When you have an inkling you want to rebrand your business, it might start to make you feel unconfident to show up and share what you do with the world. Or perhaps it’s the other way round. You’re feeling unconfident and you’ve realised you need to shake things up with a rebrand.
A rebrand isn’t the absolute be all and end all. There are many ways to gain confidence (like working with a brand strategist, self-confidence or business coach, or getting help in any area of your business that feels sticky).
It is true however, that a new brand identity will help you to raise your vibration and bring some new energy into your business and build momentum.
You brand for the future; the ‘you’ that’s a couple of steps ahead. This helps you to shift energy and meet the vibration of this new season in your business and get you moving towards it.
It’s important to note that a brand identity on its own won’t bring you more clients, customers, and recognition. You and your actions combined with your wonderful new brand identity – that’s what’s going to move you forwards.
You need to be fully behind your new branding and so there are certain steps to take to make sure that it speaks of your soul and really represents what you do and the impact you want to have on the world.
When you’re fully behind your new branding you’re going to feel more confident to share everything you’re doing with the world.
It helps to go back to basics and make sure you understand what your brand identity and all the moving parts within it need to do.
Once you have a handle on the purpose of each moving part you can review and assess what you already have through a new lens. Ask yourself if each part is functioning as it should be.
This first puzzle piece is one I find my clients have sometimes missed in the past. Having knowledge of what each item is supposed to do means you’ll know when your branding or rebranding efforts are on track. It also means that your efforts are going to be cost and time effective.
Creating a brand identity really is simply telling your brand story through typography, imagery, illustration (if that’s needed), and colour.
If we’re talking about your brand as a whole, you’re telling the story through your words and actions too.
Storytelling with visual branding isn’t linear. Think of it as “Telling a story with layering”. Layering up different elements in your brand to build up a technicolour picture.
When you’re thinking about all the layers in your branding rather than simply the logo and maybe the flat block colours, that’s when you start to build a brand identity that feels technicolour, evocative, exciting.
I have a 20 minute video for you all about demystifying what branding is and what the purpose of each part of the identity is. It’s the first of 5 videos in my branding mini course, The Rebrand Roadmap.
You can sign up to my online course cabin The Tree House to watch this first video for free!
Click the video below to go to the Course page.
“Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and insight in such a clear, simple to understand and accessible way. It was exactly what I was looking for. A framework to get me started, and a few insider tips too. I will be dipping in and out of it again and again over the next few months I think as I start thinking more in depth about my rebrand. I just wanted to let you know how happy I am with it.” – Lauren Clegg Jewellery
“I have been working on a logo after watching and working through the Rebrand Roadmap. It was so so good – thank you Meg! I got so much out of it, useful information, tips and tricks. I have really enjoyed the whole process.” – Kathryn Goddard Photography
Been wondering how to create a soulful brand identity for your business? In this post I’ll talk about the simple, key principal I’ve uncovered that helps me to do this for my clients.
There’s something I’ve been trying to articulate. A feeling about what is at the heart of all the work I try to put out there for my clients, but I’ve not been sure how to put it into words.
Have you ever felt like that? There’s something you understand and embody, but you don’t quite have the words to describe it and explain it to others?
Then, I saw someone talk about art practices for painting and drawing as part of a personal course I’m taking. It finally clicked into place.
You see – what I’ve been trying to articulate is really at the heart of everything that people create. No matter if it is art, music, a piece of writing, cooking, dance, film-making, architecture…a brand identity.
The creator wants the viewer/listener/reader/taster to feel something. And we are always looking for things that make US feel something too. Things that make use feel something stand out to us.
But what exactly is it that we want to feel? What makes a piece of Art, music etc either good or…forgettable? I’d argue it’s whether there is a sense of aliveness in the piece.
Whether ‘the thing’ makes us feel alive. Whether we can see the aliveness in it. Whether we can feel the aliveness of the author or artist. By alive what I mean is that it feels like it has heart and soul. It isn’t bland.
So, how do we make what we create feel alive?
