A personal branding example and the impact of strategic design
It’s often a misconception that professional brand design is reserved only for the big companies and not for small businesses and personal brands. I would dare to say that it’s more important than ever to set your business apart with a unique visual identity, especially in the crowded online space. This is exactly what Bonnie did…
Bonnie is a certified dietitian and fitness coach with a passion for helping women improve the quality of their lives through better health and mobility. She started her personal brand BSwell with dreams of growing it into a full-time business within 2-3 years when the kids were all in school.
This brand design case study will explore:
- Bonnie’s motivation to work with a professional designer
- Before and after look at BSwell’s brand transformation
- Behind the scenes of using brand strategy in design
- Personal branding tips to improve your own brand
Why personal branding is important and where to start
The motivation to work with a professional designer
Like many wellness coaches just starting out, Bonnie purchased her domain name and signed up for a free website with GoDaddy. She wanted to have a simple landing page up to start establishing credibility for her business. However, putting together a cohesive brand design proved challenging. Using only the free tools at her disposal felt limiting and generic. Ultimately, Bonnie wanted a brand identity that truly reflected who she is. She wanted to enable purposeful growth for her business in the near future.
You might call this project a redesign for BSwell, but in fact, Bonnie didn’t have a clearly defined brand style in place when she came to me for professional branding. Apart from the DIY logo on her landing page, BSwell lacked other essential elements needed for a cohesive brand design. No established color palette or typography style. No visual or messaging strategy that showed the heart behind her business and told her story.
Right away, I could tell the stock photos and black and white color palette were too generic and lifeless for Bonnie’s bubbly personality. This was quickly confirmed during our brand strategy consultation.
Start with Strategy
Just like designing for a bigger company, personal branding starts with strategy. This means getting crystal clear on what you stand for, the audience you serve, and how you want to position your business.
Bonnie’s custom brand experience with The Creative Accent began with a 1:1 strategy consultation. During this initial call, we touched on four important areas that would ultimately determine her personal branding design: Foundation, Audience, Positioning, and Persona
After discussing and researching each area, I organized her insights into a Pdf guidebook and put together a moodboard for BSwell’s visual strategy. Bonnie’s personal branding strategy started to become clear:
To design a brand infused with an empowering, positive energy. A brand that exudes a deep sense of connection with other motivated women, natural living, and with the inner self.
With a solid strategy in place, we were able to design a brand identity that resonated with BSwell’s persona and client experience. Now prospective clients can see Bonnie’s cheerful, motivating approach at a glance. Her online presence and growing FB community became instantly more established and aligned when she implemented her new branding.
Translating strategy into a personal brand design
the color palette
Based on her strategy, Bonnie’s personal brand needed to speak to type A personalities. It needed to attract women motivated to change unhealthy habits who lacked the know-how or accountability to make it happen. That said, the black and white logo and dull colors on her landing page photos did not communicate this.
We needed an intentional color palette that would attract the right audience and reflect Bonnie’s sunny personality. Using her strategy keywords as a guide (Connection, Feminine, Natural, Empowered), we combined a dark, grounded green with a warm, energizing pink for her primary brand colors. This color combination helped support the strong, vibrant look BSwell needed.
While Bonnie still opted to use free stock photography for her new website, we put together a curated selection of 10-15 photos that not only incorporated her brand colors, but supported the natural, feminine vibe she needed for her personal brand.
designing BSwell’s logo
Bonnie takes a very holistic, evidence-based approach with her clients. From personal training to medical nutrition, she emphasizes how health is all connected and intertwined. This sense of connectedness was an essential quality to communicate in her logo design. The script “B” that flows into the more rooted word “Swell” achieves this while also adding a feminine touch.
The Bswell logo also emphasizes the letter “B”, alluding to multiple layers of symbolism (Bonnie as the personal brand and “be swell” as the goal for her clients). See a breakdown of the thinking behind the design decisions and how they align with the strategy.
“The cookie cutter template on my website builder didn’t capture my brand the way I wanted it to. Carrie brought my vision to life in such a seamless process with her attention to detail and thoughtfulness. Now I’m 100% confident when I share my brand and website with the world.” -Bonnie
Personal branding tips from BSwell’s example
Key take-aways for your own brand
CLARITY: Intentional brand design all starts with clarity. This means having a clear vision for what you stand for, who you want to attract, and how you will position your personal brand.
PURPOSE: Design decisions should align with your purpose. This can be your bigger purpose, such as how you want to help others and impact your industry. This can also tie into the goals you have for your business and whether or not to invest in a professional brand and website design. Read this article for a more complete breakdown of the different ways to brand your business.
CONSISTENCY: Building brand recognition is as important for personal brands as it is for big companies. In order to build recognition (and trust), you need to use your brand assets consistently. This means not constantly changing up fonts, colors, etc. across different client touch points. You want to build a cohesive experience for your audience!
PERSONALITY: Here is where your personal branding needs to shine! Since YOU are the brand, your design style should reflect the special magic you bring to the table and resonate with your core values. By doing so, you can subconsciously communicate what it’s like to work with you.
Elevate your personal brand
Personal brands are just that…personal. And it’s hard to get a unique look that truly fits who YOU are from a premade template. You often end up with a generic brand that looks like everyone else’s. How will your business stand out? How will your personality shine through?
The Creative Accent builds strategic brand identities with growth and connection in mind for brands of all sizes. Interested in elevating the look and feel of your personal brand? Use this link to learn more about our Signature Brand Design Experience.