How to design a captivating visual brand? How to design and redesign your brand? These are questions I asked Rebecca Fletcher, a brand designer, and educator.
What you will learn in this episode:
- How to design a visual brand that identifies your business
- When to redesign your branding
- What to consider when designing (or redesigning) your brand
- How to connect your business story into your branding
About Rebecca Fletcher:
Rebecca is a brand designer who currently lives in Columbus, Ohio. She is relatively new to the world of digital design, but dove right in and quickly fell in love with helping her clients feel confident in their branding. When she's not designing, Rebecca works at a children's museum as an educator, loves reading psychological thrillers, creates hand lettering designs, and spends as much time as she can with her husband, daughter, and two cats.
Connect with Rebecca:
TP: Hello. Today we are talking about visual branding, and my guest is Rebecca Fletcher. Welcome, Rebecca, to the podcast.
RF: Thank you so much for having me. I'm very excited to be here.
TP: And I am so excited to speak with a virtual first grade teacher. This is pretty interesting position, actually.
RF: Yes, it has been a very interesting year teaching first grade all online.
TP: And you're also entrepreneur. How and why have you created your own business next to this teaching part?
RF: So my journey into entrepreneurship is definitely a journey with lots of twists and turns. I actually did not start as a brand designer. I only been doing brand design for about seven or eight months, but several years ago I wanted a hobby, something to do after school, to kind of help me relax, something that I could do by myself in my office that would help me to just kind of unwind from the day. So I started to pick up some calligraphy skills from calligraphy I moved on to hand lettering, which is very similar, just a little bit less. And with my hand lettering, I started to sell some products that had my hand lettering on them. I sold a lot of teacher T-shirts, some mugs, some bags with just funny teacher quotes on them. And I sold those on Etsy. And last summer, in 2020, I hired a business coach because I was ready to leave teaching. And I wanted my Etsy business to get me to where I could leave teaching. And she sort of showed me that having a product based business was going to be very difficult to scale. So instead she encouraged me to find a service that I could offer to others. So in the beginning, I was offering just designing for other entrepreneurs. So instead of designing a shirt and selling it in my own shop, I would design something for them. They would pay for it and then sell it themselves. I didn't get any clients from that. And then I moved on to print on demand. So I was offering to set up print on demand store for other people so they could do their own designs or use my designs and just upload them into a website. And someone could order a shirt or a mug or a bag or whatever, and it would automatically be printed and sent to the customer. I also didn't get any clients from that. So I knew that there was something else. And I honestly, really, really wanted to dive into logo design. But I knew that there was a lot of stuff that I would have to learn have to learn the design principles. I would have to learn a new design software. I had designed my own logo, but they were all designed in Canva. So I just used a premade template and plugged in my business name. So they didn't look very professional. So I knew that I was going to have to learn a lot. And so I just kind of dove in. I knew that I really wanted to do it. I didn't know that I could. I didn't have the confidence that I could learn the design software or that I could learn how to build logos from scratch. But I kept working on it. I took a few classes from a wonderful designer who I adore, and she showed me a software that was easy for me to pick up, and I just kind of flew from there. I've had a lot of growth. Looking back on some of the first logos and brands that I designed, I'm glad that I didn't have any clients back then because they needed a lot of help. But now I feel like I am able to design beautiful branding. And it's all because I've had a lot of practice. And because I have these skills, like, I have used my hand lettering in logos. My own logo that I have currently has my own hand lettering in it. So I feel like that's a skill that I'm able to apply, and it just kind of elevates what I'm able to offer to my clients. So definitely a long journey. But that's how I got here. It all started from wanting something to do after school.
TP: At least you've been very persistent. "Okay, this didn't work. Let's check what else could work".
RF: Yes. I have done a lot of pivoting and a lot of experimenting. Like, it's exactly what you said. "This didn't work. So I'm going to try something a little bit different and that didn't work. So I'm going to try something a little bit different". And then finally, I feel like I hit the sweet spot of this works. I'm good at it, and people need it. So that's where I'm going to stay.
TP: So you've done a lot of studies, you've learned yourself. And can you please tell us what is the role of visual branding for entrepreneurs for businesses?
RF: Well, visual branding consists of three main parts that consists of your logo, your brand colors, and then the fonts that you use within the graphics that you create for your business. So that would include things that you post on your website, things that you post on social media, etc. The role of visual branding is to kind of help your audience, whether they be your current audience who already visit your website or already follows you on social media, or your future audience who will find you and want to work with you eventually to help them to kind of begin to identify you when they see your marketing material. So when they see this graphic on their computer screen or their phone screen with your colors and your fonts and your logo, so they'll immediately recognize it as yours, and if your content is something that they find helpful, they will stop scrolling and engage with that content, whether it be to read it or share it or leave a comment or however you ask them to engage with it. Visual branding also serves to attract your ideal audience. So by choosing colors and fonts that will attract that ideal audience, you are kind of ensuring that they will be drawn into your content. Like, if I were marketing to very bold entrepreneurs, I would probably use bold colors and bold fonts in my logo. It would be very bold and kind of and kind of like in your face. Whereas if I were marketing to, like, health food store workers or like a health food organization, I would use warmer tones and more earthy, nature inspired elements within the branding to attract the right people.
TP: You mentioned a little bit about this build and more earthy things. If somebody is just starting to create a visual branding, what different aspects should they take into account? So that "Okay, this visual branding is also expressing themselves. It's not like artificial. Okay, yeah, I want to take attention of all those bold entrepreneurs, and now I have to put myself out with all those very bright colors and really a little bit weird ones, et cetera". So how we can find this match branding and yourself?
RF: Well, I would say that something that's very important is to know the audience that you're trying to work with and understand how they relate to you and understand exactly why you want to work with them. So, for example, just going with the bold example that we've kind of been talking about, I am a very kind of timid, introverted person, so I don't necessarily love working with people who are very like in your face, and they're very huge personalities. I'm very intimidated by that. So I choose not to market to people who market themselves as very bold and in your face, because I know that that's not my ideal client. So my ideal client is an entrepreneur who already has established in her business. She wants to go full time, but she doesn't have the branding to kind of elevate her business to where it needs to be, to where she's attracting her own ideal clients. So I market to them. I know that that audience is attracted to more calming tones because I'm kind of my own ideal client, so I'm lucky there I can just look at something and say "I like that. I know that my ideal client will probably like that", and then I can just go from there. So knowing your ideal audience and knowing what things they're drawn to is really important and knowing why are you marketing to these bold entrepreneurs? Is it because you love working with bold colors? Is it because you have a huge personality and you want to work with other people who are like you? Why do you want to work with health food store workers? Is it because you're a very healthy person and you enjoy helping them market themselves? So knowing your audience and knowing how you can relate to them is very, very important. You don't ever want your branding to be opposite of how you market yourself. So I would not market myself with bold colors and bold font and neons because I'm a very reserved person, so that if someone saw a logo that was like hot pink and neon green and then they got on a Zoom call with me who like, "you know, this is my personality. This is how I am." They would think that "that does not make sense. It doesn't make sense. It doesn't connect". And then they wouldn't trust me as much because they would feel like they're not getting a complete story. Does that make sense?
TP: Yes, it definitely makes sense.
Knowing your ideal audience and knowing what things they're drawn to is really important. - Rebecca Fletcher, Podcast Step Up & Thrive
RF: Good. Having a consistent brand presence is also really important. So your visual branding should match with your brand voice, and that's a whole another topic. But basically just everything should be one consistent brand presence. You don't want it to some parts of your business to be really bold and in your face, and others to be very shy and timid, kind of like I am, and then others to be, like, very loud and sarcastic. You don't want all of those different things. You want it to be one consistent and cohesive experience for your clients.
TP: Typically, makes sense. What about companies who have existed for a while already, and they are maybe thinking, "Okay, maybe it's time to rebrand my business". Can you please tell us when is that right time for rebranding? And what can we take into consideration?
RF: Yeah. So I actually have a whole blog post about how to know when it's time to rebrand. Some of the instances that I talk about would be, for example, if you are pivoting your business and you are kind of changing direction. So maybe you're working with a new audience, or maybe you are offering a brand new service or a brand new product. That would be a really good time to rebrand to just kind of show your audience. "Hey, here's something brand new. And hey, look, also, my brand is brand new, and we're offering this new thing." We're going in this really exciting new direction. So come and celebrate with us. Another way to know that it's time to rebrand is if you are kind of embarrassed to send people to your website or your social media because you know that it doesn't look good. It doesn't matter how long you've been in business. You could be in business for two weeks and kind of stumble across this. Or you could be in business for 20 years and stumble across this. "I don't want to send people to my website. I don't really want to market myself because I know that it doesn't look good. And I don't want people to have this idea that I don't know what I'm doing because my colors are all over the place. I don't have a logo" and stuff like that. So that would be a really good time to rebrand. And I say rebrand, because even if you don't have a consistent brand present or consistent visual branding presence, your audience is going to recognize your kind of mismatched graphics, colors, fonts. And they're going to take that into consideration when they want to work with you to say, like, this person says that they're a life coach, but looking at their website or their social media, they don't have their life together. So I don't necessarily know if I want to work with them or when I begin my brand design business. When I pivoted into brand design, I knew that I needed to redo my own branding because it was not consider with what I was going for. And I was using whatever colors I wanted. I was using whatever funds I wanted. And so I knew that in order to attract the right audience and convey the message that I wanted to with my pivot, I needed to have a new brand presence. I would say that if someone wants to rebrand, obviously, as a brand designer, I'm going to suggest that they work with a professional, but I know that there are also tons and tons of color palettes that you can find all over the internet. I wouldn't suggest copying one exactly, but definitely using them as inspiration. Ask your audience what they want as your audience members. "What's your favorite color? What color are you the most drawn to" and then work from there or looking into color psychology. If your brand is very happy and sunshine and you're probably going to want to use a yellow color. If you brand caters more to, like health food stores, like we were talking about earlier, you're probably going to want to use some greens and some browns and maybe even some yellow and your branding so that you can make sure that you're attracting the right people.
