When starting a business, most people immediately think about their website. While this is important, I think it’s more important to be thinking about creating your brand first.
In this post, I’m going to chat about why you should be creating your brand first, and how this eventually will impact your website.
Creating your Visual Identity helps to Clarify your Brand’s Aesthetic
Part of developing your brand – and the first part of branding that everyone thinks of – is clarifying your visual identity. This includes, but isn’t limited to, your colour palette, your typeface choices (fonts), your logo, and your tagline.
Creating the beginnings of your visual identity – and creating a reference document from this information – will help guide you towards a solid foundation for your brand and business.
Having these elements decided on in the early stages will help you to build out an aesthetic slowly and organically.
When I start a project, I usually find that my client has a basic colour palette but nothing else. I then look into the company, talk to the client about their business and the work they do, and find out more about the history and goals of the company. Then I distill this into a basic visual identity that includes their colour palette (with colour codes for accurate reproduction elsewhere), font choices, brand mood words, and a small library of stock photographs that will suit the product and the brand.
Putting all of that together, I create a brand board. An example for a previous project is shown below.
Creating your Brand helps to get Clear on your Messaging
Developing a brand is not limited to only deciding on colour palettes and fonts, however.
Businesses are usually started because the business solves a problem or wants to help others solve a problem. So, knowing what your brand values are and what your business stands for is also something to be decided relatively early on.
Brand values develop over time, so don’t worry if they change and evolve – that’s bound to happen as your business grows. But it is important to have a relatively clear idea of what your guiding principles are.
The reason I say this is because these values and principles help to clarify your messaging (what you say – and want to say – through your website and other business communication tools). This in turn guides the creation of your offerings (products and services), as well as website copy and the design of the site.
Creating your Brand helps to Easily Identify Goals for your Website
Once you’ve gained clarity on your brand message and your offerings, it will be easier for you to determine the best way for people to work with you and contact you.
This helps to inform the design of the website (and in some cases, the technology involved in making it easy for website visitors to contact you/work with you). Importantly, identifying goals also helps your designer to create a journey for your users to follow when they land on your website.
It’s important to create a path or a user journey for your website visitors. Having a goal in mind will determine if the journey created was a success or not. If the goal for your site is to encourage people to contact you, to book an appointment/call with you, to buy a product from your shop, or to join your mailing list, the site needs to be designed in a way that guides website visitors to do this.
Creating your Brand Style doesn’t have to be Complicated
Creating the beginnings of your brand can be as simple as deciding on 2 fonts (I recommend using Google Fonts), creating a colour palette and saving the hex codes (the ones with the “#” in front of the numbers), deciding on “mood words” (the mood you want your brand to express/how you want your ideal clients to feel), and curating a small library of cohesive photographs that suit your desired aesthetic.
This is obviously not everything you’ll need for your brand overall, but it is a good start. I recommend putting these items together in 1 folder on your computer so that you can provide the information and assets to the designer you’re going to be working with.
What happens if you don’t create your brand first
If one doesn’t put the time and effort in at the start to build out a solid grounding, your brand could struggle in the mid- to long-term.
You may struggle with messaging that isn’t defined or a client journey that isn’t clear. This impacts your website, how visitors use it and ultimately, how successful it is in acting as an asset to your business.
Melissa De Klerk
Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.
You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.