Have you ever done something one way for a looooong time and then had someone show you “the correct” way to do it and been like “what! I had no idea. It’s SO much better this way?” (you know those “I am this days-old posts on Facebook?!” My mind has been blown on some of those.) That is exactly how this post is going to make you feel but about your brand inspiration.
Most of us LOVE Pinterest. And when it comes to using it for our brands, we can get so much brand inspiration from it, but what if I told you you might be finding the wrong kind of inspiration in the wrong way?
Pinterest is an untapped resource for branding! We can use it to create phenomenal boards that inspire our brand mood boards and final designs. When we look to it for inspiration, however, we are often looking for inspiration from another brand to copy. We’re not doing it intentionally, but what we often end up pinning is other people’s brands. Then, we’re forced to come up with a B-version of what we’ve found for our own brand.
While you may like another person’s logo or color palette, that person’s brand may not be representative of anything you like or are proud of.
When it comes to branding or rebranding your business, this doesn’t mean you should sit in front of a blank screen and wait for inspiration to strike. Let’s use Pinterest—always, always, always. But, let’s tap into its many powers in a more strategic, more enlightened, and more thoughtful way.
I’m going to show you step-by-step how to do this by showing you how I used Pinterest as Inspiration it to design the Ashton Malone Brand Collection in my template shop. Let’s begin!
Before you dive into Pinterest there are a couple of things you need to do that will ensure you the BEST results and a brand that has direction and meaning.
You are going to begin this process by creating a board in your Pinterest account. My suggestion would be to create this board a secret board so others can not see what you have been working on and how you are wanting to transform your brand.
I start my branding project getting deep into more of the meaningful parts of your brand and learning how to express what we want our visuals to create for others. So go ahead and spend some time thinking through your brand words and the emotions you want people to feel when they encounter your brand.
Reflect back and think about what words you use a lot in your own voice, brand copy, social media posts, or interactions with clients?
But more importantly, how do you want people to feel when they come in contact with your brand?
Make a list of those words and then use those terms when searching. For example, when I created the Ashton Malone Brand Collection I wanted it to feel:
Relaxed, Organic, Natural, Charming, Cozy
Now that I have my words, it is time to hop over to Pinterest and see how it all plays out and works together. You will need to create a Pinterest Board within your account to begin the process. I always suggest creating a secret board so you can pin in confidence, get messy if you need to, and feel inspired without the outside world having any opinion. I create a brand board and then with each step below I have a separate subcategory to keep it all nice and tidy. But feel free to create one big board if that is more your style.
When it comes to searching for brand inspiration on Pinterest, many people start right there and actually type in the words “brand inspiration.” Doing that will get you a mishmashed smorgasbord of ALL sorts of styles, brands, and color palettes. If you simply pin from what comes up there, you WILL end up with a brand that feels disconnected and like a B-version of someone else’s brand.
Not only that, but Pinterest can be a major black hole that results in hours lost scrolling and pinning with little actual productivity. So, you have to have a plan. What does a plan look like you ask?
Well, that plan is going to involve choosing your brand words and then pinning according to 4 categories:
You’ll start off by pinning anything that inspires you or catches your eye within these categories and then, in the end, you’ll go back through and clean it up and curate it with only the best, most inspiring images based on how your inspirational session has evolved throughout the process.
When we start by pinning our overall style I want you to first be inspired by your own work or images you are going to use in your branding or website project. Create a subsection within your Pinterest board for these pins. Then upload the work you want to use to represent your brand and any stock photos that you feel are a good representation. Since my clients are mainly photographers this section is typically their favorite session or images that show their style and the work they want to create in the future. If you are not a photographer be sure to pin images you want to use within the project like stock photos you have purchased or downloaded from free sites. Every project will feature imagery, so don’t skip over this section – it is so important to see how it will all work out with actual photos. This can also be super useful if you realize you need to step up your game and create more inspiring work for your own brand.
Once you’ve pinned to your heart’s content and loaded up your brand images, it’s time to be ruthless. Get rid of anything that doesn’t make the cut, until you’re left with a board that is beautiful and expresses exactly what you are looking for with your project and then starts to identify your key pins.
To give you an example of the style of work that I was inspired by for the Ashton Malone Collection I uploaded these images from a wedding that I fell in love with:
Photos by the talented Jamie Wieseler Photography
Your brand details start to come alive by using the brand words you just worked through. We are now going to start pinning a range of items that feel relaxed, organic, cozy, or natural. (Those were the words that I selected for the brand – you obviously will use your own.)
