The 5 Brand Design Essentials You Need to Launch Your Project
Have have you ever drooled over a gorgeous, put together brand board on Pinterest and wished your colors and fonts looked that dreamy?
I already told you about all 9 essential elements you need to create your entire brand from scratch and today we’ll dive into the design side of things.
I spend a ridiculous amount of time on Pinterest and I’ve probably got my eyes in a heart shape over the same images as you. (And yes, it’s all in the name of research. Even the vegan cheesecake recipes — they’re for a “project”, of course!)
So I can tell you with a relative degree of certainty that you don’t need all design elements you see on these beautiful brand boards.
Not that you’ll never need them, but if you’re a solopreneur running an online service-based business, chances are you don’t need fancy packaging, pretty patterns or even physical business cards.
We’ll yes, it is lovely to have three logo versions and a gorgeous set of illustrations, but that’s not what it’ll make your business successful. It’s the quality and usefulness of your services, your connection with your customers and your ability to sell your services. This is what you should be focusing on.
“But I have a logo what else could I possibly need?”
Not much more, actually. It’s always a good idea to start simple and build on solid foundations. Here’s an example. Imagine you are a nutrition therapist, you just got certified, and you’re looking for clients to start your business. You decided you want to make bigger impact, so you want to coach people from all over the world, not just locally.
Do you need every single brand element under the sun all at once to do that? Nope. You do not. You’ll need a website, an email list, social media profiles, and that’s about it. And to create all these, you only need 5 brand elements.
Your brand design has a purpose
The purpose of your brand design in general is to style your business in a different way from everybody else’s. Ultimately, you want your brand to be recognized right away and to help you create a community around common aesthetics and values. It should reflect your style and it should attract your ideal customers.
However, the first purpose of your brand graphics is to help you create your website. This is it. Think about it. Your website is your online home, your store front and your reception room. You need to decorate it and this is what your brand graphics are for.
To do this, you only need 5 design elements. You can have more, but only if you really need them. If you’re DIYing your brand and keeping it simple, these 5 elements should be enough.
The 5 essential brand design elements you need from the start
First, I want you to remember that you don’t have to have it all figured out to start. Yes, I’m contradicting myself (just a little bit), but creating value, working with clients and making money is much better than having the perfect logo from the start.
With this disclaimer in mind, here are the 5 essential brand design elements you need so you can create your website and launch your project.
Your brand style is the look and feel of your visual brand elements. It’s the most important of all brand elements because it’s the framework that’ll help you choose and create everything else. If you skip this step, all other elements will most likely look all over the place. If you do this, even if you don’t do it perfectly, you’ll have a brand design blueprint and you’ll have fun creating the rest of your design elements.
You can find your brand style by creating a list of keywords, assembling a vision board, evaluating it and capturing its essence in a mood board. You can get started by downloading the free Brand Essentials guide here and going through the steps in the workbook.
It’s the most popular brand element of them all. There’s a misconception that a logo has to be fancy or a work of art to be good. And nothing can be further from the truth. Your logo needs to match your brand style, but it doesn’t have to represent your whole brand.
I often hear things like “I want my logo to reflect my values”. And I get it, the logo is one of the first things a visitor sees on your website. But the job of your logo isn’t to represent your values, this is the job of your copy and maybe your photos. Nor it is its job to carry the look an feel of your entire brand, leave this to your images and colors.
Let’s unburden your poor logo from all the responsibilities given to it. Your logo has to:
spell your business name,
be in your brand style
look gorgeous without distracting from your products and services.
Here’s a little experiment you can do, while waiting in line to fill up your travel mug in your local coffee shop: Think of 5 women you love getting updates from or brands you love and look at their logos. Here are five of my favorite ladies, to get you started: Marie Forleo, XO Sarah, Nesha Woolery, Hilary Rushford, Collective Gen. Their logos are understated, stylish and match the rest of their beautiful brands.
You can easily DIY your logo, even using nothing but Canva. Take a look at the DIY Canva logo kits here if you need design resources and a tutorial how to do it.
There is an enormous amount of very pretty color palettes out there — just take a peak on Pinterest. And it’s sooo easy to get lost in the whole color psychology thing! However, if you’ve found your brand style and have your mood board in front of you, you only need to remember one thing and you’ll be ready to choose your colors in a matter of minutes.
Think about this: Your colors need to be functional. Yes, I know pale pinks and nudes are what you want to see all over your website, but you need a darker color for your text, too.
So when choosing colors, go to your website platform and do it directly there. Download the free Brand Essentials guide and go through the steps in the workbook to choose 6 colors for your website.
For some reason, fonts are usually easier to pick than colors. You need them for the text on your website, so the best way to choose them is directly on your website platform. If you’re using Squarespace, create 3 headlines and a line of text and go to Design > Site Styles to choose your fonts. If you need inspiration for font combinations, look for “Squarespace font combinations” on Pinterest and pick 2-3 fonts that match your brand style.
One thing you need to remember is not to use your logo font. Even if it’s a simple font-only logo, give it some room to shine and don’t use the same font all over your website.
No matter what business you’re running, you’ll need images for your website. We are visual creatures and we expect to see them there. Also, they are the easiest way to showcase your style and your products, and they tell your story before your customer has even read a single word of your website copy.
The best way to pick images for your website is to have your mood board open and start looking through Unsplash or Creative Market for photos that match your style. Create a collection of images that look good together and update it weekly or monthly, depending on how many images you need for your blog and services. If you need more help, get the free Brand Essentials guide and go through the steps in the workbook.
If you skipped to the end of this post…
here’s what you need to know:
When you’re in the beginning stages of starting an online business you need a website that converts visitors into subscribers and customers. So all your branding efforts should be focused on creating an irresistible online home your potential customers feel instantly welcome into.
To do this, you only need 5 brand design elements: a logo (it can be a simple font logo), 4-6 colors to use for your backgrounds, text and buttons, 2-3 fonts (besides your logo font) for you headlines and website text, a collection of 20 -30 images (free from Unsplash or affordable bundles from Creative Market), and most importantly your brand style.
You can do everything yourself by keeping it simple and if you need help, I’ll be happy to work with you on your brand and website. Just pick the service package that excites you the most, and let’s create something wonderful together!
How about you, do you have all the essentials?
And do you feel these are too much or not enough? Let me know in the comments below.