Mood / Cool + Collected

Mood / Cool + Collected

This calming mood board is for a registered dietitian, whose mission it is to help people heal their relationships with their body and food, in order to thrive. In the midst of a process that can be messy and tumultuous, the necessity for grace and patience is huge.

Brand Style: Classic / Minimal / Clean / Clear / Comforting / Professional

With this mood board and the brand as a whole, we wanted to create a sense of comfort, peace, and reassurance. I love that even though this mood board is so modern and minimal (which can easily start to feel cold and sterile), it only takes a few splashes of the softest blues to create a completely serene sense.

Mood / Playfully Modern

Mood Board / Stylishly Playful

I have recently been working on the branding and packaging design for a children's brand with this mood board as the inspiration. It's always fun to work on a children's brand because there's so much room to be playful with it. 

Brand Style: Modern / Stylish / Playful / Unique / High-end

For the branding we've paired hand-lettered and hand-painted elements with a playful, modern sans serif. We're using a simple, feminine color palette that will appeal to mamas and won't compete with the color of the products. Can't way to share the final brand!

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!

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 / Do These 7 Things Before Hiring a Designer For Your Branding

If you're considering taking the leap from doing your branding yourself to hiring a professional designer for your brand identity, you must read this blog post! IT is full of inspiration and ideas to help prepare you for working with a creative designer for your branding and website. Hiring a professional designer doesn't just mean you're logo will look great, it will truly benefit your entire business and give you the personal confidence you need!

Investing in professional branding is a big and exciting decision to make. Aside from saving up the money to hire a designer, there are other things you can do to prepare yourself for the branding experience. 

The information outlined below will be important for your designer to know as part of the branding process. Most likely your designer will ask you for this info in a questionnaire or intake form.

The more in-depth answers you can provide, the better it will be for your branding. This valuable material makes the difference between branding that is just pretty, and branding that meaningfully speaks to your ideal audience, and accurately represents your business.

Whether you’re going to take the plunge soon or it’s still a ways down the road, the following tips will ensure that you’re prepared to hire a designer when the time comes. The more time and thought you give each of these, the better. So why not get started now?

1. Nail down your mission + vision statements

Although writing a mission and vision statement can be time-consuming and tedious, these are so important if you want your branding to really reflect the heart of your business. If you’re not quite sure about the difference between the two and need help drafting yours, this article is helpful.

To show you how your mission and vision statement might affect your branding, here is the mission statement of one of my former clients, Your Milk Shoppe:

“We will eliminate the stress of your day to day life by acting as a full service management team of your parenting experience.”

To visually communicate this, we used a soft blue as the main color for the brand. This particular shade of blue is very calming and reflects their desire to eliminate stress from their clients’ lives.

The hand-painted, watercolor elements used throughout the brand create a personal, welcoming feel which is important for a company that is catering to new moms who are overwhelmed by the parenting experience.

Hiring a Brand Designer

2. Establish the core values of your business

Your core values are important in the same way that your mission and vision statements are important. They are part of the foundation of your business and give meaning to what you do.

Some examples of core values might be integrity, creativity, quality, customer service, or authenticity. Many of these types of attributes can be reflected in your branding. Once again, this is what will make your branding unique and meaningful.

For example, one of the core values of Mari Wuellner Coaching is fun. We communicated this attribute through the vibrant pink in her color palette and the use of playful patterns.

Hiring A Brand Designer

3. Identify your ideal client

This is such an important one because your branding needs to attract the right people or else it’s pointless. Some things you will want to consider are their age, gender, income, location, and job. Dig as deep as you can.

If you know or can find people who match your ideal client talk to them to gather further insight. What other companies do these people like? This one is really helpful for understanding the kind of branding they’re attracted to.

4. Define how you’d like to be perceived in the marketplace

Although it’s okay to have an idea of the visual elements you would like to see in your branding, it’s better to communicate to your designer how you want your business to be perceived.

For example, rather than saying that you’d like your logo to have hand-lettering and floral elements, your branding will benefit more by telling your designer that you’d like your branding to reflect your company’s welcoming, personal nature, while appealing to your primarily female clientele.

There are many ways that those traits can be visually portrayed. By being more general, rather than requesting specific elements, your designer will be able to explore all of the possibilities and find the best way to communicate the heart of your business to your audience.

For example, when I first started designing the logo for The Butterfly Cake Factory, my client was interested in using a geometric butterfly in her logo because she wanted her business to be perceived as modern. I completely understood where she was coming from, but saw that there might be another solution that worked better.

Luckily, she was completely open to my ideas. When she saw the option below she knew that it represented their elegant cakes and would appeal to the high-end brides that they were hoping to attract.

Hiring A Brand Designer

5. Establish short and long term goals

Knowing where you’d like to see your business go is important to communicate to your designer because your branding can aid in reaching those goals if done correctly.

For example, if you’re a birth photographer who wants to transition into brand photography in the next year, it’s important that your branding appeal more to small business owners, rather than moms-to-be.

Maybe you’re a wedding planner who has been working primarily with brides on a budget, and you’ve decided that you want to start attracting higher-end clients. If that’s the case you’re branding needs to have a high-end, luxury feel to it. 

6. Identify your competitors

Knowing your competitors is important because it enables you to set your business apart from others in your industry. If all of your competitors have similar branding, then you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd by having branding that is truly unique.

Within certain industries it’s common to see certain trends because it speaks to the target market. For example, within the wedding industry it’s common to see soft color palettes, the use of florals, and watercolor elements because this appeals to a lot of brides. However, there are other ways to appeal to that audience without looking like everyone else.

For example, the submark below that I designed for Made Weddings, uses a soft blush color that is common in the wedding industry. However, the hand-drawn elements of the submark give it a lot of unique personality, and appeal to an audience that appreciates hand-made items, like those sold by Made Weddings.

Hiring A Brand Designer

7. Know what makes your business unique

Building off the last guideline, it’s easy to set yourself apart from competitors when you know what makes your business unique. Identify what you offer the market that others do not.

Do you custom-make each order, whereas your competitors only offer pre-made options? Do you send a hand-written note with every product you sell? Do you make the experience incredibly smooth and fun for clients?

These special touches that set your business apart, can and should be reflected in your branding, which is why it’s important to communicate them to your designer.

Give a lot of time and thought to each one of these and you’re designer will be so impressed by how prepared you are to begin the branding process. If you’re not quite ready to hire a professional, then use this information to guide you as you do your own branding. My mini branding guide will help you take this information and put it into a visual identity. Sign up to receive it here!