Finding brand inspiration is hard! I get it! You have been building your visual brand. As you move along trying to take all of the right steps, you might hear a lot of “do this” or “you have to do that” type of advice. You do your best to follow “all the things,” but instead of feeling accomplished, you feel confused and overwhelmed. You may feel your confidence is shaken and that you are missing the mark— somehow not doing it “right” and maybe questioning the best actions for yourself. Sound familiar?
It’s one thing to know that you are totally kicking ass at your building your business, but it’s a different ball game when you feel like you are never hitting the mark for your visual brand.
If you’re feeling any or all of the above, you’re certainly not alone. I hear the same thoughts from my clients, and you want to know the advice I give them?
If you are having a hard time finding brand inspiration, my best advice is…
Don’t overthink it!!! It doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think it is.
I know, I know – it’s so much easier said than done. When you feel like you don’t know what you are doing, you’ll second guess yourself at every turn. You might even feel like an imposter- as if at any time, someone will pull your card and know you’re fumbling through your visual brand growth.
What’s worse is when you know that your brand doesn’t look the way you want it to. When that happens, it’s a cascading effect. You don’t share your website, because you think it’s “that bad,” and because you lack confidence in your brand, you fizzle out on other marketing opportunities.
I have heard all of this so many times from clients. Here’s the thing. When you don’t share your website or even market your business confidently, you are leaving so much money on the table. Eek. Can I say this even? You’re stealing your own income potential. That’s totally uncool, because you know you have something to offer that people need. You just lack the shiny vehicle to carry your brand.
I’m sure if you have done any research on how to build a brand, you have heard that you need to pick things that would attract your potential clients. While I get the idea and think it is important to consider how your potential clients will interact with your brand, I take a very different approach.
I want your branding to be all about you!
You know why? Because I fully believe that when you are confident in your brand, like obsessed with it, you’ll want to show it off! You’ll feel like your brand is wearing designer wear, and so you’ll want everyone to see it and know the label. You won’t want to hide your brand- You’ll flaunt it! The more exposure you get and the greater confidence you feel with your business, the more your profits will grow.
Developing your brand is more effortless and natural when you lean into who you are, what you love, and what inspires you.
When you are excited about your brand, your potential clients will be excited, too! Excitement and positivity are contagious.
I am here to show you the steps I take my clients through so you can build a brand you’re head over heels in love with!
Let’s start with a tool you probably already get lost in for hours- Pinterest.
I’m sure you have used Pinterest before for your branding. Heck, you might have even found this exact post on Pinterest, a much-searched yet untapped resource for branding!
What if I told you, you were probably searching for inspiration in the wrong way.
Many times, when we search for inspiration, we type queries like “photographer logos,” “photographer branding,” “logos for wedding planners,” or “brand boards.” Of course, you logically think that putting in these types of search terms will give you something to look at, but the inspiration is all wrong.
If you are looking to other people’s brands for inspiration, you’ll come up with a B-version of what you’ve seen someone else do, trying to fit their brand on top of yours rather than create something truly unique and inspired.
While you may like another person’s logo or color palette, a brand extends beyond more than those two things. The colors and logo you select must be rooted in something deeper- YOU. To have a brand that fits you like your favorite outfit (you know, the one that you know looks great on you, and you carry yourself taller in?) and makes you proud, it needs to be representative of what makes you tick and what you love!
On the flip, when it comes to branding or rebranding your business, you can’t wait staring at a blank screen and wait for inspiration to strike.
I’m sure now you’re like, “Ok, Ally. I’m not supposed to put in the search terms I thought I should be using, and inspiration isn’t going to fall from the sky. So, what should I do?”
Well, DO use Pinterest—always, always, always. But, with what I’ll teach you, you’ll learn to tap into its many powers in a more strategic, enlightened, and thoughtful way. How does that sound?
I’ll show you one of my actual client boards and the process I used to pull it together. Let’s begin!
Getting Started with Pinterest
When it comes to searching for brand inspiration on Pinterest, we want to tap what you are visually inspired by. So many people think that when they need to find inspiration for their brand, they should search for things, as I mentioned above, like “photographer logos” or “brand inspiration,” but doing that will get you a mishmashed smorgasbord of ALL sorts of styles, brands, and color palettes- a recipe for confusion!
If you simply pin from what comes up there, you WILL end up with a brand that feels disconnected rather than one designed based on your interests and things you love.
Remember, inspiration is what moves you.
Basing your brand on inspiration ensures it will stand the test of time because you aren’t simply following a trend or something you “think” you like, because someone else is doing it. By finding what moves you, you’ll create a deeper connection with your audience. You’ll draw the people meant for you, and they’ll get to know, like, and trust the authentic you. Buh-bye imposter syndrome!
You also have to remember that Pinterest can be a major black hole that results in hours lost scrolling and pinning with little actual productivity. So to counter falling into hours of mindless pinning, you have to go in with a plan.
What does a plan look like, you ask?
That plan is to create specific categories that allow you to keep your focus and pin things that will help you create a unique personal brand.
