Mood Board / Warm + Relaxed Nostalgia

Looking for a little branding inspiration? This Mood board, designed by Letterform Creative, is for a family films videographer. The warm color palette and natural textures evoke a relaxed and comfortable feeling. Mood boards are a great way to guide your personal or business logo design or brand identity. If you're unable to work one-on-one with a graphic designer, create your own. The first step is to gather all of the Ideas you have, then pare them down to a  single, unified style. Click through to read more on the blog. 

Here's another mood board coming your way!

I love how each mood board has the potential to evoke a different emotion. This one makes me feel relaxed, happy, and completely content, basically like I'm soaking in a warm bubble bath (maybe it's the middle image on the top). Even though cool colors are typically associated with calm feelings, this board with it's warm palette is very calming to me.

This was the inspiration for a logo I designed for a videographer, specializing in family films. We just wrapped up the logo and it was a blast to work on! I'll be sharing it over here soon.

In the meantime, I'd love to know what emotions this mood board evokes for you?

Branding Advice / How to Choose a Color Palette for Your Branding

As a small business owner, you already have enough to stress about and your color palette shouldn’t be one of them. Learn how to choose the right color Scheme for your brand identity. These helpful tips will provide Entrepreneurs the inspiration and guidance needed to choose a color palette in order to establish a  style guide. Once you have a palette chosen use it for your logo, website, patterns, layouts, and graphics for a cohesive look.

My blog posts have been a little less frequent as of late, but for good reason. I've been spending time writing guest posts, one of which was recently published by The Rising Tide Society. This is the second time I've had the opportunity to write for them (see the first here). 

This time around I'm talking about choosing a color palette for your branding. I outline how to use the following steps to define your brand's color palette:

  • Knowing your audience
  • Knowing your competition
  • Finding inspiration
  • The difference between hue, value, and saturation

As a small business owner, you already have enough to stress about and your color palette shouldn’t be one of them.

Read the full post to start planning your color palette >>

Small Business Interview / Savan Photography

If you're a photographer starting your own business and are in need of some tips, check out this interview with small business owner, Savan Crutchfield. In it she gives some ideas and tips you can try out in your own business. from social media marketing to finding your style, Savan shares her insight. If you're a new entrepreneur, click through to read!

It's time for another small business interview! Today I'm chatting with Savan Crutchfield, owner of Savan Photography. She is a fine art film photographer specializing in weddings, lifestyle and editorial for the past four years. Savan is based in Orange County, California and always ready to travel. In her timeless and romantic work, she seeks raw and emotional moments. Aside from a few high school and college film courses, she is self-taught. 

If you're a new business owner, keep reading to learn some helpful tips from someone who's been there. AND take advantage of a special discount that Savan has generously offered to my readers at the end of this post.

How did you get started in your field?

I got my start by taking photos of my first daughter. Through friends and social media, I was referred to my first family session and wedding client.

What do you wish you had known when you were just starting your business?

I'm such a people pleaser and I HATE saying NO, but I wish I knew that earlier in my career I can't always say YES, and can't make everyone happy. It's going to be tough your first year and you have to give yourself a chance to learn and make mistakes along the way.

If you're a photographer starting your own business and are in need of some tips, check out this interview with small business owner, Savan Crutchfield. In it she gives some ideas and tips you can try out in your own business. from social media marketing to finding your style, Savan shares her insight. If you're a new entrepreneur, click through to read!

What has been the most effective strategy for gaining new clients?

Being consistent with my brand and work has been the most important thing. I put out quality work and share on all social media sites daily. For social media, the two most important things are displaying quality work, and writing captions from the heart that your ideal client can relate to. 

If you're a photographer starting your own business and are in need of some tips, check out this interview with small business owner, Savan Crutchfield. In it she gives some ideas and tips you can try out in your own business. from social media marketing to finding your style, Savan shares her insight. If you're a new entrepreneur, click through to read!

What does it mean to be consistent with your brand and work?

