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When Should You Get Professionally Branded and What To Do Until You Can

In an ideal world, you would get professionally branded before opening for business. Your branding would be beautiful and consistent from the moment you launch. In reality, that’s not usually possible. As a designer, I place a high value on branding, but I would never advise to delay the launch of your business until you can afford professional branding. So how do you launch without hiring a designer to brand your business?

Not sure if investing in professional branding with help you grow your online business? Here's how to know if now is the time!

Find a Logo You Can Afford

If you have a budget for marketing, the logo is the first thing you should spend money on. Unless you’re a designer, don’t attempt to design your own logo, even if you know how to use Adobe Illustrator. There are many tell-tale signs when a logo isn’t professionally done. Learn what some of those signs are in this blog post. When you attempt to save money by designing your own logo, you run the risk of making your business appear unprofessional and attracting the wrong type of audience.

Shop around and look for a designer whose portfolio you like. See if their pricing for a logo is within your budget. If you can’t afford their rate, contact them and see if they’d be interested in a trade of goods or services.

Another option for a starter logo is to find a design student looking to build their portfolio. Most students are eager to do work for a low cost in order to gain experience. If you don’t know any design students, contact the head of the design department at a local college and see if they can get you in touch with an interested student.

If you can’t find a designer or a student to do a logo within your budget, the next option is to find a premade one. This should be your last option since premade logos are sold countless times, making your brand less unique and memorable. Many designers sell premade logos on their websites, which is a good choice, since they will not be as over-used as those on Etsy.

Your last option should be to look on Etsy or Creative Market if you can’t find a premade logo elsewhere. This is not a great long-term solution, since the quality of these logos often isn’t very high. When you’re on these sites look for something that’s priced on the higher end. This will likely mean it’s higher-quality and won’t have been sold as many times as the cheaper ones. This will get you started, but plan to invest in custom branding as soon as possible.

Define Your Color Palette

Once you have your logo, the next thing to define is a color palette. When doing it yourself, keep it simple. I recommend choosing no more than three colors.

Determine what kind of feeling you want your brand to have and assess how color can contribute to that. Find inspiration on Pinterest or Design Seeds.

Once you’ve chosen your color palette, stick to using only those colors in all of your marketing materials and on your website to create consistency.

Determine Your Fonts

Next, decide on the fonts that you’ll use for your brand. Choose one to two fonts total. Assess the personality of the fonts (professional, playful, quirky), and makMee sure they don’t clash. Only use one type of serif, sans serif, or script font.

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Matching fonts can be tricky, so it’s best to keep it simple. If you use more than one font from those categories, it’s unlikely that they will complement each other.

Don’t Worry About the Rest

A complete brand will typically include patterns, illustrations, and photography. These bring a brand to life and set apart the professional brands from the amateur ones. However, it’s okay to put those things on the back burner until you’re ready to hire a professional designer.

After you’ve opened for business, saving for custom branding should be at the top of your priority list. Find a designer whose work you love. If you have any questions, get in touch with them. Find out their rates and start saving up! Set a date for when you will start the rebranding process and stick to it.

Megan Hampson Megan Hampson founded Letterform Creative in early 2015, after gaining a few years of valuable experience as an in-house designer. She wanted to focus on the kinds of projects she really loves, which include branding for clients in the fashion, food, health, and creative industries. As a small business owner, she loves to empower fellow small business owners through beautiful branding. She enjoys the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, who are eager to support one another in their entrepreneurial endeavors. Follow Megan on Instagram and download a FREE DIY Branding Checklist.

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