4 Common Mistakes People Make When DIYing Their Brand
Thinking about DIYing your brand? If so, there are 4 common mistakes that people often make when designing their own brand identity.
Although I’m a brand designer myself, there are some instances where I think going the DIY route would be a better fit for you. Go check out this post if you're wondering when it's a better fit to design your own brand and when you should consider hiring a brand designer.
I'm sharing these 4 common branding mistakes that people often make, because I've definitely made them myself in the past and I want you to avoid them if you're considering the DIY brand route.
Here are the 4 common mistakes people make when DIYing their brand:
1. Focusing too much on what YOU like, instead of thinking about your target market and their needs, wants, interests, etc.
When people think about branding their business, they tend to think about what THEY like and what they want.
But here’s the thing: Your brand isn’t all about you.
Now don’t get me wrong. It is about you, but it’s also about your target market. Your clients, your customers, and your community.
It’s about what they want, what they like, what they’re into, what they vibe with.
And if you’re not quite sure what that is, it’s time to do some research and deep thinking.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself about your ideal client:
how old are they
what is their income and education like
where are they in their life
what kind of things are important to them
where they buy their groceries
what kind of stories they shop at
what kind of friends they hang out with
what activities they do with their friends
what their daily life looks like
what their weekends look like, etc.
how do they want to feel
what is their ideal lifestyle like
what’s their 1, 5, and 10 year plan (or are they even a planner)
After answering those questions, you notice a pattern and you can start to piece the puzzle together.
Remember to make the branding about them just as much as it’s about you, because it's also about you too!
2. Your brand elements don’t reflect your brand mission, personality, and values.
What is your brand mission, personality, and values?
If you don’t have these three things down, take some time to think it over.
I’ll go over these 3 things briefly and give you examples of my own brand.
What is the purpose of your brand? Why does it exist? Who is it for and how does it make their life better?
For example, Molly Ho Studio is a branding and graphic design studio for photographers and creative entrepreneurs. My mission is to help you create a brand that will give your dream clients the confidence and clarity they need to hire you. Because when branding is done right, trust is built. And you deserve to work with your dream clients, the ones that are just as excited about working with you as you are about them.
As humans, we all have our own personalities. Well, our brands have their own personalities as well. Is your brand soft? Is it bold? Is it outspoken? How about funny?
Knowing your brand personality will help you choose visual elements that go along with it. Just like how we and our brands have personalities, fonts and colors have personalities of their own. (That’s one of the benefits of working with a brand designer, they help you with all of this because they understand what works for your own brand.)
For example, Molly Ho Studio is like that friend you’re excited to see for coffee on a Tuesday afternoon. I want my brand to feel approachable, friendly, down to earth, and definitely relatable. At the same time, I want my brand to be like that organized friend you can always depend on to get things done because you know she’s a planner.
What’s important to your brand? What do you value?
Do you value customer service, community culture, design and aesthetics, sustainability, etc.?
Potential clients and customers are drawn to different things (things that they care deeply about), so it’s important to take a stance and know where you stand on things.
For example, Molly Ho Studio values transparency, honesty, open communication, and storytelling. It’s important to me that people feel like there’s a space for them at the table, because there is.
So how can you apply that information together when you’re DIYing your own brand?
Like I mentioned previously, colors and fonts have their own personality -- and they’re intended to bring out certain emotions and feelings.
- Some are more bold, while others are more soft.
- Some are more adventurous, while others have that more home-y feel.
- Some are more loud, while others are more minimal.
3. There’s a lack of thought or intention behind your brand.
It’s easy to want to rush into things.
Trust me, I get this -- because I’ve done it so many times myself, but branding is not a process to be rushed.
You have to take your time with it, and be patient with yourself.
Branding and designing for yourself can be one of the hardest things to do, which is something you hear designers say all the time.
In fact, that’s one of the benefits of working with a designer: They aren’t so emotionally attached to your business and so that allows them to see it objectively and help you move forward in your decision making.
Before jumping onto Pinterest, you want to make sure that you have your foundation down.
It’s like going over the blueprint of your house before buying the furniture.
Make sure you know your brand mission, personality, values, and most importantly, your target market.
- Who are you trying to reach?
- What is the message you’re sharing with them, and why?
- What is it exactly that you’re offering them, and how is it going to make their life better?
The more you know about your brand and business, the better your chances are.
When people think about branding, they often only think about the logo, but having the best logo in the world won’t save your brand if there’s no thought or intention behind everything else.
Your logo is not going to save your business.
Nor is it going to ruin it.
Because your logo is not the only thing that matters.
Let me say that again: Your logo is not the only thing that matters.
What matters even more is how much thought and intention you put into your brand. And trust me, people notice.
At the end of the day, branding matters because it’s an experience. People are experiencing your brand with every interaction, so you want to make it a good one.
4. Your brand lacks consistency and confuses people.
This often means that you’re using wayyyy too many colors and fonts.
Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article, branding isn’t about using the 8 different fonts and colors you like. (There is beauty in keeping it simple and clean.)
It’s about creating a brand identity that represents you and resonates with your target market. The customers and clients you want to be attracting to your business.
But if people are confused by your branding, they aren’t going to be attracted for very long (if at all).
You want your brand to be clear and concise, because that’s going to tell them that you know what you’re doing and that you take your business seriously.
People want to buy from people and brands that they can trust.
So after DIYing your brand, do a check in with yourself: Would you trust your own brand? Is it clear, cohesive, and consistent? Does it radiate confidence and clarity?
If you showed someone else your brand, would they be able to confidently say who you are, what you do, who you help, and how you help them?
I’m not against DIYing your brand, but I will say that it’s an extensive task and it’s not as easy as pinning a bunch of things you like on Pinterest.
There’s a lot of preparation, thought, and intention that goes into it, which is why it's a good idea to work with a brand designer if you're thinking about winging it.
Trust me, branding is not something you want to wing.
Hey there! Would you like some help with your brand?
My brand mission is to help amazing creative entrepreneurs like you design a strong brand identity that will give your dream clients the confidence and clarity they need to hire you.
Molly Ho is a branding and graphic designer for photographers and creative entrepreneurs. Her mission is to help you create a brand that will give your dream clients the confidence and clarity they need to hire you.
She believes in being (and becoming) the kind of person you want to see more of in the world, because change starts with you. And you have the power and capacity to become the person you want to be.
On the blog, she talks about topics including branding, marketing, social media, body image, and personal development.
Here's where else you can find her on the Internet: