don't treat your brand like a guinea pig

When I first started my online business and 'tabitha emma' brand, I had just finished a fashion degree and understood the design fundamentals. But didn’t know a lot about graphic design or branding, other then my personal experiments in Photoshop.I would flick through magazines for layout inspiration and eye off other peoples website, but didn’t really understand how they put it together, or the process behind it. All I could do was imitate, and experiment.My brand under went many revisions and changes over the years, as my interest changed, I found new things I loved and I experimented with my style.My inspiration came from Fashion, birds and cupcakes! When someone asked me how I would describe my style I would say 'Feminine, nostalgic and playful'.This is what my early branding looked like, back in 2007-

After studying graphic design, I got better at designing and branding and creating beautiful brands, blogs and websites for my clients. But still found the hardest client to be me. As a creative, it can feel almost impossible to design for yourself.I loved so many things, was always falling in love with new fonts, and experimenting with different styles. While I had a style, it lacked consistency, as I used myself as a design guinea pig to experiment on.

I loved so many things, was always falling in love with new fonts, and experimenting with different styles. While I had a style, it lacked consistency, as I used myself as a design guinea pig to experiment on.

The Top Mistake Creatives make when Designing their Own Visual Branding

  • Basing your branding on personal taste and things you like ONLY. While you want to love your visual branding, your brand identity needs greater depth than merely what you like. It also needs to be based on what your brand stands for, what your message is and the people you want to attract and serve.
  • Never taking the time to develop a clear brand concept. You simply experiment and play around with your brand, using it as a visual playground for style exploration, rather than taking the time to lay down a strong set visual direction.
  • Just winging it. Making it up as you go, instead of taking the time to plan it.
  • Spending too much time comparing it to others. Coming across other brands and websites, and comparing the beauty of it to your own, getting drawn into someone else's style, rather than focusing on crafting your own strong and unique style.
  • Not considering your audience. Yes, it is likely they will like similar things to you, that why you love them. But did you ever sit down and properly consider them? Why are they coming to you and are you sending them the right message?
Focus on crafting your own strong and unique style.

Why you Need to Define Your Brand's Style

Having a clear direction is the best way to start your visual branding.

  • To gain clarity for a strong visual direction. When you are clear about the direction you want to take it makes branding a lot easier, and gives you confidence that what you design will work for your brand message.
  • To steer you away from trends and design fads, to instead create something more timeless and unique. It is so easy to get lead astray by pretty new things or admire the fonts or colours you see someone else using. But getting caught up in what is hot right now for branding is not a wise move. Trends should be for throw away things, not branding which tells your business story and should be more timeless lasting you years not weeks.
  • So that your brand will tell your story and be more ‘you’. Reaching beyond looking pretty, you will know exactly what you want to communicate and the message you want to share, and you can tell it visually through your brand identity.
  • A longer lasting brand image. No more uncertainty or changing your mind regularly. Making it recognisable and consistent. So when someone sees something you put out, they instantly recognize it as coming from you.
  • It will help you attract the RIGHT people. When you take the time to decide who you want to attract and what would speak their language and draw them in, you will be better equipped to attract them visually.

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