Sometimes the main logo doesn’t quite fit into all places, so the alternate logo will look slightly different but could be a vertical version, a different color, or a different texture but still similar to the main logo.
You should only choose 2-3 fonts for your branding. One font should be your header/title font and the other should be the font you use for your text. If you are going to use a third font, you can use a script/display font or something that is going to be used sparingly. Usually script/display fonts are harder to read so you wouldn’t want to use them as body text.
When selecting a font, remember that fonts have their own personalities and they reflect different tones. If your brand is more serious and you determined that your voice is more proper, then you want to select a font that reflect this. This means that you don’t want to choose a font that looks childish, too playful, or a script.
Choose a font that targets your audience. If you have an audience of mostly women then a script font will work. however, if you are targeting men, then a script font isn’t going to attract them to your brand.
Most color palettes will consist of 5 colors. Colors are just like fonts, where each color has it’s own personality. For more information about choosing a color palette read this post.
Most brand boards include photography inspiration. This can be inspiration behind the brand and it can also include how you would like your images to appear in your brand. Are they going to be feminine, bright, and pink or are they going to be deep and moody colors, etc. I like including images because it helps reinforce your brand when you are looking at your brand board to ensure that you are staying consistent.
Sometimes patterns are included and sometimes they aren’t. I like to include patterns. These patterns are used for any graphic elements throughout your brand whether it is your website, blog post graphics, business cards, etc. I like using patterns because they help create consistency among your brand.
Beyond the colors and fonts, you must extend all of those details to the rest of the branding. I usually create a website or print collateral for a client so I will add this on to their brand board. If I create a website, then I will add the screenshots to a mockup of a computer screen. If I created business cards or a letterhead, ebook, etc then I will create a mockup according to what it is.
Now that you know what is supposed to be included on your own Brand Board you can begin to create your own. These brand boards will be there for you to refer back to ensure that you have brand consistency. I always have mine open when I am designing for my brand so I can make sure I am using the correct colors, fonts, and overall look and feel.
I will use Photoshop or Illustrator to create my own brand style guides but I thought that I would make it super easy for you and give you the Photoshop template that I use for my actual business. You will get the same Photoshop file that I used to create the board shown above.
The Photoshop template uses smart object so you can just drop your images into the board, change the colors to match your brand, and change the fonts. It is super easy to customize and you can use it for any blog or business branding board.