Here’s that key principle:
It’s through contrasts and differences. Subtlety mixed with boldness. Lightness and dark.
This is what I already bang on about with branding, but I’ve only just connected the dots back to why it works.
Annoyingly, if you’ve ever worked with a client or employer on any kind of design or artwork and they’ve said ‘Can you just make it pop?’ (or something to that effect) this is what they mean. It needs more contrast, more differences. It doesn’t feel alive yet.
As a person, part of what makes you so wonderful and interesting is your unique mix of personality contrasts, contradictions, and differences. This is your aliveness, your soul.
When you add contrasts and differences into your brand identity, you’re infusing your brand with heart and soul too.
Building a sense of aliveness into your brand identity through contrasts and differences can work in many ways. It’s important to note that it really is about subtlety mixed with boldness, because when you have too much ‘middle’, things can begin to feel muddy, rather than clear and alive.
Here are some ways to begin thinking about this. you don’t need to harness each way of creating contrast, there are no hard and fast rules. We’re talking about how things feel here…so feel it.
Choose your own adventure.
In your colour palette, you can quite literally choose two or three main brand colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel.
Colours and the way they interact with each other, what they mean, and how they make us feel is so fascinating to me. I have a lesson all about it in the Rebrand Roadmap.
The complimentary and triadic opposite colours here create a bold contrast, so you need to make sure you have subtlety elsewhere.
For example in my main branding for Lemon & Birch, I use a bright blue, pink, and yellow. This is roughly speaking a triadic palette, and so you’ll see less bold contrasts in other areas such as the fonts I’m using. Apart from differences in size, the fonts I use are simple, clear, and easy to read.
If you were to use an analogue (sometimes called a harmonious) palette, these colours have less contrast between each other, and so it would be important to create bold contrasts in other areas of your branding.
It’s always about balancing boldness with subtlety.
This is something the photographers amongst us are already masters of. Balancing light and shadow, and framing a photograph so that there is ’empty’ space balanced with ‘filled’ space.
There are some really bold contrasts that can be created in an image when you know how to capture them. My client Caro comes to mind when I think of light and shadow play in photography.
You can also create a sense of spaciousness with your brand photography, but couple that with perhaps a detail rich illustrated logo, and you have a beautiful, balanced contrast.
Inversely, if you have busy floral photography for example, keep your logo and even your colour palette on the minimal, chilled-out side.
The typefaces you choose for your brand identity are a lovely way to bring in more contrast. You can use one type of font for headings and another type for body text.
You’ll probably instinctively be able to tell which fonts contrast with each other; but here’s some quick examples:
I hope that discovering this principle has opened up a new way of thinking about branding for you. One where the rules are less constrictive and it’s more about creating lightness and darkness.
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The thing I find truly fascinating about visual branding is the layers of meaning that can be brought into the design work.
Layers of meaning and symbolism can of course be used in all types of visual art, but in my opinion, it’s an especially important part of branding.
To be clear, what I mean when I talk about symbolism here is the use of imagery like the illustrations in your branding to represent ideas or qualities.
Symbols can come to mean something in retrospect, and that will be true for imagery used in your branding, that’s true for many big brands and was certainly true for my own logo design. Sometimes the image comes first and it gathers meaning as the brand grows.
But it’s also wonderful to make design decisions from the outset based on what has meaning for you as a business owner, and also what will have archetypal meaning for your customers or clients too.
Again to be clear…
“An archetype is a term used to describe universal symbols that evoke deep and sometimes unconscious responses. Archetypes are defined as recurring patterns of situations, characters, or symbols existing universally and instinctively in the collective unconscious of man.” Citation
When we use imagery that has universal meaning behind it we’re holding up little green flags for our audience that show that we’re the same as them, we think the same, we care about the same things. This is the very start of building up that ‘Know, like, trust’ factor with your audience.
When we add a layer to our branding that has deep meaning for us as the business owner, it means it’s more likely to feel right for us long-term. We do it once, we do it well, and we do it with meaning.
Take this Moth design for Helena Rose Photography; There is a layer of archetypal meaning with the design that like minded people will be drawn to.
