BRANDING 101: THE ULTIMATE BRANDING GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BRANDING FOR BEGINNERS

When I started blogging close to two years ago, the only thing I knew I needed to get started was the blog name, a (randomly designed) logo, and awesome content like this and this. That was just as far as my knowledge about branding went… Yikes!

Over the years, I have been learning a lot about branding and the essence of having a cohesive brand, and I realized how non-existent my brand is. It is for this reason that I decided to give Heily’s World and overhaul and switch up a couple of aspects.

Essentially, branding is the overall experience that you deliver to anyone who interacts with your product or service. It is a combination of different visual elements consistently and in a manner that reflects your brand’s values, vision, and mission. Your logo, website, social profiles, packaging, and business card should aaaalllll have the same tone, look, and feel.

If you are not happy with your current brand, or, like mine, it is entirely non-existent, these are the key elements that you need to keep in mind when doing your brand overhaul.

1. The Brand Story

It goes without saying that your brand story is the first thing you want to do when creating your brand is to come up with your brand story. What birthed your brand in the first place? What are your core values as a brand? What is your mission?

If you thought that your brand is ‘too small” to have solid values or a mission statement, then think again!

We all have our story, and it is what keeps us going when push comes to shove. Hence the reason to have a well-crafted story from the get-go.

When I started this blog, I knew I wanted this to be a platform where I document anything that ticks my fancy, from productivity, personal development, beauty, to self-care, and everything in between.

That is why I decided to call this Heily’s World. I love the fact that the name shows deep ownership because everything that I post here is something that I deeply resonate with and represents what I stand for. I also feel that this is a timeless name that I will be able to keep even as the blog evolves and the brand changes.

All that I can say as far as your brand story and name are concerned, it is within you and you will just feel it when you’ve got it right. It is one of those things that you just know when you know.

2. Brand Colors

My oh my… how I love this bit! The topic of color is a really broad one, I might consider writing a dedicated whole blog post. But I will try to be as comprehensive as possible. Colors are the ultimate spices to this branding recipe!

Rule of the Thumb: Have one dominant color and other 2-3 colors to add some sparkle to your designs.

Now comes the main question that I have struggled with for the longest time, how do you choose these colors?

Before we continue, there is one critical notion that I want us to get out of the way:

Your brand colors do not essentially translate to your favorite colors, even if yours is a personal brand… Always keep in mind that YOU ARE NOT YOUR AUDIENCE.

The first time I chose the colors to use in the blog, I was so fixated on “my favorite color is pink so I need to sprinkle it all over the site if at all it is to reflect who I really am.” #SIGH.

Again, YOU ARE NOT YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE, and your audience is everything! That said, you might want to detach yourself from the brand for a moment if you want to create the appeal that you are hoping for.

Now that we have that clear, let us get back to the color party.

There is so much that goes to choosing your brand color. I cannot even begin to count how many how-to articles I have read and videos I have watched on the same… yet I was still confused. I will save you all that hassle and just break down the easy process that worked for me:

  1. Begin by identifying four buzzwords or adjectives that best describe your brand. Is it playful, serious, raw, refined, classic, modern, or feminine? I settled that my brand is mostly friendly, cheerful, and feminine.
  2. The next thing to do is to define the kind of emotions that you want your brand to evoke. Above everything else, I hope that anyone who interacts with my brand leaves feeling empowered, soothed, inspired, happy, and challenged.

Next comes the story of color psychology, and boy, do colors have baggage!

You must have heard about color theory, right? Fret not if this is the first time to hear this. Color theory is all about the different emotions that specific colors evoke. Feel free to have a moment with Mr. Google. There are endless articles and videos on the same that you can binge on.

It is at this point that you will need to check the colors that are in line with the adjectives you settled on previously. I was stuck! How am I even supposed to start ticking off the ten million colors and shades that exist? My mind kept turned back to my favorite pink, lol. I know my fellow non-designers can relate!

I chose to go the easier and much more convenient route.

I went online and googled “what colors best present a brand as friendly?” I then checked for cheerful, and then feminine (the adjectives that best describe my brand). From these three searches, I noticed that pastel colors kept popping up. This is exactly what I was looking for: a correlation.