To get started, you need to create a Pinterest board. Make it a secret board if you don’t want others to see your work. Then, create four categories within the board. The categories you are going to pin to are:
- Overall style
- Shapes, Patterns, and Textures
You’ll begin by pinning anything that inspires you or catches your eye within these categories. Then, by the end, you’ll go back and curate your brand’s visual inspiration with only the best images based on your style. I really think you’ll enjoy seeing how everything evolves throughout the process.
Step 1: Pinning Your Overall Style
First things first, you need to spend some time thinking about the overall style of your personal brand. This may go hand in hand with your unique style or a trend that you are obsessed with. Next, take a peek into your wardrobe or look at your home decor for insight into your style.
Is your style bohemian, preppy, fashion-forward, editorial, classic, romantic? Are you inspired by the shabby chic trends, modern architecture, bright and colorful pops and artwork, clean lines and a minimalist approach, or maybe even mid-century modern (like the client example I am sharing today)?
When you start searching for pins that will encompass the overall style of your brand some areas to search are:
Fashion, Wedding, Architecture, Florals, Home Decor, Travel, etc.
Instead of searching “minimalist branding” or “bohemian logos,” search things like bohemian fashion and pin images that feel good and appeal to you. See how we made that shift? Now you’re choosing images that will influence and inspire you instead of looking at someone else’s brand for inspiration.
Think of it like making a vision board of magazine clippings. I promise you this change in how you are searching will be way more fun than the frustration of combing through others’ brands.
Here’s an example of one of my very own client’s Pinterest board Overall Style Category:
Step 2: Pinning Your Color Palette
You’ve got the big picture of your brand. Next, it’s time to sort out your colors. This is always the most fun category for me. I love seeing color palettes come together, and they are typically where the most personality can start to shine through. Do you want a bright and colorful brand? Are you more of a clean white and neutral palette kind of girl? Are there colors you just can’t get enough of? Have you thought about what color you want to be the main color throughout your brand?
If you are having a hard time selecting the colors that you want to represent your brand, it can be super helpful to take a look around your world. First, check out your closet – do you see any colors you obviously buy a ton of? Then, look around your house. Do you see colors that stand out over and over? Need even more inspiration? Take a walk around town and see what colors draw you – is it natural colors like a coral peony or industrial colors downtown with bricks and metals?
There is inspiration all around. You just have to be open to taking it all in.
There are so many different color palette options on Pinterest, between paint swatches to predesigned color palettes, where you can find color ideas.
Pin tons of colors and get creative with it. You will want to end up with one main color, two to three supporting colors, and neutrals to round out your color palette.
If you want to get even deeper in your color palette creation, you can dive into the exciting world of color psychology. There’s research on the meanings of colors and how specific colors make people feel. Intrigued? You can check my blog post on color psychology here: “How to Properly Choose the Perfect Brand Colors for Your Brand.”
Here’s the example from my client’s Pinterest board.
Step 3: Pinning Shapes, Patterns, and Textures
Shapes, patterns, and textures can seem like the most insignificant or least exciting part of the process (and the one category that trips up so many of my clients), but this board brings unique elements to your brand.
The inspiration you are looking for would serve as design elements and backgrounds on your website or brand collateral. These elements bring depth and interest to your designs past just the colors and fonts.
Some people love a bold pattern, while some may like more of a natural texture. You can search for anything from geometric patterns, wooden textures, floral patterns, marble, plaid, stripes, shadow effects, leaves or greenery, etc.
Here’s an example of my client’s board came together:
Step 4: Pinning Your Fonts
Yay for fonts! Since I started designing, I have been more than obsessed with typography. So, this, of course, is one of my favorite categories!
To discover the right font for your brand, don’t necessarily start by searching for a specific font, or you may limit yourself. Start, instead, by pinning fonts or combinations of fonts that catch your eye.
You can search for “fonts” on Pinterest, and there will be a bazillion options that turn up. Find one you love? Then start searching for font pairings if you want a bit of a jump start on selecting fonts that go together. Clients often ask how many fonts they should have. The answer is that you’ll want a primary font for headlines, a font for subheadings, and maybe even want to add in an accent font (this is often a script or an italicized version).
Here is the collection of fonts my client pinned to her board:
Step 5: It’s time to clean it up and curate your brand inspiration collection.
The last step of bringing your visual brand together starts with going back through your pins. Carefully comb through your images to curate only the best, most inspiring photos. By this part of the process, you’ll have a sharper eye and a deeper attachment to the images that somehow are a reflection of you.
Start by deleting the images that reflect a different look and feel than the rest. Next, clear out anything that no longer inspires you and curate a board full of ideas and emotions that inspire you and the clients you want to attract.
To bring it all together, you can see how this brand inspiration was applied to the design of my client’s brand. While mid-century modern aesthetic was a big theme, we wanted to modernize it for her ideal client- high school seniors and their parents. This brand is so much fun, and if you look closely, you can find the brand details on the website brought through with the yellow star and the pattern used as background images.
If you’re ready to TRULY nail your brand design beyond boards, I would love to help you with my brand and web design experience. Imagine no more imposter syndrome or brand envy (you’ll be the brand they’re looking at now!), and the confidence to share and sell like never before.
I’d love to take you on an exciting brand adventure, where we’ll uncover your brand’s foundation and expand into your website and beyond! If you are interested book a call with me by clicking the link below or check out my services page to learn more.