When I first started my business, I chose a color palette that I loved and that reflected the name. But after I started learning more about running an online business and seeing what other people were doing with their visual brands, I started to doubt my color choices.
It seemed like the same teal and gray that I chose were everywhere. I didn’t want to look like I was just following the crowd, so I considered switching colors and rebranding my business.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my brand colors were a reflection of me and my style, not of what was trendy. I had painted my room teal in middle school (it looks like the bottom of a swimming pool), I decorated my house in bright colors and I would choose gray over beige any day.
My brand reflected who I am and so it was something that I loved sharing every day. And I want the same for you—a brand that fits you and your style so that you’re proud to talk about it, share it and embrace what makes it different.
Not sure if your brand really is a reflection of you? Here are 5 ways you can make sure it’s totally true-to-you.
1. Look at your home and closet for inspiration.
The colors and styles you choose for your décor and clothing are a great indicator of what you’re drawn to and can be a starting point for your brand design.
If you aren’t sure where to start when designing your brand, look at the types of images you pin on Pinterest, the colors and styles of your favorite pieces of clothing and the home décor you gravitate toward.
While this won’t tell you exactly which colors will work best to attract your dream clients, it will give you a good idea of the style and colors you’re naturally attracted to. And using those is a great way to feel like your brand fits who you are instead of the icky feeling that comes with looking like someone you aren’t.
[bctt tweet=”Looking for your brand colors? Look at your home décor for inspiration!” username=””]
If you tend to follow trends in your wardrobe and decorating style, you can still gather information about what you like long-term by digging into what exactly it is you like about each trend. Maybe you are drawn to bright, white images instead of dark and moody ones. Or maybe you like pastels instead of bright, in-your-face colors.
Just because you like one floral watercolor design, doesn’t mean that your brand should be made of florals and pastels—look at what you choose consistently and go back to time and time again.
2. Define how you want to work.
By figuring out how you want to run your business and what’s most important, you can build a brand that supports your goals and mission.
Start by figuring out what it is you want to be known for. This can be more than just designing beautiful websites or producing light and airy images—it’s the heart behind your brand. To help you with this, consider the following questions:
- What do you do that no one else in your industry does?
- What is one thing you want people to know after they talk with you?
- What do you want to teach people?
- Who are your dream clients and what makes them dreamy?
Once you know what it is you want to be known for and have your visual brand in place (or at least have an idea), stay true to that. No matter who you’re working with or how much you want that big project, let your brand guide you in how you work and who you serve.
While that may seem scary (it’s hard to say no to that big project that pays big bucks), by staying true to your brand, you will feel more confident and enjoy your work more—because it’s what you actually love doing.
[bctt tweet=”If you’re true to your brand, you’ll be more confident and enjoy your work more.” username=””]
3. Make sure your brand matches your work.
If the work you’re showing in your portfolio doesn’t fit your brand design, you’re sending a mixed message.
When curating your portfolio—whether on your website, on Instagram or in a look book—always choose projects that reflect the type of work you want more of. Then, use that as inspiration for your own brand.
For example, if you want to serve high-end clients, your brand needs to look and feel high-end. That doesn’t mean that you have to look like everyone else, but it does mean that you have to think about what is going to attract your dream clients.
You also want to create a brand that can grow with your business and sets you up for success in the future. Before you start designing, consider your long-term goals and make sure that your brand can grow and expand to help you achieve them.
4. Don’t be afraid to do something different.
Don’t stick to what’s trendy just because you think it’s what your audience wants to see.
If you want colors that aren’t trendy or typical for your industry, you can tie them in with a style that speaks to your clients. One of my friends is a wedding photographer and uses orange in her brand. It’s definitely not what most wedding photographers are doing, but it works for her because her brand materials are high-end and beautiful.
Your brand should attract your dream clients, even if they aren’t who everyone else seems to be serving. If you love working with quirky brides who want to include fun, unexpected designs, then show that part of who you are. You will turn some people off, but that’s okay because they aren’t your dream client.
By getting outside of the box, you will attract the people who are your dream clients.
5. Live in your brand before you make changes.
Sometimes we want to change just because we see something else we think is better.
Don’t be discouraged if your brand doesn’t look like everyone else’s. Trends will come and go, but a good brand will last because it’s a reflection of who you are and who you serve.
[bctt tweet=”A good brand lasts because it’s a reflection of who you are and who you serve.” username=””]
When you’re just starting out, it’s okay to DIY your brand or find a simple logo. As you grow, you will learn more about how you want to run your business, who you love working with and what your mission is. Then you can invest in professional branding because you will able to craft something that will help your business grow in the direction you want.
If you live in your brand for a few months, you won’t be as tempted to change every time you see something new.
Here’s your action step now that you know more about creating a brand that reflects who you are—sit down and evaluate your current brand and see where it might be falling short and improve those areas. That may be as easy as adjusting the type of images you share on Instagram or it may mean rebranding, but you won’t know until you dig into it.
Samantha is a brand and website designer who helps creative entrepreneurs share their vision through design. A Pittsburgh native now living in Richmond, Virginia, her background is in design and architecture. She spends her days designing and her evenings watching Netflix with her husband and their dog #gambittheweshi. You can connect with her on her website, Facebook and Instagram.