Branding on a Budget
Although originally born in Texas, Leah grew up in New Mexico before moving to Florida to study graphic design - and now resides in Austin, TX. Upon graduating, Leah has worked with an award-winning design studio specializing in custom high end wedding and event invitations; as Art Director for a boutique design agency where she was responsible for developing branding solutions for print and web and leading the design team; and currently serves as an Art Director for a specialized branding consultancy working with national clients. Though she is the young, Leah’s passion and talent has served her well and continues to fuel her personal career goals.
As a fellow female entrepreneur, I totally understand having a very tight budget in the beginning and that’s nothing to feel bad about. When you’re just starting out and can’t necessarily afford top-notch professional branding services or a custom website there’s definitely no shame in that. When the budget is minuscule there’s some ways you can have a successful launch and do the initial branding on a smaller scale until you’re ready to take it to the next level.
If you’re doing it DIY
Keep it simple. Choose a nice typeface you like rather than trying to go about designing or illustrating an icon – especially if you’re not going to be married to it long term. Don’t risk a less than ideal execution that could hurt your business presence. On the other hand, using a simple and beautiful typeface and color palette and some nice photography instead can have the right impact for your business. It’s also best to avoid creating a mark or icon if you plan on changing it later – it may end up confusing your following once you make the change. Don’t worry about having the public establish an association with your mark just yet – especially if you’re not so sure about it yourself.
If you have a shoe string budget
Start with just a logo. Listen – I’m the first to advocate that a brand consists of more than a single logo, but if you’re tight on funds having a well designed logo is certainly a wonderful start. You can always add to and evolve your brand once your business grows and you get some more cash flow coming in. Once you have the budget, you can then develop more collateral, refine the color palette, patterns and get a custom website and “go big” with your brand. Starting with a strong logo means you won’t have to worry about a confusing transition and you’ll be able to create and keep the established logo/mark association you’ve created with your brand and your followers.
Don’t price shop
Branding your business is an investment and is one thing you shouldn’t scrimp on. Make a smart investment with your branding and it’ll pay off. You may be tempted to choose the least expensive designer but this might result in an unsatisfactory design and you end up spending more money and time and frustration in the end. Think of it as quality vs. quantity, you may get a whole branding system but if it’s not the quality you’re looking for then you could potentially end up paying for a whole new rebranding later. Also know a higher price doesn’t mean they’re an ideal fit for you. Always look at their collection of work so you can get an idea about their design aesthetic and level of quality. Designers all have their own strengths and style. For example, there’s some who specialize in hand lettering and some might be fantastic at clean and modern design and some iconography. Make sure to pick someone who has work that is inline with the style that resonates with your business. In the end, it’s best to save your money until you can afford the right person for the job.
Take Action: For those who are ready to make an investment visit my website quaint-inc.com and send me an email – And for those just starting your business and have a super tight budget I offer two branding scholarships a year – email me firstname.lastname@example.org to apply!
Take Action Op2: Decide where you are in your business right now and which branding solution makes sense for you. Then look for inspiration online and create a Pinterest mood board so you can get inspired and a better grasp on what aesthetic you like – and if you do end up working with a designer this will help them immensely with capturing the right vision!
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!