I see so many small business owners, especially in the beauty industry, who struggle with defining a strong and clear brand for their business. I want to help with that, because branding your salon or independent beauty business may be the single most important thing you can do to ensure that your business continues to grow and succeed.
This is the third in an epic series of posts on how to build your salon or independent beauty business brand starting from scratch, all the way through branding your client’s experience every time she sits in your chair. To read the first post in this series, click here, the second is here.
Your Visual Brand Language
In an industry so focused on looks and outwardly visible beauty, you MUST define a strong visual brand language for your salon or independent beauty business. Taking great care to present your business thoughtfully will position you as an expert on beauty.
If you’ve given no thought to the way you present your business’s visual aspects, clients will notice. Given the choice between a salon with a strong visual brand and one without, all other things being equal, clients will gravitate toward the business that presents a cohesive brand image.
So, what do we mean when we talk about your salon’s visual brand language? We’re simply talking about the colors, shapes, fonts, and design styles associated with your business.
It’s that simple. It just means putting thought into making your salon’s logo, signage, decor, business cards, and online presence look cohesive.
Over the next several posts in this branding series, I’ll show you how to think through every aspect of your visual branding to make yourself memorable to every client that sits in your chair.
A logo is a graphic representation of your brand. The main function of a logo is customer recognition. Just like you instantly think of Apple Inc when you see that bitten rainbow-striped apple, a good logo is memorable and instantly recognizable.
There are three main types of logo design:
- Iconic/Symbolic: A single icon or image. Two examples of this type are the aforementioned Apple and the Nike swoosh.
- Logotype/Wordmark: Your business’s name in a stylized font. Think Coca-Cola or Google.
- Combination Mark: A graphic with both text and an icon. Starbucks has one of these, and so does The Beauty Saloon.
You definitely need a logo, but there are a few ways to go about getting one, depending on your budget.
Hiring A Designer
Of course, the number one way to get the perfect logo for your business is to hire a graphic designer. These professionals are trained to distill the essence of your brand down to a single, refined graphic image that can work to represent your business across a variety of applications. While it will be money very well spent, hiring a design firm is the most costly option, and far out of the reach of most small business startups.
A more affordable option if you do have some cash to spend is an online design service such as 99designs.com. You have a couple of options with this service:
- For $99, you can choose from an array of ready-made logos that will be personalized for you. For example, a search for “beauty salon” returns hundreds of results. While this won’t be a custom designed, one of a kind logo, it can be an affordable way to get a decent logo for your business when you’re on a tight budget, if you don’t have the design skills to do it yourself. You can always upgrade later!
- For a custom designed logo, 99designs.com also gives you the option of running a design contest for your logo design job. With packages starting at $299, you fill out a design brief detailing your wishes for your logo, and dozens of designers compete for the job. Each returns a design, and you pick the winner.
DIY LOGO Design
Since you’ve chosen to build a career in the beauty industry, chances are you have a good eye for color and design. If you don’t have room in your budget for design help, you can use that artistic eye of yours to tackle the job of designing a logo yourself. There are five basic principles to keep in mind when designing an image to represent your business:
- Think simple. The more concise, the better.
- No more than 3 colors. We’ll talk more about color later, but if you’re not a pro, too many colors can look amateurish.
- No more than 2 fonts. It’s generally best to use 2 complimentary letter styles and no more.
- Works for a variety of applications. Your logo should work in color and in black and white, and in both print and digital forms.
- Add an optional tagline. A few well thought out words (2 to 5) after your business’s name can reinforce your brand and communicate what you’re about.
Logo Design Tools
If you don’t have a program like Photoshop, there are couple of online tools I recommend for basic logo design.
Graphicsprings.com allows you to design your own logo for free using a library of images and fonts. Then, once you’re happy with your final design, you pay $39.99 to download the files. This is a great option for absolute beginners because the site is easy to use and offers very simple and straightforward choices to help you create a professional-looking logo.
Here is a mock-up logo design I created using graphicsprings.com for my fictional salon The Powder Room. I did this in about 10 minutes, just to show you what’s possible with this tool. If you remember the branding list I made in the first post, you can see how I chose a vintage crystal chandelier image to tie in with the branding vision I have for my salon. You can also see how I’ve used the tagline “vintage salon” to further reinforce my branding.
If you’re a little more confident in your design skills and want something totally free, Canva.com is one of my most favorite online tools. It’s free to use, and there are a variety of fonts, shapes and icons you can combine to create your own logo design. Referring again to my branding guide list, I made a few mock-ups using this tool to illustrate what is possible.
A Word About Fonts
When choosing which fonts to use to create your logo, it’s important to think about the image you’re trying to project. Once again, refer to the branding guide list you made in the first post in this series.
It might sound strange since we’re just talking about letters on a page or screen, but different typefaces communicate different feelings. Fonts can read as masculine or feminine, modern or vintage, and playful or serious. In the above example, I chose a sophisticated, feminine font with a vintage feel called Parisienne to communicate the glamorous vintage feel I want my salon to have.
When combining fonts, you’ll want to choose two that contrast nicely. Don’t use two different cursive fonts together, for example. If you use an all caps font, contrast with something lowercase or something more flowing. There are no hard and fast rules here, but play around until it feels right.
More Visual Branding
Because visually branding your salon or independent beauty business is such a broad topic, to avoid information overload, I’ve decided to break it down into a few separate posts. Next, we’ll cover how to choose the right color scheme for branding your business. I hope you’ll stay tuned!
Do you have a logo for your beauty business? Did you design one yourself? Have any questions about logos or other branding topics? Let me know in the comments!