The style of drawing, the witchy vibe of the elements, the Moth being a creature that is drawn to the light. This last point makes sense for a photography business where working with light is part of the skill of the art form. These are things that we intuitively understand as humans when we look at imagery, without really thinking about it.
And then we uncover the symbolism of what the design means for the business owner. It’s a deeper layer that might not always be apparent at first glance, but it’s important none the less.
Here the Moth represents the ethical and sustainable businesses that Helena works with; they are drawn towards the light in the sense that they are conscious of the how they impact the world.
If possible, we’re looking for something that works on more than one level, but you can always combine symbols together or weave meanings into other parts of your brand identity.
If you’d like to explore weaving symbolism into your brand identity with me you can apply to work together via my Unfurl Your Brand package.
You can also sign up to my email list below for more branding tips and advice.
A question I frequently get asked is how to make sure a brand identity stands the test of time. It’s so hard to work on your own brand identity; you’re really close to it and you see it so often that your own perception of it is skewed from what other people see. People need repetition!
The main thing to note about your brand identity is that people need to be able to identify you again once they’ve seen your branding the once. So there is a little wiggle room for variety, but things always need to be identifiable as being yours. This is where trends can harm you rather than make you necessarily look more up-to-date.
And so here are my thoughts on how to create a timeless brand identity.
Firstly, you’ll need to think about what your brand stands for on a wider level. If you had to pivot and change your product or service, what values or elements of your story and brand would stay the same?
An example is if you’re a jeweller, your work and style might evolve over time, but what inspires you at it’s core probably won’t. What is it that’s at the very core of your brand – the why or how you got here?
It could be a set of values, it could be your story, it could be a number of things. I don’t mean all the rest isn’t important, it totally is…but you want to get right to the heart and work out what’s unwavering.
And so how do you translate that into design?
The fun bit! You’ll want to build these foundational things into your main brand identity – so into your logo and branding elements, your colours, the mix of fonts you use. It’s about finding the balance.
It’s not an easy process, but what I mean is that different parts of your brand foundation can come through in different areas. Always try to see the bigger picture of how things work together.
Not every part of your brand identity needs to convey EVERYTHING. That’s why you have different ‘moving parts’ (logo, palette, font system)
Colour is great for quickly conveying FEELINGS, EMOTIONS, and VALUES. Typography can show if your brand is MODERN, CLASSIC, or RUSTIC.
And logo icons, graphics, and illustrations can actually tell stories, or convey ideas and meaning in visual form. Everything works together to build a picture for your audience.
You’ll want to make sure it’s clear and that the things you’re showing are going to resonate with your audience. BUT at the very beginning you might not know your audience well, so don’t let that bit hold you back.
Focus on conveying the true essence of your brand so that people can quickly self-select. “That’s for me”, or “That’s not for me”.
The WORDS you use need to be much more rooted in the knowledge of who your client or customer is, and your WORDS are something you can easily tweak as you get more clear on that. Your brand identity is there to show the core of who you are (as a business), what you value and why, so that you attract like-minded people. Then you can have fun with trending things like gradients – as long as not every part of your brand identity is changing with trends, you’re allowed to have fun!
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TLDR: Your photo, your words, my animated doodles! Click here to see my availability and book this design service. Scroll down to see examples ??
There are so many wonderful people with small businesses these days – you shouldn’t see this as a a bad thing for your business at all though. There is more than enough work to go around, it’s just a matter of being MORE YOURSELF, because you are the only version of you.
People can sell something similar to you, but no one’s going to do it exactly the same as you do it. Plus, the people following along with you probably don’t follow along with all the other people in your industry. They probably follow a select few that they relate and identify with personally in some way.
You don’t need to share absolutely everything about yourself, but bits of what really makes you YOU here and there will go really far to forging connections with people that just GET you and your business.
I think we’ve all been through that phase of wondering whether we should make it clear that it is JUST US in our business, or whether we should use the WE instead of I. I think years ago we all thought it looked more professional if our businesses looked bigger than they actually were. Nowadays though there has been a big shift towards people wanting to buy from small businesses, solopreneurs, and people just like them. It goes for both product and service based businesses – being small is now a superpower!
