How to Get Started with Branding Your Design Business
Step 1 - Self Reflection
This is your business and your brand should reflect who you are. Spend some time identifying your style, strengths and weaknesses to craft a brand personality. Ask people around you for their thoughts as well. You know the type of design you prefer, but your brand should live beyond just a type of design. It should encompass who you are as a business partner, advisor, and problem-solver. Do you tend to be more no-nonsense or flattering? Are you reserved or extraverted? All of those attributes can be incorporated into your brand.
Step 2- Create your Palette
Next, create your logo and decide on the main colors and fonts of your brand. It is important that everything externally-facing has the same look and feel. Whether someone is on your Instagram account or your website, it should feel like a consistent, cohesive experience. Make sure the aesthetic of your brand matches the aesthetic of your design and your personality. If you are big, bold, and daring in your design, your colors and logo should be big, bold, and daring. If you are more muted or understated, your brand attributes should be as well.
Step 3 - Photography
Invest in good photography. While this doesn’t specifically have to do with branding, it is very difficult to launch a design business without professional photography. Anything you do to promote or endorse your brand should include professional examples of your work.
Start by finding a photographer you really like. You can look at designers you admire on Instagram to see which photographers they use. Or try checking your social networks to see if anyone knows good photographers. Make sure any photographer you hire is experienced with interior shots. Many will offer you a good deal if you’re just getting started, so negotiate pricing up front.
Step 4 - Create Collateral and a Culture that Embodies your Brand
When creating critical elements like websites and social media accounts, make sure they reflect your brand. Once you have a website, start to build a following through social media. Be disciplined in your approach - posting several times a week - and build your following organically. Everything you touch should incorporate your brand. Whether you are hiring people, invoicing clients, or diffusing a tense situation, all communications should reflect the values of your brand.
If you are luxury, as an example, then the people that work for you should create a high-end, premium experience when interacting with clients and partners. Everything from how they answer the phone to the signature in their emails should harken back to luxury.
If you are a fun brand, as another example, everything from your Instagram stories to the cards you send to clients on special occasions should be fun.
A brand is not something you do one day and then it’s done. A brand is something you create that lives with you and your company every single day. It is what will set you apart from other designers, what will compel future clients to reach out to you, and it is what will instantly make you feel like a viable, credible business. Branding is so important to the success of a business and in just four steps, you can be on your journey toward creating an effective brand.