Branding can seem like something only ‘serious businesses' with big budgets do. But a good brand dictates whether your business will be recognised and remembered by your audience, and it shapes how people perceive your business.
So good branding is essential for ALL businesses – big or small, no matter what budget you have. In this post we're going to look at the best tools for DIY branding on a budget – because your budget should not get in the way of a good brand (but nor should it cause a DIY branding disaster).
Look I know, the whole process of branding can be daunting – and expensive. If you are just getting started, you might be worried about the cost of a branding exercise.
I'm pretty sure you'll end up wondering how you can still build your brand without spending the big bucks. Is good DIY branding even possible?
I'm happy to tell you that YES, with the right tools, it most certainly is! Let’s chat about how to get started creating your brand identity from scratch, with these incredible tools!
Branding – More Than Just A Pretty Logo
Oh wait, hold up… just before we start talking logos and colour schemes, we need to clarify that branding is much more than just your visual identity.
What I'm saying is – don’t start browsing through fonts until you are crystal clear on core business concepts like:
- your purpose
- your tone
- your brand personality,
- and your target audience.
That's because all of these factors will influence your visual design and content going forward, so nailing them down should be your first branding task.
Let's imagine a chunk of time just passed okay? Work with me here…
And just like that, you've done the required background slog to get to the fun part. You know your style, you know who you want to connect with, and you are ready to create some brand collateral. What's next?
The Benefits Of DIY Branding
There are tons of experts out there that can help you create a professional brand. Paying an expert is definitely an option for those who are short on time, but have a pretty generous budget.
However, for those of us on a tighter budget, DIY branding is the answer! This is a good thing, and DIY branding on a budget is not only possible; it can be really rewarding!
You get the chance to really dig deep into your voice and style as you select the elements that will personify your business.
This process allows you to answer all those burning questions and get clear answers to two crucial questions:
1. Who are you?
2. Who are your ideal customers?
Once you understand this, you'll have got a head start not only on branding, but on content creation and marketing too.
There's no denying that DIY branding can also save you a lot of money. Outsourcing your branding is out of the reach for many start-ups, but you can still get professional results by using the right tools.
Creating The Core Components Of Your Brand
Sure you may think I'm biased (I am) but I think branding is one of the most enjoyable parts of building your business. I love getting to play around with colours, fonts, and images – experimenting with design until finding something that feels just right.
I agree, it's not easy and it will certainly come more naturally to some, and not so much to others. If you're not especially creative or tech-savvy, creating the visual elements of your brand can feel overwhelming.
Luckily, the internet has tools for everyone – from the digital-newbie to the design pro.
Here are some of the key branding components you will need to design, along with some great tools to help you on your way.
Getting The Visual Elements Together
First things first – if you're tackling a DIY branding project then you'll need to sort a colour scheme/theme, choose your fonts, and design a logo.
The internet is awash with tools to help you do all those things; here are some to get you started.
Typography – choosing your fonts
Fonts are a great way to express your brand vibe – but they must always be easily readable as not everyone has perfect eyesight.
At a minimum, I recommend choosing a heading font and a content font that pair nicely. I like to choose a fancy font for quotations and emphasis on sales pages – but this wasn't something I did at the beginning of my DIY web design journey!
If you are looking for something more unique then Creative Market is an amazing source of paid fonts! Just make sure that the font you choose ‘includes' all of the numbers and symbols too, and if you need them – letters with macrons and other special characters. Good quality fonts contain all of these variables.
You can find many more different fonts on Adobe Fonts but I don't recommend these for your casual DIY designer, as they don't have the most straightforward subscription model.
Stylify.me – use this on your favourite websites to get insight into the fonts they use
Think about the emotions you want people to associate with your brand. Do some research into the science behind how colours affect emotion, and pick tones that complement each other.
Coolors and Canva both help you brainstorm and try out different colour combos.
Can’t even draw a decent stick figure? No worries, there are dozens of logo makers that do it all for you.
Canva has a great logo maker tool
Hatchful is free online logo maker
Free Logo Design – a free brand logo creator to get you started.
a Website platform
I know, I'm stating the obvious but every business needs a website. Your website doesn’t have to be the fanciest or snazziest to begin with – it can be simple, straightforward, and even just one page. Look, as long as it has all the critical pieces of information your audience needs – you're golden!
It's really easy to create your own website using tools such as:
WordPress. For the more tech-minded, but even inexperienced users can create a simple site using templates and page builders.
Wix.com and Squarespace are popular website builders that help you build professional looking websites easily. Of course, prices vary, as do add-ons, but it’s worth looking at these for a simple solution.
I talk more about what I use for my various websites in this post.
Social Media Design
While you can post any old photo on Instagram, it probably won’t get you noticed. Professional branding applied to your social media feeds helps you look professional, remain consistent with your branding and be memorable.
Use custom filters or watermarks to personalise your feed, or get a little help with pre-made templates from tools like Canva or Creative Market.
Diving into email marketing? Good call! If you have your branding visuals sorted, there are plenty of email marketing platforms that help you create professional, branded emails.
Personal branding is a vital aspect of business growth. People want to know who they are buying from or talking to, not just a faceless logo.
Your personal brand helps your audience trust you.
YES you need brand photos of your gorgeous face! I learned to do my own brand photos as I hate having my photograph taken. Check out my Pro Selfies Masterclass for a fun fast video based course, to help you create brand-appropriate pro selfies for your website and socials.
As you can see, there are plenty of tools to get you started if you choose DIY branding for your business. Don’t be afraid to get creative with them! And remember, just because you are choosing a DIY option now, it doesn’t mean you can’t engage a professional branding expert later down the track.
Don’t let branding be the obstacle that stops you from launching your business. Just get out there and test the waters and have fun doing it!