it’s Monday and I’d like to send another mini business lesson your way as we start the week. This one is all about branding – about what is actually is, what it can mean for you and about how you can get clear on your ideas. I am also sharing a bunch of practical, mostly free tools that you can use to create an authentic and consistent visual language for your small business so that people immediately understand what your message is and have an easier time recognising and remembering you.
Here are the resources I talked about:
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My Embodied Business podcast explores what it means to build a livelihood with integrity, joy and anti capitalist values. I offer practical guidance on tech, strategy, ethical marketing, creativity and money and interview other small business owners who do things their own way.
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Hey, everyone, my name is Yarrow and you’re listening to the DIY business magic podcast. Today we’re talking about branding about what it means what it means for us, where we’re feeling resistance, and how we can create brands that feel good and authentic. And that will communicate what we’re all about to as many people as possible. So I want to talk about this because I get a lot of questions about what branding actually is. And I also feel that many of us, rightfully so, or I would rather say, understandably, feel that branding is something that only big corporations do. And they do that to manipulate people into buying things that don’t actually need. And I think there’s a different way of thinking about branding, and creating something that feels true. And that is honest. And so I like to think about branding this way, I think it’s a tool to communicate what something like a business or a person or project is all about, in a way that goes beyond words. And I think a nice thing to remember here is also that people are really have different learning styles. So if, for example, we really enjoy visual learning, I find it much easier to remember things, when I have a picture of them when I can associate them with a certain colour, or a specific style. So it’s just adding another layer to your message, which can be really meaningful. And I think good branding also helps people to recognise and remember you, which is something that’s a valid desire for any small business owner, I think. So what what I mean by that is that we know, for example, that an average people have to hear or see something, hear about it or see something, but seven times before they can make a decision on whether or not they want to get involved or make a commitment or buy something. And those seven times it will be really beneficial to kind of have this visual consistency when you’re communicating or when other people are sharing about your work. Because it means it’s easier for people to say, Oh yeah, I heard about this person before. I remember that. And I meant to be looking them up and learn more about what they’re offering. So there’s lots of good stuff that can be achieved with good branding. And finally, I also really think it saves us time. And I’ll talk about the practicalities of that specifically in a minute. But I mean that when we are clear on what our branding is, and what the kind of visual language is that we want to create, we’ll have a much easier time to create things like email signatures, and Instagram pose, because we have decided on the direction that this is going. And, of course, there’s always room for play. If nothing is set in stone, it doesn’t mean you create rules for the rest of your life on the kinds of colours you can use. But you just kind of have a good feeling for what you’re trying to achieve. And you’re not asking yourself these big questions of whether this is a good fit or not with any picture that you’re choosing to use or not to use. So usually the foundation of a branding. Branding is a style guide. And that can be as simple as just one PDF, one one page, where you’re kind of bringing together to colour codes and fonts and the kinds of images or some examples of images and graphics that you want to be using. But it can also be a lot more It can also be like a 20 page document where you’re detailing anything from the font size for your headings to the line height and your normal paragraphs to the different shades of specific colours that you want to be using. So how much detail you want here on how much energy you want to pour into this is totally up to you. But really, for any business, I would think that a one page day guide is incredibly helpful for you to Yeah, have something to work from as you create graphics and all kinds of visual materials for your business.
The tool that I love using to make these guides is Canva because it’s a browser based free design tool that anyone can learn to use. And yeah, it just makes it easier to kind of take it from there and create other stuff for yourself as well. I’ve run several free workshops on Canva and on my blog email@example.com I also have a post with a video introduction to the platform that should give you like a good starting point if he wants something visual to look at as you make us bad trying that platform. Kind of out also has a premium version that might be interested was interesting for some of you. I believe it cost 12 $95 and US dollars that is and it enables you to upload your own fonts and to set kind of standard colours. that you want to be using. So it makes graphic design a little bit quicker. But it’s not a requirement, you can definitely also make a really good start with the free version. Now, if you currently don’t have a clear idea of what on what would go on your style guide, here’s a couple of ideas as to where you can start and gather ideas. So one of my favourite spots to just kind of get clear on ideas, I have things that I or the client might really like is Pinterest. And if you go on my own Pinterest profile, which I will link to in the show notes, you will see that have one board, for example with more than 100 images, with colour palette inspiration and design ideas. And then there’s another board where I’m posting dozens of different funds that I really like. And if if there’s anything in particular that you like, you’ll open that graphic and follow the link, and it will lead you to the source. So for colour pads, very often the source is designed seats, which is another website I want to share. It’s free. And it’s a huge database of colour pads that work together really well. And I’ve known met so many people that really fell in love with some very specific colours over there. I also know a lot of people who got lost out and spend way more time than they had anticipated on their website. But either way, I’ll link to that as well. It’s really great and totally worth checking out. And then another thing that another tool I really love using for inspiration as creative market comm which is a big marketplace where you can buy things like fonts, and graphics and images, or pictures, and watercolour backgrounds, or all kinds of textures that you can make graphics with. So again, if you’re feeling a bit lost and not sure where it is that that might be a great place to just look around and see what other people have done. And then to bring that together in on a mood board as far as or as a collage. And that collage can happen on your own pension stick, how you could make a tumbler, or you can print stuff out and stick it into your journal. So whatever works best for you, but have a look at these different platforms and see what you like. And then bring these two ideas together into one space where you can play an experiment and see how the different things relate to each other. And then possibly, over time come to a final product that you can then bring together and your canvas diet. And that you can refer to as you make a future graphics. Yeah, which which just makes everything so much easier. And a few practical things, if you feel you have found the colour of your dreams, what you will need to do any web related stuff is to hex code, and as a different code that you will need if you want to create any print product. So for example, business cards. And if you Google Translate hex codes to print codes, you will receive different tools that can do that for you. So it’s really pretty easy. And I would think that if you’re if you’re creating mainly web content, then focusing on the hex code to begin with is is probably sensible.
