BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING
is branding & business visioning
for creative entrepreneurs.

branding for designers

Kathleen and Tara here. We want to talk to the designers out there for a minute. You want to be this amazing creative designer who works for yourself… but it can come with all this fear of rejection, self-doubt, and uncertainty (like "is this even a real job?").

But you do it anyway because you love design, and you want to create a working life for yourself that you love.

One thing we’ve learned from working with, talking with and getting dreamy with other designers, is that it doesn’t matter if you work in a big city, small town, or somewhere in between – designers rarely stop at just being designers. There’s always a vision.

So what’s your vision? Is it to design for a certain kind of dream client? Who? To design within one very specialized kind of niche? What? To pair design with planning, consulting or some other kind of service? How? To infuse your design with more purpose? Why? To what end?

designer vision

All the questions!! But that’s how we do. We always want to give you a framework for thinking about what’s next for you and confidence owning what you can embrace now.

We started as designers. We still are designers. We love branding designers. So we got all fired up and wrote a how-to-do-it-guide... for the designers. It’s really how we shaped our work into a method that lets us do the work like creative experts, and it’s how we share what we know in a way that brands us (and gets us hired as) creative experts.

how to guide for designers

So how do you shift from being solely a designer-for-hire, to being a creative who guides their own process, shares their point-of-view, and is branded (and hired as) an expert? 7 Ways Designers Become (& Brand Themselves As) Creative Experts is the ebook we’ve made just for designers, and you can download it for free when you sign up for our Branding for Designers emails to your inbox.

The ebook has exercises, reminders, inspiration, plus the fill-in-the-blank scripts we use when we brand designers, that help you start to shape what being a creative expert looks like (and sounds like) for you. We know if you can get that creative expert blend into what you do, then everyone else will see it too.

expert branding for designers

Here’s a quick look at the “7 ways” in a nutshell:

1. Don’t just show your work… share your vision. What do you love to design? What kind of clients do you have the most impact for? What project or idea do you have up your sleeve, that you could share? What are you thinking about doing next? Surely you have at least one platform where you could start talking about this vision a little more – even if it’s simply in your conversations. (click to tweet)

2. Share your work too, just make sure it’s the kind of work you want to attract more of. If you don’t already have current design projects that reflect the kind of future work you want to be known for – then design a passion project. And show it! (click to tweet)

3. Define your style point-of-view and declare it! Can you put your finger on the style you love? Can you verbalize the design aesthetic that you’re most drawn to? Can you look at your work and see a common thread that people can expect from you? (Hint: your clients may not be able to describe it, but they can see it… so why not put words to this look and feel… it will make you sound like a creative expert, and it will make them feel trust in your choices that no longer seem arbitrary but part of your specialty). (click to tweet)

4. Try to narrow in on your dream client! Who are they? If you don’t know, how do you know when you find them? (click to tweet)

5. Then once they’re your clients, let them in on your creative process! Don’t have a creative process? Yeah, you do. You just need to get better at outlining it (for yourself, and them) and then sticking to it! (click to tweet)

6. Don’t forget to tell them what they actually get. Being a creative expert does not mean being vague. You’re still doing stuff. Ideas and inspiration are great and all, but what are they actually paying for? Don’t forget to clearly straight-talk tell people what you’re designing, packaging up, and delivering for them – and where that delivery ends. (click to tweet)

7. Blend you into what you do. The blend is your special sauce, it’s You: The Professional plus You: The Person. So be sure your style and your voice are reflected in your brand. That means talk how you really talk, set your own rules for how you work, and get your own design style (even personal style) into your brand look and feel. (click to tweet)

Designer Branding ebook

Get your free ebook:
Get the “7 Ways Designers Become (& Brand Themselves As) Creative Experts” EBook by Tara & Kathleen, with scripts, exercises, reminders, and inspiration for the designer blending who you are into what you do, as you define your personal brand, build your creative expertise, and create your dream job.

If you’re interested in working with us one-on-one to develop your Brand & Business Vision learn more about how we work with designers.

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Personal Branding Foundation

Tara here, and when we develop a personal brand for a creative entrepreneur we have a pretty strong belief— it’s called the blend. We feel so strongly about it, because we don’t do branding any other way.  Kathleen and I believe—no, we know—that the blend of who you are and what you do is like magic.

It’s not like one-shot magic bullet. “Bam! This is how I’m going to be famous, and/or fulfilled, and/or make a million, and/or make just enough. I’ve figured it out, let’s launch this and call it a day!”

