Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Personal Brand Design

It’s said that a person will be more successful in their career or venture when they’re backed up by personal branding. While it may seem like a lot of extra work to do so, it’s important to present an image that’s not only professional, but shows that you’re an expert in your field. Even if you’re new to your niche, your personal brand will still present you as an authoritative source of knowledge a potential employer, client, or business partner. This can even be applicable to the solopreneur who is running a business alone, or the hired conference speaker, or book author.

Personal branding involves a combination of actual promotional materials, and also the way you conduct yourself.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you learn how to create a personal brand for yourself, so you stand out from the crowd. It can take some time to build up your brand so always remember that people want to do business with other people, rather than an actual company.

(1) Identify your niche

It may be fine to say you’re an authoritative source in your field, trade, or enterprise, but to succeed, you must be specific. This will aid you in finding your personal brand design. In other words, you don’t want to simply say you’re an authoritative apps programmer. You need to specifically say what types of apps you specialize in.

This can be applicable to any type of trade or field. Narrow your market to find how your brand can be different than the others. What is it that’s so special about the products or services that you sell?

Identifying your niche early one can save you many years of grief. It can also save you some cash in the long run. Now that you’ve decided to only focus on fair trade products, local services, handmade products, or whatever it is you want, you’ll begin to see how much easier the process will be.

(2) Start a blog

What is the purpose of your brand? Do you want to help people? Do you want to provide better products and services than your competitors? Do you want to help other business owners to solve a problem they have with their customers? The purpose revolves around the promise. People have problems, and your purpose is to provide a solution.

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One of the best ways to work on your personal brand is through a blog. And not only does it provide timely advice for your readers, it can also assist them with their problems. It’s never too soon to start a blog. You can start for free on Blogger or WordPress, and there are even free templates, so you don’t need to know a single line of code.

As you start blogging, you’ll soon draw followers to you. You may not quite hit on your niche yet, but that’s okay, as everyone who has every started a blog has watched it evolve and grow over the years.

A well-established blog will become a part of your personal brand. It’ll also be a part of your portfolio, so you can use it to promote yourself in the future. People may even see it and contact you, which will give you opportunities for collaboration on future projects, or, to actually make some extra cash.

(3) Learn about color

Color has been proven to influence behavior. You can also put this to your advantage. Blue is one of the most important colors, as it’s the color of tranquility and trust. Yellow is the first color to be seen by the retina and is attention-getting. Red is also an attention-getter and often used by people for discount pricing. Green is related to the great outdoors. Decide how color fits in with your brand. Blue is perfect for healthcare products, green for outdoor products, and red for communications.

Even people who are color blind still can see certain colors. Use this to your advantage. Colors can also be tied into emotions. Red is a powerful color for a new zombie game app, or gold or silver are perfect for a jewelry business. Pink is often recognized as feminine, while brown is masculine.

Color will be used for everything from your blog, to your logo, and your stationery.

Related Post: Color selection guide for your logo

(4) Do research

Identify your personal competitors. You’ll want to focus on the individuals, not the big businesses. What kinds of branding do they use? What kinds of graphic do they use in their logos? What colors are they using? You’ll want to avoid copying them, for copyright or trademark purposes. Ask yourself these questions. Do you feel that what they’ve done with their branding is effective, or can it be improved upon? This is your opportunity to do better.

(5) Work on a personal logo

You’d be surprised at how many people don’t have a logo. It can be as simple as a monogram, or be focused on what your personal brand is trying to do. Feel free to have a look around at effective logos, then sketch out some of your own ideas. You don’t even have to be an artist. You can do your sketches, and then hand them into your graphic designer or graphic artist, and then can take them from spec to final stage.

As you work with your artist, they can also create more than one rendition for you. The great thing about graphics software is that logos can be adjusted and changed. The colors can be adjusted, or the fonts changed. Often a logo will suffer many changes before an individual is happy with the end result.

A logo should also match your brand, and slogan, if you have one. It will become a part of your stationery, your website, and all correspondence.

Related Post: How personal branding helps your life

(6) Consider trust

Trust is an important part of any relationship with another human. You don’t want to have a loud and bright logo if you’re a therapist, or a black logo if you’re a gardener. When people view your logo, they should be able to get you at a glance and understand what it is you do. You also want your brand to announce that you’re the one people should call first. You’re friendly, knowledgeable, and fun to be around.

(7) Consider a slogan

nikeMany larger corporations have a general saying or phrase. If you hear this phrase, their name will pop up into your mind without needing to see the logo, or their name. Even if you’re one person, you can still have your own slogan. This is something that people can remember you by.

A saying or phrase should only be a few words, and not longer than one sentence. It’s also a great way of creating a personal brand as it often encourages potential clients to look you up online. “Where have I heard that before?” they’ll ask themselves.

(8) Write an e-book

Once you’ve set up your website, logo and stationery, and have had a blog going for several weeks, writing an e-book can also work to your benefit. It shows that you’re an expert in your field, as now you have an entire book about your special topic.

