When you think of branding, you might automatically think of iconic companies like Apple, Google or (ahem,) Zazzle. Each has its own unique personality, and we’re betting you can describe it in a few words. But can you say the same about your own personal brand? Yes, you. Whether you’ve cultivated it or not, you have a personal brand somewhere under there, and it’s what sets you apart as a designer. The trick is building the image you want, in order to attract the kind of business you want.
- Conjure up an image. What do you want people to think of when they hear your name? Wedding invitations? Custom pet portraits? Small business website? Killer typography? Think of the kind of work you excel at — and that you love doing — and work toward making your name synonymous with that type of work.
- Brand everything. Design a logo that visually captures your brand (or it can be simple, like your name or initials in a cool font) and put it on everything from your business cards, website, invoices, stationery and email signature. Stick to one consistent color scheme and font for everything so people begin to associate the “look” with your brand.
- Set up a website or portfolio. When people search for your name or brand online, something should come up, whether it’s a portfolio on Facebook or Instagram, or a small one-page website that provides potential customers with basic information about you and how to get in touch and/or secure your services.
- Expand your online presence. Beyond your website, you should consider your social media platforms and online stores an extension of your brand and your message. Every status update, tweet and shared piece of content should be consistent with what you stand for. Your voice should be consistent with your personality, too. Whether you’re brand has a hint of snark or it’s totally buttoned up, make sure the way your brand “talks” is consistent across the board.
- Promote yourself. Network both online and off. Carry business cards with you everywhere you go, whether it’s to your kid’s Saturday soccer games, a business lunch or the grocery store. Attend networking events and join online discussion groups. Start a blog. Volunteer to speak at a local event or school. Spread the word about your brand and the right work will eventually begin to come your way.
Most importantly, be authentic. Your personal brand should come naturally based on what you’re good at, who you are and what you love — you just have to work to refine it and promote it.