Since HomeBeautifully.com launched, I’ve received a flood of compliments on the site’s visual vibe. But here’s the thing: while I wish I could take credit for the site’s design, I can’t! I worked with an incredible brand designer named Christine from Posh Brands Co. who brought the vision of the site’s design to life. “Wait a minute, hold on a sec,” you might be thinking. “Cynthia worked with a brand designer?! But isn’t she all about DIY?!” You’re right, I love doing things on my own. Here’s the truth, though: I tried to do my own brand design, and I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t cutting it. How did I know? Could you be in a similar spot? Keep on reading to learn the 3 undeniable signs that you’re ready to hire a professional brand designer.
Undeniable Sign 1: You’re losing time … and a lot of it.
I’m not graceful, not at all, but let me share with you one major way that blogging is exactly like ballet. When a prima ballerina preforms, she makes it look effortless. She floats, she glides, and she takes your breath away with her ease. But have you ever seen a photo of a ballerina’s feet? (Hint: don’t google it.) A ballerina works and works and works and works to make it look like she’s not working at all.
Blogging is similar. There’s so much more to launching a blog or website than writing content. There’s marketing on the major social media platforms (Pinterest! Facebook! Twitter! Instagram!), copy editing your work, digging into graphic design, implementing code (HTML! CSS!), planning a revenue strategy (affiliate marketing!, sponsored posts!)… the list goes on and on. For our blog readers, though, they should just experience the joy of visiting our sites, not the frustration that comes with the learning curve of launching a site. And for a newbie, the learning curve can feel both immense and overwhelming.
The Hidden Opportunity Cost
Let me introduce you to a business term that may be unfamiliar: opportunity cost. In order to get your hands around an opportunity, what do you have to give? In order to have the opportunity to learn and implement everything you need to do to launch your blog, how much time will it take you? How much stress will you feel?
Here’s where a key decision point comes in: “can do” versus “should do.” As someone who firmly believes in our capacity to accomplish anything we set our minds and hearts to accomplish, I must lean back on this idea often to keep myself in check. Sure, in time, I can do anything. But should I do it?
The Thing about Priorities
Bottom line: if everything’s a priority, nothing’s a priority. In order to move forward, you must must must move forward towards your purpose, and take one thing at a time. For me, I quickly realized that if I wanted to focus on my priorities, which were crafting incredible content and building my brand recognition on social media, then I couldn’t also concentrate on my site design. (…Not while balancing a full time job, motherhood, sleep, and sanity. It just couldn’t be done, not in time to hit my launch date.) The opportunity cost for me was too great to pay. So deciding to work with a brand designer was a way for me to save time so that I could focus on my identified priorities. But time certainly wasn’t the only reason I needed support.
Undeniable Sign 2: You’re in the weeds. Deep in the weeds.
When I tried to build my own brand design, I quickly started drowning in details. I spent hours deliberating the merits of fonts and asking myself (and my husband) hard-hitting questions like “is this brush script too brushy?” or “does this font tilt to the left enough?” I gazed critically at fonts that my husband thought were the exact same.
And those same rabbit holes I went down with fonts? Yep. I went down them too with color palettes. I delighted in finding subtle nuances in 50 shades of greige, wondering if the grey was grey enough or the beige was beige enough. I pinned dozens upon dozens of color palettes on Pinterest, finally finding 1 or 2 that I thought I loved only to hate them when I loaded them onto my site.
A Sum Greater Than the Parts
I realized that (in addition to not having enough time), I lacked the skill to see the visual “big picture.” I couldn’t identify how my small decisions would add up to a cohesive whole. While I’d been focused so closely on decisions around color and fonts, I remained unable to adjust my perspective from the micro to the macro. My brand designer could do this in a heartbeat. Christine provided a much needed lifeboat when I was drowning in the details. She understood how font and color pairings could pair differently to convey different visions.
Working collaboratively with my ideas, she put together an incredible brand board, which synthesized all those disparate details into one incredible branding package. Having this visual “big picture” really helped me define and refine my site.
Home Beautifully’s Branding Board
Undeniable Sign 3: Your brand’s identity is really, really unclear.
When bloggers and business owners focus on brand design, they tend to focus on tangible branding elements like the logo, the brand colors, and the font selections. But the process of building a brand identity goes SO much deeper than that. And in order to establish a solid brand design, the brand must have a strong, authentic brand identity.
How do you know if your brand is authentic? A strong brand design clearly and consistently communicates what the brand’s identity.
Remember how I mentioned Posh Brands Co. earlier? Christine, the owner, not only supported me in creating the brand design, she also really empowered me to define and refine my brand’s identity. On her site Posh Brands Co., Christine provides an exceptional Mini Brand Plan that supports you in describing brand’s identity. She guides you through a series of activities that not only help you define your purpose statement, but also help your articulate your core values, determine your ideal client, and initiate a plan for your business model.
My Case Study in Brand Identity
You guys. Not gonna lie. I was so lost when I first started articulating my brand’s purpose and value statements. (Like, “what’s a purpose statement?” kind of lost). I found Posh Brand Co.’s mini brand plan and got a foot in the brand identity door. With my resource kit in hand, after several (thousand) iterations, I confidently created my brand’s purpose and value statements.
As your steadfast friend, I believe:
Simplicity and purposefulness foster beauty.
Easy, natural goodness sparks joy.
Dedication and optimism create brighter lives.
Because with a little faith and sunshine, it all starts here.
And who am I?
I share simple ways for women to create beauty and purpose in their homes and lives.
See what I mean? My brand feels like summer sunshine hitting your shoulders as you sip lemonade on a front porch swing while reading a book and day-dreaming. My brand smells like apple pie and sawdust and rings with Americana charm. My brand feels like coming home.
Spotlight on Emotional Experience
You’ll notice, by the way, that I keep using the word “feel.” My brand feels like warm sunshine, or my brand feels like coming home. Brand identity is emotionally experienced. Nothing is more important to your brand identity than how others emotionally experience it.
For me, working with a brand designer really brought the idea of others’ emotional experience front and center. When I first saw my site, it felt like coming home. Timeless, with a little boho; rustic but super cozy. She was able to convey it all to create the emotional experience I’d envisioned.
So let me know in the comments below — where are you in the brand design process? Has it been going well or have you gotten stalled? Would you ever consider taking a leap of faith on collaborating with a brand designer?
If you know someone who might be losing time, be deep in the weeds, or who might have lost their way, share this article with them to see how it resonates. Sometimes we just need to know someone who’s been there too, and we feel a little bit better!