Mood / 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 / What is the biggest impact professional branding has had on your business?

Are you still doing your own branding for your small business? Here is the incentive you need to hire a professional designer to design your brand identity. This blog interview with 12 small business owners provides the inspiration and motivation you need to invest in professional branding. The consensus is that it's the best business investment many have made. It will move your business forward, give you confidence, and change your mindset. Click through for more ideas and insights on how professional branding can take your business to the next level!

Have you put off hiring a designer to professionally brand your business because it doesn't seem worth the investment?

It's certainly not a small investment to make and it's easy to convince yourself that you can get by doing your branding yourself. And the truth is, you can. (Yep, a professional designer just that!)

But, do you really want to just get by with things in your business? Wouldn't you rather thrive and be proud of it?

I reached out to some past clients, as well as other small businesses that have really great, professional branding, and asked them the following question:

"What is the biggest impact professional branding has had on your business?"

Find out from other small business owners, like yourself, if professional branding is really worth the money!


What Is The Biggest Impact Professional Branding Has Had On Your Business?

Jessie Bennett

Jessie Bennett Photography

Professional branding for my business has impacted not only my business, but me personally as a business owner. Through the entire branding process I learned so much about myself and my business…where I was, and where I wanted to be.  Professional branding inspired me to move forward, to push past insecurities, and to grow with my business.

Branding goes so much farther than a pretty logo…it helps to tell your story. Who you are, what you are, and why you are.

Branding my business with the help from Megan at Letterform, has been the without a doubt, the best business decision I have made not only for business and the bottom line, but for myself. To look at my brand and be proud of the work I do and love how I am represented in the marketplace has been life changing. 


What Is The Biggest Impact Professional Branding Has Had On Your Business?

Melissa Bailey

Coast Beauty Co

Professional branding is the best investment I’ve made for my business. 

Before hiring on a design team, my head was filled with creative ideas for my business but they weren’t all cohesive. Taking the time to pull inspiration, create moodboards and focus on our ideal customer helped build a strong foundation.

From there, bringing in a team of experts to capture that into branding, elevated the business to another level. Customers felt that they could connect to the brand. They were inspired by it, they could relate to it and they were engaged.

In turn, it meant more sales and more interest from media and retailers. It also gave me more clarity in the business. Now, with every decision I make, I ask “is this on brand for Coast?” and it guides me to do what’s best for the business and my customers.


What Is The Biggest Impact Professional Branding Has Had On Your Business?

Amber Michels

Your Milk Shoppe

I get compliments all the time about the branding and overall feel of my business. Without having branding that I felt 100% certain of and confident about, I would not have been as certain and confident about the direction and mission of my business.

I receive inquiries from people all over the country: both looking for a job at YMS and exploring hiring us for services because people notice my logo and soon after fall in love with our overall brand and mission.

It is absolutely crucial for all business owners to take branding seriously when launching their business. It is the first impression that will undoubtedly speak to your audience


What Is The Biggest Impact Professional Branding Has Had On Your Business?

Emma Lemke

Floral & Mineral

Professional branding has had a huge impact on my mindset towards my business and who I attract as clients. I started out as a "self-acclaimed" and "self-taught" florist. Because of this, I felt like a fraud! I couldn't believe people were paying me!

Running a business is a lot about mindset and I didn't realise that so many people are "faking it until they're making it"! I had a love and passion for flowers & I loved using my creativity in this direction, but I wasn't sure at all how to run an effective business.

Because I had a mind set of "I'm a fraud", "no one would want to pay me properly" and "I really need the work, so I should discount, discount, discount!" my business really wasn't doing that great at all. 

My logo and branding definitely helped to change this for me. When I got a professional logo, business cards and a website, all of a sudden I felt real and I definitely looked more professional and "real".  I have so many clients come to me because they're attracted to my brand or my website. My logo helped me to stand out among the rest and it made me realise that I actually did have something great to offer in my business.

My mindset began to change. I started to see myself as a pretty darn good florist and someone worth spending your money on. I think because of my clean, professional and great branding, clients saw me this way too. I went from having clients with an average flower budget of $300 to an average of $2,500. This average is increasing yearly and I now do flowers for weddings with between $4,000- $5,000 flower budgets.

I owe a lot of this success to my brand. It not only communicates to my audience that I'm the real deal and have something great to offer, but it communicated to me that I'm the real deal and have something great to offer. If you have a great brand, you will start to believe in yourself. And, if you believe in yourself, your customers will believe in you.


