Branding is a very important part of any business. It sets up the overall feel of what you do and what you're about, as well as being the first impression that potential customers or clients will experience.
So it’s really important that you get it right! But what if you don’t have the budget to hire a branding expert? Well, follow these tips and you can create your brand without breaking the bank.
Pick the right designer
It may seem obvious, but it’s really, really important to pick a designer whose style matches what you have in your head. Look around the Internet, ask friends & contacts, and find someone who will find it easy to produce what you need. Most designers charge on a per-hour basis, so the closer their style is to what you're looking for, the easier the job will be, and the less hours you'll need to pay for.
Write a good brief
It's always a good idea to write a brief. It helps you get your ideas together, and makes the process of explaining things to the designer quick and easy. Include as many specifics as you can; styles you like or dislike, any imagery you want, details on colours you like, and most importantly, your budget. Having everything planned will mean less work for the designer, and in turn enable them to accommodate your budget.
Don’t be scared to think big
When you're planning your branding, make sure you think about expansion. If you're too specific initially, your logo may need to be changed as your business grows, so think of more generic than specific imagery. For example, if your business is running coach tours, you'd do best to avoid putting a coach on your logo, since if you expand into other areas like air travel your logo may end up not being representative of your business.
Be careful with colours
A good way to save money with a small business is to be able to print everything with as little cost as possible. When you're thinking of branding, make sure you stick to standard CMYK - colours that can be printed on a home printer. Plus, make sure your logo works well in black too, as it’s bound to be reprinted like that somewhere. Sticking to these rules will mean that you can print everything you need from home or the office, and that if you do need to go big and print something in large quantities, you won't need to pay extra for custom colours.
Tim Easley is a freelance designer and illustrator, who is frequently employed to help businesses with their brand image. His client list includes Adidas Originals, New Balance, Nike, and Universal.