How To DIY Your Own Creative Brand [For Free!]
Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Whether you are a solo artist, are starting a teaching studio, or are building a company, creating a recognizable identity for yourself is an absolute must. This is done through a process called branding. Hiring a graphic designer to do this for you would likely result in a great product, but at a price- professionals can cost you thousands of dollars, which is a lot of overhead to pay as a new artist or a young company. I have spent a lot of time creating this website using the DIY approach to design. Through trial and error I have found a number of useful tools for helping the process along.
In my experience, the most important elements of creating a brand are the name, slogan, tone, fonts, colours, and logos.
With these components, you can create your own website, business cards, email signatures, posters, fliers, newsletters- the list goes on. Each one of these marketing tools will expand the reach of your message or product, and with a uniform look and feel, they will collectively create brand identity and recognition. Here is a list of ideas and resources for helping to shape each component of your brand on your own.
Your brand’s name can say a lot about you. It can be your name or it can reflect what you do, such as “Sarah’s Photography Studio”. It can convey the type of services offered, like “Elegant Edibles” the wedding catering service. It can tell where you are located, as in “Haircuts on Main”. It can also allude to the type of products marketed, such as “Spokes” for the name of a bike shop. Try to keep your name short and sweet- shorter names are easier to remember and take less time to read and type. Double-check that there are no services near you with a similar name before deciding upon one to rule out misguided or misdirected viewers.
A slogan or tagline is not always appropriate, but can add a lot to your marketing efforts. Slogans can further help to convey your intent, differentiate yourself from other similar groups, and create a lasting memory in the minds of your viewers. Catchy choices include:
– Musicians Earplugs: High-Fidelity Hearing Protection
– Violinnovation: Where Violin and Innovation Connect
– EMI Music Publishing: Where Songs Live
The way in which you address your viewers should be consistent throughout all your marketing efforts, and should properly reflect your product or message. For example, you likely wouldn’t employ a casual, laid-back tone in an advertisement for an expensive black-tie gala fundraiser. Having one distinct tone will help viewers and potentials customers to get a sense of what to expect. Consider formal or informal salutations, wording, and vocabulary.
Having one or two chosen fonts for your website design, logos and print materials is a great way of creating uniformity and brand recognition.
– Sites such as 1001freefonts.com, dafont.com, and fontsquirrel.com are just a few of many available websites that offer free downloadable fonts for personal and/or commercial use. Be sure to double-check the permissions of your chosen fonts before downloading them. My personal favourite is the Google font collection.
– At myfonts.com, you can upload an image of an unknown font and this website will give several possibilities for which one it may be.
– More specific still is identifont.com, which will narrow down the font in question through a series of easy-to-answer questions.
Colours can do wonders for the tone of your brand. Choose one to five colours to use in all your marketing materials that compliment each other and your product or message.
– Mac’s DigitalColor Meter application allows you to pinpoint any colour on your screen by giving you its RGB values.
– RGB to Hex website rgbtohex.net allows you to convert these RGB values into a Hex, a 6-value code specific to that colour, to use in HTML or CSS.
When creating your brand, do not underestimate the power of a logo. It should be a summary of all the stylistic choices you’ve made thus far in the branding process. Once you decide upon a logo, you’ll want to create several different versions of it to use in various instances. For example, a large, full-colour logo depicting your company’s full name and slogan to display as the header for your website, or a small, grey-scale logo depicting only the company’s initials to use as a printable letterhead. Both should effectively point the viewer in your company’s direction.
Do you have any other tips for branding DIY? Please share them below!
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