You might think I’m crazy for saying this, but there’s a point in someone’s journey with their blog that I actually don’t recommend spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to work with a branding professional. That time? Well, it’s when you’re just getting started.
Whether you’re there right now or you’re several years into your journey, you might understand why: when we’re just getting our blog off the ground, we’re kind of a hodge podge of things. We take inspiration from any and everyone, we try to write about a little bit of everything on our blog, and even in our businesses we try doing lots of different things. It’s not something to be ashamed of; in fact, it’s all part of the process of figuring out this new thing you’re doing and how you can make it yours.
Photo by Ashley Kelemen Photography
It takes time to figure out what you’re best at sharing or doing and what you really want to invest your time in, and getting a whole brand design while you’re going through that exploration phase often leaves people feeling frustrated that they spent so much money on something that ultimately will need to be changed a year later - if not sooner.
To avoid the branding identity crisis and save money within your first couple of years of blogging, here are a few tips to help you craft your brand on your own!
How to Craft Your Brand On a Budget (Tweet this!)
Start collecting inspiration
Before you can start working on a logo or thinking about your blog’s design, you have to take a good look at what’s inspiring you. Create a secret Pinterest board or a folder on your desktop. Save everything that inspires you - from design to photography, patterns, blog posts, anything and everything. I do this process with each one of my clients, and I remind them: don’t be judgmental while you’re saving items. Instead, just collect things that catch your eye.
Define your style
Once you feel satisfied with the collection of images you have, you can go back through and start to cull things that you don’t love as much as the others. While you’re going through the culling process, take out a notebook and start writing down what’s causing you to have a response to each image. Is it the color scheme? The sort of type style that’s being used? You want to make sure that the images you leave on your board or in your folder are ones that you really respond to, so be ruthless in this process as this is where you’re really going to start defining your style.
Spend time creating and experimenting
Once you’ve gotten your style nailed down, it’s time to start playing with your branding. While you’re working on this, explore, explore, explore! I love creating logos for my clients because there are literally so many possibilities within each brand. This process should be similar to the first step - just create without judgement. If you can create 20 different logos, do! Experiment with the style you’re creating for your blog / business.
Within this step there are two things to keep in mind:
- Be willing to purchase fonts. A lot of people think they should just use the free stuff that’s available to everyone for their branding. While that’s totally okay, you should be open to purchasing a font if you feel like you really need to. Fonts can range anywhere from five to thousands of dollars. You can find many under $50 on places like MyFonts.com, but make sure you’re picking something that fits within the style you’ve created! Don’t just purchase it because you think it’s a cute font, which brings me to my next point…
- Avoid fads. If you look around Pinterest, you’re going to spot probably 10 different fads the second you open the tab. The fonts people use, how they lay out a logo, what blog template their using, the way their graphics look, and so on. Fads are easy to spot and don’t do anything worthwhile for your brand. The two problems with fads are: a) the second they’re “out” they leave your branding looking dated and b) a lot of people are doing the same exact thing. So while crafting your brand’s style, logo, and blog design, make sure you’re avoiding the fads!
Don’t get me wrong, crafting your brand is easiest when you’re working with a professional. However, when you’re in you’re first couple of years of blogging, it’s worth it to save your money and try to create something on your own until you’ve established your own niche and really come into your own. If you need help crafting your brand (on a budget), check out my ebook: Craft Your Brand! It’s a self study guide to help bloggers cover all the aspects of branding without having to fork over a ton of money to work with a professional!