I also want to say something around. You know what if you feel stuck, what if this feels like too big a decision right now to decide on the branding for your business? Really, nothing is set in stone with that. So my branding for both my businesses has changed significantly over the year. So they do reverse for example, in case you don’t know, that’s my second business. My main business is the one that you’re listening to right now. We’re just called yarded. To do and this podcast is doing the business magic. But era digital is a web design and sustainable online marketing agency for small businesses. And it was something quite different. In the beginning, when I started in almost four years ago, I had I had done quite a lot of web design for friends and family. But I hadn’t really focus my all my energy into building a portfolio and really offering specific services to other people. So when I was starting, I wasn’t totally clear on where this was going. And that was reflected in my branding. I use the green and the purple I am still using but there was also an orange that I’m no longer in love with and am no longer using. And so things have really shifted and changed over the years. And sometimes that’s been a huge amount of work. And sometimes that was just making small tweaks. And I guess I’m really lucky that I love this work. And I love web design and I don’t mind all the tech work that comes with that. So for me, it’s never been a big issue to kind of make these small changes as things evolved. But, um, but I would say that as your brand grows and as you have more areas or products or kind of graphics that you would need to add data, if you change your mind, then of course, it becomes more and more important to kind of really give that decision a little bit of time, so that you’re not changing their actions every three months or so. And if you’re unsure about this, I think another really great step that you could take was to make a list of all different spaces where you’re creating visual material. So for me, for example, that would be of course, the two websites that I have, like email signatures, my newsletter signatures, my social media channels, my social media banners, and my business cards. So I’m pretty clear, if I want to change my mind, these are the places I need to look at an update. And that’s possible for me to do. But you might not want to do that all the time. And so I think sedang with these mood boards are these collections of ideas that you gathering really can be totally worth it. And then finally, I would also advise that you get your friends involved in looking at your ideas, and figuring out whether they feel authentic to you. So I know that along the line, or along the way, I had ideas that seemed great at the time, but they weren’t really matching what I wanted to communicate and do in the world. So Daedra rose, for example, in the beginning, had a bright pink and a really intense orange. And I don’t know, you know, I wanted to create this really earthy, beautiful, calm space, where people can explore itself can have hot fog herbalism. Which To be fair, I wasn’t totally clear, in the beginning, I didn’t realise that the podcast would grow so much. And I didn’t realise you know, that I would grow this into a business and teach a lot. So again, that wasn’t reflected in my branding. And I got other friends to tell me what they were thinking about the bright pink and the bright orange. And, and I’m really glad that they were honest at the time. And so it didn’t stick around very long. And I got to try something else. But yeah, so that was really useful to me. And I would recommend anyone who’s kind of unprepared to do the same, and also to consider the cultural associations that we have with colours and fonts. So what I mean by that, for example, is that if you’re choosing mainly shades, like navy blue, or grey or black in your branding, these are colours that we are many people, typically associated with things like finance, or banking, or insurance companies. So there’s an existing meaning to these colours. And so yeah, that’s just something that’s really good to keep in mind. And your own preferences, of course, are a really, really beautiful starting point. And at the end of the day, you’re the person who has to love your branding. But it’s good to also consider how other people might feel about it and what they might associate with those things that you communicate. Okay, I really hope that this has given you an understanding of branding, and what it can be and how it can help you communicate your message and feel really good about your business. And I hope that you’ll take some of the resources that I shared out as well. Let me know if you have any questions at all, and have a beautiful week. Bye.