You may be wondering what exactly this pink smorgasboard of printed materials is…well, it’s my personal identity system that helped land me my job! This concept first started for me in college (junior year to be exact). Back then, it had a different picture instead of me, but the overall look, and font choice of the resume and cover letter page along with the “She’s Swell!” sidebar (the origin of my whole “Swell” namesake) remain the same. I created the little mini book over the past couple of years. It has a standout image on the front that I custom cut out. It flips out revealing different designs that I’ve done…everything from logo design to ad design to craft design. The envelopes are from www.jampaper.com ( They round out to $3-$4 a piece + shipping) I think the envelope is the big deal sealer. I’ve always been really excited sending this total package out!
Perhaps you don’t need a new resume or look for a job search, but you may be needing an overhaul or cohesive design for a press kit, a business letterhead system, etc. to help you bring in new clients. Here’s a few basic design tips I have to help you in establishing your own branding system!
Create a logo
So, you may not be a designer or have the illustration skills to render a logo yourself, but there are plenty of people out there that can do it for you. The one thing that you do need is a clear concept of what you want to convey. As a designer, I suggest that you look on the internet or flip through magazines and make a collage of imagery that reflects your personal style (this could be anything from shapes you like, colors, or subject matter that you find appealing). Present this to the a designer. Don’t make them stab in the dark at what you want. It will save you both a lot of time!
If you’re not sure who to turn to for logo design, consult a friend, local college with graphic designers in need of freelance work, craigslist, or Etsy. There are plenty of good designers out there, just make sure to ask for some samples of their work to determine if their style is in line with your needs.
You may want them to create the whole shebang for you …letterhead, business cards, postcards, etc; however, if you are comfortable, you may be able to just purchase the logo design and create your own materials in a word processing program or photo software program. This may save you time and money.
Don’t go overboard on font usage!
One of the biggest mistakes that non-graphic designers make (and some designers too!) is that they don’t make smart font choices. I’m not an expert, but I do think it is smart to keep to 2, 3 at tops to be carried out among all your branded materials. For example, you may want a cursive or funky font for your name or large bullets, but you will not want to use this for body copy! Keep your body/informational to sans serif or legible serif fonts! And please, oh please! Don’t write important information in cursive/Old English/kid fonts! It seriously does not look professional. Oh, and from a designer perspective, avoid the following fonts. They generally don’t look good(though there are sometimes exceptions to the rule): Comic Sans, Sand, Brush Script, and Monotype Corsiva.
Keep it simple
Clean is good. White space is your friend. Remember these things when you are putting your branding materials together. Don’t go crazy with Photoshop drop shadows (especially on type), or heavy lines around pictures. As far as color goes, that is up to you, but just keep in mind that in general, color on paragraph type looks bad most times. Use bold pops of color or find colorful imagery that tells your story. Or even let a little surprise of color pop through in an unexpected place or type treatment to add interest!
I can’t really summarize what I do as a graphic designer or what I know about branding into capsule form in this one blog post, but I encourage you to atleast think about your current branding (either for your resume packet or your craft business) and do some research on how you can create a more cohesive package. Don’t be afraid to try something new and different, like I did with my branding system. It really may be what sets you apart from the crowd!
If you have a more specific question, leave it in the comments below, and I’ll try to help you out if I can!
Oh, and by the way, I’m happy in my new place and new role at my company, I just wanted to show you my branding strategy! Hopefully it will help inspire you in yours!
Until next time Swellions!