This is a lot easier said then done for sure! I think we, as artists, struggle to find the right path for what our work should look like. Trying to be different and creating a brand that is wanted can take time. My suggestion for photographers is to shoot what you love and shoot where you love, and go from there. 

Once you find your niche start building that consistent look and don't stray from it, continue to build and tweak little by little if needed.  Creating a brand and work to be fully proud of is hard as an artist, but like anything success takes time. 

Success comes in time and it does not have to happen over night. One must be prepared to work hard and stay humble.
If you're a photographer starting your own business and are in need of some tips, check out this interview with small business owner, Savan Crutchfield. In it she gives some ideas and tips you can try out in your own business. from social media marketing to finding your style, Savan shares her insight. If you're a new entrepreneur, click through to read!

What has been the best part of running your own business?

The best part is being my own boss and having creative freedom.

What has been the most difficult part of running your own business?

The most difficult part is also being my own boss because it means not having the support of a huge corporation when needed.

What advice would you give to someone else starting a business?

Success comes in time and it does not have to happen over night. One must be prepared to work hard and stay humble.

If you're a photographer starting your own business and are in need of some tips, check out this interview with small business owner, Savan Crutchfield. In it she gives some ideas and tips you can try out in your own business. from social media marketing to finding your style, Savan shares her insight. If you're a new entrepreneur, click through to read!

Anything else you would like readers to know about you, your business, or being a small business owner in general?

In our world of social media it is hard to not compare yourself to others, but comparison is the thief of JOY! Success is very dependent on the person, so as you build your business and brand, make sure to go at your own pace and enjoy the small and big successes along the way!

Thanks so much for sharing and for your generous offer to my readers, Savan!
See more of Savan's gorgeous work and follow her on social media: Website / Instagram / Facebook


Special offer for Letterform readers

Book a session with Savan in 2017 and receive 40 complimentary 4x6 proof prints!
Click here to send her an email and book your session.

Branding Advice / How to Infuse Your Personality into Your Brand as a Solopreneur

Are you a solopreneur, small business owner, or entrepreneur? Here is some great advice on how to add some of your personality into your business. There are tips for adding your personality into your brand identity, your headshot, your copy, your about page, and your email newsletters. Click through for some actionable ideas you can easily implement in your small business right now!

Last week I talked about ways to identify if your brand should have your personality or a personality of its own. If you missed that post, read it here.

Now I want to discuss specific ways that you can infuse more of YOU into your brand as a solopreneur.

As a reserved and private person myself, I shied away from revealing too many personal things in the beginning. However, I’ve found that when I’ve shared a photo of myself or a personal story, those have been the pieces of content that receive the most interaction.

People want to interact with other people, not a faceless business.

You don’t have to be an over-sharer by any means, but sharing a little more of yourself will encourage people to interact with you. Once they create a personal connection with you, they are much more likely to hire you or purchase your products.  

Let’s talk about some easy ways to add more of who you are into your business.

Adding Your Personality into Your Visuals

Your Brand Identity

The visual part of your brand is the quickest way that potential clients get a taste your business, so it’s important that you let them see what makes you unique.

Your visual identity, which includes (at the very least) your logo, color palette, and fonts, all must work together to create a cohesive personality. There’s a lot that goes into creating a strong brand identity. Hiring a professional designer is one way to go about it, but certainly not the only option.

If you’re doing your own branding for now, my free Mini Branding Guide is a great way to get started. Grab a copy here, go through each section and take action.

Your Headshot

Another simple way to let viewers get to know you is by putting a photo of yourself on your website. The first step is to make sure you have a high-quality photo of yourself, ideally taken by a professional. Here are some tips for ensuring that your personality comes through in your headshot.

Wear an outfit that you feel comfortable in and that shows your style. Don’t wear a button up shirt if you’re a casual person. Of course you should look your best, but you should also look like you.

Choose a location that reflects something about you. If you’re really outdoorsy then take your photo outside, maybe at a beach or in the woods. If you’re a homebody, then curl up on your couch and take it there. Just make sure that the background and your surroundings are not too busy. You should be the main focus.

