All business owners are creative people. They’re building something from scratch and I think that’s pretty amazing. And as creative people, we love putting our personal touch on things. Logos, websites, brand colours? Those can seem pretty fun to create.
Unfortunately, I’ve also seen business owners get stuck in this “design” phase. It can stop them from making real progress in their business. Instead, they’re spending hours tweaking the typefaces on their website and fiddling around on Canva.
As a designer, I totally get it. I LOVE creating brand identities. But I also know the incredible importance of my time as a business owner, and I hate to see business owners waste their time.
So, I’ve got some advice about brand identity design. For that, I first have to explain the purpose of graphic design and its role in your business.
Graphic design is a communication tool
I’ve talked about the difference between art and design before. The short of it is that design solves a problem, motivates action, and shouldn’t be open to interpretation.
Here’s a very simple way of looking at it: design is a tool. In the subset of graphic design, I think it’s specifically a communication tool.
We use graphic design to convey information
Good graphic design makes the information easy to understand and ensures its seen by the right people. Graphic design can also set the right tone and tell an audience how to feel about the information it’s conveying. So, good graphic design is all about good communication.
What your brand needs to communicate
Okay. Since you can now see how graphic design is a communication tool, I’m sure you can also understand that for graphic design to be effective, there needs to be something to communicate.
There needs to be a message to send or a story to share. A standpoint to convey. And a particular audience to reach. These things need to be identified and defined BEFORE graphic design can do its job.
The problem with designing first
People run into problems when they try to create their brand identity because they skip straight to design. They think they can design a logo first AND THEN figure out what their business is all about. But that’s backwards.
Before you can make an informed decision about how your logo should look, or what your brand colours should be, or anything else, you’ve got to know what your brand is all about at its core. Its purpose, values, personality.
The real first step of brand design: brand strategy
You’ve got to have a brand strategy. A plan for how you’ll position your business and communicate its message. Check out this post for the how-to guide on creating a brand strategy (or if you want professional guidance and support, you can work with me and I’ll help you with it — learn more here).
Using your brand strategy to design more effectively
Your brand strategy will provide you with a way to make informed decisions. You’ll have clarity about the message you’re trying to send and the audience you need to send it to. That makes it far easier to make a choice about how your brand identity should look.
Instead of getting stuck because “something doesn’t feel right” but not being able to articulate what, exactly, is wrong, you’ll be able to refer back to your strategy and use it as a framework to identify where a design is falling short. You can use your brand strategy to measure how well your designs are communicating the personality and values of your brand and whether it’ll match up with the expectations of your ideal clients.
By starting with the basics and defining those core, foundational components of your business, not only does creating the graphic designs for your business become more effortless, it’s also much more fun and fulfilling! You’ll have a way to measure how well you’re doing and how close you are to coming up with the ideal solution.
Download my free Core Brand Pillars Workbook for a guide that will walk you through step-by-step through the process of defining the strategic, foundational components of your brand.
LOOKING FOR MORE CONTENT? TRY THESE!
- Logo design tips to help you come up with strong ideas
- Brand vs brand identity vs logo and which do you need?
- How to choose your brand identity colour palette
- How to create a brand story that captivates your clients
- Why brand identity is important for your business
- Should you hire a graphic designer for your small business?