How to build your branding basics on a budget

So the time has come, you're finally ready to create a brand identity for your business, to make yourself stand out from the crowd, to shout your name from the rooftop and to get those customers swarming your way. But wait a minute, how exactly do you do that?

This blog post is going to walk you through the basics you need for your brand identity and how you can create them on a budget.

Hold up though, we do have an itsy bitsy warning (well, it's not actually that small of a warning). Whilst we'll be providing you with these tips today, we always first and foremost recommend exploring the option of a brand designer. A brand designer will craft you the perfect brand identity, this is their area of expertise, they have the knowledge, the experience, the skills, the crazy superpowers it takes to build a brand identity from the ground up and ensure success. So if you can, definitely explore this option (you can always contact us for some recommendations). But if now isn't the right time to invest in a brand designer, we've got you covered with the branding basics on a budget. Let's dive right in!

1. Your logo

Everyone knows your business needs a logo, but do you know why?

Your business needs a logo because it both represents who you are and builds trust simultaneously.

Your logo is a method of communication with your potential customers. Your logo tells your customers who you are, what you do and why they should shop with you.

Clearly, your logo is an essential part of your brand identity with an incredibly important job to fulfil!

So with that in mind, we can see why it's important you get the design of your logo spot on. Otherwise, your logo could represent you in a negative way. As a badly designed logo will look unprofessional, causing doubt in your potential customer's minds of whether you do a good job or not with your products.

Thankfully, there are options available to you that will ensure your logo is well designed and professional, two of which we will be sharing today.

Your first option, which is the most budget-friendly option, is Canva's Logo Maker. Canva is a free online design software that has a wide variety of pre-set logo's ready for you to input your own brand name and tag line into. With this tool, it's hard to go wrong. Your logo may not be unique, but it will be well designed and it will represent your business in a professional way.

It's important to note that you will not be able to trademark your logo when made in Canva, neither will it be copyrighted due to the ownership being held with Canva.

The other option, and the one we recommend the most, is purchasing a logo template off of Creative Market (This link is an affiliate link, which means our business will make a small commission from your purchase, at no additional cost to you). Creative Market is full of wonderful designers, offering their skills through templates that you can purchase, customise and utilise for your own logo. This method is also a popular choice for small businesses, so keep in mind that your logo won't be unique, but it will be used far less than a Canva template and will be of a much higher quality. It will also be available in a range of files, such as vector files (used for high-quality graphics, like logos), which Canva lacks under their free version.

When creating your logo we recommend saving it in both an SVG, for your website, and a PNG, for other promotional materials.

Before you get started with creating/purchasing your logo though, be sure to finish this blog post to learn about two key elements you will need to consider; your brand colour palette and your typography/fonts.

2. Your colour palette

Colour. It can cause an emotional response, a lasting impression, even a perception.

Colour plays a part in our branding for a reason, it impacts your customers in a way that nothing else can. With research showing that up to 85% of consumers believing colour is the biggest motivating factor when choosing a specific product, and 92% of consumers acknowledging that visual appearance is the most persuasive marketing factor, we can see how it's important to get your branding colour palette right.

So, where do you begin when choosing your colour palette, and how do you ensure it is the correct palette for your specific brand?

To start with, it's important to consider colour theory and psychology. Each colour has a different meaning, each one causing a different response in your customer and each one leaving a different lasting impression.

Red, often associated with excitement, energy, love, passion and anger.

Pink, a calming colour associated with love and kindness.

Orange, an energetic colour associated with excitement, enthusiasm, and warmth.

Yellow, often associated with energy but also frustration, whilst also proven to be taxing on the eyes.

Green, a calming colour associated with nature, relaxation, optimism and motivation.

Blue, often associated with feelings of calm and serenity, as well as sadness.

Purple, a mysterious and intriguing colour, often representing wealth and royalty.

Brown, a down-to-earth colour often associated with nature, security and strength.

White, a minimalistic colour representing purity and positivity.

Black, often associated with sophistication and elegance, but also sadness due to different associations.

Multicolour, representing diversity, unity and open-mindedness.

Now, before you dive in and select the colours that you feel represent your brand the best, consider the following:

Your brand's personality: What do you want your brand to convey? What do you want to be known for? What is your business about? What is your ethos?

Your audience: Who are your target audience? What do they connect with? What are they drawn to?

Consistency: Your colour palette needs to be one that can be utilised everywhere. This includes social media, your website, your packaging and your promotional material.

Finally, we recommend taking some time to consider some famous brands and how they have utilised colour within their own branding. Some good examples include Coca-Cola, Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Nike, Facebook and Instagram too, the list goes on and on. Remember though, when we say "consider... how they have utilised colour within their own branding", we aren't just talking about their logo. Look at their websites, their packaging, their promotional materials, and yes, their logos too. But look at their branding as a whole.