Nope, this blend is more like magic beans. “Here’s my personal style bean. Here’s my beliefs bean. My skills are the speckledy one. My offering, oh yeah, it’s the gold one.” I may have started describing eggs, but that metaphor works too, because you’re hatching something, and it’s not just one thing. You’re hatching a collection, a mix, of all these amazing gifts you have going for you. They just need some nurturing, hard work and time to see them come to light.

I know in the story the beanstalk is already sprouted into the sky by morning. Your business and your brand is not going to be everything you hope for overnight (or even a few months from now.) But in a year? In two? Oh man, in three? You could be halfway into the clouds.

Personal Branding Blend

Personal Branding Message

You may think I’m kidding, but think of those beans/eggs in the palm of your hand for a second. Write each one on a scrap of paper if it helps. Name them what they are.

My style is ____.
My voice is ____.
My purpose is_____.
My creative expertise is ______.
So I make ________.
To help people ________.
Because I believe ____ matters.
So I’m growing a ______ business.
I want to reach _____ in the sky.

Now, look at what you wrote. Are you in there—Not what you think your clients want to hear, or what your past work experiences have told you to say, but you? Are you using words you actually say? Is your style peeking through? Is the creative expertise you want to claim and the working life you want to create showing up in this mix? This is a blend. So look again, and now ask, is how people can hire you in there? Where is the business part? What do they actually get at the end of the day from this person that is you?

Even if these feel like small, unformed ideas, know that they are the beginning of something big. Because if the fairy tales teach us anything, it’s that we’ll get what we wish for.

Now plant these beans where you stand. Where you stand could be anywhere. It could be a big city or a small town, you could have grown up in the same neighborhood that you still live in today, or be a digital nomad traveling the world.

You can grow a business being exactly who you are and delivering to clients, customers, readers, followers, subscribers (whatever you call the recipients of this gift you have to share). Because your unique blend is going to help them get what they need too. And aren’t we all just planting dreams of our own but afraid to go after it alone?

Personal Branding Leap

We’ve all got magic beans in our pocket, we just have to plant them. We’re all scared of giants—the big “what if’s” and the failures. But there’s a reason we’re dreamers and doers (that’s the best blend of all). Because we? We still climb anyway.


Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to supporting themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

If you’re dealing with creative fear, need help with time management, or simply need a boost of inner-confidence when it comes to showing up and being seen you might like the DIY Coaching for Creatives email sessions. You can sign up anytime! It’s just $40 for 4 weeks of content delivered straight to your inbox – plus, it’s a great way to invest in yourself at the beginning of a new year.

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how to write a tagline for your business

Tara here. We all grew up with catchy slogans – “just do it,” “got milk?” or “a diamond is forever.” They’ve been etched in our brains because of how consistently they’ve been used – and all the ways and means these big-budget brands have impressed them upon us.

But even without big budgets, trending one-liners and themes are still impressing and influencing us and our peers in the realm of the creative entrepreneur, now more than ever – from hashtags that catch on like wildfire, to pinnable quotes that strike an irresistible chord.

A themeline may even start with you – a product you’re launching, a movement you’re championing. But those are ideas, products, events and rallying cries that come and go with the flow, they don’t describe what you do as a personal brand and a business.

Of course you should keep creating those ideas, those products, those launches and those themes in time with the seasons, in time with what’s happening in the world, and most importantly, in time with your own bursts of inspiration.

But! When it comes to that single line that describes what you do (that doesn’t change over time!) – you don’t need a catchy, clever, cute or even a razor-sharp cut-through-the-clutter slogan that’s going to make you popular, memorable or hirable. You need a tagline.

A tagline (I sometimes simply call it a descriptor line) should be a useful companion to your brand name and logo, that does a little of the explaining for you.

writing a tagline slogan for your business

A few weeks ago I wrote How To Decide On Your Business Name and promised a follow-up on how to write your tagline to go with it. So before you think of it as a hashtag or a pinnable quote, as a shoe box slogan or a one-liner delivered by Morgan Freeman at the end of an emotionally stirring commercial – think of your tagline in brand places like your website masthead, a sign-off to your newsletters or posts, or in your social media profile.

Think of your tagline as the biggest clue, in the smallest amount of words, into what you do and how people can buy or hire you.

