With 20 years of brand and graphic design experience under his signature baseball cap, it’s safe to say Col really knows his stuff. He has a passion for branding that’s as big as his beard!
Col takes mediocre personal and business brand identities and makes them epic – with awesome logos and on-point marketing materials – he creates brands that people remember.
Whether designing, delivering workshops or speaking at events, Col shows people how to rock their brands and embrace their brand superpowers. Which is why from time to time he can be seen on stage in a Superman outfit…
It will come as no surprise that he is a big comic book geek!
In his own words, Col gives us his best tips for rocking your brand #LikeAPro
Q1. Why should solopreneurs invest in their branding?
Investing in branding will set you apart from those that are just stumbling and making it up as they go along. You’ll feel more confident and look more professional. When you’re confident about your brand, you’ll be more inclined to try new things.
It will also save you time and money in the long run. A well planned out and designed brand will work for you. It will make your content much easier to create and look less like it was cobbled together with sellotape.
Q2. We encourage our members to create personal brand values. What are the next steps in creating a visual brand identity when you’re your business?
We all want to jump into the visual part of branding because that’s the fun bit. But without being strategic with our brand, we can miss out crucial parts of the brand building process. Brand values are just the beginning.
You then need to create a brand positioning statement. Once you do that, you can create buyer personas, and THEN you can start to get creative with visuals; choosing colours, fonts and imagery that connects with those personas.
Having a brand positioning statement and a strong picture of your ideal customer will mean that when you do create your visual brand, it will work much more effectively for you.
Check out my video about brand positioning.
Q3. Many of our members run social media agencies or are freelancers, how can they stand out in a busy market?
The best way to stand out is to be yourself. It can be tempting to emulate successful competitors, but that’s like wearing a mask, and pretending to be someone you are not can get tiring and the mask can slip. If the mask slips, we lose trust with our audience.
By being you, you will be different and you’ll stand out in a crowded market. While everyone else is looking the same; following the latest trends and distracted by the latest shiny object, you will have a clear point of differentiation. BE YOURSELF!
Q4. What questions do we need to consider before choosing and briefing a designer?
The biggest thing is that you choose a designer that is right for you. We all know how much better it is to work with someone that we like and get along with. You want to choose a designer that you’ll enjoy working with.
Creating a brand can take 2-3 months if done properly, and you will most likely want to continue the working relationship with your chosen designer after the initial brand work is complete because they’ll know it inside out. Personality + Portfolio = WIN!
Check out my video on 7 Things to look out for when choosing a logo designer.
Q5. How can we get started with creating a visual identity on a small budget?
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to start to build a cohesive visual identity. It can be as simple as choosing a colour palette and font and using them consistently in your branding. This allows people to build recognition with your brand over time.
Use the Brand Kit section on Canva. In there you can store your brand colours and fonts so that you stick with them when you are creating new graphics and print materials. Super simple and free to use. AWESOME
Q6. What are your top tips for getting started with getting your logo designed?
Don’t rush in. If you’re a new business, sometimes you need to give your business and brand time to settle in. You may not think so, but your business could look very different after just 12 months as your customers shape your brand in ways you hadn’t imagined.
We don’t all have limitless budgets and so you don’t want to create something in a rush of excitement, only to find a year down the line that it no longer fits your brand and you have to change.
Sometimes it’s better to choose a font that reflects your brand personality, type out your brand name and run with that as a logo for a little while. Then invest in a professional logo design further down the line when the picture is clear.
Here is a short video with some advice on choosing a font for your logo.
Q7. Should solopreneurs create logo and brand style guidelines for their business?
Absolutely! They are the guardian of your brand. You should refer to them often.
When it comes to others remembering your brand, consistency is the key. If you don’t have guidelines, you may be tempted to try new colours and fonts ‘just for fun’. Don’t do that!
There will also be times where you need to give your logo to someone else. This may be for use in an advertisement, a magazine or some merchandise. Sending your guidelines document along with the logo file ensures that your brand is represented consistently.
You can find out more about what brand guidelines are in this video.
You can connect with Col in the following ways. Do check out his YouTube channel for engaging videos about branding and design.
Don’t forget to join us in the free GoWithThePro Facebook group where we share tips and carry on the conversation. See you in there!
Plus, if you’re a Go With The Pro member, check out our Quick Wins to help you getting started with your branding journey:
- 4 steps for creating your own brand values
- Branding design using canva
We often have our members ask for feedback on their branding decisions in the group and we love to help!