Behind The Brand: The Frame & The Work

IMG_8523.JPG

The support that has come my way since I relaunched my blog a little over a week ago has been SO sweet and encouraging! Thank you thank you to everyone who has taken a moment to check it out!

Building a brand, and then a site that reflects that brand, is not always the easiest of projects to tackle (especially when it is for yourself). Thankfully, with the framework and guidance of Emily Lai from Efoo Creative, we were able to collaborate (and have a lot of fun) on designing my personal branding and logo. Working with her was a dream. She got me. From that process, I was then able to build a site that showcased the story I wanted to tell.

The inspiration, the visuals, and the design that goes into creating anything is always an interesting process. If you find yourself in a place that is either stuck, discouraged, confused, or ____ (you name it) about pursuing a project like this…this post is for YOU!

IMG_9481.JPG

Procrastination. Fear. Worry. Lack of Inspiration. Self-Doubt.

Every single one of these ‘things’ will stop you right in your creative tracks if you allow them to. When I first decided that it was time to redesign my site, update my vision, and rebrand, all of those ‘things’ halted me at some point during this process. My biggest struggle out of this project wasn’t a matter of ‘when’, it was really a matter of ‘how’ and ‘who.’

What I didn’t realize was that the ‘who’ part needed to start with me and I needed to figure that out first before anything else would come together. It’s one thing to put something ‘pretty’ or ‘cool’ out there. But if there is no vision or purpose driving it or if you have no idea who (your brand) is, then there is going to be no inspiration to keep ‘it’ going. You want to create something lasting and meaningful, and that starts with figuring out the ‘you’. The ‘how’ will follow.

Here are the main steps that I went through to create a brand and then translate that brand into a living story on a website:

  • Identifying Myself.

    • I already had my blog name before this redesign so I wasn’t starting completely from scratch. You can read the inspiration for the name on the about page.

    • The questions that I had to really dig into and ask myself when I decided I wanted to make my brand something more than just a catchy name went something like this: Who are you? What do you like? What are you passionate about? What do you want to be when you grow up (sounds silly but this question is very revealing no matter where you are in life)? How do you define your style (clothes, taste in music, home, office, etc.)? What other brands do you connect with visually and emotionally (name the brands that you admire)?

  • Identifying My Vision & Goals.

    • How do you make ‘you’ a brand? You start with a mission and vision. You can create one by asking yourself these questions: What are you passionate about others knowing? What do you want to put out in the world? What do you want people to feel when they see your brand? What do you want people to learn or experience when interacting with your brand? Is your brand intended to help, empower, advocate, inspire, and/or ____?

  • Identifying My People.

    • Finding the right creatives and talents to partner with is often tricky. You want to find someone who ‘gets you’ and then knows how to take that to the visual level.

    • When looking for that person/people, ask yourself these questions: Who aligns with your vision? Who do you connect with on a creative level? Who ‘gets’ you? Who has the talent to ‘get you’ and ‘get your vision’ simultaneously? Who ‘speaks your language’ (you know those people who just understand what you are saying without you having to say it? you need those people for your projects)?

    • After identifying the answers to those questions, your person/people will then need to the skillset to back your vision.

  • Going. Doing. Making it Happen.

    • This is probably the most crucial step, and there is an element of this within each of the previous steps. We often hold ourselves back by not moving forward at all. Sometimes, you just gotta go do and not question or second guess yourself. Sometimes, it’s going to be messy like a toddler learning how to walk, especially if you are new to the world of branding, marketing, blogging. Sometimes, the people who you thought were a right fit for your brand will not end up being the right fit. At the end of the day, your vision is not going to come to life by waiting around for it to happen, you will have to push yourself to move forward and sometimes, just figure out the rest as you go along.

IMG_9483.JPG

Here are some deeper how-to’s to get you going on your branding and design journey:

Where to Start:

I did all of these exercises when working with Emily and it helped me visualize and clarify my brand SO MUCH. The moodboard above was the result of completing all the following steps with Emily. She really was able to capture/showcase everything in this collage that I wanted my readers to see and feel from my brand.

  • Create a Pinterest board for inspiration. Pin about 40-50 images/quotes/graphics that you connect with (don’t do too many or it will blur your vision for your brand).

  • Write down all the words that you want to be known for and all the words that you think describe you.

  • Identify and name colors that speak to you, your moods, and personal style.

  • Write down your ideal viewer/follower/audience. Create a profile for them. Name, age, favorite places to eat/shop/hangout, pets, kids, car, anything you can think of to get inside the mind of the audience you want to reach.

How to Build the Site:

Emily helped me with the visual elements, colors, branding, and logo. I wasn’t completely sure how I wanted the actual site to look so I decided to design it myself so I could take my time in experimenting with what I wanted.

  • Research the brands you connect with and study their websites, social media, and blogs.

  • Research which platforms you like: Squarespace, Wordpress, Wix, and Showit are just a few options. Find which one appeals to you from a visual and user standpoint.

  • If you don’t want to DIY: Research people. Join creative Facebook Groups. Visit upwork, freelancer, fivver. Search hashtags for local creatives and designers to work with. Ask for recommendations on your Facebook posts.

IMG_9482.JPG
 

Don’t Forget This Step:

MOST importantly, have FUN. I think we often psych ourselves out of the fun of this process by getting so focused on making it perfect or worrying about what others will think of what we create. What matters is that YOU like what you are putting out there. If it genuinely excites you to share that thing you love, share it and don’t overthink it. Create it. Do it. Post it up. Talk about it. Then, take a step back and watch what happens.

Thanks for reading! I hope that this site is not only inspiring visually and through the words shared but I also hope this site becomes a resource and a form of encouragement for my fellow creatives (or aspiring creatives)!

If you have concepts that you want me to cover in the future or questions about this post, send me a note!

- CD