A short and sweet tagline (or descriptor line) for your business should:
a. show what your business does in an instant; and/or 
b. round out what your business name alone isn’t telling people 

Creating A Say-What-You Mean Descriptor Line vs. a Catchy One:
Here are a few different fill-in-the-blank formulas you might try:

1. The “I Do This for Them” Version
Your Business Name (could be your name, of course) followed by:

  1. the service or product you provide in three words or less:
  2. who or what you do it for in three words or less:

For example:
Green Goddess
floral design for events

But what if she had a shop and did events? I’d do the one- two- three- punch:

2. The “Short-Short Laundry List” Version

  1. service one
  2. service two
  3. service three / but still cluing in who it’s for

For example:
Green Goddess
florist | design | special events

But what if her name was her name? But she loved the idea of a “green goddess,” perhaps that’s even her logo mark design?

3. The “Make Your Name Still Sound Like a Business” Version
In this case I might suggest a short descriptor line you use with your logo sometimes, but a “rallying cry” that feels like your personal motto that you pepper in when you have the space, or the right context to do so:

  1. service one
  2. service two
  3. rallying cry

For example:
Julia Hernandez
floral design & events
“for the green goddess in all of us!”

4. No matter which version you use, go back and pepper in Purpose & Personality
Okay, so these are feeling pretty straightforward. And very concise. They almost feel like a “duh” moment, like “of course that’s the description for what I do.” But where’s the creativity? Well, a little goes a long way. You don’t want to turn your breadcrumb into a full-on bagel! But here are some simple ways you might infuse a little more of “you” into what you do in a line as short as your tagline:

  1. add some “purpose” to one of your words
  2. add some “personality” to the other(s)

For example (and this is my favorite of all the “imaginary” Green Goddess combos):
Green Goddess
natural floral design for wildly gorgeous events

Note the “natural” descriptor. That’s stating some purpose. Perhaps she only uses local plants or more natural-feeling designs (no tight rose-only bouquets).

Note the “wildly gorgeous” that’s infusing some personality. Perhaps she’s a total stylista, completely influenced by fashion and design in all her floral designs.

Caution! Don’t use words you don’t really use. If our Green Goddess was a shy wallflower, vs. this loud and fabulous floral designer. Then you might tone down the flair, but keep the “natural” intent.

creative business tagline slogan

Having trouble writing this deceptively short and simple line? Or simply picking the one that “feels right?”

Now, I recognize that not all of you do work that’s as straightforward as floral design. Many of you do a hybrid of services, or are still in transition, trying to figure it all out and how it fits together. So, yes, even though your tagline shouldn’t change as much as your hashtags do, you should give yourself permission to evolve or update it every three to six months. We’ve updated ours (branding & business visioning for creative entrepreneurs) at least once or twice since we’ve launched. Just knowing it’s not totally set in stone can free up the writer’s block!

But if you’re still struggling, here are some tips: 

Give yourself wiggle room to warm up.

A great way to warm up is to give yourself a longer word count. See if you can sum up what you do, and who you do it for (with a dash of your personality, using your own words, because you are not a robot!) in a couple short paragraphs. Then whittle down from there.

Get methodical and categorize your words.

You can also try this method: listing single words in category columns. Pick a category for each column and write it at the top of the page, for example a.) the kind of service or product I provide, b.) my specialty, flair, unique approach or signature style, c.) who I create this service or product for. Then list different words that pop up within their column. Then narrow down to your favorites in each column. Start pairing them up with each other. This could end up being a three word descriptor line, or a single statement that merges the three ideas. 

Give yourself some context, and “try on” your tagline alongside your business name.

I also find it really helps to write or say your business name before you “try on” the tagline. So don’t just start listing the taglines that you’re deciding between in a row. Pair each one of them with your name first. Then read them out loud. Imagine them on your website masthead with your logo. Imagine them on your business card.

Or try starting an introduction using your favorite one. “Hi, I’m Tara and my business Braid Creative is _____ [ tagline here ] ____. What I mean by that is…” and there you go, the conversation has begun. And it just started with one line, that simply described what you do.

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to supporting themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

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Braid Creative & Consulting is branding and business visioning for creative entrepreneurs. The Braid Blog is where we share weekly insights and resources for creatives.

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blend who you are & what you do,

share & sell your creative expertise,

attract your dream customers,

& make your business vision real

This ecourse is for creative people like designers, photographers, stylists, lifestyle coaches, wellness professionals, yogis, foodies, writers, bloggers, and creative consultants. Whether you’re just starting out, or have lots of experience, our step-by-step guidance will help you create a brand and business vision that feels more clear, confident, and like the true you.


 


 

 


 

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