How-To Guide on Designing Your Small Business Brand Aesthetic

It's a popular term that gets thrown around quite a bit with businesses—but what does it mean, exactly? 

"Brand aesthetic" refers to the "look and feel" of your business, including everything from your products' packaging to your website's presentation.

Designing your brand aesthetic is crucial to building a recognizable identity for your small business, and this how-to will help you get started today.

Start At (Or Go Back To) The Drawing Board

Whether branding from the ground up or going through a revamp, designing your brand aesthetic is a creative process. It starts with an ideation phase—take a moment to think about your business and what you want customers to think when they see your website or storefront. What kind of feelings do you want them to feel?

The emotional responses your brand aesthetic elicits from customers should align with your goods or services. For example, an ice cream vendor and a locksmith will likely utilize very different colors, fonts, and other visual cues to promote their respective businesses.

This phase is all about exploration. Look at what other businesses in your space are doing, check out what's trendy on sites such as Pinterest, and compile everything in a vision board. Now's not the time to whittle down your options—get creative and keep going.

Craft A Persona For Your Business

Armed with your sizeable list of ideas, you can start considering how to condense it into a marketable image for your brand. And what does that mean? It begins with your target audience—the people you are trying to sell your goods or services to—and building out a marketing persona based on their preferences and personalities.

Ask yourself: What interests them? What do they enjoy in their free time? What other businesses do they frequent? Gathering this demographic information will help you design a brand aesthetic that appeals to your target audience and promotes engagement with your business. With your marketing persona in mind and vision board in hand, you can move on to the next step.

Choose A Design Style

Design styles vary widely, and your choice will solidify the identity of your brand aesthetic. If you're going for an iconic and time-tested image, look no further than the "classic" style. Think of companies like Goodyear and Coca-Cola. Their bold, bright aesthetic styles are experiencing a resurgence in popularity and offer a refreshing take on traditional style.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the "modern/minimalist" style. The Apple computer logo is a perfect example of this brand aesthetic, which is extremely popular in the fields of tech and medicine. Streamlined shapes and muted color palettes leave room for imagination (and updating, if necessary) and signify modernity and growth.

Beyond these, there are other options, such as:

• The "handcrafted" style uses chalk-drawn and wood-carved fonts and is suitable for handcrafted products and a rustic atmosphere.

• The "retro" style uses bold lines, stark contrast, and stamp-like graphics to create a sense of nostalgia.

As well as a host of different design styles for your business to mull over. By understanding the elements of your design style, you can create an eye-catching aesthetic unique to your brand.

Be Inspired, But Be Unique

Throughout the process of developing your brand aesthetic, it's essential to find your individual space. Don't try to copy your favorite brand logos with the hopes of "riding the coattails." Instead, use yourself as inspiration from the visual features that excite you the most and incorporate them into your unique creation.

Great branding is easily identifiable and stands out from competitors. For example, if you're selling bespoke furniture and everyone else is using handcrafted, rustic designs, you could try something completely different and go for a more streamlined minimalist approach.

Or you could keep the vintage look but opt for a unique color scheme. Don't be afraid to inject a little bit of your personality into your brand aesthetic!

Use Your Aesthetic Everywhere

You've done the work—now it's time to put your aesthetic into action. Gone are the days when logos and graphics were visible solely on storefront windows and product packaging. Those are great places to start, but putting just as much effort into your website, online advertisements, and social media profiles is essential too.

Once you've established your aesthetic, ask for honest feedback from trusted confidants as you evolve it. Take your time developing your brand aesthetic and enjoy the process!

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