Episode 6: Free and Low Cost (Visual) Branding Resources

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Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show

This Week’s Episode

The inspiration for this episode, free and low cost branding resources, is Celia Cruz, the Queen of Salsa. (Read on for details!) In this episode, I talk about free and low cost resources related to color, font, and logo design that you can use to visually brand (or rebrand) your yarn-related business.

Background

I’m hosting my third annual Hispanic Heritage Month series on the Underground Crafter blog, featuring interviews with 14 crochet and knitting designers and bloggers. I decided to add a free pattern to my series this year, and chose a one-skein project I designed over the summer for the Stitchjones yarn club. Stitchjones had the theme of “Real World Wild Women,” and my design was inspired by Celia Cruz. (If you’re not familiar with Celia Cruz, you can find out more about this remarkable woman by watching this 3.5 minute video bio.)

While researching images of Celia for inspiration, I came across an article from a few years ago called “Celia Cruz and the Art of Rebranding”  by Abel Delgado on Latin Link. The article shares a very interesting perspective on Celia’s innate knack for marketing and has a lot of ideas that are applicable to a yarn industry indie. Specifically, Delgado highlights Celia’s cross-media promotion, her success in introducing her work to new audiences without abandoning her loyal audience, and how by staying true to her core values and maintaining quality control, she was able to have a long and successful career.

This post contains affiliate links. 

Free and Low Cost (Visual) Branding Resources

There are many free and low cost resources you can use to create a cohesive visual brand for your yarn-related business. In this episode, I share a few, with a focus on color, font, and logo design.

Naming

This episode really focuses on visual branding, but I took a moment to talk about naming. There are three prevailing theories about naming online, each with some advantages and disadvantages.

  • Consistent naming: If your user name is consistent across all social sites (and also associated with your business name), your business is easier for customers/clients to find, and your brand messaging is more consistent across sites. Consistency in user names can be challenging to do because of differences in user name length requirements, or if you started accounts before your business existed, or at different times in your business’s development.
  • Brand splitting: If you serve different customer groups (such as consumer and businesses), you may want to split your brand identity across social media by maintaining multiple accounts. This makes each company/brand more defined, and makes your presence less likely to annoy customers (when you are sharing irrelevant-to-them information). On the other hand, it can be more time consuming and difficult to maintain a strong presence across multiple accounts.
  • Using only a personal account: By merging your personal and business identity, you share a more authentic experience of you as an indie with your customers. On the other hand, you lose out on privacy and risk offending people by sharing personal/political information that isn’t directly related to your business.

In this episode, we aren’t focusing much on naming, so the debate continues on! Instead, we’re focusing on 3 visual elements to your brand: color, font, and logo.

Color

These tools can help you to identify and present a consistent color palette throughout your business, including across social media, in your packaging, and on your stationary and other materials.

These three sites (Design SeedsColour Lovers, and Color Collective) present free color palettes that you may want to choose from to represent your business.

Both Design Seeds and Colour Lovers include the “hex number” or “html number,” a numeric value that is used to represent a specific color for the web.

Once you find a palette you like on Design Seeds, hover over the small color boxes on the right to see the hex numbers.

Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show

On Colour Lovers, choose Palettes from the upper left Browse drop down menu.

Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show

After browsing palettes, choose one you like and click on it to get more details.

Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show

After clicking on a palette, you will find hex numbers for each color in the palette listed.

Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show

Color Collective presents palettes without hex/html numbers.

Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show

If you already have a specific palette or main color in mind, these two sites can help you develop a web palette.

  • Color Hunter allows you to upload a photograph or link to an online image (such as one from Color Collective) and it will identify the hex/html numbers for you. I find that Color Hunter tends to “flatten” colors and make things appear more pastel than they seem to be.
Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show
The home page on Color Hunter.
Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show
The color palette generated from the Color Collective image shown above.
  • Paletton Color Scheme Designer allows you to pick a color from a color wheel and then create a palette using several options (such as monochrome, complimentary colors, etc.). It also identifies the hex/html number.
Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show
A monochrome color palette on Paletton. Use the circled menu to choose alternate options for color palettes.

