We all go through different phases in our business. There’s times to invest in other people and times to invest in ourselves. Although hiring a designer to help build out your brand is invaluable, it is an investment. We’re sharing a few tips for how to create a solid business if you’re not ready to hire a designer.
1. Develop a solid business summary
First things first. The most important step is to nail down a business identity. Simple is better. You want to answer the following two questions in about one sentence: who are you and why should your ideal client choose you? Here are a couple examples:
“A Bay Area real estate agent that finds forever homes for transplants.”
“A skin care company led by a husband wife duo sourcing natural, organic ingredients from our garden”
What do they both have in common? They’re straightforward and they target a specific audience. There’s a whole lot of good content out there about niching yourself. I’ll boil it down for you here… It’s important. Find your ideal client, make it specific. You can’t serve everyone or you’ll serve no one. “A Bay Area Realtor” will have a whole lot more competition than “A Bay Area realtor finding forever homes for transplants”.
2. Choose a color palette and font family
We have a whole blog post and podcast episode on how to effectively choose the perfect color palette for your particular business so go over there and check that out for more detail. I’ll sum it up here and recommend a color palette that consists of 3-5 colors. Color psychology can be complicated so think about what kinds of emotions you want to inspire in your ideal client and choose some colors that are fitting. Pinterest is a good resource.
Then, choose a font. Usually designers will choose 2-3 fonts for clients but not knowing when to use which can very easily and quickly make a brand look chaotic so I recommend choosing one that has a lot of variety. Some fonts only have one weight, others like Helvetica have several different weight and stylistic options so you may have the font in Extra Light, Light, Regular, Bold, Medium, Extra Bold, Italic, etc… so essentially you’ve had to choose only one font but there’s a lot of variety so your content doesn’t look boring but it’s all cohesive. If you purchase a font, which is a great idea because it can set your brand apart, go with Creative Market or Design Cuts and you can dive into each font and see what kind of options they give you.
3. Choose 5 flagship photos
Photography is one of the most underrated areas of a brand. If a business isn’t quite ready to hire on a photographer, they just tend to use whatever stock photos are at their fingertips but taking that one extra step to curate photos that look on brand can be a make it or break it difference.
Use free resources like Pexels and Unsplash to really pour through their imagery to find 5 photos that are perfectly on brand. Make sure they compliment your color palette and be really discerning. If there’s the perfect picture but there’s someone wearing a red sweater in it and your color palette is all neutrals… resist the temptation and move on! (Or learn some basic photoshop skills and take the red out!)
A couple Pro Tips: stray away from photos that have close ups on a person’s face, unless that is appropriate for your brand, like if you have a skin care company for example. There have been studies that show that close ups on people’s faces tend to perform lower than photos that are less “straightforward”. The reasons they gave were that people focus on people, so if there’s a picture of a person’s face, our attention will be drawn there, not to the content or copy or message. (Next time you peruse Pinterest, notice how rarely you see an ad or post with a close up on someone’s face - unless that is part of their branding of course!)
Canva is an excellent resource for finding free templates for pretty much anything. But where most businesses make a mistake is they use the template…. over and over again…. And that’s it. I can’t tell you how many canva templates I’ve noticed out in the wild. The only reason I know that is because I see the exact same social media post design being used by all kinds of businesses over and over again which communicates a couple things- unoriginality and repetition. Repetition breeds boredom. You don’t want someone to see your post and tune out because they’ve seen that design by numerous other businesses. We want to be memorable, not forgettable.
SO, does that mean don’t use canva? No way. Canva is awesome. BUT, take it one step further. Grab a few templates and first, update the colors. Then, change it up a bit. Take an hour out of your weekend and customize it just a bit. You don’t need to stray too much but add a little character to it. It could be your logo, a couple unique design elements, you could combine the look of two different templates, or you could take one template and deconstruct it and form three templates just out of the one. Either way you choose to do it, create 3-5 semi custom made templates for use for the next month or two or even three! A little customization goes a LONG way.
5.Last, BE SIMPLE and Do it!
You love your business. You’ve invested time and energy into it. It’s important to you and you have so many ideas and a huge vision for it. It can be so tempting to want to do all the things and go above and beyond and choose 10 colors and 20 flagship photos and 30 TEMPLATES!! and aNd AND…. We get burnt out and our brand looks like we just design vomited all over it. So, keep. it. simple. Go small and you’ll see BIG results.
You love this. You are all in. It’s going to succeed because you know deep down that you’ll give whatever it takes to get there. So, you can just rest in that truth and rest in the fact that you have EXACTLY what it takes and EXACTLY what you need.
Now, go get it!
And if you ever feel ready to make that investment and partner with some pretty sweet people, reach out to us at Animella Agency. We’d love to be all in with you :)