Elevate Your Startup Branding with These 5 Free Design Tools
Creating a recognizable and memorable brand isn’t an easy task, even for experienced designers. To make things even more challenging, entrepreneurs typically don’t have access to a lavish marketing budget during the startup phase. So how do you make sure you put in place brand assets that do your business justice? A willingness to learn basic branding principles and taking a disciplined do-it-yourself approach will go a long way. This post will cover five free tools that will help you elevate your brand assets in a professional manner.
One of the most important decisions you’ll make when it comes to branding is color choice. Many small business owners who don’t have a background in design simply choose a pretty color palette. Although, it may be pleasing to the eye it might not be the right fit for your brand. Each color evokes different emotions and buyer behaviour. Your first step before you get started with any designs should be studying what the different colors stand for. Only then should you choose a core branding color that aligns with your business’ principles. Color Mind is a free color palette generator that will make matching accent colors super easy. Once you have determined the hex code for your core color you can generate palettes that perfectly match in seconds.
If you don’t have the resources in place to hire a design agency or freelancer you should try a free design application like Canva. This is the most popular web based graphic design solution available. For good reason, they allow users to create anything graphic design related from slide decks, to social media posts and brochures. Their editing technology is very intuitive and doesn’t require a long onboarding process. Even if you don’t have any design experience you can start creating professional brand assets in minutes. As you start building out your branding material make sure you take a very consistent and deliberate approach. Implement your logo across all of your brand assets and be sure to include your core branding color. For an even more cohesive look you can also incorporate secondary brand colors. Of course there are more specialized tools to create items like Business Cardsbut Canva is a great resource for your general branding needs.
Quality branding is all about consistency. Repeating colors and certain visual aids will help existing customers and leads identify and recognize your brand assets right away. Another powerful tool to elevate the quality of your graphic design is through the use of professionally shot images. The keyword is professionally. Don’t make the mistake of using low-resolution images or amateur photography, as that will do your brand assets a disservice. Use a free imagerecourse like Stock Free Images to find photos that are suitable to your business and brand messaging. You can browse their large database by category or search by keyword. All of the images are available in high-resolution format and you’re granted commercial rights. To enforce a consistent look across all of your design choose one or two sets of photos, ideally from the same photographer, and use those exclusively. These images will have the same look and feel and will add further brand cohesiveness.
Just like with images, icons are a very effective design tool. Strategically placed icons can instantly elevate any of your brand asset designs. Not only can you emphasize call to action areas or important information but it will also add some interesting visual elements. Icons 8 offers a large database of free icons that you can browse by categories, styles and trends. Once you find an icon you like you can download it individually or access the entire set. All of the designs are available in PNG and SVG format so you can implement them across web and print. As for implementation take the same approach as you would with images. Choose one or two sets that are suitable for your brand and use only those across all of your designs. Before long those icons will become part of your brand identity.
Another way to give your brand more uniqueness is through the use of fonts. When you design your logo or choose a font for any other brand asset don't just settle for a generic choice. Google Fonts is a wonderful free recourse to access fonts. You can browse their database of web safe fonts and others by categories like serif, sans serif, and handwriting. All of the fonts can be downloaded in TTF format so you can install locally and start using right away.When it comes to fonts pick 1-2 for your logo and then a couple more for all of your content pieces like social media posts, blog, website, presentation, etc.
In summary, the trick to creating professional and memorable branding is through consistency. Be a stickler and incorporate your logo and brand colors across every single brand asset you publish or print. To further enhance the quality of design and add more brand cohesiveness use images, fonts, and icons in a deliberate way.