Defining a brand aesthetic is perhaps the most important thing you can do when starting a new business, blog or refreshing your current one. While it is also critical to determine your mission and your ideal audience, your brand aesthetic is what allows you to portray that mission and reach your audience.
This post is all about the steps you can take on your own, as a creative entrepreneur, to start defining your unique brand aesthetic, without hiring an expensive marketing firm.
STEP ONE | DO YOUR BRAND HOMEWORK
It may not seem obvious at first, but as the creator of your business, you already have the essence of your brand identity defined in your head in some way. Step one of defining this identity, is to do a little brand "homework". I like to start by answering the following questions:
- What is a mission statement for your company/site?
- What would you consider to be a successful outcome for your site?
- Who is your ideal audience/client? Who are you trying to market towards?
- What are 5-10 adjectives that describe the direction of your brand?
STEP TWO | GATHER INSPIRATIONAL PHOTOS
Next, you want to start working on transferring the ideas and answers to the questions above into something visual. The best way to start this process, is to gather photos that represent what the brand means to you. I like to do this on a secret Pinterest board, so I am free to pin anything I feel drawn to, without overthinking it. There are no limits during this step, pin your heart out and see what comes from it.
Example: Throughout this post I will be using examples from my process in defining the brand identity for a recent client, Colorado Personal Fitness.
STEP THREE | REFINE YOUR PHOTOS INTO AN INSPIRATION BOARD
At this point, you want to combine the first and second steps of this process. Sit down with both things in front of you, and start to be selective with your photos. You want to keep images that both speak to you visually, and match the answers to your questions from step one. Remember, you want photos that your ideal audience will relate to and be drawn to. Naturally, as you start to narrow down your images, a cohesive style will develop. In the end, you want to have around ten strong images (including photos, textures, prints etc.) that you can combine into an inspiration board (I use Adobe Illustrator to create my boards, but PowerPoint is another option on a budget).
STEP FOUR | CREATE YOUR MOOD BOARD AND IMPLEMENT
Now, use your inspiration board to pull elements such as color, texture, type and prints for your brand mood board. Implement this mood board by using the elements on your blog, website, or for social media sharing!
Interested in working with me to define your brand? View my services page for more information.