Intro to Branding on a Budget
When looking into starting your own business you really start to realize just how much office supplies, materials, packaging, labels and branding can all be. It can get really overwhelming and discouraging. Let’s face it, not everyone has a Cricut machine laying around and I do not suggest running out and purchasing one unless you plan to use it for your products as well. Remember, as a startup business you want to keep your costs down as much as possible in the beginning. You can always hire a professional designer, print shop or fancy printer later down the road as you make profits (profit =sales - material - time spent). In this article, I am going to provide you with some tips and tricks I have learned along the way, that have really helped me keep my branding looking professional without breaking the bank. These are clearly not the only ways to do it however, I have had amazing results with all of them.
My first suggestion to you is to start off with your logo and brand colors. You want everything to be uniform and professional looking. Your logo and branding are the first impression a potential customer sees. If you don’t take the time to perfect your branding, then how are you going to convince your audience that you took the time to perfect your product or art? So, begin brainstorming ideas and write them down. Draw up some ideas and decide if this is something you could design on your own or if you might need some help.
If you decide you do want to go with a designer, I suggest using Fiverr.com if, the designers in your area are closed due to COVID-19 or are charging too much. I have used this website on several occasions and have always been happy with the results and professionalism of the designer. Please note, most of the reasonably priced designers are overseas. They are living in a different time zone so it is possible it may take several days to receive the initial design concepts. Just be patient and make sure you read what you are purchasing and ask questions before you make your purchase. There are plenty of designers willing to design a fantastic logo, with all the files you would need, for you under $50. I do not suggest purchasing any social media packages as it will only be your logo in different sizes. It’s really not worth the extra money.
If you decide you want to design your own logo, there are plenty of design websites and apps you can use. My personal favorite in Canva.com. With canva you can create your design in either the template sizes for social media, business cards, etc., or you can enter your own custom dimensions to fit your needs. Canva provides plenty of photos and fonts for you to choose from and is very user friendly. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial with a monthly or yearly subscription afterward which offers you all their design elements for free. I highly suggest you do this! If you are able to get all your design needs completed within that time frame you will have designed all your branding needs completely free! Just don’t forget to cancel your subscription before you are charged. If you do decide to stick with the subscription or forget to cancel it is only about $12 per month. You do also have the ability to upload your own photos however, you can not just use google images without purchasing the rights to the photo! A lot of startup businesses get in trouble for this and I do not want to see your business getting sued! This monthly subscription price is a steal considering the cost of rights to images and fonts from most websites. I personally use canva.com for EVERYTHING, from product labels, to Instagram posts, to website art. You name it, I used canva.com to create it! Here are just a few examples of what I have been able to create using canva.com:
Once you are happy with your design, you can save your design as a high-quality image to be used wherever you desire. This is a great option for creating professional looking, high-quality designs for your branding needs! You can even use their website to get certain things printed such as business cards and post cards for a very reasonable price. I use both services for my product package inserts.
Ok so we’ve discussed logo’s and design, but what about printing?
For business cards I personally suggest getting in contact with your local print shop. This way you will be able to physically see and touch your options while supporting a local business. Printing business cards once you already have your design created is a lot cheaper than you’d think! I have also found it to be cheaper then printing your own due to ink costs versus quantity you would get from a print shop.
For labels, I highly suggest you print your own in the beginning. The type of label paper you get for your products is extremely important. Depending on the product you may need weatherproof or waterproof label paper, and both can be awfully expensive on Amazon. I personally suggest purchasing label paper from onlinelabels.com. They have plenty of different options of label paper and sizes to fit your needs and come with a design space to ensure your labels are exactly how you want them. You can even use their design space to print just 1 label and put the sheet back in your printers’ paper feeder for future use. If you don’t need special paper and don’t want to pay the extra cost of having label paper that is precut, you can find blank 8 ½”x11” sticker paper sheets for fairly inexpensive from anywhere. All you would need to do is cut out your label and remove the backing. I am personally not a fan of this method because it is hard to cut each label to the same size each time and you cannot reuse the sheet. I also have issues removing the backing without ruining one of the corners which can be frustrating however, there are ways it can be done if you have the patience.
I hope you all found this article informative. If you have anything to add or suggestions leave them in the comments below. We’d love to hear your thoughts!