10 Ways to Create a Stand Out Visual Brand
You want your brand to stand out, represent your uniqueness and look professional. Problem is there are a lot of people in your industry and everyone’s business looks so similar… what really sets you apart and makes you stand out? And how can you present your authentic, quirky self but still have a professional, seamless and one-of-a-kind brand presence?
Creating a stand out visual brand comes down to a combination of 3 things:
Visuals are picture elements such as photos, videos, charts, GIFs, illustrations etc.
Design combines logos, typography, colours, packaging, visuals and messaging. Together these elements communicate your ideas visually.
Messaging refers to the value proposition conveyed and language used in your content. It's what makes buyers relate to your brand by inspiring them, persuading them, motivating them, and connect with your brand.
All of these elements combined create an identity for a business that demonstrate how a brand wants to be perceived by its customers, and ultimately make a consumer want to purchase your product or service.
How can you do this for your brand? Let me break it down with these 10 easy steps!
The first step to creating a stand out visual brand is to use high quality visuals that are also eye-catching and tell a story. That means you will need to:
1. Style a Photo Shoot Custom to Your Brand
Lots of brands use stock photos, and sure they are professional looking and convenient to use but most stock photos I’ve come across look very similar and lots of brands are using the exact same photos. Therefore stock photos are not going to make you memorable. Don’t get me wrong, stock photos are great filler content👌 but they should not make up the majority of your visuals.
That means you need to plan your own brand photo shoot! You can go about this a couple different ways. Either invest in your brand and hire a brand photographer that can help you with creative direction and bringing your vision to life, or go the DIY route if you are comfortable using a camera or are eager to learn.
If you are interested in booking a brand photo shoot with myself, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can provide you with more info!
Or if you are wanting to learn my process when planning a brand photo shoot so you can style & capture brand photos on your own, register for my FREE Brand Photography Masterclass HERE. 🤗
2. Make a Mood Board
Before you dive into planning this super dreamy brand photo shoot, make a mood board that has the look & feel you are aiming to achieve. Words alone don’t communicate what you are visualizing, our brain needs to see it and if you are working with other people they need to see what you are conceptualizing as well.
3. Showcase Elements of You & Your Business
Now that you know the style & vibe you are going for, write out a list of everything you do in your business and/or life. What is your client process, what are the steps? How can you showcase this in your photos? Show behind the scenes of you working, what you do for fun, your hobbies or passions, etc! Use these ideas to create a shot list of all the different poses and photos to capture in your brand photo shoot. The more quirky and unique, the better and more likely you will stand out in your niche! 🤗
Here are some examples of poses and props we incorporated in Ashley’s brand photo shoot that really highlight her unique interests and approach to business:
reading her favourite business books
tarot card readings
meditating with crystals, sage & essential oils
working on her laptop
dressing up & going out for lunch
4. Incorporate a Human Element
This allows the viewer to imagine them in the photo and makes it more aspirational. For example, it’s so much more interesting to see someone using a product then that same product being photographed on it’s own.
Also don’t capture only headshots, those can get repetitive and boring. So you may be wondering how do I have a person in the photo but not just share selfies/headshots?? Capture photos cropped from the lips down, showing hands, feet walking a way, the hemline of a dress spinning, details on someone’s outfit etc. Add some variation in what you are capturing and your visuals will be more engaging.
5. Use the Same Editing Style
You want to create a signature look to your visuals so when all your photos and videos are next to each other on your various online platforms everything matches, the colours, the lighting, the composition, it all has a signature look to it. Your editing style will become recognizable to your audience and also be very visually pleasing to the eye. Nothing will feel out of place or jarring.
Photo editing is so important to creating beautiful photos and creating a stand out visual brand! It’s one of the modules I teach in my signature course, Do It Yourself Brand Photography. For more info on the course, visit my Education page.
Now that you have styled & captured stunning photos that represent your brand perfectly, it’s time to put those visuals to use and incorporate them into your web and graphic design.
6. Use a Logo & Website Template
There’s no excuse to have an ugly website these days. Lol sorry if that sounds harsh! 😅 But if you can’t afford to hire a professional right now I highly recommend using a website template and pre-made logo. There are SOOO many beautiful and easy to use website templates. I use Squarespace and they have a bunch of free ones that are included when you sign up, or you can buy website templates from Etsy, 99 Designs, Creative Market and lots of web designers make pre-made templates too.
I literally Googled “Squarespace template” and one of my first search results was this beauuutiful website template on Etsy, and for only $70 CAD!!😍 Here is the link to it, I’m not affiliated with the seller either. Just wanted to share how extremely easy, accessible and affordable it is to put together a stunning website!
7. Make Visuals the Main Focus
Now that you chose a stunning website template & logo and have gorgeous brand photos, upload those photos to your website and make them large and take center stage. I think simple, modern design with large beautiful photos is 1000x more appealing than busy and intricate design with smaller photos. Make it easier on yourself; don’t over complicate the design part. Your photos showcase you and your products or services, that is what you clients want to see and engage with. They don’t want to come to a website full of text, let your visuals communicate what you do and what your brand is about.
Here’s a few more photo examples of the same website template I shared above.
8. Use the Same 3 Fonts
Pick 3 fonts and use them everywhere for your brand. Choose fonts that are clean, modern, legible, and mix up using serif, san serif and cursive fonts. Again I like to keep design simple. Maybe pick one really unique font and then keep the other 2 classic. Remember you need the copy to be easy to read, that’s most important! You want your audience to understand the info and message you are communicating, not be totally focus on your elaborate font choice.
Below I shared the fonts I use for my brand! These are pages from the brand style guide my designer, Christina made for me. ☺️
Those are some easy design principles that apply to all businesses. And now lastly to create a stand out visual brand you will want to consider your messaging.
9. Be Known for Something
The secret to really standing out… be known for something! This comes down to choosing a niche and mastering it. So what sets you apart from someone else in your industry? Is it who you are serving? Your style? A unique client experience? The story behind why you started your business?
Brainstorm all the things that make you different and use these to your advantage! No one is the exact same as you. I know this may not seem like it will impact your visual brand but by pinpointing all the things that set you apart, you will incorporate these details in your photos and on your website.
A business owner who does this extremely well is Jenna Kutcher! She started as a wedding photographer but she is known for starting her business with a $300 Craigslist camera, quitting her corporate job at Target to pursue photography, marrying her best friend, experiencing 2 miscarriages before having a little girl, being a voice for the body positive movement, her love for mac & cheese and puppies, and educating other creatives on marketing.
This is such a unique combination of things that make her unique. She isn’t just another wedding photographer, she is a one-of-a-kind brand that people adore! 🤗
10. Use Every Piece of Content as a Chance to Connect
Stand out by sharing value in every caption, live video, tweet, and EVERY piece of content. Every time you are using your words to communicate share something that would make an ideal client want to work with you. Demonstrate your knowledge and that you’re an expert in your field or share a piece that humanizes you & makes your audience relate to you personally. Weave this into your website and social media strategy, they will complement your visual elements and tell a story. Your story is what will ultimately hook a potential client or follower.
I shared an example from my own content below, where I demonstrate my knowledge on branding and also something personal that people would relate to.