One of the most fun things about being a small business is your ability to experiment and try new things – there are no gatekeepers, there’s no one to approve the new thing you want to do. There’s just you (and possibly your VA or small team). Experimentation is something I personally just love to do and it’s what can often lead to really cool new offerings, or a new way of sharing what you do via social media, or a fun thing that can make your website shine just that little bit more.
I found something that is all of these things for me, and I want to share it with you right here!
As you probably know if you’re reading this, I’m a designer and illustrator, and I’d seen some super creative people drawing over their photos and sort of ’embellishing’ them with the procreate app and their iPad and apple pencils. I gave it a go and it was fun and creative and just a nice extra to share on my insta account. I’d also seen that GIFs had become really popular, you know those ‘stickers’ on insta stories where you can add little moving phrases and pictures? That’s not the only place you can use GIFs but it’s where I saw text animated so that it ‘danced’.
I thought “What would happen if I put these two things together, the embellished photos and the dancing animated text?”
What I created was SO MUCH FUN to design! The embellished and animated photos are eye catching and quirky (I haven’t seen anyone else combining both these methods…yet!) and SO filled with personality.
I’m hooked on creating them and so I now offer this as a sweet new design service. You can book your slot here!
I also made a tutorial for anyone that has an iPad and the procreate app so you can try it yourself if you want to. iPad and Procreate are just the tools I use and a similar method would work if you have other drawing software that uses layers and allows you to export as file types like .gif and .mp4 – Photoshop would work if you have a tablet that allows you to draw directly into it.
I thought it would be really helpful to show you some ideas of how this animation method could be used over your own photos, but the possibilities are endless. All I need is a photo of your choice and some text that you’d like me to add over the top. You can specify whether you’d like colour added too, or can leave it to me to work my magic!
So there it is: Your photo, your words, my animated doodles!
The introductory price is £75 and the file types I’ll provide are:
After booking your slot in my calendar, please email your photo over. If you’d like text on your image, please email the text over along with your photo. I’ll need this BEFORE the date you booked in my calendar. Usually I’ll provide the files within 2-3 days, but I’ll always keep you updated.
Please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the chat box (in the bottom right corner) if you would like me to check your photo for usability. You can upload files via the chatbox 🙂
If you’re ready to book your slot for this in my calendar you can click here!
And don’t forget the tutorial I made if you have the tools and software and would like to learnt the method yourself.
I get asked a lot of questions like ‘what are the best practices for designing a brand identity’ over on my Instagram account. I always make a list of the questions I get asked so that rather than just answering once, I can create blog posts like this that help more people with the same questions! I also have some digital products and online masterclasses in the works right now so keep your eyes peeled for those launching in a few months time.
If you’re new to the world of branding, or are a designer looking to learn more about what the ‘best practices’ are when designing a brand identity for a client, I really hope the following tips are helpful to you.
During the research phase when you’re gathering imagery to inspire the look and feel of the brand identity, it can be tempting to only look at other logo designs that have already been created. Worse still would be to look at only logo designs from the same field of business.
Of course you need to know what else is out there in the field of business you’re creating the identity for, but there is SO MUCH MORE to see, and I don’t just mean on Pinterest. Really dive deep and think about the story of the business owner and their journey to where they are now.
Are there little ‘story’ elements you can pick out, are there themes you can build on, are there any images that come to mind when you’re reading all the information your client has given you? It’s important that a logo design has elements that feel familiar and not totally ‘out there’ but that it also feels like it has something ‘new’ to offer.
The most original designs come from combining different inspiration sources together. For example, combining a style of typography or text layout you may have seen in another logo design with some interesting angles or shapes inspired by a tiled floor pattern that gave off the right vibe for your clients’ brand.
It’s important to know what the future goals of the business are so that the new design can be aligned with this. You brand for the future of the business, not the past or present.