Now ask yourself, "how have they utilised colour?" as well as "how many colours have they utilised?" These are two great questions to ask and to consider when choosing your own brand colour palette.

For help and inspiration in creating your brand colour palette, we recommend checking out Coolors.

3. Your typography/fonts

Typography, the art of bringing text to life. Typography is the style, appearance and structure used to convey different emotions, messages, and even different atmospheres.

So, what emotion and message do you want to convey? Do you want to be traditional, sophisticated, elegant, modern, clean, formal, playful or even funky? These are just some of the personalities of typography. So to start with, consider which personality matches your brand and start from there. Here are some examples:

  • Serif fonts, often associated with traditional, sophisticated, reliable, practical and formal personalities. Examples of Serif fonts include Baskerville, Didot, Garamond, Georgia and Times. Serif fonts pair well with Sans Serif, Script and Display. Serif fonts can be utilised within your logo, body text, website text, titles and promotional/printed materials.
  • Sans Serif fonts, often associated with modern, clean, humanist, geometric and universal personalities. Examples of Sans Serif fonts include Avenir, Futura, Gill Sans, Helvetica and Verdana. Sans Serif fonts pair well with Serif, Script and Slab Script. Sans Serif fonts can be utilised within your logo, body text, titles and small text.
  • Script fonts, often associated with elegant, classic, formal, sophisticated and stylish personalities. Examples of Script fonts include Alex Brush, Pacifico, Great Vibes, Lobster and Rochester. Script fonts pair well with Serif and Sans Serif. Script fonts can be utilised within your logo, titles and promotional/printed materials.
  • Slab Serif fonts, often associated with bold, contemporary, trendy and friendly personalities. Examples of Slab Serif fonts include Clab, Lunchbox, Calvin, Adena and Kula. Slab Serif fonts pair well with Sans Serif. Slab Serif fonts can be utilised within your logos and titles.

Before you decide which fonts you want to utilise within your branding, it's essential to remember that your fonts need to be both legible and recognisable/memorable to your business. What does this mean?

It means your customers need to be able to read the text, whether that be in your logo, your product title or description, or even your promotional material. If your customers can't read any of those key elements then you will risk losing them to another business.

When it comes to your logo, it also means your customers need to be able to recognise it quickly, if they can't read or identify it because of the style of font you have utilised, or it is simply too complex, then you won't be memorable or recognisable. To succeed in your business, you need to be both of those things.

So, it is essential to ensure all of the fonts you utilise within your branding are both legible and easy to recognise and connect to your business.

Now that you know what to keep in mind when choosing your fonts, it's important to know how many fonts you need. The answer? Ideally, 4. Yes, 4. But you can get away with just 3.

  1. A font for your logo
  2. A font for your headings and subheadings
  3. A font for your body (main text)

And if you want to go the extra mile

      4. A font for emphasis and quotes

Some great examples to look through can be found here, at Font Pair. This list of font pairings will show you a range of fonts that work well together, and a great source of inspiration is Typewolf.

When sourcing fonts for your logo and website, we recommend Google Fonts and Adobe Fonts. Both have a large reliable library of high-quality fonts, so you will definitely find what you are looking for.

4. Your photography

I cannot express the importance of high quality, well-styled photographs for your business and brand identity. Without these photographs, you become a sub-standard business that will lack the ability to capture your customer's eye. Yes, that may be brutal, but it's also honest. Your photography sells your products and your business, it enables you to stand out from the crowd, it tells your story and it makes you memorable.

There are two types of photography to consider when it comes to your business and brand identity:

Product photography: Your product photography is what forms your customer's first impression. Without a physical store to walk into, your customers' judge your business by the quality of your photography, the quality of your website and the products they see being showcased. If what they see isn't top quality, then you risk losing your customer to another brand.

Lifestyle photography: Whilst product photography is an essential part of your business when you're trying to convince people to buy from you, and high-quality clear photographs can go a long way in presenting your products beautifully, lifestyle photography is what brings your products and business to life. Lifestyle photography allows your customers to see your products in action, functioning and serving their purpose in an environment they belong in. Lifestyle photography allows your customers to connect with your products and business and can even be what makes them click that buy button.

So, never underestimate the power of good photography, it is one of the most powerful selling tools you have when it comes to running your online business. Most importantly, for this article, good product photography enhances your brand.

Sadly, we don't all have the skills to produce good quality photographs (we can't excel in every area of life now can we?), so we recommend working with a photographer as soon as possible when launching your business. We promise if you do, you won't regret it.

If you can't make that investment yet, then in the meantime we recommend purchasing a range of backdrops, props and suitable lighting to set up your own makeshift home studio to get the best possible photographs.

Now get to work and build your branding!

This article has given you everything you need to know, so now it's time to get stuck in and build your branding with these basics! Give us a shout and let us know how you get on!

Jess McLean

Co-founder of E-commerce Artisans. Experienced in web design. Passionate about cats, books and living a vegan and eco-friendly lifestyle.

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