It’s important that you look natural in your photo. The point of this is for people to get to know you, so be yourself. Avoid posing too much. Pretend like that camera in your face is one of your closest friends. Sitting down over a cup of coffee with your photographer is a great way to help you feel more comfortable and natural in front of the camera. That’s how I got my candid headshot!

Once you have a professional-looking photo of yourself, put it on your website. It should go on your about page with your bio and ideally on your homepage too. I was resistant to putting my photo on my homepage initially, but a business mentor recommended I do it. I’m glad I listened because it’s a great way to build trust and likeability right out of the gate.

Take Action:

  • Download the free Mini Branding Guide + complete it.
  • Get a high-quality photo taken of yourself.
  • Put your photo on your about page, and even on your homepage if you’re feeling brave!

Adding Your Personality into Your Copy

Writing Exercises

The copy that you use on your website should make readers feel like they’re getting to know you. Here are some fun writing exercises that will help add more of you into your copy.

 Imagine your ideal client and choose a person that fits that profile, preferably a real person, and even better if you know them. If you can’t think of a specific person, then imagine as many specifics about this ideal client as you can: her personality, her business, her likes, her dislikes.

Now draft a personal letter or email to her, as if writing to a friend. You’re not pitching anything. Just write her a letter to catch up on life and ask about her business. 

Once you’ve completed the letter, review the overall tone of it. Is it personal and friendly? Professional and sophisticated? Does the tone match up with the personality of your business? If so, draft all future business communications as if writing to that individual.

Another fun way to give personality to your copy is to add the unique phrases that you already use in day to day conversation. Ask those who know you best if there are any phrases you say regularly that are particularly memorable. 

For example, I had a client who would start almost every email with “Hey sister!”. Because of that I used that phrase on the contact page of her website. It’s a small thing, but it brings out her personality right from the start. Do you have a certain way of starting or ending every email? If so, try using it somewhere on your website.

Your About Page

Your About page is obviously an excellent place for people to get to know you. It’s important to include some of your credentials, but I’ve found that people also want to know something fun and personal about you that’s not business related. I include this as a list after my bio, on my about page. You don’t have to have a whole list, but throw in at least one really unique and memorable thing about yourself.

Your Email List

If you have an email list this is the perfect opportunity to get a little more personal. It’s easier to be personal in an email than on a blog because it’s not out there for the entire world to see. It’s only going to people who have already expressed interest in your business and they’d probably appreciate getting to know you a little better.

Some of my favorite email lists that I’m subscribed to are sent out by solopreneurs. One in particular always shares a personal story about herself and then relates it to her business. Not only is it fun to get to know a little more about her, but it usually makes for a memorable metaphor.

Take Action:

  • Draft a letter to your ideal client, then practice writing a blog post to her.
  • Ask friends and family if you have any unique phrases, or review your past emails for things you say a lot.
  • Add these sayings and phrases somewhere on your website.
  • Re-read the copy on your website and see if it speaks to your ideal client (bonus if you have an ideal client review it for you and provide feedback!).
  • Update your about page to include something fun, funny, or unique about you.
  • Write a personal story, relate it to your business, and send it out to your email list.

Now it’s time to do the work. Copy and paste, or write down all of the “take action” bullets. Then start adding more of you into your business!

Mood Board / Unique Minimalism

In need of some branding design  inspiration? THis beautiful mood board is the perfect balance of classic and modern. Clean, minimal lines meld perfectly with unique handmade touches. The simple black + white color palette is beautifully balanced with pops of bold, modern color. Click through for more branding advice and ideas. learn how Letterform creative can create a custom logo and brand identity for your small business!

This mood board is for a project that I recently wrapped up. The brand makes the sweetest, classically minimal jewelry.  This board is a spot on visualization of the overall brand and the final design. It's the perfect balance of classic and modern. Clean lines meld perfectly with unique handmade touches. The simple black + white palette is beautifully balanced with pops of bold, modern color. 

There is something so satisfying in creating a mood board that perfectly represents a brand.

It's such a fun exercise, and especially enjoyable when you have wonderful brands to work with and clients with great taste. Hope you enjoy this one as much as I do!