What Is The Biggest Impact Professional Branding Has Had On Your Business?

Meri Kate Perguson

Writing to Remember

Branding was difficult for me to wrap my head around in the beginning because I naively thought of Writing to Remember solely as a passion project, and in that thought the passion behind the project would be displayed in the writing.

However, when spending some time thinking about companies and organizations I'm drawn to and love, I quickly realized that their branding was a reflection of their mission and values.

I began to view branding as a sneak peak into the heartbeat of an organization. And when it came time to look into branding for Writing to Remember, I was able to understand that it is more than a pretty graphic or unique artwork, it's an opportunity to invite people into the heartbeat of your cause.

Poor branding or lack of branding can distract people from seeing what you're truly about which in turn can minimize someone's chance of connecting with the important message you have to share.

Connecting people with your mission is the number one goal, and I immediately saw where a professionally executed brand opened the door to this. It not only drew people to the site, but allowed the bridge of trust to be built more quickly so they were able to engage.

Branding has helped me articulate what Writing to Remember is all about so that those who visit it time and time again find WTR memorable and familiar, and those who visit it for the first time can quickly understand what WTR has to offer them.  


What Is The Biggest Impact Professional Branding Has Had On Your Business?

Lauren Miller

Lauren Louise Photography

Hiring a professional designer for my photography company's branding has been the single best investment I've made since owning my business.

Washington DC is a saturated wedding market, so it wasn't enough to be an expert at my craft; I needed to have a brand that would help me stand out, and reflect how passionate I am about storytelling.

My designer created a cohesive look that reflected my personality and business mission. She used warm colors and clean lines to compliment my photos, but still let them do the talking. As my designer says, "Your brand is a marriage of your unique vision, voice, and totally rad ideas."

My favorite part of the re-branding experience was my designer's ability to bring the concepts of my brand to life. When I had trouble communicating my ideas to her, she helped me to articulate them in a way that made sense. 


What Is The Biggest Impact Professional Branding Has Had On Your Business?

Mari Wuellner

Mari Wuellner Coaching

Until I worked with Megan on my professional branding I was pretty much 'all over the place'. I tried marketing to EVERYONE. 

While working with Megan she asked me insightful questions that required me to really drill down into the why behind my brand. She was able to help me streamline my focus and pinpoint my ideal clients.

The biggest impact is FOCUS. Focus on who I could best serve and who I should be really marketing to. 


What Is The Biggest Impact Professional Branding Has Had On Your Business?

Celine Mactaggart  

24 East

Professional branding has been invaluable in determining our direction, and constantly serves as a touchstone for who we are and the pillars we continue to represent.

Working with Rowan Made was seamless and I learned a lot from Bre. I was impressed with her organization of the process, ability to hone in on our desired direction, and came to trust her. Every time I listened to her, it turned out to be the correct call.

Every time I reach out to someone for an interview, they remark at how beautiful the site is, and that has been key in securing the level of interviews we have been able to get; and has been the pivotal factor that attributed to our growth in just one year.


What Is The Biggest Impact Professional Branding Has Had On Your Business?

Sophia Jordan

Sophia Jordan Photography

It professionally represents the values my business stands for. My branding distinguishes me from other businesses; it helps set me apart and communicate my business values. 


What Is The Biggest Impact Professional Branding Has Had On Your Business?

Kim Butler

The Whiteboard Room

I've never considered myself to be very artistic but I have always appreciated art. As I began to work in the creative industry my appreciation broadened to branding and design which is what made my first investment as an entrepreneur easy: branding and design. I recognized how important it is to make a good first impression; and in business that first impression is almost always your brand. 

The biggest impact professional branding has had on my business is that it gave a refined first impression to my potential clients. When your brand is unclear you lose credibility, especially with creatives, so having an aesthetic and clear brand brought me a greater level of credibility early on. 


What Is The Biggest Impact Professional Branding Has Had On Your Business?

Kay Wen

Siizu

The SiiZU brand has benefited greatly from a very strong name that ultimately formed the spine of our brand. Our name “SiiZU” is a combination of the Finnish term “sisu”, which represents bravery and steel-like determination, and the Japanese term “Shizu”, which carries the meaning of a quiet, serene and clear world. These qualities combined truly represent our philosophy perfectly. 

With these clear qualities and directions, our design team came up with a custom typeface for our logo that gives out a gentle yet resolute look and feel. The round edges of our SiiZU logo flows into the harder edges seamlessly, while the white space between each letter help to give the logo an overall light and airy feel. 

