Is Your Visual Brand Complete? 5 Core Brand Elements to Lock Down

Is Your Visual Brand Complete? 5 Core Brand Elements to Lock Down

Having a strong and cohesive visual brand can help your business gain a bigger audience and more clients.


On the flip side, a business with no consistent branding can give off an unprofessional feel and make it difficult to build recognition and trust with people.


So you want to create a distinctive and profitable brand for your business – but if you don’t have any formal experience in the branding industry, it can be hard to know exactly what you need to have in place in order to create a cohesive brand.






With each of my brand design clients, we work through a detailed process to make sure we develop all of the essential visual brand elements. In this blog post, I’ll list each of those elements and explain why it’s essential to your brand’s success.


As you read through the post, jot down notes about which elements you have squared away, and which elements you still need to develop (or improve on) for your brand.


#1 – Logo suite



The logo is the most obvious and well-known element of a visual brand. It’s one of your biggest tools when it comes to building brand recognition because it’s a succinct, easy-to-remember icon that people can learn to recognize quickly.


In addition to your primary logo, you may also have an alternate and abbreviated logo (or sub logo). Having these alternate logo versions allows you to adapt to the application your logo is being used with. For example, if your primary logo is tall, you may need a horizontal version to fit nicely in the header of a website.



#2 – Brand Color Palette


Color is a powerful way to communicate emotions and ideas. It can be used to trigger specific associations and actions in your audience and is a very important element of your overall brand identity.


Choosing the right colors can help you reinforce your brand’s key attributes and help set the overall tone.


When designing a color palette, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some color psychology so you understand how colors generally affect emotion and action.




#3 – Brand Typeface / Fonts


Consistency is key to a strong and recognizable brand – and even the small details like the fonts you use on your website and marketing materials can play a big role.


Choose the fonts you will use in your branding and make sure to stick to them anywhere you use type. Choose a web-friendly font to make it easy to stay consistent on your website.


Also, note that sticking to just a couple typefaces is best. For my branding clients, I generally select a typeface for headlines and a typeface for body text (sometimes I stick to just one typeface and use different font weights within that typeface to add variety).



#4 – Brand Photography



Not every brand relies heavily on photography, but images do play a major role for most businesses. If you aren’t using photography in your branding, then you’re likely using another type of imagery (like illustrations or digital drawings).


Being consistent in the photography/images you use is just as important as staying consistent with your colors, fonts, and logo.


Even if you don’t have the budget to have custom brand photography taken for your business, you should set guidelines that you will use when sourcing free or affordable stock photography (or taking photos yourself).


Will you always have bright, natural lighting in your photos, or will they be darker and moodier? Are your photos natural and candid looking, or curated and styled?



#5 – Brand Style Guidelines



This is the part of creating a fully developed brand identity that often gets overlooked. Once you have the major elements in place – like your logo, colors, typefaces, and photography – it’s easy to put your new brand elements in place and neglect this last, important step.


A brand style guide will include instructions on how to put your new brand out in the world and include “rules” that help your new brand elements appear consistent and polished.


These guidelines vary from brand to brand, but here are a few examples:


  • Are there specific visual accents you use throughout your branding? For example, will you place a solid bar of color across the bottom of printed documents, webinar slides, website pages, and social media images? Will you always leave a certain amount of white space around your logo?


  • Will your logo appear in different colors depending on the background? How about when it appears over a photo?


  • What style guidelines will you use for icons and graphics? Do they look hand drawn or precise? Are they rounded or squared? Do illustrations use thin lines or thick lines?


Taking the time to define these guidelines will give your brand an extremely polished, professional feel. Without these rules in place, a brand can easily drift and become inconsistent. Take the time to create your own Brand Style Guide and refer to it anytime you create something new for your business.



How did your brand do? Do you have each of these 5 elements set up for your business? If you’d like more free advice on how to polish your brand and make it even more irresistible, grab a free copy of the guide 7 Secrets to a Profitable Brand and Website here.



call - 616.821.7244  |  email -  |  follow along - @sonjajobson 
Grand Rapids, MI


Why You Should Rethink Your ‘Ideal Client Avatar’

Why You Should Rethink Your ‘Ideal Client Avatar’

Countless Ideal Client Avatar exercises have crossed my path since I started my business.


