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Branding is like golf.
It looks really easy, but when you have to do it yourself you realize it’s a lot harder than it looks.
As someone who studied marketing in college I can tell you that when it comes to a business or blog, everything is hard to do if you don’t have a strong brand identity. Everything in some way, shape, or form comes back to your brand identity. How can you market a product, blog, service, or person without a brand identity, or even with a weak brand identity?
Branding is a HUGE topic and can be very detailed and intricate, but today I just want to discuss the basics.
The Basics of Branding
Having a color palette for your brand or blog is an important part of your brand identity. What colors do you gravitate towards more? bright colors? pastels? neutrals?
What is your niche or product? Do you sell all-natural soy candles? Then teal and bright pink probably aren’t the best colors for your brand. Subtle Earth tones will complement your all-natural products much better.
On the other hand, someone like Kat Gaskin, who’s niche is beach life, can totally rock those bright neon pinks, blues, and purples as a part of her brand identity.
If you’re not selling a product and instead are just branding your blog or yourself, I recommend taking a look in your closet. What do you have a lot of? My closet is full of blacks and grays. What are the primary colors of my site? Black and gray.
I spent a lot of time mixing up the colors of my site because nothing felt “just right”. Then one weekend while organizing my closet, I realized 3/4ths of my clothes are black or gray. At that moment it was such a no brainer to me what the colors of my site should also be.
Are you into flowy and loose cursive fonts? Or basic and foolproof serif?
The good news is you can be into both and have both as a part of your site and brand! YAY!! Woot woot! Christina from Happy to Wander is a great example of mixing a cursive font with a serif font.
My site is made up of two serif fonts: Playfair Display and Montserrat. You will not find any other fonts besides these two on my site.
When it comes to fonts you can really pick what suits you. The only rule is balance. That means, if you pick a handwritten or cursive font make sure you balance it out by pairing it with a simpler serif as your second font.
My advice is to pick two fonts and stick with them. If you really want more variety from there, use the bold or italics version of those fonts instead of adding in another one.
A tagline isn’t always necessary, but a lot of times it can really help to better establish your brand. Sometimes a tagline is just stating your niche and other times it’s a catchy word or phrase. Let’s look at some examples:
The Sweetest Way – Travel & Lifestyle Design
Advice from a 20 Something – The Advice Column for the Modern Girl
Julie Blanner – Entertaining & Design that Celebrates Everyday Life
Megan May Miller – Living Honestly | Pursuing Expectantly
Logos are a big part of marketing and branding for large companies, but they can also play a big role in personal or blog branding. We all know some iconic logos. The Nike Swoosh, the McDonald’s golden arches, and the colorful interlocking Olympic rings are three of the most recognizable logos ever created.
The tricky thing about logos is that a bad one looks, well, bad and unprofessional, and a lot of times a good one is uber expensive. Which is why Logojoy is such a good resource for bloggers looking to get a professional logo without spending an arm and a leg.
You start by selecting logo styles, colors, and icons you’re drawn to. From there Logojoy will generate some mock up logos based on your choices. From here you can go through and “favorite” logos you’re liking and even make your own manual changes to the font, colors, icons, spacing, etc.. After purchasing your logo the files of your logo are sent to you and ready to be used for any and all of your needs.
After using Logojoy I went from having no earthly idea about my logo to literally having so many choices that it’s been tough to narrow it down.
Photography / Editing Style
Keeping a cohesive photography and editing style is huge. I used to edit my blog and Instagram photos willy nilly with whatever way I was feeling that day. This ends up making your blog and brand just a random hodgepodge of colors and tones.
Take a look at Taylor from Travel Colorfully. Her feed is bright and colorful.
Now lets take a look at Jessica from Bon Traveler. Her feed is full of muted, earth tones.
They’re both travel bloggers and they both travel to a lot of the same places, but their feeds and brands are very different from one another because of their photography and editing style.
I recommend editing your photos virtually the same way each time (I say virtually because the editing of each photo will vary slightly based on the lighting, tone, etc.,).
I have one preset I use in Lightroom, and one nearly identical preset I use in VSCO if I’m doing a quick edit on my phone.
Every big company or brand has a mission statement or a manifesto as it’s sometimes called. Most of the time they’ll have it written out on their website as a part of their About page.
For a personal blog or personal brand I don’t necessarily think you need to have your mission statement written out on your site or in public. But I do recommend having a mission statement written out for your reference and making sure everything you do/put out there lines up with that mission statement.
A personal voice
What’s your writing style? Is the tone of your blog or brand casual and funny? Christina from Happy to Wander is a travel blogger who is hilarious and always cracking me up.
Maybe your tone is more formal? Amanda from A Dangerous Business is also a travel blogger, but her posts tend to have a more formal tone.
Both of these blogs are two of my favorite travel blogs out there, but they’re both very different from one another. They each have a different voice, but they’re both loyal to that voice and don’t try to be something they’re not.