This strong brand identity has certainly helped us with locking down our website design, where we were able to quickly pick out exactly how we would like our website to look and feel. Moreover, throughout our exploration of our brand identity, the SiiZU team were also able to re-learn about what the brand stands for, as the designing of our brand identity really dove into the core of our business and distilled the essential message of our company. 


What Is The Biggest Impact Professional Branding Has Had On Your Business?

Elizabeth Mayberry

Oak and Oats

The biggest impact professional branding has made on my business has been brand recognition and identity. Ever since I rebranded, Oak + Oats and my logo go hand in hand. But it is more than that - the colors, style, topics, voice - they all create a cohesive brand and draw all the aspects of my brand together (I'm a blogger, photographer, shop owner, & educator).

It has been so beneficial to be easily recognizable and have an audience who knows exactly what to expect from me and my site. It also keeps me on track! I have a million ideas swirling around in my head but the only ones that get worked out until completion are inline with my brand and my values.

It's a win-win for everyone! I finally have an organized, intentional, attractive brand that my readers are loyal to!


Have you invested in professional branding? If so, what is the biggest impact it's had on your business? If not, are you convinced it's worth it? Tell me in the comments below!

Branding Advice / 4 Easy Ways to Tell if Your Pre-Made or DIY Logo Isn’t Cutting It

Did you buy a pre-made logo or design your own for your small business? Here are four simple guidelines to determine if your company has outgrown your DIY'ed logo and whether or not It's time to invest in professional branding design.  Before and after examples show the impact that clean, modern typography can have on a logo. Click through to this blog post that includes helpful visual examples that will give you Creative inspiration and ideas for the growth of your brand!

There’s nothing wrong with using a pre-made logo, or even making one yourself, in the early stages of your business. With a tight budget, those are sometime the only options.

However, pre-made and DIY logos can only get you so far. Eventually your business will outgrow them. When that happens it’s time to start saving up, so that you can invest in a professionally-designed logo as soon as possible.

So how do you know when you’re at that point? Well, luckily there are a few tell-tale signs that will make it very obvious when you’re ready to upgrade your logo.

1. You See Your Logo (or Similar Logos) Being Used a Lot

The first sign is that you see a lot of other businesses with the same pre-made logo, or very similar logos to yours. This is particularly bad if these other businesses are within your own industry. Not only will your business blend into the crowd, but a potential client could mistake a competitor for you, and you’d lose out on that business.

Even if these other businesses using the same pre-made logo are in different industries, it's still a bad sign. Although, this may be slightly better than the above scenario, it really just means that your logo is too generic.

If you’re seeing your logo or a similar variation of it all over the place, then it’s time to invest in a logo that is a more unique to your industry and completely customized for your business.

You can see how the before logo below is rather generic. It could easily get lost in the crowd and it looks like many other logos out there.

The after version really reflects the style of Jessie Bennett Photography as a business. It is unique, and complimented by the rest of the branding, and her beautiful photography, it creates a very memorable impression.

4 Easy Ways To Tell If Your Pre-Made Or DIY Logo Isn’t Cutting It Anymore

2. It Doesn’t Reflect the Personality of Your Business

Another way to know that it’s time to upgrade your logo is when it’s not reflecting the personality of your business. Maybe it never reflected your business well, or maybe your business has evolved. Either way,  it no longer aligns with the overall style and mood of your business.

One good way to test this, is to jot down a list of adjectives that describe the way you want your business to be perceived. Then ask some friends, or better yet, your ideal client, what words come to mind when they see your logo.

You could ask this question in a Facebook group where your ideal client might hang out. See if their responses are similar to the list you made. If not, then you know it’s time for a new logo.

Below is a great example of this. The logo on the left was what The Butterfly Cake Factory was using before they hired me, but it did not match the personality of their business. They wanted to be perceived as classic yet trendy, modern, innovative, elegant, and passionate.

With their new logo, I used clean lines to keep it modern. The delicateness and overall simplicity of the logo lend an air of elegance to it.  Their new logo is a much better representation of their business and will attract the higher-end clients they’ve been focusing on.

4 Easy Ways To Tell If Your Pre-Made Or DIY Logo Isn’t Cutting It Anymore

3. It Doesn’t Attract Your Ideal Client

If you’re logo isn’t reflecting your company accurately, it’s probably not attracting your ideal client either. This could be because your ideal client has changed as your business has grown, or maybe you’re just starting out and you’ve never been able to attract your ideal client.

