Running your photography/videography/freelance or any other business asks for a different set of skills. Taking beautiful photos is just one piece of the puzzle or one of the many hats you’ll be wearing as a creative with a business.
In this post, I share the tools I recommend using when branding your business online, mostly for free - starting out often means we’re on a tight budget and hiring a designer to brand your business can be costly. I really think you should know your brand before you get a logo made. The logo just represents what the brand is, so not knowing who you’re serving and who you are first doesn’t make much sense.
Ask yourself these questions when starting to work on your branding.
Who are you really? What are your values?
What are you really good at? Your strengths and personality qualities?
What is it about your service/business/blog/art that is unique?
Your branding is everything that represents you or your business and it goes a lot further than what I talk about in this blog. Your words matter just as much, but here, I just want to cover the visual aspect.
To properly represent yourself online you need to brand your business. Your visual branding would include a logo, preferably only two to three fonts, a colour palette and maybe some icons and patterns. One app helping you create a colour palette for free is Coolors.co
Here’s my tip:
Look at your portfolio, whether that be your Instagram feed or the images in your online gallery or even your store if you create things that you sell. Take notice of the dominant colours. For me, it’s always a desaturated olive green of different shades and orange.
Then, use an eyedropper tool like this one: Eye Dropper for Chrome to create your colour palette. Go to the extensions store on your Chrome browser and you should find it there. It’s a quick install and you can deactivate the addon at any time. On the top right side of your screen, the icon will look like this.
Click on it and select “Pick color from webpage”, hover over your image with the dropper until you find the colour you want. Copy and paste the Hex colour code into Coolors, which is the series of six numbers that come after #. When that’s done, you can customize the palette and truly make it your own by playing around with the options.
You want to make sure you have at least one colour that stands out amongst the rest and use that colour for things like the buttons on your website, the call to action line in a marketing graphic, all the little details you want to have catch people’s attention.
Here’s my example. As you can see from my website, I use orange as my attention-grabbing colour. I really wanted to pick colours from nature, colours that would appear in most of my landscape images as well so I could keep a constant look and mood across all of my content.
My colour palette
You can also look into the psychology of colours and determine which one would best represent what you’re all about. I liked orange because it invokes emotions of friendliness, confidence and energy while green invokes nature, freshness and health.
2. Logo and fonts
You want to limit the number of fonts you include in your branding, picking just two or three is ideal. I only use two.
Choose fonts that are easy for viewers to read. Some fonts are super elegant and often an “n” will look like an “r” and vice-versa.
Choose complimentary fonts and remember that opposites attract!
Make sure one of these fonts is used for your logo and whichever font you choose should be the font mostly associated with your brand. While the primary font is mostly used for headers on your website, for example.
Your logo should only have one or two fonts in it at the most.
Make sure you test your logo against multiple background colours. I like to give the colour version along with a black and/or white copy of the logo when I design them.
Investing in a good logo designer is worth every penny. If you do it yourself, design it on a large canvas and remember that vector files are the best, especially if you plan on printing your logo. Vector formatted logos allow for the design to be blown up to huge sizes without losing the quality and sharpness of the design itself.
If you’re considering a DIY project for your logo, consider checking out Creative Market. I think they are the best source of design elements and some for as low as $2.
Here you’ll find all kinds of goodies, it’s like the “Superstore” of design elements. Squarespace templates, Facebook banner templates, premade logos and so much more. I love that each week, you get to download freebies. Always check the license you’re getting though. This is where I like to find new fonts to use. I like it because I know what license I bought and where I can use the font without any copyright infringement.
Chances are you’re probably using one or more of Adobe’s products if you’re a photographer or a digital creative, like the Photography Plan. Along with getting Lightroom and Photoshop, you also get access to Spark for free. It’s way faster than using Photoshop and it’s online, meaning you can access all your designs on any computer. I don’t like to use Canva, too many people are using the same templates and everything is starting to look the same. I also don’t like it because they make you pay for a subscription if you want to download anything with a transparent background - your logo should have one, or at least one version without a background.
Create all the social media and email list graphics you’ll need and even short videos with music. I still recommend using Photoshop if you’re designing graphics for print or for your website just because you have more control over the quality of the graphic. With Adobe Spark, you can upload your custom fonts and brand your templates. You can use their icons, shapes and fonts or you can upload your own.
Check out my full blog post on Adobe Spark here.
I really hope these tips and apps help you create amazing content and better brand yourself or your business!
I’d love to know, what is your brand about? What value do you provide?
Until next time,