“I’m not creative enough to create a brand”
I hear this a lot, but honestly, you are.
Because I bet you’re thinking that a brand is just the visual stuff. The logo and the font choices and the colours. The leaflets and the pretty graphics and the website design and whilst I would argue (and will do shortly...) that this is not beyond you either, your brand is sooooo much more than simply how it looks.
Your brand is this idea of your business that other people have in their heads. Yes, this is shaped in a large way by the visuals associated with your brand, but it’s also associated with the words that you use, the experience that you provide, the thoughts and feelings that they have about your business because of the moments they’ve connected with you, what they’ve heard from other people and how you made them feel.
Thinking about these things is not beyond any of us. Thinking about the perceptions that people have about your business is something that we can all do. Thinking about the emotions that people leave you with and experience during and before working with you is something we can all do. Considering how you’re making people feel. Planning out the experiences that people have with your business and working out how to create positive memories.
These things are all branding. (Doing many things to help shape the idea that other people have in their minds of your business)
Some of this will involve designing things. You can still do that.
Before you get to the experiences, perceptions, emotions and memories though, you need to think about your values. And your personality. You need to be crystal clear on what you do and who you do it for. You need to know what’s important to you and why what you do matters and what value people are getting from your business. For some people this is eeeeasy. For others, not so much. But it’s doable. And it STILL doesn’t involve designing anything.
But once you’ve done all that (and really it’s not as scary as it might look) then you might need to design something. Ok, you WILL need to design something. It might be a brochure to explain what you do to your potential clients, or a leaflet to leave in a place where your clients will hang out, or banner to help you stand out at an event. You might even need a logo – which is still doable, although I’d definitely recommend a professional does this part for you if you can make that happen. It just makes your life easier, and lets face it, you do have a business to run. Everything else though is something you CAN do. And once you’ve figured all of the non-visual parts out you are going to have LASER clarity on what you need to achieve with your graphics.
The next step is STILL not to actually design anything. Goodness this goes on forever doesn’t it? 😉 Yep, but you wouldn’t build a house without making sure the foundations are incredibly strong or make a cake without all the ingredients, or drive a car without having those lessons and tests to make sure you know what you’re doing. So why would you design something without putting loads of thought into it to make sure that it actually helps you out and is worthwhile? Who wants a pointless flier that DOESN’T WORK?
So the next step is to make decisions.
Let’s back track a moment.
To get started you need to think about:
- your brand values
- your brand personality
- what it is that you do and why it’s worthwhile (to you AND to others)
- WHO you are working for
THEN you can actually start designing here, but if I was you, I’d hold off a moment and think about…
- the perception other people have of your business and what you want them to think
- the memories other people have of your business and what you want them to be
- the emotions other people have about your business and what you want them to feel
- the experience other people have with your business and what you want that to be like (before, during and after working with you)
This last one – experience – should involve listing all the times when a person could interact with your business. That will help you know what you need to create! And also help you know which moments you need to work on for the other three areas.
THEN you’ll have even MORE information to work with when it comes to finally thinking about your visuals.
So take aaaaallll of that and think about your logo, your fonts, your colours, your illustrations and symbols and patterns and layouts and photographs and copy – and make educated decisions about what would work best for your business based on what you know.
Once you have decisions made – keep them simple but think with detail – THEN you are ready to pop over to whatever you feel comfortable – or uncomfortable – using, and get started.
Which will be so much easier and quicker now that you know exactly which fonts and colours to use and how you should lay everything out and what sort of imagery you need to look for.
Which means you don’t need any special skills or creativity as you’ll have your very own rule book to help you be consistent.
Just follow that. Do what it says. Don’t deviate.
Go forth and create!