The first research task is to discover who your ideal client is and is not. This is the person who will feel excited when they see your new post on Instagram or stop you while you’re working at an event and say they’ve been following your work. Your ideal client should want to work with you specifically because they feel like they know you and they trust your brand.
The second research task is to review and audit your existing branding. Pull out everything you have created for your brand (both printed and digital)—business cards, postcards, welcome gifts, social media profile photos, etc. Ask yourself: does this all look like it came from the same brand? Does each piece standing alone represent my brand? Does it all make sense when put together? If each piece were an article of clothing in a wardrobe, would it look like it all came from the same closet?
2. Choose visual elements
You want to select a font (or style of font), specific colors, a logo, and other visual components to create a cohesive brand that appeals to your ideal client. When selecting a font for your brand, pick one that is readily available across many platforms (MS Word, Apple Pages, Squarespace, Canva, etc.) so that it is always available. Also, have similar alternatives picked out for when your first choice is not available on a platform. During this step, you may decide that you need to create a new logo, update your font choice, take a new headshot, or change something else that doesn’t quite fit.
3. Create a style guide
Now that you have chosen your colors (be sure to include a color swatch and design codes), font, logo, and more, write it all down and put it somewhere where others can find it (such as Google Drive). This brand guide will help to make sure that the visual pieces of your brand are always cohesive. If you have staff or contractors (such as a graphic designer), this will be help them create cohesive work that accurately represents your brand and voice.
4. Update everything
Once you have done all this hard work, be sure to put it to use. Use your logo and brand colors to update your templates for letterheads, business cards, client documents, postcards, your website, onboarding packets, and so on.