Your Brand’s Visual Identity: 10 Visual Branding Must-Haves for Service-Based EntrepreneursSep 23, 2022
If you’ve been around The Daring Fempreneur for any amount of time, you’ve likely heard me say that your brand is so much more than a logo. Actually, before you can even have a logo, you need to have visual branding elements to build your logo off of – and that’s what we’re covering in today’s post: the top 10 things your brand’s visual identity package needs to include.
With these things, you’ll be well prepared to rock those first impressions with your audience and wow them with a robust visual identity package that’s strategically designed to ensure everything you show up with is professional, authentic, and consistent.
Not only that, but if you ever want to be able to hand off any marketing, copywriting, or graphic design tasks to a teammate (which, most of us will at some point – whether we recognize it now or not), you’ll need to give them solid ground to stand on and a clear roadmap to your brand so they can accurately portray you through their work.
Before we dive in, I want to address a question you may have: “should I design my visual brand myself or hire a designer to create it for me?”
The good news is you have options!
While I don’t recommend you try to design your logo and visual brand identity yourself if you don’t have design experience, I have a couple great resources for you depending on whether you’re more of a DIYer or someone who wants the design work taken completely off your plate.
Option 1. Our Archetype-Based Brand Bundles inside the Impact Tribe - If you want a completely customizable brand identity that you can create yourself inside Canva, we’ve got you covered with our brand bundles inside the Impact Tribe! This option is for you if you want to be in control of your own branding and want a beautiful brand without spending thousands of dollars.
Option 2. My list of professional designers - If you want someone to take the reins while you sit back and watch your brand come to life, reach out to me for a recommendation. I’ve literally searched the globe for the best designers, and while I no longer offer custom design packages through The Daring Fempreneur, I’m happy to refer you to one of the trusted designers who’s worked for me and my clients in the past and who you can work with now, directly.
Now that we got that covered, let’s get to what you came for.
Here’s what Every Visual Brand Identity Needs to Include:
1. Mood Board
A mood board is a simple visual tool that’s designed to communicate the overall feeling of your brand through imagery. This is the first step in your brand’s visual identity, and since it sets the stage for everything that’s to come, it’s important to get it right.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some resources that can help you hone in on your brand’s vibe:
2. Primary Logo, Secondary Logo, Submark
You might be wondering why you need multiple iterations of your logo. While I could go on and on about the importance of your brand’s logo, I’ll keep this short. If you want to learn more about what you need to do to design a great brand logo, check out this blog.
Your Primary Logo will be used most frequently throughout your brand and marketing materials. It will likely include the name of your brand, and potentially your title or tagline.
Your Secondary Logo will be similar to your Primary Logo, but it will be arranged differently. For example, it may or may not include your tagline or title and it may be oriented in a “stacked” (vertically aligned) style if your Primary Logo is horizontal or vice versa. This gives you more versatility and options when designing your website and marketing collateral.
Your Submark is a very small version of your logo that may be used as a “watermark” on photos or social graphics. The Submark usually includes your initials (if you use your own name as your business name) and sometimes an icon from your Primary logo. It can also be fun to turn Submarks into stickers or magnets for your brand.
3. Custom Color Palette
You may have noticed that I purposefully included the word “custom” in this section’s title – and that’s because to make a truly impactful color palette, it requires so much more than just slapping together your favorite colors and calling it a day.
The colors you use in your brand actually work to portray a message about who you are, what it’s like to work with you, and what you stand for – all before you’ve even said a word.
It’s important to choose your brand colors based on color psychology so you can portray an accurate, authentic message through your visual brand. You can learn more about that in this blog, and uncover your authentic colors with this resource.
4. Fonts and Typography
Although often overlooked, fonts and typography are a huge part of successfully conveying your brand to your audience. Fonts can evoke emotion, show your brand personality, and serve as an extension of your brand visuals. Plus, they play beautifully into the brand archetypes system by staying consistent with the overall vibe of your brand and you.
Choosing the best fonts for your brand can be overwhelming. How do you select fonts that represent your brand personality? Not only that, but how do you choose different font styles for your headings, body copy and accent fonts that actually look good together???
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to choosing your brand fonts, I have you covered. Inside our archetype-based Brand Bundles in the Impact Tribe, I’ve carefully curated font sets so you don’t have to.
