How To Design Your Brand

It’s not just about you. It’s about your ideal clients too.

Often times when working with brand design clients, we come to a crossroads of figuring out who we are designing for. Yes, you are your brand, and you want your brand to look, act, sounds, and feel like you. But which of you? Personal-you, the one your family and friends see, the you after work and on weekends? Or the professional you, the one people do business with, the one calling the shots and managing your clients…

The answer is a little of both. As a designer, it’s my job to help you bridge the two of you together into the perfect identity that feels authentically like you but also sets the perfect tone and mood to attract your ideal clients.

You are your brand, so we need to make sure that the cornerstone qualities that make you you are represented. These are your unique personal qualities that dictate the kind of professional you are. When I start my design projects, I ask my clients to complete a brand questionnaire that helps me get them to articulate the major W’s of their brand:

  • Who are your ideal clients? What about them makes them ideal to do business with?
  • What do you do? What exactly are your clients investing in when they do business with you?
  • Why you? Why are people choosing you over your competition? Why do your clients love you?
  • How are you unique? What makes you/your business different/unique? What unique value do you bring to the table?
  • Where do your clients find you? Where and how do your clients first come in contact with your business?
  • What do your clients/customers first recognize when they see your brand?

None of these are rocket-science and you’ve probably read all of them before in similar questions from other designs. But the answer to each helps us identify unique qualities about you that are critical to represent in your brand’s identity so that we are ensuring a true, authentic, and effective brand identity that speaks to your ideal clients.


Case study with Hannah Reynolds of HRYNDS.

At the end of last year, I was approached by a dear friend and fellow designer Hannah Reynolds of Pommel Co. She was making a huge career transition away from hand lettering design and into strategy development and systems creation for established business. She knew that she needed to rebrand herself to better speak to this new ideal audience, but wanted to be sure that she was staying true to who she is and what inspires her.

By using both my brand questionnaires and a shared Pinterest inspiration board, we were able to bridge both words and images to create a series of moodboards that could outline possible design directions for this new brand. Not sure which was right, we created 3 different options: one that most represented Hannah and her personal style, a second that represented her clients and the executive minimalistic high-end element of their brands, and a third board that combined elements of the two together.

After thorough exploration and discussion, we decided that board 3 was the perfect balance of Hannah and her creative minimal style while true to the high-end, experienced professionals that are her ideal clients. The colors were warm, approachable, yet eluded quality and excellence. While the patterns were modern and clean, the typography was timeless and traditional.

In the end, it wasn’t just what spoke to Hannah as a creative, but Hannah as a professional and her executive clientele.


How to design your own brand that represents you and your ideal clients.

Are you currently struggling to find that perfect balance between personal and professional in your brand that also attracts your ideal clientele? Follow my own personal brand development process below and find that balance you’ve been working so hard for.

Step 1: Brand Identity Questionnaire.

Download your own free copy of my personal Brand Questionnaire HERE to help define in words the major W’s of your brand: Who What Where How and Why. 

Step 2: Brand Identity Inspiration Pin Board.

Create your own secret Pinterest board and start curating images, quotes, fonts, brands, and anything else that speaks to you and the tone and mood of your brand. Think in all the senses:

  • What does your brand feel like – textures and patterns
  • What does your brand look like – styles and fashion
  • What does your brand sound like – typography styling and quotes
  • What does your brand taste like – foods and beverages your brand would consume
  • Where does your brand thrive – locations, rooms, spaces
  • What does your brand think like – colors

And beyond…

Check out a few examples of past client moodboards and see how we were able to pull together the personal and professional for them….

If this is something you have been struggling with for some time and find that you are ready to partner with a professional to help build the perfect brand, reach out and contact me today and let’s get the creative process started.

Getting to partner with creative small business owners when it comes to creating an identity for their brand is by far the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. Each one unique and creative in their own special way keeps my job ever changing and ever inspiring.

Here’s to you, our fellow small business owner. We may be small, but we are fierce.

Julie & Steve Harris


PHOTO CREDIT: © iStock Photo


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Julie Harris

About Julie Harris

Julie Harris is the founder and lead designer of Whiskey & Red. Based out of Woodland Park, Colorado, Whiskey & Red specializes in small business branding and WordPress website design. They collaborate with small business owners, at all levels of industry, helping them translate their offline business into an online digital experience.

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