If the business is looking to expand in some way, an objective of the new brand identity might be to diversify the overall design so that there is scope to add more product lines or service offerings. More design elements might be needed for product packaging, or set colour combinations for each new service for example.
If the business is looking to target a slightly different customer or an additional type of customer, an objective of the new brand identity might be to elevate the overall feel of the brand to bring it in line with the revised target market.
Always discuss goals and objectives so you have a marker on which to judge the effectiveness of the new brand identity.
There may be more than one font used within a logo design, but the main typeface or font used should not then be used in other parts of the branding like for headings.
There are always exceptions to the rule – sometimes if your logo has illustrative elements or has had lots of customisation done to the text, you could feel that the same font is going to work best for headings. However, as a ‘best practice’ try to find a heading font that blends nicely rather than using the same one – or at least use the logo font very sparingly. This will make the overall brand identity look and feel much more professional.
In addition, you might think that adding more elements to a logo design will make it stand out more, but this just makes things complicated. The best logo designs have one or two ‘wow’ elements (this could be an illustration and custom letters in the text for example). Don’t try to add too many ideas into your design so that it becomes confusing or too busy.
Make sure you think about (or talk about with your client) all the places the brand identity and logo’s might be used. If you go ahead and start designing using a really thin weight font in part of the logo and then it’s decided that the logo needs to be letterpress stamped onto stationery, it can be impossible to make a stamp at certain sizes to get the desired printed result.
Similarly if the logo is going to be blown up very large onto a shop sign, make sure it’s going to look perfect at this larger size! Hand drawn elements can sometimes be tricky at larger sizes and may need a bit more tidying up so they don’t look too messy.
Another example would be involving colours – some blues and turquoises don’t replicate well from screen (RGB) to printing (CMYK) and you may need to use Pantone printing to replicate the correct colour. Same with neons – spot colour printing is the only way neons are possible in print. Make sure your client is aware of any colour printing limitations if they are keen to use colours that might present problems and try to explain Pantones and spot printing if you can.
I hope these best practice tips have helped you get clearer on some aspects of designing a brand identity. As ever, if you have any questions for me or things you’d like me to cover please do send me an email at email@example.com – I’m always happy to help!
When creating a logo design either for yourself or as a designer for a client, in some cases, all you really need is some unique typography to bring things to life. In this post I’ll share 6 typography design ideas your can steal for yourself!
Sometimes it’s best to keep your logo design type based so that you can bring in illustrative elements in other parts of the branding like on product packaging or as elements to build into a website design.
Or, you can combine typography with other elements to take your designs to a whole new level.
There are so many amazing things you can do with typography alone to make it unique and interesting, so I’ve pulled together my top 6 typography design ideas for you!
All of the examples below are my own work and have been created inside Adobe Illustrator (or as a combination of the Procreate app on my iPad and Illustrator on the computer).
The same effects could also be achieved in Affinity Designer which is professional design software that only requires a one-off purchase and works out much cheaper than Adobe Illustrator.
Typing onto an open or closed path in Illustrator is such a fun way to bring movement and fun into your typography!
In this first example for Tea and Crafting I’ve used this effect in each part of the text. For the main logo typography in pink, I created a wavy path with the pen tool and typed onto it. Then for the tagline I’ve typed onto a circular path.
The second word of the business name here was much longer than the first, and so adding the tagline in a circle to the left balances things out.
In this submark example for Susana Torralbo I’ve typed onto two wavy paths to create a playful and energetic look. I created a few different text layouts, then sent these layouts to my iPad Pro and opened them in the Procreate app – this allowed me to draw the faces around my typography so they fitted perfectly!
I drew in black at a high resolution, sent the png image back to my computer, ‘image traced’ the faces to turn them into a vector, and combined them with my wavy vector typography.
In this last example for Kate North Kinesiology, spirals were a big part of the brand design concept. To create this unique looking submark I carried the shape of my spiral vine on and typed onto the path I made. Simple but effective and it fits in so well with the rest of the branding!