TP: Great. So I have a new task waiting for me.
RF: I know it's something that a lot of people don't think about. You're working so hard in your business. You're working on getting your website together and posting and showing up on social media. And then you kind of realize, like, "Oh, this kind of looks like a mess". That's what happened to me. And I was like, "Oh, my goodness, I need to fix this right now because I can't market myself as a brand designer if my brand is a disaster".
TP: Definitely like that. Now it's time for our Quick Tip section. And this is something that we do regularly on our podcast. And my question is, what is your biggest revelation about visual branding?
RF: My biggest revelation? I think I know that I've talked about this quite a bit, but my biggest revelation is knowing the importance of understanding who your audience is and what they want from you. I am right now in the process, actually, ironically, in the process of rebranding my own business because my audience has changed. My ideal client has changed. When I first made my brand back in November, when I rebranded back in November, I redid my logos, my colors I chose new fonts to show up with consistently, I was not clear on my ideal audience. And so my logo that I have currently is very cute, and it's kind of quirky, and it has my hand lettering in it, which I thought was really important. But as I've grown in my business and I realize that I want to work with more established entrepreneurs who already have an audience, they are wanting to uplevel their branding. They're not looking for someone who designs cute and quirky branding. They want someone who is going to give them a luxury experience. They want to walk away with a beautiful brand identity. And my current branding doesn't show that that's what I can provide. So I have redesigned my logo. I'm in the process of finalizing my colors, and I've chosen all new fonts to put in my graphics because I know that those colors, fonts and that logo are going to attract the people that I want to work with. Whereas before I was just kind of going off of what I liked, I liked this logo. I thought it was cute. I thought it would serve me for a long time, but it didn't. And so if I had known my ideal audience back then when I rebranded back in November, then I wouldn't have to be going through a rebrand again right now. So know your audience, know what they want. And that's my takeaway.
TP: Thank you. This is a really great tip.
RF: Thank you. Yes. I wish that I had known it when I did my own rebranding back in November, because it would have saved me a lot of time, actually.
TP: Now you have great story to tell people.
RF: I do. I do have a good story. And now I can not only say it's really important to know your audience, I can say it's really important to know your audience. And I'm going to tell you exactly why don't do what I did.
TP: And branding is also stories we can tell.
RF: Yes, you're totally right about that.
TP: Thank you so much, Rebecca, for joining and sharing all those amazing tips. And if our listeners would like to know more about you and follow you, where can they do?
RF: So, first of all, thank you so much for having me on here. I have really enjoyed talking about branding and brand design. If your audience would like to check out my website, you can find me at RebeccaFletcherDesigns.com. I am on Facebook and Instagram as Rebecca Fletcher Design, and I have a TikTok, but I think I posted about two videos, but that name is also Rebecca Fletcher Design. So anywhere I am on the Internet, my name is Rebecca Fletcher Designs.
TP: It's easy to remember. Yes. And I know you have a great gift to our listeners. Can you please tell about that one. I do.
RF: So for your listeners, I have my ultimate branding checklist, which is the checklist that is designed to kind of help you define your brand, define your audience, figure out your brand story and how you kind of got to where you are. It is is designed to help you figure out your brand voice so how you communicate with your audience, and then also kind of define your brand and your life balance. So how are you going to show up professionally while still serving your ideal client while still having a little bit of personality in your brand? So I will have that available for your listeners, and I very much hope that they find it helpful and useful.
TP: Thank you so much. You'll find the link on Show Notes page. So where you have all the transcripts and everything available for you. Thank you again. Rebecca, it was amazing time talk with you.
RF: Thank you so much. I really appreciate you asking you to be on your podcast today.
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