5. Patterns and Textures
Patterns and textures are what you’ll use as backgrounds on your graphics, website, and marketing collateral. These will set the stage and create the building blocks for one-of-a-kind brand and collateral designs that cohesively plays into the rest of your overall brand message.
You’ll want to choose a small handful of patterns and textures that you use consistently across your brand. These can be anything from subtle textures to intricate patterns. They can be computer generated or macro or micro photographs (photographs that are either zoomed in or out so what’s going on in the photos isn’t distracting).
The most important thing when choosing your patterns and textures is to take your brand archetype into consideration. If you’d like to choose from our carefully curated collection of archetype-specific patterns and textures, those are available in our Brand Bundles inside the Impact Tribe membership.
6. Brand Photos and/or Stock Images
If you have the ability to invest in brand photos, I highly recommend it. Not only will your brand photos be completely unique to you and your brand, but your photographer can also capture your spirit, vibe, personality, and essence in these photos – and that works wonders when communicating who you are and what you stand for to your audience. Keep in mind, brand photos don’t have to just be headshots – I always recommend getting photos of you working, some behind the scenes of your office if you have one, and photos that showcase you in your element. If you need some ideas, check out this blog post.
Professional brand photography also helps you avoid the trap of the cheesy stock photo. Photos that are overly “staged” can significantly diminish the quality of your brand, come off as cheap or lazy, and fail to make you stand out from the crowd. If you can’t yet invest in brand photos, but still want to maintain a high-end brand, check out this list of stock photo websites that (usually) help you avoid the overly cheesy photos.
If you’d like to choose from our carefully curated collection of archetype-specific stock photos, those are available in our Brand Bundles inside the Impact Tribe membership.
7. Accent Elements
Accent elements can be used in your logo, on your website and in your marketing collateral to add visual interest to your brand and further develop your brand personality.
Unlike brand photography or background patterns and textures, an accent element is a small, visual detail, such as a flower, a gold swoosh, a star, or really anything else that can serve as a symbol for your brand.
As you look around my website, one of the accent elements you may notice are my gray watercolor crystals.
If you’re feeling lost when it comes to what accent elements to choose for your brand, I’ve already pulled together hundreds of archetype-specific accent elements for you to choose from in our Brand Bundles inside the Impact Tribe membership.
8. Brand Board
Once you’ve pulled together your brand fonts, color palette, patterns/textures, accent elements and logos, your Brand Board is where you’ll present these as a quick, one-page snapshot for you and your team to reference.
The Brand Board is often where designers stop when it comes to delivering your visual brand identity, but I like to take it a step further. When I worked with private branding clients, and now as part of our Brand Bundles inside the Impact Tribe, we help you pull every facet of your brand together into a gorgeous Brand Book for you and your team to follow …
9. Brand Book
Your Brand Book is a comprehensive guide that pulls together every facet of your brand into one beautiful resource. It includes all aspects of your brand – from your brand personality and archetypes, to your ideal clients, to your communication system, and brand visuals.
This is what you’ll share with everyone you hire so they can fundamentally and fully understand you and your brand exactly how you intend to portray it to the world. If you want to learn more about the details of why you need a brand book and what a good brand book includes, check out this blog post.
10. Marketing Collateral
Marketing Collateral is the collection of print and digital materials created from your Brand Assets (the items we’ve already covered in this post). It’s used to promote your brand, and to connect with current and potential clients.
Some common examples of Marketing Collateral are things like business cards, social media graphics, workbooks, videos, thank you cards, banners, lead magnets, and pretty much anything you create that represents your brand. Before you can design any of these things, you’ll need all of the items listed above. But, if you’re ready to learn more about how to choose the right collateral for your brand, check out this blog post.
And, if you don’t want to create your Marketing Collateral from Scratch, you guessed it, we have archetype-based collateral templates for you in our Brand Bundles inside the Impact Tribe!
Take a deep breath. That was a lot of information, and I know it can seem overwhelming to try to take all of this in at once. But, I’m here to help.
I mentioned this at the beginning of this post, but I’ll mention it again: you have options when it comes to designing your visual brand identity! You don’t have to do it alone. You can either join our Impact Tribe membership for curated Brand Bundles based on the archetypes that include everything discussed in this post, or you can reach out to me and I'll recommend a designer who can custom create your brand for you!
Are you ready to build a brand you can finally be PROUD of? If so, click the link below to join us in the Impact Tribe and get immediate access to these incredible resources and start building your brand, your way!