I went back to my search bar and typed, “The best pastel color combination”. I decided to go with the first link because… site authority!

There were several options to choose from! After scrolling up and down for a while, I settled for two alternatives. I then showed these to a friend who knew my brand story and they helped me decide (be sure to consult with people who have an exceptional branding eye!).

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the color palette that I finally settled on. Notice that there are barely any pinks, lol. It is so funny how things switched up especially with my initial thought that pink was the only way to best represent my brand. I am so happy with this choice!

3. Logo Design

If there is one thing that I have really played about with since I started blogging, then that has to be my blog. I happened to come across the first logo that I created and boy was it terrible! There was literally no branding in mind when I made it. I just needed something to slap on the sight and get done.

Some Crucial Things to Keep in Mind When Designing your Logo

  1. Make sure you have a graphic element in the logo. Humans are more inclined to images than texts, and a graphic element is likely to make your logo more appealing. I am especially in love with the graphic that I went with (an African woman with a fro) because it represents my natural mane J
  2. All the same, avoid having more than one graphic element in your primary logo.
  3. Avoid too much text in the logo. Strive for simplicity and avoid using too many words.
  4. Make sure you play around with the text font, color, and size so that you are not using the same text format.
  5. Make sure that your text is clear and legible.

PRO TIP: Have two versions of your logo: a primary logo for using on your website a condensed logo/sub mark for use on social media or other graphics that do not have much space.

4. Font Combinations

Another key way of maintaining brand consistency that most people tend to overlook is the font combinations. You must have 2-3 specific fonts that you will use throughout your website and advertising material.

This is where you get to play around and have fun with the several options that are at your disposal. I use one main simple font (Bitter) and I add a script text (cookie) every once in a while for texture and some playfulness.

There is so much that goes to choosing the perfect font for your brand. Be sure to read on that and feel free to experiment before you figure out what works for you.

5. Images

I cannot even overemphasize the need for quality aesthetics when building your brand.  Must say that this is one of the biggest challenges that I have experienced in this process. I need photos for everything… the blog, my social media, and my marketing materials.

Thank the skies for stock photos. There are thousands of stock sites that you can check out for endless free images that resonate with your brand.

My favorite are Unsplash, Pexels, and StockSnap.io. I am currently in the process of learning how to use the same preset for a cohesive social media feed. Let us see how that goes.

6. Style and Tone

Once you have gotten your brand name, the logo, and colors right, it is now time to decide on the tone and style that best blends everything. Besides the visuals, something else that you might want to keep in mind is the need to have the same tone and messaging across the board.

You want to maintain a consistent language and key phrases, and that is what helps you maintain a cohesive brand. For instance, I always use the same type of phrases like happy, self-care, gratitude… that’s part of my brand!

Pro Tip: Stay true to yourself in your writing and just write naturally. Imagine that you are talking to a close friend. There is already a good chance that you have settled on colors, typography, and images that are consistent with your style, which means that your natural tone should be the perfect piece that completes the branding puzzle.

FINAL TAKEAWAY

  1. Don’t shy away from telling your story and showing your personality. You are your branding! You own the story behind this kick-ass brand that you are building. Bless the world with this gift!
  2. Be sure to check what other brands in your niche are doing. Seeing what you like about their branding and what you don’t like helps in keeping those creative juices flowing.
  3. Be very patient. Branding is an evolving process, and piecing the pieces together can get frustrating at some point. I really am talking out of experience, haha. I am still in the process of figuring my style and tone and how to coordinate it.
  4. It helps that this is a process that I enjoy. Otherwise, I would have given up a long time ago! That said, take it easy, have fun, and do not be afraid to re-design and re-brand until you have that creation that you are fully confident in. The fun is in the journey and not the destination… do not miss it!

Whoa! That was a mouthful! I am so glad that you made it here. I hope that you caught a thing or two… or six that you will keep in mind when developing your brand.

Do you have a brand or planning to establish one soon? Please feel free to leave a comment down below on how you went about your branding process or how you plan to go about it now.

Until the next time,

Love and Light.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Lazo

    This is very insightful! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Heily

      It is my pleasure. You are welcome, Lazarus!

    1. Heily

      Hey Jeiy. Thank you very much!

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