I’m gonna let you in on a little secret.
Not everyone needs custom professional brand graphics.
As a branding designer, I probably shouldn’t be saying that. But I truly believe that you can build a strong successful business with a premade logo and matching business card. When you have an awesome brand, your graphics are really just the icing on the cake.
That’s not to say a bespoke logo and branding package isn’t valuable. I wouldn’t be creating brand graphics for entrepreneurs if I didn’t think they were important.
Custom branding can help you elevate your image and take your business to the next level. A branding solution tailored to your specific needs can do wonders when you’re ready to level up your business, pivot in a new direction, or reach a new ideal client.
But when you’re just starting out, when you’re bootstrapping your business and figuring out how to make everything work, a high-end investment like custom brand graphics can feel hard to justify.
I’ll be the first to tell you, if that’s the stage you’re in, you’re better off investing in creating an amazing experience for your customers and clients.
And, yes, that can definitely mean investing in your branding. But it could also look like making your product as good as it can possibly be, upgrading your packaging materials, or setting up a beautiful storefront display.
So what do you do about your brand graphics when you’re starting out? Thankfully, there are lots of good resources you can turn to when you’re on a budget but still want graphics that make a good impression. Here are some of my favorites:
My favorite place to point people who are looking for a quality affordable logo is Etsy. They have a huge selection of beautiful pre-made logos starting at just around $5. With so many different creators in the marketplace, you’re sure to find something that feels right for your brand. And some logo packages even include matching business cards and other templates.
If you’re a little more tech-savvy and want more control over your logo, I’d recommend heading over to Creative Market. They’ve got a huge selection of logo templates that you can customize if you know your way around Photoshop or Illustrator.
Choosing brand colors can feel like a guessing game. You know what your favorite colors are and what you like personally, but your branding decisions shouldn’t be left up to that.
If you’re not sure where to start, try giving this post a read: How to Use Color to Attract your Ideal Client. It’s a quick overview of color theory, color psychology, and how to mix and match colors intentionally so they do the work you need them to do.
If you already have one or two colors selected, you can use Adobe Color to complete your palette. You can easily preview all kinds of color schemes and tweak things like brightness and saturation pretty intuitively. This is a tool I love playing around with!
If you don’t have any colors picked out yet, decide on the tone and mood you want to create with your brand, and then head over to my Pinterest color board for some inspiration. Pick out the images that feel right for your brand and use them to guide your color choices.
Fonts can quickly turn into another overwhelming part of getting your branding together. But fonts are so important! They’re not nearly as obvious as color, but they have the power to completely affect the tone and feel of your brand. Start your font selection journey by reading How to Choose the Perfect Fonts for your Brand.
Once you’ve decided on your font styles, check out my top 5 Google font recommendations. Google Fonts is one of the best places to go because all their fonts are high-quality, easy to get on your website, and completely free.
A few other places I like to recommend for free fonts are The League of Moveable Type and Lost Type Co-op. They’re both known for high-quality fonts and have a good mix of simple practical fonts and bold decorative ones.
If you’re looking for hand-lettered, modern calligraphy, and trendy fonts, Creative Market is your best bet. Although their fonts aren’t free, they’re really reasonably priced and they have a beautiful selection of script fonts.
If you’re going to DIY your branding, I strongly suggest getting familiar with Adobe Illustrator. Yes, it’s kind of intimidating the first time you open it. But nothing else will give you the same flexibility and level of control over your graphics. Plans start at $19.99 per month.
If you’re not ready to commit to Illustrator, Canva is another great option. You can make social media posts, documents, ads either by customizing one of their templates or creating you own. It’s pretty intuitive and easy to use and it’s totally free.
5 Days to Brand Clarity
Brand Clarity is about pinpointing what you’re about and where you’re going so that you can tell your story in a way that draws all the right people into your business. It’s about defining your ideal client and your place in the market so you can present your business in the most compelling way you can.
Brand Clarity helps you choose your logo, colors, and fonts intentionally. It takes the guesswork out of designing your graphics and replaces it with a clear direction.
You can check out this blog series I wrote last year on Brand Clarity or sign up below to be the first to know when my new course, 5 Days to Brand Clarity, is ready.