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A Graphic Designer's How-to: 3 Tips for Branding Your Blog

Updated: Jun 11, 2019

1. ) Choose Your Blog Name With Care


This first step forces you to choose what your blog is going to be about. Possible subjects include fashion, beauty, cooking, travel, fitness, lifestyle, etc. Determine this first and pick a name that will reflect your blog's topics. Remember that you want to find a niche since there are millions of blogs out there already. Targeting a broad audience is bad for engagement so try focusing on a smaller audience.


Here are some words and ideas relating to the topics previously mentioned to get your creative juices flowing. Start mixing and matching words to create blog names and don't be afraid to use a thesaurus. You could even create your own words by putting two together. For example, the combination of podcast and broadcast makes "podcast"and breakfast and lunch makes "brunch".

Once you have jotted down some potential names, you need to check if its available. The domain cannot be used by someone already. The easiest way to check is to consult Google for a domain search tool. I have found www.godaddy.com/domains/domain-name-search to be useful.

2. ) Create Your Color Palette


One of the most important elements of brand recognition is color. Limit your color palette to 5 colors or less and be sure to include both dark and light shades. Your goal is to have all these colors go together with the ability to be mixed around. A good starting point is to choose 1-2 primary colors and branch out from there. Get the hex codes so you can use these consistently across your blog.


Choosing colors sound easy since we all have ones that we gravitate towards. Go beyond picking your favorite colors and consider the mood your color scheme portrays and how it makes readers feel. If you pick extreme shades like hot pink and neon green it may turn viewers away. Warmer colors like reds, yellows, and oranges convey excitement while cooler color schemes like blues, greens, and purples give off a relaxed and peaceful vibe. Think of your color story as showing off your brand's personality.


Color Scheme Types

There are four main types of color schemes in design that you can use to establish harmony: monochromatic, analogous, complementary and triadic.

Monochromatic: Made up of a single color with varying shades and tints. Since they lack focal areas, monochromatic color schemes tend to be safe and relaxing.


Analogous: Colors that lie next to each other on the color wheel in either the warm or cool spectrum. This can be a difficult palette to use since the colors can easily blend together. However, analogous color schemes are often found in nature and can be very beautiful.


Complementary: Colors that are directly opposite of each other on the color wheel such as red and green, purple and yellow, orange and blue. With the powerful contrast of complementary colors, designers often use one dominant color for a background and the other to highlight important elements.


Triadic: Considered the best color scheme by some, take three colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel at 120 degrees. The palette provides a balanced and harmonious style where one color can be used for you background and the other two for your content.


Suggested Tool: Adobe has a user-friendly color scheme tool that allows you to pick colors and see them side-by-side. https://color.adobe.com/create


The Mood Board


I'm sure you are already familiar with Pinterest but if not this is a great tool to put all your ideas together in one place, like a digital bulletin board. Creating a mood board will help define your brand's identity as I'm sure you have plenty of ideas floating around in your head. Curating your inspiration board will bring your brand's colors, values, and culture to focus. See the bottom of this page for an example of my mood board.


If you don't want to share your mood board publicly you can create a secret board on Pinterest. Pin 15-20 photos that would resonate with your target reader such as color, places, symbols, art pieces, photography styles, textures, patterns, words, and fonts. Be careful to not cloud your brand with too many images. If you have extra visuals you can go back and weed out the ones that end up not fitting with your blog's style.


Step away and look at your mood board. What kind of personality does it have? Is it bold and striking? Simple and modern? Retro or vintage? Whatever your answer, this will help you in the next section.

3. ) Design Your Logo


Once you have your blog name, a color theme, and idea of your brand's personality you can now go to the fun part of designing your logo! Customizing your logo is the most essential part of creating a brand so make sure you spend plenty of time on this step. If you want it to be recognized, it's something you shouldn't change often so keep it classic and timeless. Following a trending design style now may mean that your logo will look out of date in a year or two.


Font Choice

Fonts go a long way in showing off your brand's character. Pick the wrong typeface and your brand will confuse readers. In my logo, I used a sans serif font because of its simple clean lines and a script typeface (drawn by myself) to show the fun and casual side of my brand. There are four categories of type you can work with in your logo to show off your brand's style.


Font Categories

Serif: Serifs are the little feet at the ends of the letters. Serif fonts are considered more traditional and work best with vintage or classic designs.


Sans Serif: Type lacking the decorative strokes at the ends of letters. They can end in either sharp or rounded corners and come in varied widths. This font type is considered more modern because of its sleek and simple look.


Script: Script fonts resemble handwriting and calligraphy with connecting letters. They can appear both formal and elegant or informal and playful.


Display: Display fonts are decorative and highly stylized. Since they call out a lot of attentions to themselves its best to use them in small doses rather than broad areas of text.


Incorporate Symbolism

There are lots of text-only logos out there but thinking of what imagery and symbols go with your name may help you mock-up some different logo options and take your logo to the next level. For example, with my blog name "The Maine Chick" I knew I wanted to include the state's bird, the Chickadee. Some other ideas associated with Maine that I could have used: pine trees, pine cones, branches, mountains, lighthouse, sailboat, lobster, blueberries, etc. Brainstorm a small list and sketch out some ideas by putting together these symbols and type.


Design for Different Mediums

Your logo should work in both a small size like a business card and a large size like a billboard ad. Although you may never plan on using your logo anywhere but on your blog's web page you may want to follow basic logo guidelines in case you ever want to extend to other materials like business cards, letterheads, etc.

Simplicity: Your blog logo will be little at the top of your homepage navigation bar so its recommended to keep your logo simple. If your logo has too much detail, it will be too difficult to see. One question I ask myself when designing logos is, "will this look okay printed on a golf ball?" If the answer is no than you might want to return to the drawing board (literally).


Vector on left, raster on right

File format: Using the right software for designing your logo is crucial and will take you from amateur to professional. You will need to use vector-based software like Adobe Illustrator versus a raster program like Adobe Photoshop. What does this mean? Raster images are made up of individual pixels while vector art is made up of mathematical equations that connect points to make shapes. If you blow up a raster logo made in Photoshop for a poster size, it will appear very blurry but do the same with a vector logo and it will remain crisp and clear. Having your logos in vector format will avoid any resolution problems you come across.


Variations: Another logo design tip that beginners often don't think about is to design different logo versions that will fit in various scenarios. Besides your primary logo for light backgrounds you will also need a reverse version that will contrast enough on a dark backdrop. To go even further, you should include a vertical and horizontal version. My blog's logo is quite long when laid out horizontally so I included a stacked vertical version. Having all these logo versions will allow for more flexibility in the creation of designs and materials.

If you are creative and technologically inclined then you can put together a logo yourself. If not, it may be worth the investment to get a professional to help you. As a graphic designer, I created a bird illustration and joined it with type for my blog's logo. Although, you can spend some serious time on designing your logo, try not to overthink it. As long as you go through a design process and take into account your audience then you will most likely end up with a great blog logo.


Check out my blog branding below!




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