You’re not a designer. You’re not a psychologist. But you started a small catering company, or you have decided to become a professional gardener or pet groomer. And like most small business owners, you don’t have the resources (yet) to hire an all-out professional design company to create the perfect brand identity, or to analyse the market for you. You have to make do.
Because we live in amazing times where information is readily available at our fingertips if you do enough research and invest some time into it, you can create your own brand identity from scratch. We’re not saying that you will be the next Paul Rand – or even close. But when you apply a few rules of design to your branding, you will create a brand that people will identify with immediately.
So here is an how to create your brand identity, as told by Stickeroo.
“Don’t try to be original, just try to be good” – Paul Rand
Look at the competition and your niche
Look at what your competition is doing. By doing this you will gain a basic idea about what your niche is doing for the “look and feel”. The infographic below gives you examples of how different businesses use colour, shapes and typography. For example, the colour black is often associated with luxury items, and the colour green with the environment and nature. We’re not saying copy your competition’s exact colour schemes, but pay attention to how they’re using them and which ones make the most impact. Take lots of notes.
Promotional merchandise and B2Bs
Think about what type of customised items fit your business. A lot of new small businesses want to go a bit beyond boring business cards and print small inexpensive products that they can give out to their customers. This can be anything from a printed pen to custom stickers, magnets, stress balls or notebooks.
These can be made custom for any type of business you have: if you are a gardener, you can print a small planting calendar in sticker form. For a car repair shop, you can print a small branded calendar that shows your customers the next date of an automotive inspection. The sky is the limit.
There are a lot of logo services out there, and if you can’t afford a professional designer yet (we strongly recommend that you invest in one as soon as you can) there are ways you can cheat the system and work on something for free. Websites like Wix and Brandcrowd will automatically examine your style and generate logos for you to choose from.
If you go this way, make sure that you stick with the logo and colours that you chose, and not change your mind every month. This will only confuse your clients. Branding only works if you stick with it. Most famous companies and brands stick with their brand colours for decades – and when they plan a change, they plan like the British Special Forces would an invasion.
Branding helps your clients identify your business in a crowd. If you operate in a large city, chances are that you have some solid competition. If you start working on your brand early, people will automatically identify your hard work, quality and good experiences with a particular visual theme.
It also helps you to visualise everything that you stand for every time that you head into the office. This is very much like battle flags and coats of arms – you went into battle flying your colours and fought hard for victory.
While the days of knights in shining armour are long gone, consider branding as “flying your colours” on the battlefield.