Freebie / Mini Branding Guide for the Small Business Owner

Whenever I talk to small business owners about their branding the most common concern that comes up is whether or not their branding is cohesive. I get it. There are a lot of different directions you can take your branding and there are many elements that go into making a brand identity.

That's why I created the Mini Branding Guide. I'm giving it to you for FREE because I truly believe you can have cohesive and polished branding (even if you're doing it yourself) with a little direction.

If you can relate to any of the following, then this guide will be helpful for you:

  • Your branding lacks consistency and is all over the place.
  • You don't even know where to start when it comes to your branding.
  • You're worried that your business doesn't look professional. 

Defining Your Company and Ideal Client

When it comes to creating a visual brand identity, it’s important to establish the why behind it—what's important to your business, who your ideal client is, and what's important to them.

My mini branding guide has eight questions and one prompt that will help uncover the why behind your brand. By giving thought to these questions, you will have a solid foundation on which to build your brand identity.

Defining Your Visuals

I’m a list girl. I like making them and I like checking them off even more. My mini branding guide is essentially a checklist for your branding. It provides you with checklists to get your logo, font, and color palette under control.

Once you have those defined those three areas you will always know what to use for your branding. No more guesswork. No more experimenting. No more stress. Instead you will have the cohesive brand you’ve been dreaming of.

Download your copy now >>

Branding Advice / How To Keep Your Brand Voice And Visuals Cohesive

Need some professional branding and copywriting advice? This article has helpful tips for your small business that you can implement yourself. It's full of ideas for keeping your your visual design and copy cohesive throughout your marketing, Blogging, Emailing, website, and on social media. It includes some creative copy-writing prompts to infuse your personality into your copywriting. Click through to gather some inspiration!

A few weeks ago I had Melanie of Copy Refresh on the blog sharing how professional copywriting can enhance your brand experience. You can check out the post here if you missed it.

Melanie also gave me the opportunity to write a post for her blog, which I gladly took her up on. Continuing along the lines of branding and copywriting, I decided to discuss how to keep your brand voice and visuals cohesive. 

Here is what I outline in the article:

  1. How to establish your brand personality

  2. How to visually portray your brand personality

  3. How to communicate your brand personality through your copy

Each section has some "take action" cues to guide you through the process. I've also included some fun copywriting exercises that will help bring your personality out and keep your copy aligned with your brand identity.

Read the full article here >>

Branding Advice / How Professional Copywriting Can Enhance Your Brand

For today's blog post I brought in professional copywriter, Melanie Kernodle of CopyRefresh, to show us how professional copywriting can enhance the overall brand experience of your business.

You might have invested in professional branding for your small business, but are you still writing all of your copy yourself? Find out how a professional copywriter can take your business to the next level. Whether you need help with copywriting for your advertising, website, marketing, or blog a professional can ensure that your brand voice aligns with your brand identity. This article outlines all of the ways that a professional copywriter can help your company to build a stronger presence before  your ideal client. The design of your logo is important, but don't think that your branding stops there. It's carried over into the copy you use. Click through for creative  tips, ideas, inspiration, and examples of how professional copywriting can help to build your personal brand!

Building a business takes a lot of strategic action. You can’t just open your doors and hope for potential clients to come flooding in.

An essential part of growing your business is building your brand. I’m sure you’ve heard that by now, everyone and their mom seems to be talking about the importance of your brand.

But it’s true! Having a strong brand is the backbone of your business. It needs to resonate with your audience, appeal to them and make them like you. Even more than that, it needs to make them feel really good about buying from you.

Messaging is an essential part of your brand. It’s how you’re communicating your brand’s values, mission, and purpose with your audience. If your messaging is off, chances are you aren’t connecting with your audience like you should be. And you definitely aren’t seeing the sales that you want.

Hiring a professional copywriter can help you get over those messaging hurdles and create copy that actually resonates with your audience. Having a strong visual brand is a fantastic start (my girl Megan can help you out with that!) but if you don’t have strong copy to back it up then it’s no good.

