Sometimes a business idea is too good to be put on hold until you have enough capital to hire a branding specialist before launching. The truth is, there are thousands of successful businesses worldwide that were started with just a couple of hundred pounds or even less. While I'd always recommend seeking professional help for the aspects of your business you are not fully confident in, I'd also always encourage creativity and boldness to bring your ideas to reality. You don't need to start big to earn big in the future. Look at Amazon, they started in just one small garage. Of course, there's no real growth without real investment, but do you need to be spending money you don't have right from the onset? Not in all business cases! So, if you are someone who wants to start making money with their hobby or talent but does not have a startup budget, this article is for you. It's not going to answer all of your questions, but will certainly help you with your logo and branding materials creation. Enjoy a 7-minute read, jampacked with DIY Branding tools and resources.
What is Branding?
We've answered this question before in an article from last year. But just in short, branding is the unified face of your business shown to the world. It includes a lot more components than just a logo - such as tone of voice, a slogan, colour palettes, staff uniforms, business cards, marketing materials and so on. If you've decided to take up the uneasy task of creating your brand identity yourself, I'd recommend you read this article too, just to be sure, you'll get it right from the first time.
How to Come up with a Slogan
Slogans are really important for your brand. They need to be short, punchy and certainly affect people's emotions in some way. It usually requires quite a creative individual to come up with a good slogan, but luckily for all entrepreneurs with DIY tendencies, there are also some tools that can help with slogan creation. All of them are 100% free.
Slogan Generator - it works with the subject of your business. You can also choose slogans for different purposes, like advertising campaigns or new product launches.
GetSocio - put in your keywords in the generator and you are good to go.
Remember that all the results you get from these tools will be automated. There's no real person behind the creation of your slogan and that may hurt the message you want to convey. But sometimes, you may also be lucky and get a decent enough motto, just for your type of business.
How to Pick your Colour Palette
Next thing you will have to work on is what colours and colour combinations your brand is going to use in all communication with clients and the public. The first step towards getting this right is studying colour meaning and how each of them is perceived by the human brain. A great place to begin your research is this article. Once you have an idea what colours would be good for your brand you can use these tools to pick colour palettes (the leading few colours in all of your brand communication).
Colorpalettes.net - personal favourite as it allows you to see how the colour combination would look like in a real image.
Color-hex.com - it's a simple branding tool with really good guessing algorithm. There's very little you need to do to come up with a brilliant colour palette or a scheme.
Canva's Colour Palette Generator - Canva is a super helpful tool for all things branding and graphic design.
How to Pick Fonts
Sometimes the font is what makes or breaks a logo. In fact, many logos are just text based and the most important thing is choosing the right font. How to do that? Use these completely free and straightforward tools.
Dafont - a wide selection of creative beautiful fonts that could suit any sort of brand.
Fontspace - over 1000 attractive fonts that can work well with your ideas.
TypeGenius - a fantastic tool for pairing fonts. Why do you need that? To make sure your fonts on the logo, titles and regular text match and look nice together.
Logo and Branding Design Tools
And here comes the real sauce of this article - the DIY branding design tools. With these you can create logos, posters, flyers, letterheads, business cards and many, many other branding materials.
It's no secret that I love Canva. It's been a blessing whenever I have to quickly design a good Pinterest graphic. But it has to offer so much more. With it you can also create other social media images with specific size restrictions. There are hundreds of attractive templates, images and graphics you can use for free. However, be aware that Canva is not totally free. Some of the images or graphics may only be available to paying members or if you want to use them in your design, you'd have to pay $1 per piece. Despite that little setback, there's almost nothing you can't create on Canva - even restaurant menus and gift certificates!
A strong competitor of Canva is Crello. It's an amazing online software for graphic design and branding materials. With it you can create stuff for print, social media, your website and other high quality digital products. Even animated/motion images are easy to get with Crello.
No doubt, everybody has heard about Photoshop and the fact that it's used by professionals for anything related to graphic design and image manipulation. Unfortunately, not everyone can use it and also, it doesn't come for free. A great no-cost online alternative, however, is Pixlr. You can create an amazing logo or other marketing materials with it, although, to be fair, just like Photoshop, it's probably not the best option for a complete newbie with little to no design skills.
Are you ready to give your DIY branding a go? Don't get discouraged if it doesn't work out from the first time. Any form of design is a creative process and you can't just force it, especially if you are not a professional in the field. But, if nothing is happening after several attempts and you get frustrated after every unfortunate outcome, perhaps it's time to save up a few bucks and actually hire a branding specialist to help you before you give in to insanity.