How to Build a Good Looking Brand Book on a Budget

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link.

What is a Business Brand?

Your brand is way more than just your logo. Your business brand is everything from your colors, to fonts, to packaging, to customer service and everything in between! Your brand is your mission and how you effectively communicate it to the world.

This two-part article won’t go into all of the elements of a brand identity, but if you’re interested in learning more I highly recommend the book “Branding Beyond Logos” by Ainsley Moir. Ainsley takes her many years of experience in brand marketing for small and large companies and compiles them nicely into an easily digestible and actionable book.

Cover of the Branding Beyond Logos Book by Ainsley Moir detailing the elements and importance of each aspect of brand identity.
Branding Beyond Logos Cover by Ainsley Moir

Branding Style Guides

A branding style guide is typically a downloadable PDF that can be referenced or shared to anyone on your team to ensure consistency in all areas of business. It typically includes elements of your brand such as your logo, colors, fonts for headers, titles, body, etc, font sizes, themed pictures and can sometimes include a bit more depending on the designer.

Your brand guide can be one page or multiple pages. I’ve personally been given guides of all different lengths by clients and they have all gotten the job done.

On a Budget? No problem I’m going to show you low cost ways you can create different elements of your brand and bring them all together in a brand book. 

Now, I have nothing against paying good money to a professional for branding, but not every business needs the same level of brand attention.

A girl holding a bright yellow coffee cup that is unbranded in front of a multi-color bright colored wall. The colors of your brand are just as important as your brand logo.
Branding is more than just your colors, but finding colors that work well together is a big first step!

You may have even noticed businesses going through a “re-branding” phase. This is perfectly normal! They likely started out doing what they could on a budget and as they grew so did their brand and therefore their brand management.

It’s okay to start small and build up and there are a lot of different ways that you can do that in today’s “everyone can start a business” climate.

So, if you have more time than money to spend, then keep reading for my top tips and suggestions!

Phase 1 of Building a Brand Identity:

Create a private Pinterest Board

If you don’t have a clear direction of where you want to take your brand (or even if you do) I suggest creating a private Pinterest board. Think of it as your mood board or board of inspiration.

Spend some time going through Pinterest and pinning everything that you like, keeping your brand in mind. (Yes, that recipe looks nice, but if it doesn’t relate to your brand than it can wait.) You can pin everything from colors, fonts, textures, general feelings, etc.

Pro Tip: If you easily get sidetracked on Pinterest, set a timer for 25 mins to focus on your singular task. After 25 mins, take a short 5 min break and if you feel you need to keep going do another 25 mins. This is known as the Pomodoro Technique. 

After you’re done pinning go through your board and edit. Edit. Edit. Try to get your board down to around 30 pins.

A copy of my Pinterest Brand Board that helped me create all the elements of my Brand Identity and Style Guide.
Screenshot of my VA Brand Board on Pinterest. You can see I went for teal and yellow colors as well as general feel, textures, sayings, fonts, etc

Once you’ve narrowed it down you’ll start noticing themes. Like you thought you wanted blue, but pinned everything teal. Or you were attracted to cursive lettering. Or your overall texture theme was glitter (or denim, or fluffy sweater, etc).

You get the idea…..

If you feel like your board is missing something feel free to repeat this step before continuing to the next phase.

Don’t fret over this and spend too much time here though. This should be a starting off point for you to give you some direction as you move through the rest of the steps. You can always return to your board to polish it up at a later date if you would like.

Phase 2 of Building a Brand Identity:

Start Putting Together a Brand Book

I’m going to walk you through creating a one page online brand book that encompasses all of your brand guidelines including primary & complementary colors, font styles, logos, textures and anything else you want to include. It will be your go-to document for everything brand related.

For example, here is the brand book I created for myself using Canva. Don’t get overwhelmed by what you see. I’ll walk you through how to bring this all together.

My VA Business Brand Book Guide showing all of the elements including my logo, colors and corresponding hex codes, fonts, Icon logos, correlating pictures and textures.
My VA Brand Book Guide

 

Disclaimer: Most professional designers are going to use Adobe Illustrator or some other more professional design software. And if you know how to use them, then I would highly suggest creating a brand book in one of those platforms. But if you don’t and don’t want to learn to use one, then Canva will be sufficient.

Let’s Bring Your Brand Guide Together

In the following sections I’m going to suggest to you 3 different options for obtaining a logo and brand book. In I encourage you to read through all 3 options and decide which ones is best for you and your budget.

The options are also not exclusive of one another. It is possible that you could combine any 1 or all 3 of them to get your desired style guide. It’s up to you! Go wild!

The options I will discuss in further details are:

  1. using a one stop shop company like Tailor Brands
  2. hiring freelance designers through Fiverr
  3. completely DIY-ing it through Canva (included in part 2 of this post)

Let’s jump in!

