Branding Mistakes to Avoid in Your Business
Amber Mabe, owner of Mandowla Creative, is a professional graphic designer, and with her advice, we want to help you learn about the basics of branding. We go over what to do, and more importantly what not to do when branding your business. You can learn how to avoid these common mistakes on our blog now, or if you prefer to listen to it, check out our podcast right here:
If you are a small business owner looking to brand your company or product, you’ve come to the right place! Today, we want to share with you all the ins and outs of branding, the things you should do, the things you SHOULDN’T do, and so much more!
What is Branding?
Let’s start with the very basics of branding. What is it? A brand is basically your business’s personality. It is the way your business feels and looks, and It’s how other people see your business.
If you are branded the right way, are potential clients or customers going to trust you? Are they going to think you’re professional and competent? The answer is YES! Being branded the right way will show the world and show your audience that you are serious about your work, and that they can expect quality results from you.
But where do we start branding? Today, let’s start with the logo.
Branding is More Than a Logo
Many people who create new businesses think that your brand is just your logo. This is not true, or at least not completely true. While your logo is important, it is only the foundation or the base of your brand- your logo sets the tone for the rest of your brand and how you want to be creating.
Creating a logo with your ideal audience (or client avatar) in mind can help you create a clean, professional looking logo, it can help you be recognized by others, and it can help you figure out what kind of aesthetic you’re going for.
What does your audience want to see? Who are you trying to attract? What do you think they are seeking from a business like you? Don’t forget to keep this in mind when creating your logo, but more importantly, for creating your brand.
Colors for Your Logo and Brand
What about colors? Picking the right colors is going to help your company convey the right message to your audience.
Some people think that picking the colors for your brand is simply picking out colors that you like. Don’t get me wrong, people do this all the time, but it is not the best strategy if you are a business that plans on being around for a while.
For example, if you are a female coaching business looking to inspire others, what kinds of colors do you think represent you and your business well? For a business like this, we would suggest lighter colors that give off an airy and fresh feel. If you pick colors that are dark and brooding, you probably won’t have quite the audience you were looking for.
Really, research your colors before you make any definite decisions, make sure to use complimentary colors that reflect your business and attract the right audience to you. And if you don’t know where to start, our advice would be to go to a trustworthy, graphic designer. Someone who knows what they’re doing, and will help you make decisions (all while keeping the integrity of your brand in mind).
Tips on Hiring Graphic Designers
It matters that you strike the right balance. This means trying to have a brand that’s recognizable, but not tacky. One that’s clean, but not too boring. Simple, but not easily forgettable. That’s why when clients come to us for help, work with them through trusted graphic design partners like Amber.
Now, a word of advice if you are looking for a graphic designer: don’t settle for cheap designs or designers. We say this for a few reasons, the main one being that $5 or $10 logos usually means you’re getting a low-quality deal and a low-quality experience.
Don’t settle for the cheap options, this is your business we are talking about! If you are serious about it, give it your all, and seek out someone who will make your designs unique and exactly branded to your business.
We suggest that a good price range for hiring a graphic designer to create a logo for you is somewhere between $450-$650 dollars. Pricing in this range should get you a designer who communicates well, is trying to help you and your branding, and can create high-quality designs that are uniquely customized and recognized as your brand.
And trust me, having these things will be so worth it for you in the long run, especially having a unique logo.
If you find a graphic designer who says they can create a logo for you through a website like Canva, where graphics and images are available to everyone, we suggest looking for someone else. When you hire someone that uses premade graphics, it is so easy for someone else to create the exact same thing somewhere else in the world, either on purpose, or by accident.
If the same logo is created by accident, it can be embarrassing for your business, and confusing for people who are trying to find your business. They can easily end up going with the other business because looks just like yours.
While these things have happened before completely by accident, imagine how much easier it is to steal a logo on purpose. Copying a logo design that isn’t custom-made can be far too easy for other businesses trying to steal your ideas. If you have a very basic design that’s easy to replicate, made by a cheap graphic designer, someone else can swoop in and undercut your business quickly.
Get a logo that is custom-made, you won’t have to worry about additional competition, your brand will stay unique.
I want to stress my main point to you again: Hire a graphic designer who communicates well, is trying to help you and your branding, and can create high-quality designs that are uniquely customized and recognized as your brand.
You’ll be grateful you did.
Branding Mistakes to Avoid
Now, there are still lots of mistakes that can be made. Whether you have your logo or not, here are some mistakes or pitfalls you should avoid, to name a few:
- Don’t pull images from clip art. Pulling images from clip art is branding suicide for 2 reasons. (1) Everyone has access to those photos. You will not be doing yourself any favors by using an image that’s being used by thousands of other people. (2) Including clip art in your logo is just bad. It makes your business look tacky and like was thrown together in just a few minutes. Just avoid this completely.
- On that note- don’t pull images from Google Images either! With Google Images, you run into similar problems as you would with clip art, but pulling from here is definitely worse. Simply put, pulling from Google Images is stealing, and if a company sees that you are stealing their images, you could get copyright claimed. Trust me, you will be so glad you stayed away from Google Images.
- Once your graphic designer has made their final designs for you, don’t manipulate them. By adding different colors, different fonts or anything else, you are immediately cheapening your look. So please, don’t add your phone number to your logo, or any contradicting colors. If you want something about your logo changed, talk to your graphic designer, and they will help you.
- Similar to #3, don’t change the colors on your own. If you are happy with your design, but would like it in a lighter or darker color, you can run into lots of problems trying to fix it by yourself. So again, ask your graphic designer to create one for you. Not only will it save you time, but it will also save you from making any design mistakes that could hurt your business.
- Make sure you are using the right files for the right platforms. For example, if you want to print something with your logo on it, a high-quality PDF will come out looking nice and neat. If you are not being careful about which file you’re choosing and print out a JPG instead, you can make your logo look cheap and pixelated easily.
- If you are trying to brand your business or create a logo, make sure you avoid these crucial mistakes.
Trademark Your Logo
Now, if you plan on being a large business with a big brand name, we would highly recommend trademarking your brand. If you trademark your logo and your designs, you are keeping your business safe from anyone trying to steal your ideas.
People everywhere are looking for inspiration, but by not copyrighting your brand, you are handing these people more than inspiration. Please don’t let anyone steal your ideas, nothing but problems will arise- and without a trademark, you won’t really be able to defend your brand.
Interested in getting branding for your business that stands out?
Contact us, and we can work with you through our graphic design partner Amber to help you get started.