How to Build Your Small Business’ Visual Brand With Minimal Design Skills

The word ‘brand’ gets thrown around somewhat casually in the business world. Ask some to define it and they’ll point you to their company logo. (Insider tip: this is a fast-track way to elicit eye rolls from a designer.)

In the eyes of most creatives, however, a business’ brand is so much more than a single visualization. It’s the culmination of everything your company represents to its customers. The visual stylings, the tone of your copy, the look of your packaging—all of these elements (and more) create an identity for consumers to connect with.

Whether your business is just starting out or in need of a refresh, there are ways to approach designing the visual elements of your brand from a foundational level. Ways that don’t require years of formal training.

If you’re tackling branding head-on or expressing your vision to a professional, keep these tips in mind for building your small business’ visual brand with minimal design skills.

Stock Up or Take Your Own Photos

Some designers will balk at the idea of stock photography but when approached thoughtfully, it serves a purpose. For busy business owners, stock images are an affordable alternative to hiring a professional photographer.

Better yet, there are plenty of sites out there committed to non-cheesy stock photography options. That’s right, you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) rely on “happy businessman in a suit” for every page of your website.

If you do choose to attempt your own photography, there’s no time like the present to grab a camera and shoot. Just remember to remain mindful of your composition, shoot during “golden hour” for vibrant tones, and—of course—practice.

Capture Attention With Contrasting Colors

Color can make or break a brand’s visual identity. To make things pop, consider opting for high contrasting color palettes. This means looking for colors that typically fall across from each other on the color wheel.

Coolors.co is a quick and easy tool to use in generating palettes. Once you’ve landed on some potential candidates, poll friends, family, and anyone who will listen to get a feel for what visually resonates with potential audiences.

Keep Fonts Simple

That fancy cursive you like so much may be pretty with all its loops and curves, but is it readable and relevant to your consumers? As you decide on potential fonts to use for representing your brand visually, it helps to keep things simple.

If you decide to use more than one font for drawing attention to different elements of your website, advertising, etc., again, opt for simplicity. And make sure that you’re keeping things consistent and in the same font family when doing so.

Consistency is Your Friend

Speaking of consistency, we can’t urge this enough: it is your friend. Building a visual identity for your brand is about creating something that’s recognizable and relatable to your audience.

This means establishing the same look and feel across all of your business’ assets. From your website to email newsletters, direct mailings to digital ads—you want people to see these elements and immediately make an association with the brand you’ve worked hard in developing.

Avoid Clutter

It’s easy to look at a blank page and want to take advantage of every single piece of real estate it offers for messaging and graphics. The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with embracing white space every now and then.

When you do so, you help in drawing attention to what’s most important on a page. It’s a bold way of saying a lot with very little.

Invest in a Quality Logo

As mentioned above, your brand is more than just a logo. With that being said though, it certainly doesn’t hurt to invest in the creation of one.

Step away from the clip art and turn to sites like Fiverr where you can hire professional designers without breaking the bank. Just make sure to opt for access to the source file, so you can edit and resize as needed down the road.

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