Your company is more than just the products you sell.
Everything from the name you choose to the colors you use sends a message to potential customers about your brand's identity, your values, and your ability to connect with people on an emotional level. All of these factors can affect whether they want to support you. Use this handy checklist to make sure you create a truthful, accurate, and positive image for your business.
- Figure out why you exist. What's your mission? Why are you excited to start this business? What do you make? What makes you and your products different and special? What values or experiences do your crafts bring to people's lives? Write it all down. Think of this as an exercise in distilling your essence.
- Make a mood board to help yourself visualize a company name and logo. Include anything that inspires you: textures, patterns, quotes, photos. Tempting as it is to be clever, it's often better to choose a name that actually tells people what you make.
- Keep it simple. Short and catchy trumps brainy and poetic when it comes to branding. Straightforward, specific names are easier for customers to remember, they look better in logos, and they take less time to type into a Google search. They're also easier to read onscreen and when reproduced in a small size, such as on mailing labels.
- Do an online search once you've picked a name to make sure no one else owns it. If not, buy the domain name. If possible, avoid using punctuation marks like hyphens in your URL.
- Check out the competition. Spend some time looking at other crafters' online shops, websites, and blogs. What do you like about their branding? What can you do to distinguish yourself from them?
- Be aware that colors communicate specific brand characteristics and trigger certain emotions. For example, people link green with health, freshness, and eco-consciousness. It’s a calming color, as is blue, which suggests serenity and peace, perhaps because of its association with sea and sky. Studies show people connect the color with trustworthiness, too. Yellow and orange, on the other hand, are synonymous with energy, optimism, and fun. Black is a cue that your brand is sophisticated, classic, and timeless, while white denotes purity and simplicity.
- If you're using multiple colors, go for contrast. Dark-on-dark (black type on a burgundy background, for instance) and light-on-light (white type on a beige background) can blend together so much that the details get lost.
- Choose a typeface that reflects your brand's sensibilities. Fonts also suggest personality traits in a brand. Sans serif typefaces are seen as contemporary, cool, and forward thinking, especially when they're simpler and more geographic. On the other hand, people tend to see serif fonts as artistic, delicate, traditional, and, in some cases, feminine. Factors like spacing and capitalization can communicate particular company qualities, too. For instance, logos written entirely in lowercase often come across as informal, friendly, and even playful.
- Keep your logo, colors, and brand voice consistent in all your materials. From your website, blog, and online store, to your letterhead and the signage you use at craft shows, consistency is key.
- Get feedback before you finalize your branding materials. Ask friends and family members for their input. Does the name you're considering have a double entendre you might have missed? Does the "g" look like a "y" in the font you've chosen? Are the graphic elements confusing? Ask what images pop into their heads when they hear your company name. What emotions do they feel when they see your logo? Keep an open mind. If you get negative comments, tweak your branding material until you get rave reviews from your test audience.