Hey-o! Welcome to the brand new RachelTanMQ.com.
In this post, I’ll be talking about the story and process behind my rebrand. Let’s just say that mistakes were made and lessons were learned.
I will also be giving tips on DIY-ing your own brand, so hopefully you won’t make the same mistakes that I did. 😅
The problems with my old brand
I don't know about you, but I've always found designing for myself much more difficult than designing for other people.
Mostly because I'm indecisive. And I'm super hard on myself. (In other words, I’m a perfectionist!)
As a result, I was very unclear on what I wanted my brand to be about. I had no overarching strategy.
On top of all that, I rushed to get my website up as quickly as possible.
… And I simply designed my logo to look cool. There wasn’t any rhyme or reason to it. (God, that was painful for me to admit! 😳)
My brand was a clusterfuck of poorly thought-out decisions.
I also had major self-confidence issues stemming from my last office job, which affected my ability to promote myself. So that was another thing I had to work through.
Eventually I couldn’t stand to look at my brand visuals, as they felt very uninspired.
I knew I had to make big changes if I wanted my business to succeed. After all, how could I expect people to take me seriously if I couldn’t take myself seriously? 🤔
Back to the drawing board
I figured the best way to approach this project was to treat myself as if I were a client. That way, I wouldn't get sidetracked and could focus on getting shit done in the most efficient way possible.
The first step of my client process is to fill out a brand questionnaire. So that was what I did. And it worked! 🙌
Answering the questions really helped me clarify my thoughts and formulate a strategy. I realised that I wanted my brand to be unconventional, informal and embody a DIY spirit.
I also decided that I wanted my target audience to be bloggers and solopreneurs. Y’know, people like me.
My reason was that since I'm just starting out, it'd be a good idea to work with others who are also figuring this online business thing out. I wanna help fellow bloggers/solopreneurs make their dreams come true (like what I’m trying to do for myself!) through what I know best (i.e. design).
With all this information in place, I knew I had a solid foundation to build my visual brand on. 💪
Take some time to think through your brand strategy. (Psst, my FREE Blog Branding Strategy workbook could help you out!)
Developing a visual style
The next step in my client process is to create an inspiration board on Pinterest.
At this point, I knew that I wanted my visuals to stand out by oozing personality. So I went and pinned images that reflected that. Once I was done, I took a step back and looked for common themes and interesting visual elements.
Learn more about this part of the process in this blog post.
I came to the conclusion that my overall visual style would be retro/geeky and that it’d be mainly inspired by comic books and pulp magazines. 🤓
Now it was time to start work on my brand visuals.
I began by making a list of all the assets I had to design. That way, I knew how much work I had to do and what I should work on next.
Grab The Ultimate Brand Design Checklist for Your New Blog for a list of brand visuals you may need for your blog. (It’s FREE!)
I then created a new file in Affinity Designer (my design tool of choice). In this file, I experimented with logo designs and other brand visuals. I found it helpful to do all my creative experimentation in one file as this made it easy to see how all my design elements worked together. 👀
Don’t design your logos in isolation! See how they look in different contexts (such as on social media graphics). Make sure everything goes well together.
After a lot of experimentation, I came up with my final logo designs.
My primary logo is inspired by the curved typography often used on titles of superhero comics.
I also created variations of the logo for situations where the curved typography would look awkward.
My submark is inspired by the logo for Marvel’s The Defenders Netflix series. I was intrigued by how the word “the” is placed within the letter D and decided to incorporate that idea into my logo.
I also created watermarks of my website address to place at the bottom of my visuals.
Draw inspiration from visual elements that interest you (from your inspiration board) and put your own spin on them!
Social media graphics
As Pinterest is a huge source of traffic for blogs in my niche, I wanted my Pinterest graphics to stand out and showcase my brand personality in a fun way.
To achieve this, I designed my Pinterest graphics to give them the feel of comic book and pulp magazine covers.
I experimented a lot and realised that the combination of greyscale photography and retro typography gave my visuals a distinctive look that I effin’ loved. I also added subtle worn-out textures to give the visuals a bit of a rough-around-the-edges quality, which I felt suited my brand and went well with the retro theme.
Don't be afraid to experiment with different ideas until you come up with an aesthetic you love. Also, make sure there's a rationale behind every design decision you make—this elevates your visuals from mere eye candy to compelling visual statements.
Once I was happy with the Pinterest graphics, I found it easy to translate the designs for other social media platforms. All I had to do was resize the text and photos, and use the submark instead of the primary logo.
Create reusable templates for your social media graphics so that there's consistency in your visuals and you don't have to waste time making them.
I think the biggest lesson I learned from this experience was to trust the process.
Designing for yourself is hard. (Especially when you’re indecisive and a perfectionist!)
That’s why it’s so important to have a structured process for projects like this.
Here’s a summary of my design process and tips:
Take some time to think about your vision for your brand and formulate a strategy. (Psst, my FREE Blog Branding Strategy workbook could help you out!)
Create a secret Pinterest board and pin your visual inspirations for your brand. (Learn how to infuse your brand visuals with your personality in this blog post!)
- Make a list of all the items you need to design. (Grab my FREE Ultimate Brand Design Checklist for Your New Blog for all the brand visuals you may need for your blog!)
- Don’t design your logos in isolation! See how they look in different contexts (such as on social media graphics). Make sure everything goes well together.
- Draw inspiration from visual elements that interest you (from your inspiration board) and put your own spin on them!
- Don't be afraid to experiment with different ideas until you come up with an aesthetic you love.
- Make sure there's a rationale behind every design decision you make—this elevates your visuals from mere eye candy to compelling visual statements.
- Create reusable templates for your social media graphics so that there's consistency in your visuals and you don't have to waste time making them.