7 Steps to DIY Your Brand
You’ve had a brilliant idea. You want to be an entrepreneur! It’s going to be great, you can set your own schedule and be the best boss ever! I am SO EXCITED for you. It’s going to be fun…and HARD. But fun!
So you’re raring to go, now what? Well, boss-babe, you’re going to need a logo for that shiny new business of yours. Easy-peasy right? You know exactly what you want. It’s in your head, you’ve been thinking about it for days, weeks, months. But you just can’t commit to the investment of hiring a graphic designer to create your business’s brand for you. Can I do it myself, you ask? Well it IS possible to create a logo that doesn’t look like you typed it out in the default font in Microsoft Word and called it a day.
Here are some helpful tips for the DIYer to help you create a more professional looking logo.
Look at other logos. Use Google or Pinterest to look at other companies' logos. They can be in the same industry or totally different. Just look around! Check out the classic ones, the funky ones and the ones you think are terrible. Identify the characteristics and qualities that you like about your favourites. Are they colourful? Simple? Have a scripty font? Do they have an icon or is it just the words? Finding other logos that you love and identify with will help you define the style you are looking for.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Wait, what? Yes, homework. But trust me, it won’t be difficult. Besides, your business is your baby so this is important! You’ll want to define that biz of yours so that it can honestly reflect your personality, values and goals. If you’re wondering what type of questions you should be asking yourself, you can download and fill out this handy branding worksheet (INSERT LINK). That will get you headed in the right direction!
Now that the work is out of the way, let's have some fun! Head on over to Pinterest, yes, I am telling you to go on Pinterest (there are other great sites but Pinterest is awesome for this sort of thing). Pin away to your heart’s content. I recommend starting a new board, and only pin images that speak to your brand’s identity. What you want your brand to say to your clients. Try different combinations of words to search photos and pin the ones that you love. Search for textures, patterns, logos, colours, photography, design, décor and more. When you feel like you’ve found lots that you love, narrow it down to your top 7-10. These will help you identify your brand colours (5-10 colours that you will use in your logo and materials to ensure a cohesive brand). I like to print mine out and post on the wall beside my workspace so I can refer to it when I’m working on anything new.
PUT PEN TO PAPER
Or pencil. I’m no fine arts artist. But I can write out words and sketch a bit to figure out the structure I like for logos I’m working on. So grab a blank sheet of paper, a journal, even a napkin and draw it out. What you envision in your mind may not always translate well when you draw it out or create it on your computer. Don’t worry about it looking pretty. Just keep it loose and quick.
Colour plays an important role in the mood and feeling your business brand portrays. For instance, don’t choose red if you’re someone who organizes relaxing vacations as your business. Here’s an easy breakdown on the basics emotions of colours:
Red – energetic, sexy, bold, passionate
Orange – creative, friendly, youthful
Yellow – optimistic, inventive, happy
Green – growth, organic, natural, instructional
Blue – relaxing, calming, professional, trustworthy
Purple – spiritual, luxury, wise, evocative
White – simple, clean, pure
Black – credible, powerful
Pink – fun, flirty
Brown – rural, historical, steady
When it comes to choosing your fonts, you’ll want to choose 2 fonts – no more than 3. Make sure that any fonts you choose pair well with each other. They should be easy to read at any size (no crazy swirly fonts, please!) so size it down to 8pt and make sure it’s legible. Your primary font will be on your logo, business cards, blog headings, stationery, etc. Your secondary font (which may also appear on your logo) should be easy to read so you can use it for copy.
SIMPLICITY IS KEY
Clean shapes and beautiful font choices go a long way when creating a logo. People remember the clean and simple ones. Trust me. Nike, anyone? Apple? You don’t need a ton of fancy features to make a beautiful logo. It needs to look great in black & white and when you scale it up for a billboard (go big, amirite?) and down for an envelope. So reconsider that graphic with the million teensy details, although it may be beautiful, it won’t look good when you size it down for smaller items.
Don't worry if you're having trouble. Ask any graphic designer around, creating their own logo was probably the most difficult job they’ve ever worked on (and they are probably constantly tweaking it!). But fear not, by applying these tips you’ll be in good shape when it comes to digitizing your logo. You’ll look way more professional than you thought you could.
If you get stuck and aren’t sure what to do next, send me an email with any questions you may have. I’ll do my best to help you with the process!