Just about every course, workshop, and book I’ve read has prompted me to sit down and imagine I was meeting my ideal client, then write out dozens of details about what that person is like.


These exercises generally instructed me to come up with obvious facts like age, income, education, and occupation, as well as more obscure details like hobbies, favorite places to shop, and what kind of car they drove.


I understand what these exercises are getting at – they want you to picture your ideal client as an actual person, not some obscure marketing metric.



But I think these Ideal Client Avatar exercises have a few major problems –  and it could hurting your business.







Knowing your “ideal client” or “target market” (marketing speak for simply knowing what type of person you best serve with your products or services) is very important.


I’m not suggesting that taking the time to find your focus in this area bad. I’ve actually found is vital to business success. But I think it’s time to change up the way we approach identifying these ideal clients.


So before you fill out another ideal client avatar worksheet or commit to a specific target audience, consider these points:



You need to work with “bad” clients before you know what makes a “good” client


I personally struggled with completing an ideal client profile and finding any value in it when I first launched my business.


What did help me recognize the type of people I worked best with (and created the best results for) was by collaborating with all types of clients. Some were big successes, and some were very challenging. But each time I worked with someone new, I became more confident in who I best served.


Instead of conjuring up a fictitious client, go work with real ones. Learn from partnerships that didn’t click, and take note of the ones that go successfully.


Once you have that experience under your belt, completing a profile of your ideal client will feel much more concrete and productive.


Throw out the irrelevant details


I understand that adding details like hobbies, favorite movie, and shopping habits to an ideal client profile helps you feel like you’re talking about a real person, and not a marketing statistic. It makes it fun. It feels like getting to pick out your best-friend-slash-client.


But does it make actual business sense?


If a prospect shows up on your doorstep needing your services and is a good match for your expertise – does it really matter that they shop at Kohls instead of Anthropology? Does it matter that they watch movies on the weekend instead of training for a 5k?


I’ve always found it limiting to add so many tiny details to an ideal client profile. Those things don’t really impact whether or not I can work successfully with someone.


Instead, I’d recommend focusing on the big things that will help you tailor your marketing and your message towards people who really need your services and who you can serve well.


Things like:


Industry – do you have specific knowledge of an industry, and therefore work best with people from that niche (e.g you’re a copywriter with a background in animal care, and so you focus on writing copy for veterinarians.)


Goals/problems – what goal are you best at helping people achieve, or what problem are you best at helping people solve? (E.g you’re a health coach that focuses and establishing good eating and exercising habits for a sustainable lifestyle change, but you don’t help people lose 30 pounds fast).


Common factors you’ve identified over time – as you work with more and more clients, do you notice a specific factor that separates successful partnerships from the rough ones? Do all your favorite clients have the same thing in common? As you get real-world client experience, track what works and what doesn’t, and use that to refine and focus your ideal client profile.


Don’t be exclusive


I believe you should never turn down someone who wants to work with you and is willing to pay your rate simply because they don’t fit your “ideal client profile”.


I may be in the minority here, but turning a willing client away feels like bad business.


You never know who may turn out to be a fun, lucrative, and enjoyable client. And if you turn people away when they don’t fit a specific set of ideal client criteria, you’ll be missing the opportunity to challenge yourself, expand your skill set, and discover new ways of looking at your craft and business.


There is an increasing trend (especially in the internet-based business world) to create a business that fulfills your dreams, goals, preferences, and whims – often at the expense of being of service to the people that come in contact with our brand.


This isn’t to say that it’s smart to take on every project that comes your way. I’m suggesting you give clients who are interested in your specific offering and willing to pay your rate a fair shot – even if they fall outside of your ideal client profile.


Clients who want a variation of your services that isn’t in line with what you do best, or who want you to adjust your rates could be bad for business, and sticking to your prices and packages is completely fair.


But the next time an enthusiastic, outside-the-norm prospect approaches you, consider ignoring your ideal client profile and giving them a shot.



How have you developed your niche and discovered your ideal client? Have you tried something unique that’s had a positive impact on your business?



call - 616.821.7244  |  email -  |  follow along - @sonjajobson 
Grand Rapids, MI


Pin It on Pinterest

Grab your spot on the list!

You'll receive a free copy of The Small Business Owners Guide to a Profitable Brand & Website as well as regular exclusive content to help you grow your business and build your brand.

You're on the list! Check your inbox for a confirmation email.