Once you have the hex numbers for your color palette, you can use them in graphic design programs and websites to create backgrounds, banners, business cards, etc.

Photoshop

In Photoshop, first click on the appropriate color box. In the image below, text colors are in the top right and in the lower left are background and layer colors.

Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show

 

Enter the hex number in the lower left corner of the pop up color selection box and then click “Ok.”

Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show

PicMonkey

There are several locations where you can enter hex numbers in PicMonkey. Two examples are show below.

Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show
Enter hex numbers in the Design menu for Canvas Color.
Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show
Enter the hex number in the overlay menu.

Canva

In Canva, you can add new colors to your color menus. From the background or text menu, click on the plus sign.

Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show

Once the pop up opens, enter the hex number in the color code box. It will be added to your standard colors for the rest of your session.

Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show

You can read more about Canva’s features in the show notes for Episode 2: 10 Ways to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Business in Just Minutes a Day.

Once you’ve identified a color palette and its associated hex numbers, you can consider different font options.

Font

Not all fonts that are pre-installed on your computer or with software are available for commercial use. Two great sources of free fonts available for commercial use are Google Fonts and Font Squirrel.

  • Google Fonts have open source licensing for commercial or non-commercial use. If you have a WordPress blog/website, you can use the plugin Easy Google Fonts to use this font on your site.
Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show
Easy Google Fonts plugin for WordPress.
  • Font Squirrel allows you to download free fonts to your computer. Those fonts can be used in Photoshop, or in PicMonkey through the option to use “your” fonts in the add text menu.

Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show

  • Canva has a limited set of fonts. If you use Canva for your graphics, you may want to choose a font in their collection because it allows you to be consistent across your graphics, and because Canva’s free account allows you to store graphic templates for re-use. However, it’s more likely that the font you choose will be less unique.

Logo design

Once you have identified a color palette and fonts for your business, you may decide to develop a logo. While logos provide great visual branding, I would encourage you to delay your logo design until you are really confident that it will represent your business conceptually and aesthetically.

If you choose to design your own logo, you can use design software such as Photoshop, or the design features in PicMonkey. (Canva is not supposed to be used for logo design, unless you use all your own elements. For more details, see this Canva support article.)

Unless you are very skilled in graphic design, you may want to outsource your logo. Four great options for affordable graphic design are Etsy, 99 Designs, Fiverr, and Ravelry.

  • A recent search for “custom logo” on Etsy brought up over 41,000 results, ranging from $25 to $1,500 for a graphic logo (rather than signage). The average range was $50 to $150. “Premade logo” designs are usually less expensive but more generic.
  • 99 Designs is a site where multiple designers submit logo options and you can choose your favorite (or have people vote to determine the most popular option). Their price range is $299 to $1,199, but you can sometimes find discount codes online, or purchase packages through affiliates like Pat Flynn to get a better rate or more features.
  • Fiverr is a website selling a variety of services/products for $5. However, most logo designs on Fiverr include many add on services and cost more than $5. You may find that it ends up being the same price as Etsy or another source, or that the quality of an inexpensive design is low.
  • The Ravelry Design Donors group provides free banners for Ravelry groups. They do have a roll call thread where graphic designers can indicate their availability for commercial design work here. In addition, many of the commercial groups on Ravelry, such as the Designers group, frequently have ads for graphic design services.

You can also take the opposite approach and work with a graphic designer first to develop a logo. The designer can help you identify a color palette, fonts, and other graphic elements for your brand.

I don’t have a logo for Underground Crafter, my crochet and knitting design, teaching, and blogging business, but I do use a consistent set of colors. For the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur, I have a logo for the podcast and a consistent set of colors and fonts.

I found both color palettes on Design Seeds.

Free & Low Cost Visual Branding Resources from Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show

I use the Eroded Hues palette (on the left) for Underground Crafter and the Summer Skies palette (on the right) for Creative Yarn Entrepreneur. You can see that that the palettes are related but each contains distinct colors.

What free or low cost resources do you use for visual branding? Have you had any experience with the sites I talked about in this episode? 

Leave a comment below, Tweet me at @cyeshow, or leave a message at 646-713-8973 to share your feedback! (You can call me for free through the Contact page.)

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