Should you DIY your branding?

moodboard for a luxe skincare brand
moodboard for creative direction on a luxe skincare brand

I spoke with a potential client recently who was in need of branding for a blog she wanted to launch. This was a new venture and she admitted she considered DIY-ing a logo but felt overwhelmed by the idea. I told her that was completely normal; even designers who do this for a living get overwhelmed at times trying to craft just the right branding.

I’ve had similar conversations over the years with other business owners so I thought I’d lay out my thoughts on the subject–should you DIY your branding? The short answer is it depends. Every situation is unique and there are many variables to consider. So, let’s break it down. 

When to DIY

While I recommend hiring a designer 90% of the time, there is a time and place when doing it yourself makes more sense.

  1. If you are just starting out in your business and don’t have the budget to invest in a designer, then DIY is a good option. HOWEVER, this works only if you have some design savvy and/or know your way around Canva or other design tools.  
  2. If your business is still evolving, it’s fine to wait until you have a clear vision of what your business stands for and who your ideal customer is. It doesn’t make sense to invest in branding that may have to change in a year or two. (If you’ve been around here a while, you know I’m all about timeless branding that has longevity!)
  3. You’re going to create a website from a pre-made template that includes the look and feel you are going for. This is a good option, particularly if you only plan to have a web presence and you have the skills to maintain the site yourself. I would caution, most pre-made templates don’t allow for “tweaking” fonts, colors, overall layout, etc. Unless you know how to code, what you see is likely what you have to stick with.   
photo via cayley-nossiter at unsplash

When to invest in a designer

Hiring a designer is an investment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay within your budget. A good designer is able to tailor your needs around your budget (most of the time) and find a way to make it worthwhile for both of you. If for some reason a designer is not able to work with you based on budget, they can usually refer you to someone who can help. So when should you work with a brand designer?

  1. If you have been in business for 2+ years and you know you have outgrown your branding. As mentioned above, your business will evolve, and your branding should evolve as well. When you hire a designer, they will work with you to hone in on your ideal customer/client, identify your brand personality, then build out your branding to accurately represent your business and resonate with your target audience.
  2. You don’t feel confident in your branding, or it isn’t aligning with your business any longer. As it happens with many entrepreneurs, you get so wrapped up in the day to day responsibilities of running a business, branding falls to the bottom of the “to do” list (Even brand designers are guilty of not updating their own brand!). It does take time to seek out the right designer and commit to the process, but I promise, it will pay off in the end. The right branding will elevate your business, boost your confidence and help your bottom line. If you aren’t checking those boxes, it’s time to take action.
  3. Your branding may just need a refresh rather than a complete overhaul, but the thought of doing it yourself overwhelms you. Just as you would hire a lawyer, or an accountant for services you have no expertise in, hiring a brand designer is no different. Why stress yourself out trying to Google / YouTube everything you want to accomplish when you can hand it off to an expert who does this day in and day out? You are investing in peace of mind and a professional end result.    
custom branding for a healthcare compliance firm
custom branding for a healthcare compliance firm

I get it, many people feel the need to DIY their branding and as I’ve just explained, there are situations where it’s perfectly ok. But if the thought causes anxiety, then I would highly recommend finding a designer who’s a good fit. It will save you many headaches and you will be so happy to have a professional and unique brand to share with the world.  

For more insights on working with a designer, read

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