When you search, the words you use matter. You don’t just want to search for “organic branding.” You want to search for images of items that inspire you just like you would if you were cutting out images from a print magazine for a vision board or collage.
If you love fashion, weddings, nature, or fine cuisine, you might put your brand adjectives or words in front of those things. The logo, colors, and fonts you use will be inspired by those images not necessarily by “relaxed branding” that already exists.
So when I searched for inspiration it was using:
Relaxed + fashion | Organic Wedding | Natural Elements | Cozy + Fashion
Also, search for pieces you know you want to include in your brand. I wanted natural elements to be tied in so I made sure I searched for pins like this.
I searched for olive leaf weddings, eucalyptus weddings, etc.
It is also important to include any shapes, patterns, or textures that inspire you. Often in our brands, we use shapes or patterns to fill out backgrounds or borders on your website or promotional designs. Heck, they might even be incorporated into the design of your logo. Think through the shapes and patterns you’re drawn to. Are they geometrical or boxy? Do you like sleek lines and minimal patterns? Do you prefer soft and rounded shapes?
For example if you are inspired by high-end marble and love that luxurious feel be sure to pin it. If you think that geometric lines and patterns are your jam – pin them. If you are wanting to develop a brand that is inspired by the 80s be sure to pin images that show this kind of punk fun!
There is no limit to what inspires us in our brand visual BUT always be sure you are pinning with intention and it all fluidly works together.
Here’s an example of my Pinterest board with the images I pinned for the brand details in the Ashton Malone Collection:
Next, sort out your colors. What color do you want to be your main or anchor color? Do you already see the main color emerging from your pins? For me, for the Ashton Malone Brand Collection, I knew I wanted the brand to have an organic green and hints of blush.
What other colors do you notice within the images you’re pinning? What colors are you drawn to? Are you really interested in color psychology and want to invoke a certain feeling by choosing a certain color? If so, check out my blog post on color psychology and “how to properly choose the perfect brand colors for your brand.
When you feel like you have inspired colors start searching different terms with them. You can search:
Then after you have refined your colors, go back and refine your search by searching the:
your brand color + color palette | your brand color + your brand color wedding | your brand color + your brand color + fashion
For example, I searched
green + blush + art | green + mauve + color palette | green + blush + paint | green + blush + paper
If you already know the color inspiration you are working with, you can start with these searches.
Here’s an example of my color palette taking shape on my Pinterest board:
Yay fonts! One of my FAVE categories. To discover the right font for your brand inspiration, don’t necessarily start by searching for a specific font or you may limit yourself. Start pinning fonts or combinations of fonts that catch your eye. If you are looking for more of a personal touch with a calligraphy/handwritten style – pin it. If you want the classic allure of a serif font – start pinning them but maybe look for ones have a bit more character to be interesting than the standard Times. If you a minimalist at heart start searching for open and airy fonts, maybe a sans serif font is just what you need.
For the Ashtone Malone Brand Collection, I knew I wanted fonts that both classic, inviting, and had a personal touch.
Here were some of the key fonts I pinned:
If your branding project includes designing your website, go ahead and search for “web designs,” “web layouts,” or “print layouts” on Pinterest and pin ones that fit your brand inspiration and goals. You can also add adjectives and search terms such as :
Lead generation + web layouts
Organic + web designs
Relaxed + print layouts
If you are struggling to find what you are looking for you can always search terms using names of themes like “ShowIt Website” or “ProPhoto Layout”.
Now, it’s time to go back through your pins. Clean it up and curate it with only the best, most inspiring images based on how your inspirational session has evolved throughout the process.
That means, delete the images that now reflect a different look and feel than the rest. Clear out anything that no longer inspires you and curate a board full of images and emotions that inspire you and the clients you want to attract.
Now, if you’re ready to TRULY nail your brand design beyond nailing the inspiration, I would love to help you. I have TWO ways I can help you nail your photography brand. One option is to check out the Off-the-Shelf Brand Collections in the Brand Shop. When you select one of the collections I will personally customize the predesigned brand with your colors and brand details.
However, if you are wanting something custom check out my “tailor made” brand experience design service. This is where I work with you starting with your brand foundation and then we add as much or as little as you’re looking for. This could include promotional materials and your website. It is truly tailored to your budget and your needs.
Not only will you have a new brand that shows your heart and style you will know exactly how to use your brand, templates, or website without feeling like you need to hire a designer every time you need to make updates. I make sure you are involved in each step of the process!
Hearts and Hoorays Friends!
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