Written By: Zach Champ
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LESSON 1: HOW TO BUILD YOUR BRAND:
When you start a small business, it is essential for you to create a brand identity, especially when considering how to cultivate a relatable and genuine impression with your audience.
Think of how many big corporate companies have boring, bland brand names and identities…
No one cares about those companies!
Yet look at the marketing and appeal of household name-brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, or McDonalds.
Let’s take it even further and consider more boring businesses who employ creative logos and branding such as GEICO with its characteristic and unique gecko mascot, or local lawyers who make catchy jingles to keep their name at the forefront of your consciousness…
It is easy for you to conjure up within the mind’s eye the most recent commercial or the themes that each of these companies use when marketing and presenting their brands to the public.
Just how exactly do you make the same impact with YOUR brand? …It all boils down to creating a brand identity!
Each individual characteristic and design choice you make has an overall influence on how customers will ultimately relate and associate with your business. You should consider your business from the perspective of your primary audience or customer.
How would they think or feel? Remember, the effort you put into designing your brand will ultimately reflect how well other people will be able to easily identify and consider your business amongst hundreds of others.
Questions you should consider when developing your brand’s image should include:
- What are your company’s values?
- Who is your target customer?
- What is the vibe you are trying to convey to your audience?
LOGO & BRAND DESIGN:
One important way to connect with your audience with your brand is through your logo!
There are several elements to designing a great logo for your small business. Logo’s should at their core be simple yet symbolic. They need to be memorable and easy to read.
LOGO DESIGN QUESTIONS:
What is the name of the company?
What industry does the company specialize in?
What symbols and icons do you envision with the company logo?
What colors and patterns do you envision with the company logo?
What is the ‘feel’ or ‘vibe’ of the company’s logo? Corporate and serious? Silly and fun?
What is the primary emotional connection you want the company logo to create with the target audience?
For instance, what colors do you plan to use? Is there a theme or palette? What type of font or typography does the logo use? Are there shapes or symbols?
One of the conceptual ideas of graphic design is the 60-30-10 Rule.
With the 60-30-10 Rule, choose 3 primary colors for your design. The first color should dominate 60% of the design, with the secondary color reflecting 30% of the design palette, with finally the third color being used as an accent that highlights 10% of the design. By using the 60-30-10 Rule you can create a crisp, visually engaging palette that isn't noisy or which appears ‘off’.
Another important and advanced concept in graphic design and logo design is the idea of Visual Weight, or how much each color or design element captures the attention of the eye, and the hierarchy of attention that follows when looking at a design in whole. Visual weight requires attention to the size, position, and contrasting features of each element featured within the design.
Finally, the last key to good graphic design and logo design is font and typography.
When it comes to design, whether it's for websites, graphics, or logos, you'll encounter two main font categories: serif and sans serif.
Serif-based fonts have decorative strokes at the ends of letters, giving a classic and formal touch, while sans-serif based fonts are clean and minimalistic, offering a modern and straightforward look.
Consistency is vital within each design project, using either serif or sans serif fonts, but you can also mix and match for contrast. Legibility should be prioritized by adjusting font size, spacing, and line height. Ensure the chosen fonts align with your brand's identity and message, as typography plays a significant role in overall design impact.
Always remember, less is more!
Obviously graphic design plays an essential role in the development of your brand’s logo. However, that doesn't mean you have to be an artist to create an amazing logo concept. Creative inspiration can come from anywhere at any time.
Remember the first time you thought of your business idea? Your logo should reflect that moment!
Creating a logo is not as hard as it sounds. There are several resources available for business owners to utilize when designing their brand’s identity.
One reliable and easy-to-use resource is the online marketplace Fiverr. I’ve used Fiverr several times for outsourcing creative projects such as designing logos or graphics. (In fact, one of our graphic designers for INSPIRE I met through Fiverr... Maryum Shahzeb!) Each time I have been pleased with the results and I definitely recommend Fiverr to anyone who is on a budget and doesn’t have access to creative friends or resources.
Let’s say that you know a lot of creative people… In that case you could tap into your local community and hire a local artist or graphic designer to commission your design. This is also a great way to network and establish a working relationship with local creatives and brands.
Why do you need business cards? Some people may think in an age of smartphones and digital technology that business cards are out-dated or old-fashioned… However, this is not true!
There are several reasons it is essential that you have a business card!
The most important reason for having a business card is that it provides all your businesses' key contact information and business details in one location. Business cards are a quick, easy, and convenient way to share your business information with other business owners and potential customers.
Another, less appreciated facet of business cards is that they serve as a first impression of your brand to customers and clients. You should take deliberate and careful time and consideration into the design of your business card in order to get the best results!
When you take the time to create an amazing business card, it communicates professionalism & preparation to your audience!
These ideas behind the power of the business card relate to what we call in the profession 'Direct Marketing'.
When you meet with someone for the first time and share a business card with them, it is an impactful moment that helps you network and create a meaningful relationship. This is an example of direct-marketing in action and should be an integral part of your marketing funnel.
I usually get my business cards printed with VistaPrint. There are many options available though on the internet for printing business cards, and you can also get same day printing for business cards at local office and supply stores like Staples or Office Depot.
If you have a lot of important information or details that you want to share with prospective leads and clients when you meet with them for the first time, consider implementing a QR Code in the design of your business card.
WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD BE ON YOUR BUSINESS CARD?
You should include your contact information and your social-media links so people can easily follow and tune in with your brand. The card should be easy-to-read, with all your business information neatly organized and displayed. Avoid having a cluttered business card as it's confusing to read.
You should pass out business cards when networking or attending meetings with potential clients, customers, or partners.
Another smart tip is to leave business cards for display at local stores that align with your brand identity and interest.
PROFESSIONAL PACKAGING FOR PRODUCTS/PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS:
If you create anything home-made or handmade and are intent on selling it, then you will need to invest in professional packaging and promotional materials.
Examples of professional packaging for products can include:
- Fliers and Brochures
Investing in packaging and marketing items like this can help your brand and product grow quickly over time, and can help give your brand more legitimacy and authority within the marketplace.
When it comes to professional packaging and promotional materials, I always recommend to start simple and basic and grow and update slowly over time!