Today I’m breaking down my process for creating a strategic brand. This is the process I walk my custom branding and web design clients through, and I hope that it will show you how important it is to balance creativity and strategy when you are working on designing your brand!
Can’t listen to the episode? Read on for the transcript!
This episode is perfect if you’ve been curious about what it might look like to work with a brand designer or you’re wanting to make sure you’re checking all the boxes of DIYing your brand design.
In the last year I have really worked hard on refining my process to provide an amazing experience for my clients. I’ve taken courses and workshops to improve my processes and really create an experience for my clients.
I’ve also worked on refining my branding package and what is included and part of that.
I’ve seen so many posts on Facebook groups where people are looking for “just a logo”. I’ve seen over and over again that food bloggers truly need more than just a logo to build a brand that will help them make meaningful connections with their audience.
When people are looking for a logo, they’re really temporarily fixing a bigger problem.
A logo that you can put on the top of your blog fixes a temporary issue of not having something to go on the top of your blog. But it doesn’t build a brand that will last.
When you focus on building a brand strategy and then a logo, you build something that you can grow with and grow into.
You need to have both strategy and creativity together to make a strategic brand. One without the other can create something that is rigid (strategy only) or trendy (creative only).
So let’s dig into my process for creating strategic, heartfelt brands.
It’s very important to me that my process is a mix of collaboration with the client, research & strategy based and finally creatively inspired.
Step One: Pinterest board for inspiration
When you are building a Pinterest board as a starting place for your branding, it’s really important to focus on images rather than specific designs or logos you may like.
Focus on images that evoke emotions and help ground your brand is what your audience is going to experience and feel.
Focusing on adding pins like logo designs or other type based graphics can make it hard to ground your brand in your own brand identity!
You want to focus on the emotions, color palettes and overall feeling of the brand at this point.
Step Two: Strategy questionnaire
This questionnaire is a robust look at your brand as a whole. These questions can sometimes be challenging because they may look at your blog in a way you never have before.
Here are some things that you will dig into during the questionnaire:
- Define your blog’s mission
- Define your reader & their struggle
- Define your niche
- Pick brand keywords that represent the feeling you want someone to have
When you are thinking about what brand keywords you want to use, think through the five senses to think about what you want your brand to look, taste, feel, sound, and smell like.
Some people connect visually, verbally or written with words. My process covers each of these ways to give us a well-rounded approach to having a clear understanding of your whole brand.
Step Three: Strategy call
Once the Pinterest board is done and the strategy questionnaire has been answered, I get on a strategy call with my clients to put all the pieces together.
I typically try to ask questions to dig into your answers further. It’s really important to get to the core of things like your blog’s mission and your ideal reader, so if answers have been surface-level, we’ll go deeper to get a more solid understanding.
I also like to use this call to define 5-10 core brand messaging statements to help my clients get a really clear picture of what their brand is about, since that informs so many different aspects of their blog.
This gives you a good foundation of what you want your brand to be and use these phrases in different spots of your blog. It’s also help to review these key points to make sure you’re staying in line.
During the call we also talk about all kinds of things like increasing your traffic, content strategy, how to connect more with your audience, freebie and email marketing strategy, and more. These things naturally come up as we are talking about your brand.
Over halfway through the process, we haven’t even touched the visuals for the logo. We really work on the heart and soul behind your brand before we ever design anything.
Step Four: Inspiration board
After the strategy call, I get to work on the inspiration board for your new branding.
I start by opening the Pinterest board and focusing on emotions and how your audience should feel interacting with your brand. I’ll remove images that have conflicting vibes with what we’re aiming for with your new brand messaging.
This part of the process is really all about visual refinement. I aim to condense your visual inspiration down to a combination of 9 images that have textures, patterns, and colors that reflect your brand keywords.
It’s very easy to replace images or move things around, but this gives us a way to make sure we are totally on the same page visually.
Step Five: Branding/logo
Color palette comes from the inspiration board and color theory research.
Taking the inspiration board into consideration, I start working through various layouts, font combinations, and color combinations.
I usually work through 3-5 concepts before choosing one or two to refine. Then I present the strongest concept.
Because of all of the steps of the process before I work on the logo, I can usually nail the vision and logo design on the first try. But if we need to tweak or refine the primary logo, we do that before moving on to any add ons or other graphics.
If you are DIYing this part of your brand, my biggest advice is to start with the branding strategy. Then you can take that and implement that strategy into your logo design.