How to Find Your Brand Style And Why You Should Do It Before You Design Your Logo
What do you think of when you hear the word branding?
Most people think of logos and colors and fancy paper packages.
And, yes, all these things are part of a brand but they are just details you see on the surface.
Before you ever design a single element you need some guidelines to help you make choices, without having heart palpitations and head spins. Those are great when in love, but they need to be used with caution when in business.
And it doesn’t matter if you DIY your brand or if you work with a designer — to pick a suitable color or say ‘which of these three logo concepts you like best’ you need to know yourself, your ideal customer and the visual world that connects you.
This is why you need to find your brand style first.
Your brand elements, such as your logo, colors and fonts will fall into place once you’ve determined your brand style.
This is not an easy tasks — there’s so much choice out there and I just know you want to be everything to everyone all at once.
But you can’t.
You have to choose a style—a look and feel—for your business. And the beauty of it is, you already know how to do this.
3 Steps to finding your brand style
1. FIND YOUR personal STYLE first
Imagine your brand as yourself (not much of a stretch needed, I’m sure).
Let’s say you like to wear bright summer dresses, have your home decorated with dried flowers and white cotton tablecloths, you swoon over pink peonies and can’t never-ever say no to turquoise gemstones.
OK, I admit, that’s all me, but you get my point.
Take time and figure out your personal style. You should do this anyway, business or not, because it’s fun, it’ll help you look and feel your best self, plus it’ll save you tons of money on things you find pretty but that don’t match your style at all. Yes, floral patterns, I’m talking to you.
Look at your wardrobe and your home. Do you like what you see? Why? How would want your perfect capsule wardrobe to look? How will your dream home look like?
2. Find your ideal customer’s style
Once you know your style, you need to do a research and figure out the style of the women you want to serve.
More often than not you will like similar things, but dig a little deeper and find out as much as possible. Look at your ideal customer’s Instagram and Pinterest and see what they like to post and pin.
For example as much as I like space backgrounds and wearing black, that part of my personal style doesn’t overlap with the style of my ideal customer.
And here we come to the final step…
3. Find the common ground
When you know yourself and what you feel attracted to and when you’ve focused your research on one group of women who like specific things, it gets really easy to find the common ground.
You don’t have to know why you like the things you like, although it might be helpful when choosing images later on.
Get it out of your head and onto screen
Finding your brand style is the first step of the brand identity process. To learn more about the exact steps you need to take to brand your business from scratch, get the free Brand Basics guide here.
put it on paper (if you need to)
If your ideas come more easily on paper, open your notebook and draw two intersecting circles. Describe your style on the left and your ideal customer's style on the right. Transfer the common items to the cross section in the middle.
Once you have a fairly good idea what your style is, you know what your ideal customer likes, and you’ve figured out where these styles meet, it’s time to find your brand keywords.
1. Find your brand keywords
Open a text document and write down 10 keywords that best describe your business. Then under each word write 3 or more visual cues that match that word.
For example if your first two words are ‘friendly’ and ‘simple’, than write down what pictures you associate with these words.
For me it goes like this:
friendly - sunspots on a wall, tiny succulents, pink peonies
simple - a white cup of tea, monstera leaf, natural cotton apron
2. Create your vision board
When you have 30 or so words, open Pinterest, create a secret board and pin your heart out. I mean it. If you ever needed a good reason to spend half an hour on Pinterest, this is it.
And if you don’t know what to pin, get the free Brand Basics guide here where you’ll find a list of ideas.
Personally I like to pin from unsplash.com because I can use the photos right away for my website. Keep in mind that the images you find on Pinterest are copyrighted and cannot be used for anything but pinning.
3. Create your moodboard
From your vision board pick 9 to 12 images and pin them to a new section of your secret Pinterest board called Moodboard.
Here’s how to do it: Open one image at a time and as quickly as possible ask yourself these three questions. If you answer is ‘YES!’ to all three, pin the image and move to the next.
Does this image makes me happy when I look at it?
Does it look and feel like I want my brand to look and feel?
Would my dream customer love it too?
In all three cases you are asking "Why do I want to pin this image to my moodboard?" and the answer should sound something like this:
"Because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside."
"Because this is so me!'"
"Because I feel my brand needs more of this look."
"Because Daisy, one of my clients, will fall in love with it instantly!"
"Because the women I want to spend my days working with will absolutely love it."
Or to make it even easier for you, here are three super simple answers. Get all three for each image and move on to the next:
I love it!
It fits perfectly!
She’ll love it!
And you’re done!
When you have your images, make sure they look good together and feel right to you. This is your moodboard. Everything you choose from now on—your logo, colors, fonts, images, etc. has to match that look and feel.
Have you found your brand style yet?
Have you found your brand style yet? Or do you try to design your brand elements without it? Let me know in the comments below. Bonus vegan cookie points if you share your 10 keywords with me ;)