As small business owners, we often have to wear many hats – CEO, copywriter, social media manager, designer, etc. If you’re wearing your designer hat at the moment and trying to figure out how to create a logo and a cohesive visual brand, I have five simple tips to help make that process easier.
#1: Decide on Your Message
Do you know what the difference between design and decoration is? The message. Design communicates something, while decoration is purely about creating aesthetic pleasure.
Design is more powerful than decoration, so think about the message you want to convey.
I suggest focusing on these three pillars of your business:
- Who you are
- Who you serve
- How you serve them
#2: Keep It Simple
In your message and your images, the old K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid) acronym is still great advice.
You want to keep the message your visual brand communicates simple, so that it comes across clearly. I advise my clients to reduce their visual brand message to five words; their brand personality.
For example, a web designer may have an innovative, modern, sharp, skillful, problem-solving brand personality.
By reducing your visual brand’s message down to five value words, you can focus your design to communicate just those qualities, giving you a strong and focused message.
But simplicity doesn’t just help you in your message. Selecting a limited color palette, and just one or two fonts will not only help your visual brand stay consistent and reliable, but will also help you spend less time designing.
#3: Don’t Design Your Own Logo
This may be an odd bit of advice for a DIY-focused post, but logos are one of the most challenging design projects you can take on. A lot of trained graphic designers even avoid designing logos.
So what’s the best course of action for a small business owner with a small budget?
Buy a template.
I suggest buying a logo design template from either Creative Market or Etsy. (Don’t forget to find one that matches your brand personality.) This guarantees your logo will look professional, and will save you a lot of time studying logo design.
Now, a logo made from a template or purchased through Creative Market or Etsy isn’t a long-term solution if you plan on growing your business. The main reason being, you can’t trademark something made with a template. Eventually you’ll want to invest in a logo custom designed for your business, but when you’re just starting out, a template logo can really help boost your professionalism until your budget gets a little bigger.
#4: Read Up on Color Psychology
Color psychology is about how people and cultures react to different colors. For example, blue has a calming effect, while yellow is energizing and cheerful.
Because of the strong emotional connection between color and emotion, your color palette is a great place to showcase that brand personality you chose earlier.
For ease, I suggest choosing one main color, one accent color, and one to two neutral colors to be used with black and white as your color palette. That combination gives you plenty of flexibility, without being overwhelming.
#5: Create Branding Guidelines
Creating a document, or even just a folder on your computer, that contains your logo, color palette, font selection, and photos will help you keep your visual brand consistent.
It’s especially helpful to collect a bunch of stock photos at once, so you can focus on choosing a handful that work well together and reflect your brand personality, instead of choosing a random photo when the need arises.
Following these five tips will not only give you a consistent and communicative visual brand, but it will make the work of designing your visual brand much easier.
Sierra Kellermeyer who helps business owners who are tired of their marketing efforts pulling “okay” results. She helps them stand out online by designing a noteworthy visual brand that attracts their ideal clients effortlessly. She says, “My favorite part of brand design is the marriage of creativity and strategy. I’m not simply creating something beautiful, I’m creating something beautiful that works and has a purpose.”
There’s a lot of misconception about visual branding, with people thinking it’s just about looking good, but it’s more than that. “Your visual brand is a communication tool, and if you’re only trying to make something that looks nice, rather than telling your audience about your business, you’re missing out.”
Sierra will be sharing her visual branding tips in February, May, August, and November. In the meantime, you can find her online at: