“I’ve got no business creating branded images — I’m not a designer.”
That’s what people think when I talk to them about creating branded images.
They’re customized to deliver visual information in a branded package, like these:
Creating branded images is easier than ever today. And branded images are super versatile!
How to use branded images
Creating branded images is worth the time and effort.
You can use branded images in so many places, too. Trying using these images on …
- Your website, to illustrate written content, podcasts, or vlogs
- Your social media platforms, to drive attention to your messages (like Pinterest pins)
- Your ads, to encourage swipers to stop scrolling and read your post
- Your email marketing, so your message “pops” in the inbox
You can even use branded images in ebooks, content upgrades, and opt-in incentives!
See? Branded images are versatile as all get out. If you want tangible proof, here are some stats that prove the power of visual content marketing.
But here’s the thing …
There may be a little voice in your head telling you that even though the internet has become a visual platform, there’s no way you can create branded images yourself.
That’s what I thought for the longest time — that you had to be a trained designer to use design.
Today, I know this is patently false — non-designers can use design, create images, and brand their businesses all by themselves.
My 30+ year career is proof.
From design impostor to confident branded image creator
In the early years of my career as a designer, I felt like a fraud. An impostor.
What was I doing designing projects for major clients in Miami (where I found my first job as a designer) when I didn’t even have a design degree?
That’s right, my friends. I majored in illustration, not design.
Drawing, not designing.
In my last year of college, I took two measly design classes and (somehow) managed to get a job as a designer.
From there, it was all about learning design as I worked in design day in and day out.
Is no design training actually an advantage when creating branded images?
I’m convinced that my lack of academic training gave me a strange advantage in my early career.
Because I felt untrained, I paid very close attention in the early months and years on the job.
I noticed what made things look well-designed … and what didn’t.
When the creative director at the studio where I worked requested I make changes to my work, I made a note of her suggestions.
Over time, I started to notice a few patterns.
Eventually, I started thinking about these patterns as my personal “Design Laws.” Mastering these “laws” made creating branded images easier.
These “Design Laws,” once I had fully absorbed them and made them my own, helped train my eyes to see clearly why a design wasn’t quite working.
I learned to see when I needed to adjust:
- White space
- Sight lines
… and more.
Mastering these Design Laws helped me to create gorgeous brochures, annual reports, billboards, newsletters, posters, and ads for clients locally, nationally, and internationally.
They helped me win design awards!
And they gave me the confidence to start my own design business back in 1992.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”When you know some basic Design Laws, you (yes, you!) can use the power of design to create branded images and harness the power of visual marketing.” quote=”When you know some basic Design Laws, you (yes, you!) can use the power of design to create branded images and harness the power of visual marketing.”]
Today I’m going to teach you a few Design Laws you can start using when you’re creating branded images.
3 “Design Laws” you can use when creating branded images
Design Laws may seem foreign and strange when you first come across them. Take a few minutes to absorb them! They’ll help you to train your eyes to notice when something looks right or when it seems off.
Design Law 1: Use sight lines to your advantage
Most photos have a sight line. These are directional lines that “point” the viewer’s eyes one way or another.
When you find the sight line, you can use it to confirm the best location for your text, logo, or other messaging.
This photo, for example …
Has a strong sight line here …
Which means the best place for our text is here …
Design Law 2: Stick to two colors and two fonts to build a recognizable “brand” for your images
Simple is best — especially when it comes to branding. Sticking to a minimalist color and font palette makes your job easier as a branded image creator.
Instead of choosing from this color palette …
You choose from this color palette …
And instead of choosing from this list of fonts (imagine more than 900 entries) …
You chose from this list of fonts …
Two main colors. Two fonts.
A minimalist color and font palette makes your image creation job fast and easy.
It’s easier for the viewer, too. When all your branded images feature the same two colors and fonts, it’s faster and easier for them to pick out your brand when they see it in a visually “noisy” environment like social media.
So … two colors, two fonts!
Now for the “record scratch” moment …
Design Law 3: Don’t use pre-designed templates
Wait a minute … why wouldn’t you use pre-designed templates if you’re not a designer?
Because pre-designed templates don’t stick to a single branded style. This means every time you trot out a new template, you’re sharing a different style for your brand.
This, my friend, ends up diluting your brand instead of reinforcing it. 🙁
Yes, templates save time. But using pre-designed templates aren’t good for your brand.
You see, I’ve come up with a solution that combines the convenience of a pre-designed template with a powerful (but simple) visual brand.
Create better branded image with these three Design Laws
Not a designer? My friend, design is a learnable skill.
Start today when you apply the three simple Design Laws we talked about here:
Design Law 1: Use sight lines to your advantage. Scan the image you want to use for any sight lines. Make sure sight lines “point” toward the text you place on your branded images.
Design Law 2: Stick to two colors and two fonts. Build a recognizable “brand” when you use the same two colors and the same two fonts in all your branded images.
Design Law 3: Don’t use pre-designed templates. Don’t dilute your brand with off-the-shelf templates that everyone else is using.
You’ve got this! Start with the three powerful Design Laws here.
This article was originally published on December 5, 2018 and has been updated with the most recent best practices for branded images.