Have you ever been frustrated with your branding, but you’re just not in a place financially (let’s be real here) to invest in custom branding design? Don’t worry, even though I am a professional branding designer and would love to help you create your DREAM brand identity someday, I realize that right now may not be the right time for you.
So, to tide you over with a better-than-a-Canva-template brand identity, here are 7 hacks to DIY your branding before you’re ready to invest in a professional designer.
1. If you need a logo, purchase a good quality template from Creative Market or Etsy
While these will still cost some money, they are usually fairly inexpensive, and range from $3 to $100. The great thing about these templates is they are usually designed by professionals with the intent of it being altered or changed to meet different needs, so they should be fairly flexible.
Don’t be afraid to change the fonts to make it more customized to you and make it different from everyone else who purchased the template. Actually, I HIGHLY encourage it. You definitely don’t want your logo looking exactly like every other business that purchased the same template.
2. Choose a nice logo font from Google Fonts or Creative Market
If you don’t have money to spare on a template, go simple and type out your logo with a nice font from Google Fonts or Creative Market. Google Fonts are free to use, and most fonts from Creative Market will range from $12 to $20.
Avoid anything hard to read!! I know those sweeping scripts or super artistic fonts can be so pretty, but if your customer cannot read it, then they cannot take action. When in doubt, remember that simple is usually best!
3. Choose no more than 3-4 brand fonts and stick with them
When choosing fonts to use for your brand on your website, graphics, etc., choose 3-4, and ONLY use those fonts on everything for your business (you don’t have to use the same font as your logo). You’ll need a font for headlines, subheadings, and paragraphs, and MAYBE an accent font if it works for your brand.
I know it’s tempting to see a trendy new font and start using that. However, consistency builds trust. Even if you find a new font that “looks so much better,” it’s better to keep fonts consistent than to confuse your customer with ever-changing branding.
4. Choose your brand colors and keep them consistent
Again, while it can be tempting – especially as a creative – to switch up your color palette often, resist the urge. Consistency creates trust. And keeping your color scheme consistent builds not only trust, but authority as well.
Some free tools that can help you create color palettes are:
5. Purchase a photo editing preset pack to elevate your DIY brand
Purchasing high-quality photo presets are a great way to keep your photos looking consistent, yet more unique and professional, than the IG and VSCO filters that everyone else is using.
If editing photos on your computer is over your head and out of your comfort zone, many professional photographers offer presets for Lightroom Mobile (it’s free!) that can easily be applied to photos on your phone with a limited learning curve.
(If you’re looking for more tips on keeping your social media page on-brand, check out this blog post!)
6. Understand your brand voice and style + ideal clients
Your brand has a season, a style, and a way of speaking. Don’t try to change that to fit with the latest trends. Stick with what makes you unique and your clients will come to trust you even more.
Speaking of your clients, knowing who your ideal client is from the inside out is key to creating a brand identity that will help you get more business. Imagine your ideal client as one person. Sit down and create a profile for them – who are they? What inspires them? What do they value? What’s their style? Make sure your branding aligns with their needs before your own.
If you need some help with this step, download this free guide that will walk you through how to discover your unique brand style.
7. Use consistent verbiage
This one is a bonus tip from professional copywriter, Faith Hanan. While you may feel like a broken record saying the same thing over and over again, the truth is, nobody pays as much attention to your content as you do. You need to give people the verbiage to talk about you and how you help them again and again, so that they know how to describe what you do to their friends and family (can someone say referrals?!)
While obviously, I 100000% believe in the monetary and relational value of having a professionally designed brand identity, these tricks will be enough to tide you over until, hopefully, you and I can work together. There truly is no substitute for having a second set of eyes on your brand, but using these tips for now will help you build a consistent and visually appealing brand until custom branding design is in your budget.