You’ll have to decide whether to give away your e-book, or charge a fee for it. If it’s free, it can be used as a personal branding tool too. If you charge for it, it may be difficult to get that sale unless you offer value.

(9) Consistency

Is your brand consistent? Ensure you’re not using a different logo on your stationery than your website, or your business cards. You’ll also want to ensure you use the same fonts across all products, from signage, to logo, to stationery. This is also why it’s important to have only one designer create everything for you, or at least to have your logo designer work with stationery supplier, so that your expectations are met.

This is also applicable to when you do your social media posts, or add a photograph to a brochure. Does it all align with your main message? Remember that your message is your purpose for being in business, and should conform to your slogan.

(10) Does it rely on emotions?

A consumer wants to work with an individual, but it begins with emotions. There is emotion when they see you advertising on social media, or they have come across your great blog or website. If they’re enthusiastic, they’ll sign up for your mailing list, or order your products or services.

There is emotion when they see a cute product on Facebook and rush to put it into their shopping cart. There is emotion involved when they have a health issue and are reading blogs to find a way to feel better.

Often, emotions aren’t rational either. It’s possible that you can tie into this. You can play into the emotions of your consumers so that their inner voice will acknowledge your personal brand is better and that they must have it now!

(11) Don’t neglect social media

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Social media is one of the best ways to do free advertising. You can also collect together a list of followers, and sell your personal brand to them directly.

Social media is also a way that you can connect directly to potential customers or clients. People will be more likely to buy your product or service when they know that there’s a real person behind that item.

You’ll want to ensure that you flesh out your social media profiles, and make them consistent. Add your contact information to your accounts so people can find you: website, email address, toll free number.

(12) Flexibility

Is your brand flexible? This means, can you make minute adjustments to it over the next few years of time? It can be expensive working on your personal brand. You’ll need to hire a graphic designer to create a logo, and buy promotional materials and ads. If you haven’t quite hit your brand on the head, it’s important to know that you can adjust it slightly.

It can be a fine art achieving consistency and flexibility in a brand. But consider the brand Coca-Cola. They have made flexible changes with their brand, yet still retain that original image. Be like that.

(13) Learn the elements of personal branding examples

branding-identity-design-logocouncilBy now you likely understand that you need a logo, stationery, and a slogan for your business. But you may be puzzled what else you need to do to create your brand. Branding might also include your social media accounts, a book, an e-book, and a sign-up form for a mailing list. It can also include marketing materials, such as flyers, brochures, and leaflets.

Related Post: How to select a theme for your brand package

 

 

(14) Don’t go it alone

Be sure to interrogate your designers, as they are the ones with the experience in this field. They understand what it takes for a successful personal branded design. You may be stuck on the bright yellow sun, but they may know that five of your competitors are using that same image. Let them try a few different renditions, rather than simply finding someone to do exactly what you want. They’ll be able to have their input, and you just may learn something in the process.

(15) Test your brand

A competent graphic designer will keep you in the loop are your brand takes shape. Take the opportunity to test out some of their designs. You can set them up on Word and print them out.

Show your dummy stationery to your friends and colleagues. Ask them for feedback. Does this brand best represent you, or does it remind them of someone else? Are they able to discern what it is your do?

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Follow this step-by-step guide and soon you’ll be on your way to your personal brand success. We wish you great success in creating an individual and unique personal brand that can be used for your business ventures.

How to Select a Theme for Your Brand Package

When you’re ordering a brand package from a graphic design or printing firm, you’ll need to choose a theme for one cohesive look. The theme is similar to a subject, or what it is that your business does. For example, an aquatics business may have a theme relating to the ocean, or a coffee shop a theme relating to coffee cups or treats. It’s also important to have a cohesive theme, so that your business cards, letterhead, envelopes, and brochures all coordinate together.

A basic brand package will start with a logo design, a business card, and a basic website. Premium packages will include full stationery, rack cards, and other promotional materials.

Here are a few ways to help you select a theme for your brand package.

(1) Audience

Your audience are the ones who are going to be attracted to your brand theme. Consider your audience first. Your theme needs to be appropriate to your company and must go beyond simply looking good. This is also applicable to choosing options that are also applicable to your industry. Customers should be attracted to your theme, so that the next step of the sales funnel can occur.

(2) Uniqueness

You’ll want to choose a unique theme for your business. See what your competitors are doing, and try to do something different. If they are all using the same images of the products they sell in their logo, try to choose something different.

(3) Adaptability

Can your theme be reflected in your logo, or is it too much? Is it something that can be used for all of your stationery, promotional materials, and website? Your theme needs to be adaptable to any type of online or print materials.

dell-brand-identity-package(4) Recognizable

Is your theme recognizable at a glance, or does it leave your customers wondering what it is your company does? While the bigger brands may be able to get away with a vague and abstract logo, your company should have a solid design. A clothing business needs to be recognized as such, or a clinic, or an autobody shop. You don’t want customers to get mixed up and think you have a costume rental shop, salon or retail car outlet.

