A complete guide to creating your distinctive brand identity for entrepreneurs + bloggers

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You’ve been hustlin’ at building your online business. And it's been working (yay!!!) Now what? How do you take your biz to the next level?

Spoiler alert - it's all about the design of your [buzzword alert]....BRAND IDENTITY.

So you’re thinking about getting a logo and brand identity designed, but maybe you’re a little unsure about the process or maybe you’re not sure the designer will create what you’re looking for.

The solution to that problem is a tried and true process for creating an outstanding logo that you’ll love and will professionalize your brand.

Check out my process overview in the video below!

8 steps to creating a legendary brand identity design:

For a more in-depth look (plus examples) of brand identity design, keep on readin'!

STEP 1 | RESEARCH & DISCOVERY

The research and discovery phase is the.most.important. of the phases to identifying your brand identity personality. We talk about who you are, all the details of your business, and basically uncover the WHY and who your ideal customer or audience is.

Brand Identity Mood Board
Brand Identity Mood Board

I'll be using images from a recent project!

This phase includes:

  • Brand identity discovery workbook.
  • A meeting to discuss said workbook and start defining your brand personality.
  • After that I put together a list of “brand keywords” - usually around 2-3 words that really stood out from our discussion. This becomes your brand “theme” and will determine what the overall look and feel ends up being.
  • Mood board! You’ve probably seen these floating around Pinterest, the next step will be finding images that really resonate with your brand identity personality or theme. I put together a secret Pinteerest board and after I’ve flushed it out, I’ll invite you to pin a couple of your favorite images and make sure the look and feel is jivin’ with ya’.
  • Next I put together a smaller board, just to get more focused. You know what they say, less is more and that especially applies in design!

STEP 2 | LOGO DESIGN

Time for you to sit back and relax while I hop into design mode and get busy.

Brand Identity Logo Examples
Brand Identity Logo Examples
  • First I typically brainstorm ideas, either writing them out or sketching them. Sometimes font ideas come to me early in the game that I.just.can’t.wait to try out.
  • Next it’s time to get to Adobe Illustrator and get designing. I use AI instead of Photoshop so you’re logo is in a vector form. Why is this important? Well it’s all about the pixels. Basically Photoshop has low resolution compared to Illustrator - think Photoshop for web / Illustrator for print. This way if you get business cards, signs, stationary, or even sewn onto something it will look a.m.a.z.i.n.g.
  • So I always design the first round of logos in black and white. This is to keep us focused and not wondering - should this be blue? purple? green? indigo? macaroni yellow? Slow down, we gotta’ make sure the logo is on point! So it will be in black and white, sometimes gray.
  • Sometimes you come back with a desire to see a combination of logos and usually there’s just one that you’re head over heels for.

STEP 3 | COLOR PALETTE

Woohoo time determine your brand identity's color palette to add color to your chosen logo design!

Brand Identity Color Options
Brand Identity Color Options
  • I create a color palette based off of the mood board we created a while ago.
  • Then try a bunch of different color options. A lot of times I rule things out on my own after sizing the logo up and down and considering all the different layouts that your logo will encounter along it’s journey.
  • I send you a couple of different color options and you choose your favorite! #LetTheGoodTimesRoll.

STEP 4 | ADDITIONAL ELEMENTS

This phase of the process is about accessorizing. How can we extend your theme into additional elements of your brand that you can use across your website, social media platforms and even on printed material?

Well, with patterns and symbols of course!

Brand Identity Elements
Brand Identity Elements

Now you may notice that my design style is leaning more on the clean/modern aesthetic side - so I’m not about to just clutter up the design for the sake of accessorizing -

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Keeping your brand identity clean and simple will be much more effective instead of mashing up every trendy thing out there! Okay so I spend some time researching and exploring the interwebs for patterns and symbols that will look great with your brand - then I customize them so they fit like a glove.

STEP 5  | WEB FONTS

You’ll probably get to know this about me- I’m crazy about fonts. Over the past few years I have probably spent more money on fonts than my wardrobe. (Well I do work in my PJs 99% of the time, sooooo...)

Anyway - fonts have personalities (post about that coming to a blog near you! ...this blog BTW.) You want the fonts on your site to match YOUR brand personality.

Brand Identity Google Fonts
Brand Identity Google Fonts

To tie your whole look together on your website I’ll choose 2 fonts (a heading font + a body font) - usually from the Google fonts library (as it's easiest for you to install + free to download) to match your logo and branding.

STEP 6 | BRAND IDENTITY GUIDE

Now it’s time for me to put together the pretty PDF that holds this ship together. (<--- is that even a saying?)

Brand Identity Style Guide
Brand Identity Style Guide
  • Creating the style guide is one of my FAVORITE parts of the process. I just like seeing how it all comes together. But it’s not just about aesthetics here.
  • This guide is a must because I’ll include the font names used, so you can make sure you keep the look streamlined when you create social media graphics or get things printed.
  • I’ll also include the color codes [and I mean ALL the color codes] again- you want your looks to be ON POINT and not just a billion tweaks of green. [Colors can vary in shade from web to print, which is why you need the right codes!] I could do a whole post on that too ;) )

STEP 7 | PRINT BUNDLE

You may be thinking "whaaaaaa- why do I need my ish printed? I do my business online!"

I feel you - and if you’re just starting out you may want to hold off on the printing costs. But you’d be surprised all the places you could use some print!

Soooner or later in your business there will come a time you need to get out of the safety of your couch and meet people IRL! It’s a great way to “connect” and of course, socialize with someone other than your dog.

Brand Identity Business Cards
Brand Identity Business Cards

Which is why you’ll want to be armed with:

  • A stack of beautiful high quality business cards (I always recommend Moo - great quality and affordable pricing.
  • letterheads and greeting cards - so you can send some personalized snail mail to your clients.
  • STICKERS! Because, it’s fun to put them on envelops, on your bathroom mirror and make you feel like a legit brand - because you ARE a legit brand.

STEP 8 | MARKETING/WEB KIT

We’re almost at the finish line! The final step is to create some web and marketing ish- again so your brand identity matches all over the web.

Brand Identity newsletter
Brand Identity newsletter

This includes

  • Social media banners like facebook, twitter and google+
  • Newsletter/ email banner - everyone’s ALL about the email game and you want people to open yours and go THIS GIRL MEANS BUSINESS! In a fun way of course.

Badda bing badda boom- you’re delivered a folder jam packed with ALLLL the files to make your brand S.H.I.N.E.

If you want the full Beyonce treatment - I’ll also install these into your current website sizing the logo so it looks great, adding the colors + fonts - and all that jazz.