Ready to have some fun today?
I hope so because we are going to be straight “arts and crafts” up in here.
Not the type of arts and crafts where you get finished painting your canvas and you look over at the chick to your left and think, “Damn, why doesn’t mine look like that?!”…
But the type of arts and crafts that make you look like a branding genius! Ahhhh!!
Creating a strong brand identity for your business will definitely make you do a happy dance not just because it makes your brand look pretty, but because it has the potential to really uplevel your profits! Building a strong personal brand consists to 3 components: a strong VOICE, a strong VISION and a strong VISUAL STYLE. Your visual style, which is what people will see first, should speak to your voice and vision. By creating a consistent visual style across all of your physical and social platforms, you can increase your visibility and presence.
So, how do you make sure you show up with a consistent visual style?
You create a brand board!
Now you may be saying, “Geesh, It’s hard enough being an entrepreneur, now you want me to be a graphic designer too?”
Well sort of!!
But here’s the deal, whether you’re an entrepreneurial newbie or you’ve been at it for a while without taking the time to create a brand identity, I promise the DIY project is totally doable.
WHAT SHOULD A STRONG BRAND IDENTITY LOOK LIKE (AND WHAT SHOULDN’T IT LOOK LIKE!)
Your brand identity represents everything that is YOU. It speaks to your personality, your passion, the people you serve and the products you share. It is a culmination of your logo, colors, style, and the experiences you give your community. A strong brand identity is what differentiates you from every one else and it is what makes you stand out. It is what captivates and connects you to your perfect fit fan and it is YOURS and YOURS alone.
So because she seems to do EVERYTHING right online (just check out her income reports) I thought she’d be a great example to use.
When you look at Melyssa’s brand there is one thing that is undeniable. It is CONSISTENT! If you want to be seen as an authority in your niche, you need to show up online like you’re in it to win it. Half baked brands do not bode well online.
Why is it so important to have a strong personal brand?
Because the competition is thick in Internetland and if you want to stand out, if you want to be seen and if you want to sell more stuff, you have to have a brand that shows you are serious about your business.
If your colors, fonts, and style are always changing, how will anyone ever get the chance to create a personal connection with you and your business?
The answer is the won’t. So to avoid that deadly mistake, let’s create your brand board.
WHAT IS A BRAND BOARD + WHY DO I NEED ONE, ANYWAYS?
A brand board is an important part of your overall branding process. When it comes to building your brand there are a lot of different elements that make up your visual style. These include your logo, colors, fonts, graphics, textures, and more. Creating a brand board helps you tie all of your brand elements together.
The main purpose of a brand board is to keep your fonts, colors, image types and other important design elements in one document for easy reference. Remember, everything you create needs to reflect your brand. And consistency is of course very important for brand recognition, and for keeping the look of your site harmonious (aka not a hot mess!).
Let’s take a look at the first draft of a brand board I created for an online course I’m working on called Brand YOUR Magic. I created it in Keynote, but you can create a brand board in PowerPoint, Google Drawings, Canva or Photoshop. Use what you have!
You can see my course logo, my course brand colors along with fonts. I also include graphical elements that give character and personality to my course. This helps me to make sure everything is positioned the same way each time it’s used, that my fonts are aligned consistently from post to post, video to video, branded image to branded image and that my overall style is consistent and on point.
And if you decide to delegate or outsource design work to a graphic designer they have all the info they need in one document to ensure they stay true to your visual voice and style. At the end of the day you want to think about how your customer feels after they experience your brand and the lasting impression you want to make?
So speaking of the experiences you want to create, the first step I take when creating a brand board is to start with mood board!
HOW TO CREATE A MOOD BOARD ON PINTEREST
A Mood Board is a collection of images that embodies your brand. It’s the visual representation of your brand voice + vision.
This is my personal mood board. It encompasses my style, who I want to serve and what I want to bring all in ONE cool looking pinterest board. Creating a brand board is not just about picking the colors, it’s the feeling the brand needs to carry to your audience.
So, let me show you how to make your own beautiful mood board:
STEP 01: SET UP YOUR PINTEREST BOARD
Hopefully you already have a Pinterest account, but if not you can sign up for free. I am absolutely obsessed with Pinterest and I think it’s a really awesome tool for this part of the process because it makes finding and gathering images super duper easy.
