You made the leap, you decided it is time to start your own business or side hustle. Congratulations! I do have to say, that becoming the owner of my own business was one of the best choices I have ever made. I am also not going to lie, it is hard work! but so worth it.
This article isn't about gaining clients, finding space, gaining a social media following, or any of that other stuff. This article is how to go about becoming knowledgable about your brand and finding a designer you can collaborate with in the design of your visual identity.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon is quoted as saying "Your brand is what they say about you when you are not in the room." If you have question marks floating around your head about brand, this is the best way to summarize it. Your brand is how your customers see you, talk about you, why they refer you, or why they keep coming back. Another simple question is to ask yourself "Who are you?"
Being a small business owner, my brand is me. It is my designer self, my creative self, my business self. My business brand combines with my personal brand, that being just plain old me. Yes, we can all technically say we have a personal brand. It is your personality. Plain and Simple.
Quick brand crash course done.
Now you are asking "But what about a logo?" My answer is simple: Not so fast! Your logo will come out of your brand story, your brand personality, your brand positioning and strategy. A logo alone IS NOT your branding. A logo is just part of it. Think of it as the cherry on top of the cake, or pie, whichever your preference is. Your logo should be a visual representation of what your brand is, it should bring it to life.
Most businesses need help with their brand. Even creatives need help sometimes with there brand. Yes, they do. Ever hear of the people who are too close to their work? They can't see the whole picture. Finally, what this article is about. FInding someone who can help you build your brand story, personality, positioning and strategy. Then build a logo from that story.
There are lots of design firms out there that can help you with your brand and hopefully I will help you start your search and find that business that is the right fit for you.
Your time is valuable, you charge a certain amount for your services or product because there is value to it. A brand firm, agency, or single designer provides work with value. Their time is just as important as yours and any designer will charge either hourly or have a flat package fee. Be prepared to budget for someone to help you build your branding and logo.
You want to find someone you will work well with, so just like finding an employee, you will want to reach out and talk to different people to see who you would like to hire to help you with your brand story/positioning and then design your logo. Most designers offer a consultation at no charge, this is a great time for you to see their work, talk with them, tell them your ideas, your vision and see if there is a connection.
After building your branding values, story/positioning with your designer, your logo will be the cherry on top of the cake. The logo will be a visual representation of your brand and you want to love it. I always hate hearing "I had this person design my logo and I hate it." You should be able to talk to your designer and tell them that something isn't working, or that you don't like a certain color, or font. Working on your logo with a designer should be collaborative between you and them.
When it is all said and you have given your enthusiastic approval, make sure that they will provide your logo in black and white, color, a reverse option and in many formats. (for example: ai, eps, jpg, and png) I can't tell you how many times I design a t-shirt that needs sponsors logos on the back and all they have is a jpeg. And when someone asks you for their logo to place on an item, most likely, unless it is web based, they will need an eps, or ai file, which is also called a vector file. (FYI a jpg file will have a white box around your logo, so for web, a transparent png is the best option.)
The designer should also be providing a small style guide that states your brand story/Positioning, brand values, instructions on how to use the logo, minimum size requirements, as well as color settings and numbers. Your designer is there to collaborate with you and educate you on branding, and your visual identity. If down the road, you have another designer work on your items, you should be able to hand them your style guide and they will be able to create pieces that work with your brand.
Just remember, your brand is how the world sees and talks about you, make sure you find the right fit to help you build your brand and get you down the right path on your journey.