Before I give you all the juicy details, let’s talk about what copywriting is. It’s essentially writing text for advertising or marketing purposes. The written result is called copy, and it’s basically any form of text that you use to communicate with your audience. This could be text via your website, emails, social media, etc.

I’m so glad that Megan allowed me to pop in here with you today and share these top 4 ways a professional copywriter can enhance your brand. I believe copy and visuals go together like white on rice, so let’s get into it.

Get Clear on Your Messaging

All great messaging comes down to one thing, clarity. If you’re message is vague or wishy-washy, it’s not enhancing your brand. Heck, it could even be taking away from it.

A professional copywriter can help you define and refine your brand message. Even if you have the best brand design and prettiest logo on the block, your marketing will fall flat if you don’t have a clear message.

As a copywriter, one of the things I enjoy most when working with clients is helping them to really get clear on their message. Many people often have too broad of a message and try to appeal to the masses.

That’s a huge mistake. As the saying goes, if you appeal to everyone you’re appealing to no one. The more specific and clear you get with your brand message the more impact and authority you will create in your business.

Making Your Personality Shine

Your copy should help show off your stellar personality to your ideal clients. Boring copy with no personality isn’t going to help you build a brand that your audience loves.

Most of the content that your audience is interacting with is the copy and language that you are using, so you have to make sure that your personality is coming through in that copy.

What makes your business successful and unique is you. If your audience feels like they know you, and hopefully like and trust you, they will be more willing to support you and buy into whatever you’re selling.

Be true and authentic to who you are and what your business is all about. If your copy doesn’t feel authentic to your brand, change it. A good copywriter will help you to find the bits of your personality that make you stand out and bring more of that out in your copy.

Speak Your Clients Language

The best copywriting makes your audience feel like you plucked the words right out of their brain. It even makes them feel a little creeped out by how in touch with them you are (in a good way.) That’s because you’re speaking their language.

The words that you use in your copy are not by accident. You need to be able to know what kind of language and phrases your audience is using and then integrate that into your messaging.

Having a professional copywriter to help you out with this can be so beneficial. First off, it gives you a new perspective for your writing. Instead of you just trying to pull ideas out of your head, you have an expert who can wrangle those thoughts to create meaningful and impactful copy.

Second, a professional copywriter knows how to turn a phrase to make it stick in your audience’s mind. It gives you that extra leverage in your marketing to be able to turn passive readers into adoring fans and paying customers.

Build the Know, Like, and Trust Factor

People buy from people that they know, like and trust. And if they can’t say that about your business, they aren’t going to buy from you. It’s as simple as that.

It’s not about how qualified you are or if you have the right credentials. If they feel like they know who you are, like you and trust you they will be way more open to purchasing something from you.

If your copywriting isn’t creating emotions or connections with your readers, you need to do something different. Your copy is a direct conversation with every potential customer. It needs to build a relationship with your audience every chance it gets.

A great copywriter will know this and be able to help you build up that factor. 

With strategic and authentic copy, they can help take your brand from just a pretty face, to something that people will love and trust.

And want to invest their money in.

Conclusion

A strong brand is what make any business successful. That starts with having consistent visuals and solid design. But it also relies on copywriting and your brand message.

A professional copywriter will help enhance your brand in so many ways. It can take your stale, shaky copy to the next level and improve how your audience perceives you.

Some people think that copywriting isn’t worth the money. And depending on your stage in business, it may not be. It’s a big investment but if you’re serious about having a high-end brand you need high-end copy.

Remember, branding isn’t just about the visuals. It’s also about the words. What you say matters. So make it count.


Melanie Kernodle / CopyRefresh

Melanie Kernodle is the Copywriter and Content Strategist at CopyRefresh. She is passionate about helping female entrepreneurs write stand-out copy and content for their websites, sales pages, blogs, etc. so they can stop wasting time and focus on doing what they love. When she’s not writing, you can find her chowing down on some tacos or reading a personal development book. Join her free email course to help you write better copy here, or find her on Twitter and Instagram.