Option 1: Use a branding specialist company like Tailor Brands

 

Tailor Brands is a wonderful website I stumbled upon when looking for inexpensive custom logo design options. In less than 5 minutes you can have a name, icon or initial logo created. They’ll even choose some colors for you so if you’re not sure what colors you want yet, this might help give you an idea.

 

Once you find a logo you like you still have the option to customize it and change things up if it’s not quite right, even after you purchase.

 

Here are examples logos I have purchased with them:

 

 

But it doesn’t stop there, because as we know branding is more than just your logo.

 

Tailor Brands is also dedicated to helping you with all of your brand needs. So on top of purchasing a logo you also receive additional benefits. They have 2 package options: Dynamic Logo and Premium Plan and they operate on a monthly subscription (more on that in a moment).

 

If you are just interested in receiving your logo files for online only and maybe some weekly social media postings, then you will likely be happy with simply purchasing the Dynamic Logo package.

 

However, if you want a little more, the Premium package is certainly the best bang for your buck option. This package includes everything in Dynamic Logo plus a Brand Book, Vector EPS logos (needed if you are plan to print your logo on anything), Business Card & Letterhead Designs, Social Media header covers and a Watermark for your images.

How much does it cost?

 

You can choose monthly or annual billing for 1 or 2 years. Monthly billing for the Dynamic Logo package is $9.99/month and for Premium it is $49.99. Compare that to the 1 year billing which would be $35.88 total for Dynamic Logo or $131.88 for Premium. See more about their prices here.

 

And if you don’t want to commit to a monthly or annual subscription, that’s not a problem. You can cancel your subscription at any time. Meaning you can pay for the first month, download your logo files, cancel and still retain all of your commercial rights to your brand. And you still have use of all the features until your billing cycle ends.

 

It’s truly a one stop shop for all things branding so I definitely encourage you to check them out regardless. You can see and customize logos before you ever purchase anything so if nothing else you might start to get an idea of what you want your logo to look like.

 

 

Pros:

  • Instant logo designs
  • Inexpensive
  • Clean, sleek and visually appealing website
  • User friendly customization of logos
  • Receive transparent PNG logo files and as well as HD logo files
  • Branding guide including social media posts

Cons:

  • Monthly subscription
  • Generated based on preset designs
  • Some customization, but options are limited to color, font changes, and size

You can hire freelance designers through platforms like Fiverr to help you create your brand look.

Option 2: Hire Freelance Brand Designers Fiverr

 

Fiverr is a freelance services on-demand platform. So called because people used to do jobs in exchange for $5. Nowadays, prices can vary, but they can still be very affordable.

 

The best thing about Fiverr is you work directly with a designer to create a custom logo for you. In the search bar just type in “logo design” and you will see a list of providers to choose from. You can browse through their portfolios, compare prices, see ratings, read reviews, what’s included, etc.

 

They typically display how quickly they can get it done, what you get for the price (within their pricing tiers), and how many edits they will do. It’s important to pay attention to all of these details especially the type of files you will receive (jpg, png, vector, files, etc).

 

There are also designers who will do brand books and some that will do both a logo and book for you. It really all depends on your need and budget. The site is easy to use and you can quickly browse through some of the options to see if this route may be a good fit for you. It’s all pretty straightforward and in the end you will have a beautifully designed logo or full brand.

So what about the cost?

 

The designers can set their own costs as well as what is included in their packages. I saw everything from from a $5 basic package to $2,400 premium package.

 

If you are on a specific budget, then there is a filter you can use on the site to narrow down the price range and other factors such as seller language, seller level and delivery time.

 

Pro Tip: There is nothing like a good bargain, but keep in mind that you typically get what you pay for so don’t expect to get everything you want or need for only $5. These are real people offering their skills and services so they should be paid accordingly, so even though you may be on a budget…. don’t be that person. 

 

Pros:

  • Work personally with a designer
  • Ability to browse portfolios ahead of time to find a good fit
  • Range of pricing options to fit individual budget
  • Seller ratings and reviews

 

Cons:

  • Potentially more time consuming to browse through portfolios and communicate with designer directly plus delivery time
  • Package Tiers that can price you out of your budget
  • May or may not receive a design to your liking

 

Part 2 of Building a Brand Book on Budget → Continue Reading

 

Disclaimer: I am not a designer. The information provided in Parts 1 & 2 of this article “How to Build a Good Looking Brand Book on a Budget” is based on my personal experience in building my own brands. I only recommend products/sites that I have used personally and can speak to. If you would like more robust information or specific guidance on your business brand, I highly recommend speaking to one of the many talented designers out there. 

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