You’ve been working hard on an idea—maybe even moonlighting your day job—and are almost ready to take the plunge. While I might not know all the details of your new business, I do know this: Starting a business is hard work, no matter what your circumstance. I’m proud of you for getting this far.
All too often we get swept up in the idea of a launch, and we forget about what comes after the big release date. I’ve witnessed so many people get caught up in the dream of their business finally being shared that they forget a very important thing: maintaining that dream once it’s in the public.
That’s why I created this resource for you. I want you to keep that business dream alive and have a handy list to make sure your branded materials are all on the right track. I hope you enjoy it.
Keep that business dream alive with this handy list to make sure your branded materials are all on the right track.
Table of contents
A brand identity is more than a logo.
Many companies think that a logo and a colour scheme is a brand. It is not. Your brand is a way to communicate who you are without words. If you only have a logo, don’t fret: use this checklist to ensure it has supporting visual elements. If you don’t have a logo, this is an opportunity to start fresh. How exciting.
A mood board that inspires your brand’s aesthetic.
Include logos you love, typography examples, photography, colour, architecture, interior design, patterns, anything. Just ensure it all makes sense together. If you can summarize your mood board’s look in one or two words, then you’re on the right track.
The primary logo that’s the most comprehensive version.
It might have a mark but also a typographic representation of your business name.
Complementary logos that work for varying uses.
Maybe a left-aligned version of your primary logo, or a standalone version of your mark.
Colour scheme with at least three different colours.
Make sure one is neutral like grey, beige, navy, or charcoal. And make sure you love these colours because you’ll use them consistently from now on.
Typography for headers and body text.
For modern brands, this might be the same type of choice the whole way through. Just make sure you’re consistent and use it everywhere.
Icons to represent something unique about you.
Locations, processes, ways people can hire you. If you don’t want these custom-made, visit the Noun Project for access to millions.
Original, not stock photography.
You, your product, or your locations. Don’t underestimate this.
Examples of web & print execution.
Understand how it all works together.
Web and Print
A crystal clear positioning statement on the homepage.
It should summarize who you are and why people care. Need help? I wrote a blog post about this exact topic.
The least information possible to convey your message.
This might seem counter-intuitive, but hear me out: The less you have on your website, the more control you have over what visitors take in. Make sure your copy is to the point and never repetitive.
Breathing room to let your brand and copy shine.
Make it easy for people to navigate your site.
Consistency in typography that aligns with your brand identity.
Once you choose your fonts, don’t divert from them.
Colours that align with your brand identity.
This isn’t the time to experiment.
Unique photography that shows personality.
Show me you or your product in a way that I’m likely to remember.
An email address that uses your site domain.
Make sure that your email address matches your business’s website. Do NOT email people from your Yahoo address. It cheapens the experience of interacting with you.
A branded and coded email signature.
We don’t want your logo attaching as an image. Make sure you have a professional code your signature. GiantUser is great for that.
Creative and memorable swag that excites me (and you).
An embosser of your logo is a fun way to add your brand to stationary. I mail bronze pins of my “P” mark to branding clients or hand out branded organic beeswax lip balm instead of business cards at conferences. Have fun with all of this. The feeling will be contagious.
A consistent high-quality profile image.
Either of you (if you’re a one-person business) or your company logo. If you choose the latter, make sure that there’s as little text as possible since the name will automatically display on the profile.
Properly sized cover photos for every platform.
Make sure you test for both desktop and mobile when you have artwork made for your social media channels. Platforms like YouTube and LinkedIn are especially tricky to design for. I recommend using Canva Pro, which has premade templates that are properly sized, and the ability to upload your branded fonts, colours and logos.
Consistent usernames so it’s easy to find you.
I know that sometimes, despite everything you do, your dream username is taken. It’s not the end of the world, but try your best to have your usernames either match your website (best-case scenario) or at the very least match each other.
Pre-made templates for Instagram and Pinterest.
Obviously, only if you plan on using these platforms to promote your business. if you’re planning to use either platform. I can’t recommend these enough. Every time you blog, make sure you post about it in a branded way. Canva Pro is the easiest way to create your templates. It takes some time to figure the designs out at first, but it will save you a long time in the long run.
A concise, but memorable social media bio.
It should be anything but generic. It’s highly visible digital real estate, so tell us in a few sentences: who you are, why I should care, and what’s your personality like? Don’t forget to also consider keywords—phrases people might be searching for, increasing the likelihood they discover you. Pro tip: On platforms like Instagram, the “name” field is also searchable, so consider expanding your name with your industry or job title. You could even use an emoji to separate the two (and stand out even further).
Source: Phil Pallen