My Brand Process (and FREE mood board template!)

 

Honest Talk: I’ve never fully branded myself. Being a designer, there seems to be so much more pressure when trying to create a brand for myself than anyone else. WHY IS THIS?? I feel like I do it to myself, but I’ve talked to other designers and many of them share the same struggle. So it’s basically a lose, lose because I feel super lame that I don’t have a brand, but when I try and create one, nothing ever feels right. UNTIL NOW, FRIENDS. Cue the Hallelujah chorus.

So you’re probably wondering how I’m here on the other side of branded bliss. Well, the answer, is that I decided to treat myself like I would a client. Why it took me this long IDK but having grace for myself rn. And hey, perfect time to streamline/clean up my process a little bit. #silverlining

So here is the breakdown:

Step 1: Complete Brand/Target Audience Questionnaire

(This would also be the part of the program where I determine if a potential client is a good fit, but I did skip that step since I’m my own client in this situation. If I’m not a good fit for myself, we’ve got bigger problems on our hands.)

This will probably vary from designer to designer, but basically this questionnaire helps me get a real good idea of what you want your brand to look and feel like, as well as your target client/ideal customer. Cause if we don’t know that before we begin, we’re going nowhere real fast my friend. This includes questions like…

“If your brand was a room, what would it look like?” and so on.

Step 2: Create A Mood Board

I love this step. This is where I’m reminded time and time again that Pinterest is WHERE. IT’S. AT.

 
 
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When working with clients, this step is all about capturing their vision. I create a secret shared Pinterest board and have them knock themselves out pinning allthethings that inspire them and speak to the vision they have for their brand. From there I’m able to add and then pull images and colors from this board to draft THE mood board (BTW my free mood board template can be downloaded here).

Working on my own mood board was so much fun. I basically stalked myself on Pinterest (which I would highly recommend doing) to find patterns and trends in the things I’d pinned. And let’s just say my love of neutrals and sassy fonts will slap anyone in the face.

Step 3: Logo Creation

Assuming mood board has been approved AND my clients have a name for their business (more on this later), logo creation is my next step.

 
 
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In my branding packages, I include:
1. Primary word mark logo
2. Secondary word mark
3. Sub mark/icon
4. Type combination

I like to present my clients with 3-4 different initial options and then revise from there once they’ve chosen the direction they’d like to go. For myself, I just started playing until I found a direction I knew was staying true to myself and my vision… and then it literally all just started falling into place.

Step 4: Color Palette and Style Guide

 
 
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After the logos are finalized and ready to go, I put together some color palette samples. These are usually pulled from colors dominant or reoccurring in the mood board.

When colors are chosen, the cherry on top is the brand style guide. This is basically the defining document of your brand - logos, colors, fonts, patterns and a little inspo all in one place. It’s ridiculous how happy these things make me. This one document can somehow convey feelings, emotions and voila! The essence of your brand.

And that about sums it up, folks. Everything else (like file prep and font purchases) are kinda boring details that wrap up the process. UNLESS my clients also want a website. Which is another post for another day, but if you have a business, you need a website. And I’ll preach on that some other time.

Designers out there - what does your branding process look like? Have you found it hard to nail your own brand?

For those of you on the client side, do you like working with someone who has a streamlined process and requires err… “encourages” your participation?