Think of your brand as a personality — and the visuals that you use in your everyday designs express that personality. Like attracts like and the class and quality that your brand exudes (consistently) will in return, attract the same quality overtime in potential clients and buyers.
It’s important to remember that your brand is also a blend of who you are, with what you do. Not that you can’t be a totally different person outside of your business and have other interests (I do!) but I probably wouldn’t pay a designer with a dark and grungy website to design the branding needed for a light and airy lifestyle portrait photographer. Not that they couldn’t or wouldn’t have the skills, I would just most likely file that design contact away for a heavy metal band in the future and find a different designer who has a portfolio showcasing other airy lifestyle designs for the photographer’s brand.
Long story short, your overall brand aesthetic should be reflective of the style of brands that you want to work with. You want a visitor to come to your site looking exactly for what you offer — and how you offer it. They should land on your site and within a couple of minutes know that they at least want to schedule a call with you to chat more, because you look like you could be a good fit for their design needs. The reason that they feel called to possibly want to work with you? They simply like what they see!
The types of photos, typefaces and colors that you use all work together within your brand to attract a certain type of person. So, make sure that it is attracting the specific niche market or demographic or industry that you’re wanting to serve and connect with, or those who are aligned with your values and need what you have to offer.
Brand photography or carefully-selected stock imagery — while “content is king” and copywriting absolutely plays a huge role in converting visitors to your site into potential clients (words matter!) — most people won’t even take the time to read anything without the support of visuals. Be picky with the photos that you place on your website and share on social media. I highly suggest hiring a photographer to capture some great working, candid and unique photos of you in your element or workspace (or somewhere) so that no one else will have your photos and they will truly be authentic. But if you can’t invest in a photo session just yet, try to pay a monthly or yearly subscription to stock photo websites that are operated by creative entrepreneurs. You can use platforms like iStock or Shutterstock, but there are more and more styled stock photo sites popping up everyday and you can locate images that carry your brand colors or the overall vibe and aesthetic that you want your brand to express. I have brand photos and plan to invest in an updated session later this year, but even for “everyday” social media graphics, I pay for and download photos from a couple of sites like these.
Font pairings — typefaces also play a role in crafting the right design aesthetic for your website, social media graphics, business cards and more. Typography is an artform by itself. The strategic pairing of a specific font for headlines and a secondary font for subheads, along with other fonts used in body copy, pull quotes, etc. can definitely set a certain tone, all working together. Decide if you want to play with classic serif typefaces or minimal and modern sans serif options. I recommend using a combination of both, along with a fun handwritten typeface for an “extra splash” from time to time, used in special graphics or for calling out important details. For tips on finding fonts (because there are rules around the specific uses and licensure of personal + commercial versions) check out this blog post.
A striking or unique color palette — similarly to choosing fonts, picking the right mix of colors for your official brand palette is a big deal! But, it doesn’t need to be hard or super time-consuming. You can include anywhere from 2-3 colors, or even go up to 8. I always say that as long as the colors complement one another, express your brand and work well together, there aren’t any other strict rules. You can play with fun online resources like Coolers or Colormind to help you generate a palette or check out this blog post.
To help you nail down the right look and feel for your branding, here is just a quick sampling of different brand personalities:
As I once stated in a past blog post, try to consider the demographics of your potential customer or client base. Are they young adults, baby boomers or older? Are they primarily male or female? What are their interests? Where do they live? What do they need from you and what you’re selling? A group of 35-55 year old corporate males who live in suits and ties every day might enjoy a more professional and colder palette that includes blues and greys because it looks sleek and sophisticated. But, 25-35 year old mommy bloggers might appreciate something a bit warmer, inviting and cozy, like pastel pinks, oranges, ivories and tans.
An extra note: blend in more of you on your website, in your Instagram feed, on video and more! Be real and authentic. Show people who you really are, as not only a business owner or designer, but also as a person — online and offline. When you do, you’ll attract people similar to you (like attracts like!) and potential clients will follow and get to know + like you enough in time, to want to buy from you. Branding goes beyond your logo, your photos, your visuals — it really is a big emotional experience for your client. So, make it an attractive and unique one that is always memorable!