Sometimes you’ll find a font for a logo design that feels like it is almost perfect…but there’s just something missing. In this case, think about how you add add to your letters to create the exact feel you’re looking for.
Maybe this means cutting bits off letters from another typeface and adding them into the typeface you want to use. That’s totally ok to do and is a lot of fun! To find what works you’ll need to spend the time playing around with different things.
You can also try adding illustrative elements either by drawing them or adding details with the pen tool in illustrator.
In this first example for Folk Rose Beauty, I found two typefaces that I liked for the design and wasn’t sure which was going to work. In the end, I took those curved embellishments from one typeface and added them to the other to create the perfect balance.
I also drew in some dots and the other detail on the K to add some more interest to the other letters. It’s important to not go overboard with adding your embellishments, they don’t need to be on every letter! 🙂
In the example below for The Prairie Wellness Co the font I’d chosen was very minimal and I knew we wanted to include some Prairie wildflowers in some parts of the branding.
It looked like far too much to add flowers to every letter, but the word Prairie was luckily the perfect length to add flowers to every other letter! I took an image of my typography into Procreate on my iPad to draw the florals, then ‘image traced’ the flowers to turn them into vectors.
When you need to create something really unique you can try combining uppercase and lowercase letters, or perhaps regular and italic letters. You’ll often need to work hard on the layout of these letters to make sure things look balanced and are readable.
In this example for Susana Torralbo it took a while to combine things in such a way that the text was readable still. All you can do is keep combining things in different ways until the composition feels balanced. Also notice ‘Torralbo’ typed onto a wavy line from my first tip, this follows through the the submark design.
Ask other people whether it’s readable still! My husband is a great help to me, he’s not a graphic designer and so he sees things in a different way. He can instantly tell me if something looks forced or if the text is no longer legible.
In the example below for Caro, I’ve spliced a couple of fonts together, created a completely new letter A, and combined them in an interesting way for this secondary logo. Having the A almost italicised and having the straight line on the right created some nice symmetry with the letter R which makes this layout work. It also works well with the text being laid out in a straight line for the main logo.
Don’t freak out when I say that, we’re not talking about creating your own serif typeface here. You can create some pretty awesome typography just with monoweight lines in illustrator.
For this example below for Artificially Intelligent Claire, I couldn’t find a typeface that had the right balance for her brand. So I created my own letters just using lines and those little squares. There is so much you could do with this especially for a brand that will suit a minimal type design and it doesn’t only have to be for techy brands like Claire’s.
Don’t feel like you need to go overboard with the type customisations each time. Sometimes all you need to do is make some minor adjustments to your letters.
In the example for Louise Howarth below I disconnected the middle line of the H and A, and edited the curve of the letter R. The design is super simple, and there were other logo versions that provided some more visual interest. To create a ‘high-end’ logo less is always more.
Similarly with the Balance Hot Yoga logo below, I changed the middle line in each letter A to point upwards. This made me think of a yoga pose in a very subtle way and was enough to make the logo typography unique when paired with other elements in the branding.
This can work nicely with so many different types of fonts. Some typefaces will have extra glyphs or ligatures (in Illustrator go to Window > Type > Glyphs to access the panel that will show you any extras that came with your font) where letters are already combined for you, but you can have some fun with combining things yourself too.
In the example below for Huma Qureshi I’ve combined the U and M in the first name – be careful with customisations this and make sure each letter is still legible in it’s own right! I’ve also combined the A and H after I lined them up to fit perfectly together, play around with your spacing to see if you can get things to line up.
Again, ask others who aren’t aware already what the words say if you’re unsure if you’ve gone too far with your design.
In the example below for Brilliantly Visible, I used some extra glyphs that came with the font but customised them to fit those little dots underneath the L and E.
I hope this has given you some fun typography design ideas to play with for your next project. Remember to always seek balance with your typography logos and to not go overboard with embellishments and customisations. You never want your work to feel forced. Always ask for a second opinion if you’re not sure if things work 🙂
If you’re a designer looking for community outside of social media, and feedback and mentoring from an experienced brand designer, you can join my Designers Circle below.