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WTF is a Personal Brand and How Do I Get One

You’re probably pretty familiar with the term “branding.” You might’ve heard it dozens of times and always thought it was something only professional marketers and boring suited-up business execs had to worry about… or maybe it’s a logo? Something like that, right?

Building a personal brand for yourself is actually super fun — and important.

It’s way more exciting than picking out the perfect shade of corporate blue for your business cards in order to make you seem more stuffy and “professional” than you feel.

Building a personal brand is all about creating the visual and experiential elements that show (and tell) who you are. 

Why do artists and creative entrepreneurs need personal brands?

A brand is what you use to communicate yourself to others quickly and effectively. It’s the way you introduce yourself to anyone who comes across any of your content, so they can understand you and what you’re about. Most of the time, you’re not physically there to tell a new websites visitor who you are. Your brand should do that for you. 

It’s also a very effective way to reach the right people: the exact kind of people who will love your work — the kind of people you want more of.

Personal branding for creators and makers

How do you create a personal brand?

Start by running through an exercise with yourself. Ask the following questions, and write down your answers:

  • Why do I make what I make?
  • How do I want others to perceive me?
  • What is my style – quirky? Fun? Vibrant? Earthy? Bohemian? Big city?
  • Who are the types of people I want to speak to with my work?

Be honest with yourself and know that there are no wrong answers!

Once you’re finished with this exercise, you’ll have a better, more thought-out understanding what you’re all about. Knowing the “why” of your work will give you all the information you need to “show” it through your brand.

Personal branding for creators and makers

Let’s talk visual collateral. AKA: the things you need to invest in.

If a brand is written down on paper and never shared, does it even exist? #woah #deepthoughts

But really: it doesn’t. You need a few visual assets to communicate your new brand to the world.

A logo – If you have the skills, develop one yourself. If not, search out a qualified graphic designer who’s work you love, or check out a site like Fiverr for creative services. A note about Fiverr and similar low-cost service sites: you get what you pay for. Just keep that in mind.

A brand guide – Again, if you have the skills, go for it. Otherwise, work with your awesome graphic designer to build your brand guide. This is a collection of all your brand essentials: your logo, typography, color palette, textures, imagery. You can even include sections on voice (how you “talk” in any written correspondence), and your brand’s mission.

Professional photos – Book a photographer (or a friend with an iPhone and eye for pics) for a portrait session or lifestyle session. Communicate to your photographer what you learned in the branding exercise above. He or she will then be able to bring your brand to life, and you’ll leave the session with a set of killer on-brand photos you absolutely love.

Personal branding for creators and makers

Consistency is key! #allthethings

Now that you have a killer collection of on-brand assets, use them on everything.

Brands work the best when you stick to them. Change out all your social media profile photos for your new headshot. Replace your bios and “about me” sections with on-brand copy. Edit the colors on your website. Post only on-brand graphics and photos on social media from now on.

With that, hooray! You’ve rebranded and can rest assured knowing that anyone that comes in contact with you or your work anywhere on the internet has the best representation of who you are as an artist today.

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