 

(5) Popularity

There is nothing wrong with selecting a popular business theme. Often certain themes can be based on trends. One year it’s popular to have an abstract design, another year it’s popular to use pastels. Do your research to see what is popular today, and then see how you can do your own unique twist on it.

You want to ensure that you get your theme right the first time. It can be costly picking a theme, and then changing it after your website has been created, or your stationery or promotional materials have been printed. A theme should readily identify in seconds what exactly it is that your company does. It should be bright and attractive, and encourage people to contact you for further information, or encourage people to buy products off your website.

Do You Receive Brand Guidelines with Your Logo or Brand Design?

When you’re hiring someone to create your brand, or logo, you want only the best graphic artist firm. You want to have the confidence in knowing that research was done to create your design, and that it doesn’t match any other company’s brand or logo. It shouldn’t represent any conflicting morals or ideologies either. You’ll want to ensure that you receive brand guidelines to go along with your logo or brand design.

These brand guidelines are usually in the form of a document, and include a shortened version for handing out to a printer, magazine, or other media where your logo or brand could be used.

Here is what you need to know about brand guidelines, including a logo book.

(1) Protect your brand/logo

The guidelines you receive will enforce that only the provided logos will be used for media, printing, or electronic purposes. This means that your logo will not be recreated, nor will any other type of logo be used in its place. This means that your company is protected from potential lawsuits, and that your brand is held to the highest standards.

Brand Guideline

(2) Defined colours

When your logo was created, it was designed with specific colours. Often these are called Pantone colours, which are used by printers. They ensure the exact hue, tone, and shade of the colours in your logo. This means that someone can’t just turn your logo to purple or red and use it in a newspaper ad. Most companies also have a black & white version of their logo which is used for laser printing or for newspaper advertising.

(3) White Space

Often logo books will define how much white space is to be used around a logo. For example, logos that are one inch wide must have one inch of space around all sides. This protects your brand when it is on a page with other brands. Your brand will not be jammed in with twenty other company logos. It also protects the design integrity of your brand.

 

 

(4) Defined sizes

You’d be surprised at how small or large your logo can be made for printing purposes. But it’s important to define how small your logo can be sized, as well as how large it can be sized for signage. In fact, many companies will have a variety of different logo versions for different purposes. This also ensures that all lettering is not only visible, but that it’s not pixellated, and that it conforms to the resolution requirements for printing.

Before you hire a graphic design firm to create a brand for your company, including logos, ensure that they also provide brand guidelines and a logo book as part of the job. These guidelines will allow your company to control exactly how you want their brand and logos to look, in every type of print publication, or electronic document setting. Don’t leave it up to chance, as you could see your brand and logo used in ways that you never expected.

5 Best Websites to Maintain Your Online Portfolio

If you’re a graphic designer, photographer, or other graphics professional, maintaining an online portfolio is essential, as it’s the single most important way you’re going to be able to sell your services. Your potential clients want to see what you do. There are many different styles and they want to ensure that you’re suitable for the gig. They also need assurance that you can actually complete the job and have it done on time.

Here are 5 of the best websites to maintain your online portfolio so you can sell your services more effectively.

(1) Adobe Portfolio

What better way to promote your business services than with a professional portfolio site that has been created by your favorite software designer? Show your clients that not only you have a great portfolio, but that you’re fully competent in using Adobe software too. Adobe promises to make your portfolio creation site fast and simple.

adobe portfolio

(2) All You

This is a site that’s gaining in popularity. They have some great features that allow you to edit and customize as you wish. The site is also mobile-friendly, which is important, as often a portfolio website is too bulky to load on a smart phone. All You offers a free two week trial so you can try the site first before deciding to stick with it.

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(3) Portfolio Box

This site also allows you to manage other marketing aspects of your portfolio, such as blogging and e-commerce features. It’s suitable for artists, architects, models, stylists and other business professionals involved in the arts or services. No coding is needed, and if you’ve already created and designed your own website, you should find the interface easy and simple to use.

portfolio box

(4) Crevado

Crevado has an assortment of templates and all you have to do is plug in your photographs, logos, graphics, or other images. They have a simple upload and drag and drop feature so that you can easily rearrange and sort your images to your liking. You’ll also be able to access your site from anywhere, so you can always be ready to add a great new photograph or image you have created.

crevado portfolio

(5) Carbon Made

Sometimes you hear about all these portfolio sites but wonder if people actually use them. Carbon Made has had over one million users post their online portfolios, and counting. They offer professionally themed portfolios. You don’t need to know any coding, and they promise that you’ll have fun with the experience. They also provide examples in case you get stuck on what to do.

carbon made portfolio

As you begin your search for the best portfolio site you’ll soon notice how many of them there are. There can be benefits to using one of the lesser-known ones—mainly that it shows how unique you are. After all, you don’t want your portfolio images lost on a site such as Flickr that has millions of portfolios already.