So create your board, give it a description and set it to secret so nobody but you can see it. Once you’ve created a board, it’s time to start hunting for images to match your brand theme, tone and vision.
Here are a few questions you can ask as you seek out images:
- If your brand was a party, what type of theme would it have?
- Who would you invite?
- What would you be serving?
- What conversations are people having?
- What language are they using?
- What music is playing?
- Where is the party?
- What colors do you see?
- If I had to describe my party in 3 – 5 words, what would those words be?
HOW TO FIND PINS
One cool trick is to think of the 3 words you choose to describe your brand…ooops, I mean party and type them into the Pinterest search bar plus “design” or “inspiration” or “photo” to see what pops up! You can also do this on Instagram and while browsing Google.
When you find images you like, after you pin it to your board, you can also scroll down on the individual pin page and find the section called “Related Pins” to add similar images. Also, Pinterest has a feature that allows you to search for visually similar pins by clicking on the magnifying glass in the upper right hand corner of a pin. Gotta love Pinterest.
This is a no filter exercise. If an image catches your eye, makes you pause or piques your creative curiosity, pin it! You want to maximize your inspiration at this point, so try not to focus too much on finding the perfect images with the perfect shade of turquoise. Just pin baby, pin!
PRO TIP: Now as I am pinning, one thing I like to do is edit the description of the pin. This way I can match the image to a thought that relates to my brand or to a specific brand word. This helps me remember why I pinned the image in the first place, just in case I step away from the board and forget what the initial intent was behind pinning that particular pin.
HOW MANY IMAGES DO YOU NEED?
I suggest pinning at least 25-50 images. This is an initial inspiration grab so pin as freely as you’d like – just don’t pin forever – we have a brand to build! Here’s what my original Pinterest board looked like for Brand Girl Magic (which used to be called Brand U Bootcamp) before I leaned it out:
STEP 02: SAVE YOUR TOP 15 IMAGES
You’ve pinned, now it’s time to pare your images down. Go back through your Pinterest board and ask yourself: Which pins am I connected to the most? Which pins are standing out to me as I scroll through?
As I begin pulling the pics that I’m connected to the most I like to copy and save them to a new, smaller (and still secret) Pinterest board. This will be the final group I’ll select my brand board images from.
STEP 03: PICK YOUR FINAL PICTURES
Pick out your final images from your board and add them to your Mood Board template using Photoshop, Google Drawings, Keynote, PowerPoint or Canva. You can use one of the free Keynote or PowerPoint templates here and create a mood board for your brand and blog. The questions you should ask yourself when you choose the images are:
- Does it look right for my brand?
- Does it feel right for my brand?
The images you pick should both look and feel right. If something feels like it just doesn’t fit, take it out and don’t use that image. This is when you’ll start to see some Boys II Men type harmony emerging, and you can really see and feel your visual elements begin to tell a story.
STEP 02: SELECT YOUR FIRST IMAGE
Start with the most prominent pattern, color or element from your Pinterest board.
STEP 03: FILL IN THE REST OF YOUR MOOD BOARD
Place your images on the board until you have all your squares covered. Take some time to play around with the placement to create balance and flow. Move around and adjust until it just feels right.
STEP 04: ADD COLOR SWATCHES
Add color swatches to your template based on any strong colors that you’re gravitating to in the board. If you need to pull the hex codes, run a screenshot of your Pinterest board or mood board through Color Palette FX or use ColorZilla to match the hex code.
CREATE A BRAND BOARD FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND BLOG
Alrighty, we’ve done a TON so far, but isn’t this fun seeing how your brand is coming together. When you get done, ain’t nobody gonna be able to tell you NOTHING!! – you already know your brand is going to be on point! So the last step is to pull from your mood board to create a brand board for your business and blog (or online course). The elements I think should always be included are:
- logo + slogan (tagline)
- color palette
- font (typography)
- graphical elements
- signature images +photos + filters (can grab a few from mood board)
You can also add:
- signature patterns and textures
- additional design elements like buttons, dividers + social media icons
- blog images, including format + style guidelines
- website (front page or blog)
- if its an online course (presentation slide examples)
You can take a look at my brand board here:
You made it!!! Yay!!! You are now a bad@ss brand board creating entrepreneuress!! Got questions? Let’s talk about it! Leave a comment below or post in the The Profitable Entrepreneur Facebook Group so we can see your gorgeous brand boards!