This one is a little trickier because there could be a variety of reasons why you’re not attracting your ideal client. However, your logo could definitely be a major culprit and it’s a good place to start if you want to attract a different kind of audience.

The benefit of hiring a professional designer is that they can walk you through the branding process, which will give you a better understanding of how you should be representing your business in all areas.

For example, one of the questions on my branding questionnaire is “How do you want your company to be perceived in the marketplace?” This question helps my clients to think about the way their business is currently being perceived and how they want to shift that.

Their answer to this impacts every part of their business, not only their logo, but the tone of voice they use in marketing materials, what they post on social media, the customer service they provide, and the list goes on. It will form the solid foundation on which they build the future of their business.

The example below shows the original logo for Your Milk Shoppe, and the logo I designed on the right. Their ideal client is an overwhelmed mother, in need of a helping hand. They want to instantly make her feel calm, welcomed, and supported. It’s easy to make the a good first impression with your ideal client when you have the right logo.

4 Easy Ways To Tell If Your Pre-Made Or DIY Logo Isn’t Cutting It Anymore

4. You’re Embarrassed by It

This is such a simple and obvious one, but I couldn’t leave it out because this alone is reason enough to invest in a new logo!

You have worked so hard to build your business and you should be proud of it! You should invest in marketing and tell everyone you can about your business. If your logo is holding you back from doing that, then it’s absolutely time to save up for a custom logo that you can be proud of.

It’s amazing what custom branding can do for your confidence. Here's what one of my clients says that branding did for her:

“Professional branding for my business has impacted not only my business, but me personally as a business owner…branding my business...has been without a doubt, the best business decision I have made not only for business and the bottom line, but for myself. To look at my brand and be proud of the work I do and love how I am represented in the marketplace has been life changing.”

Are you ready for that same kind of confidence in your business?

If so, shoot me a message and we can talk about how to get you there! I promise, IT IS possible for you to love your logo and be proud to show off your business.

Branding Advice / How to Create a Pinterest Board for Your Branding

For all small business owners designing your brand identity yourself, read this blog post for some helpful ideas! Find out how to create a Pinterest Mood Board that will actually aid in the design of your logo and branding. With simple, step-by-step guidelines and tips, you will learn how to curate a board that is full of the inspiration you need to guide your personal or corporate branding.

It's easy to get carried away on Pinterest, pinning every pretty thing you see, but if you're trying to create an inspiration board for your branding this will just lead to overwhelm.

So how do you make a Pinterest board that has a distinct style and will actually aid in the branding process? Follow the steps below and you'll be well on your way to an inspiration board with purpose.

1) Pin to Your Heart's Content

Ok, I know I just said that pinning all the pretty things isn't the best strategy, but it's a good way to start, as long as you don't stop there. In this stage it’s just about getting it all out there, and later you'll go back and refine.

You'll want to pin logos and branding that you like, but don’t stop there. Add some lifestyle, interior, fashion, and travel photos that have the overall style and mood of your business. This will create a more complete picture of what your brand should look like.

I like to envision brands as people. If your brand was a person what would she be wearing? What would she eat? What would her house look like? Thinking in those terms will make it a little easier to pin lifestyle images.

2) Clear the Clutter

Once you’ve pinned to your hearts content, it’s time to refine and move onto creating a "mood board". I create mine in Adobe Illustrator, but for this purpose you can create your mood board on a new Pinterest board. 

Take a look at what you’ve pinned so far and see if there is a common theme or overall style. You may find that some images don’t fit or you don’t like them as much as others. It can be helpful to delete those ones altogether. Pick a handful of your favorite images and pin them to the new board.

When I create mood boards for clients I use nine images. It can be hard to narrow it down to so few, but if you have too many images you will start to have too many competing styles.

3) Define Your Style + Color Palette

Now it's time to take stock of what you have. Does your board feel cohesive? Is there an identifiable style or mood to it? Is there a unified color palette?

You might find that you like the content of the images, but they all have a different color palette. When that happens I start searching for similar images in the right color palette. This isn’t necessary, but it helps to create a more unified mood board that will better guide you in the rest of the branding process.

See examples of past mood boards I've created for clients here. You'll notice that each has a distinct style and color palette. Ideally you want to be able define the mood of the board in a few adjectives and be able to discern a color palette of 2-3 main colors.

If you need some more step-by-step guidance with your branding be sure to download the Free Mini Branding Guide!