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One of the most important elements of building an ecommerce business is de-
veloping a longstanding and likable brand with your audience. However, many
people outside of advertising and marketing still hold the notion that a brand is
little more than a logo. A brand is in fact so much more.

Over the years, branding is one topic I have found most people avoid when
starting their business. After talking to hundreds of ecommerce entrepreneurs,
it was a common and reoccurring theme. Most understood the importance of
building a brand, but beyond a logo, many didn’t know what exactly a brand was
and they had absolutely no idea where to begin to craft one.

Seth Godin nailed it when he said:

Branding is problematic. Branding is ill-defined, usually
vacuous, often expensive and totally unpredictable.

Even when I first started in marketing and ecommerce I had very little idea what
a brand was and how to build it. Searching online provided only vague and very
general articles on the elements and process of branding. Nothing felt tangible,
practical or noteworthy.
Why I Wrote This Branding Guide
The act of branding can be expensive but doesn’t have to be. If you try to work
with a branding agency, or even a freelancer, it can cost anywhere from a few
thousand dollars to $50,000+. The problem is, most new ecommerce business-
es and entrepreneurs that are bootstrapping their business can’t even come
close to justifying that cost, nor should they try to.

I wanted to demystify the elements and process of building a brand so that all
entrepreneurs could understand what it is, and how to do it themselves.

A Better Brand
Several years ago I was very fortunate to be able to work with a brilliant brand
strategist on a branding project for a fast growing tech company. It was a six-
month project that gave me ample time to understand his unique approach to
building a brand from the ground up. I took everything I learned from him, com-
bined with my experience and the best gold nuggets available online. Over many
months I distilled everything, sifted the gold, and developed my own unique
brand building process.

What follows in this guide is a simple, easy to apply, brand building strategy that
anyone, including you, can follow to develop your own, better brand.
What’s Covered in This Branding Guide

– Why Is a Brand Important?

– What Exactly Is a Brand?
– Breaking Down the Elements of a Brand
– What Does a Brand Consist Of?
– Controllable Brand Elements
1. Brand Persona (Personality)
2. Brand Visual Assets (Looks)

– Uncontrollable Brand Elements

1. Customer Experiences
2. Customer Expectations
3. Word of Mouth

– Breaking Down a Brand Persona

1. Brand Pillars (Attributes)
2. Brand Promise
3. Mission Statement

– How to Craft Your Brand Persona

1. Who’s Your Customer
2. Building Your Brand Pillars (Attributes)

– How to Develop Your Brand’s Visual Assets

1. Creating a Mood Board
2. Identifying a Color Pallet
3. Designing Your Logo
4. Selecting Your Typography
5. Establishing Your Tone of Voice
6. Choosing a Photography Style

– Creating a Brand Bible

– Conclusion
If you follow this guide, in the end you’ll have a much better understanding of
branding, a simplified brand persona for your business, a logo, a selected color
pallet, fonts for both headers and body text, your product photography style,
and tone of voice. In short, you’ll have a complete and cohesive brand for your
new ecommerce business.

Why Is a Brand Important?

Crafting a killer brand can have a massive impact on your business. It unites
everyone working on the project and gives the business a common goal and
focus, beyond selling product.

If your ecommerce business has many competitors, a brand can help you stand
out from the rest and provide a competitive advantage. Remember, people buy
from people they like. They also buy from brands they like. With all else being the
same a customer will always purchase from the brand they like most and most
closely relate to.

Ultimately, every business has a brand and every new business will have a brand.
Crafting your brand upfront gives you the chance to better define and commu-
nicate your message and story.
What Exactly Is a Brand?
Before we get into building your brand, there’s a bit of background we need to
get out of the way. Asking the question “What is a brand?” may seem like a silly
question but most people don’t fully know or understand exactly what a brand
is. I would argue that most marketers don’t even know.

For most people a brand is usually boiled down to the most iconic representa-
tion of a business, the logo. While the logo does tend to act as a centerpiece for
most brands, a logo is one very small part of the overall brand.

First, it’s actually really important to note what a company/corporation is. Ac-
cording to Wikipedia a corporation is defined as the following:

“ Despite not being human beings, corporations, as far as

the law is concerned, are legal persons, and have many
of the same rights and responsibilities as natural people
do. Corporations can exercise human rights against real
individuals and the state.

That’s right. In the eyes of the law, a company is essentially a person, minus the
right to vote.

Seth Godin in a blog post titled simply define: Brand, stated the following:

“ A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories

and relationships that, taken together, account for a
consumer’s decision to choose one product or service
over another.
So if a brand is in fact expectations, memories, stories and relationships, how can
we better craft and control these to help ensure customers see our brand in a
positive light?

As mentioned in the intro, every business has a brand, the question is, is that
brand how you actually want to be seen? Crafting your brand (branding) allows
you to better control your message and more effectively tell your story to help
shape customer’s expectations, memories, stories and relationships.

“ A brand is how someone thinks and feels about

your company and is based on the sum of all
interactions they have with your business.
- Richard Lazazzera

Breaking Down the Elements of a Brand

If we’re going to develop a brand we need to break down the major elements of
a brand further. We briefly touched on the fact that all businesses have a brand,
and in the eyes of the law, a business is practically seen as a person. Much like
a person, a brand is made up of two major components: personality and looks.

What Does a Brand Consist Of?

A brand consists of both controllable and uncontrollable elements. Let’s break
them both down in the next section.
Controllable Brand Elements

Controllable brand elements are the things you have some level of control over
and the opportunity to craft. This guide will teach you how to develop these
controllable elements.


A brand persona is a set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand
name and is the personality in which you deliver your customer experiences. A
brand persona is something to which the consumer can relate, and an effective
brand will increase its brand equity by having a consistent set of traits. Keep in
mind that customers are more likely to purchase a brand if the brand’s persona
is similar to their own or in which they aspire to be.

You brand persona can be reflected in every touch-point with your visitors and
customer’s including everything from your policies (strict, lenient, friendly), the
tone you use to communicate with customers in emails (Richard, vs. Hello Sir vs.
Hi Richard vs. Hey Richard!), and even through your advertisement’s image and

When you define the persona of your brand, you can much more effectively
communicate it and relate to your core customers through all your marketing
A brand’s visual assets are the things that are front facing and can include everything
from the look and feel of your website, the color pallet you use, your logo, your ad
designs and even your packaging and unboxing experience.

Humans are a very visual species so your visual assets are really important. The
fact that most people sum a brand up by it’s logo supports that notion. Your
brand’s visual assets help to create a style and mood while also reflecting the
brand persona and providing an overall visual representation of your brand.

Uncontrollable Brand Elements

Uncontrollable brand elements are things that add or subtract from your brand
that are out of your immediate and direct control. Although through your con-
trollable brand assets above, you can positively or negatively influence the un-
controllable brand elements on the following page:
Customer experiences are the interactions, touch points and ultimately the
feeling customers develop towards a brand. It is the sum of what they see, hear
and feel through all their interactions and touch points. To some extent, you’re
probably thinking that you can control your customer’s experience, and much
of the time you can. However, the experiences your customers have with your
brand ultimately belongs to the visitor/customer and each of them have their
own methodology for evaluating each of the touch points. So while you have
some control over your customer/visitor experiences, you don’t ultimately
control the final experience in the end.

Each customer has their own expectations not just for your brand, but for busi-
ness and purchasing online in general. Unfortunately you have little control
over these expectations. For example, some customers might be Amazon Prime
members and have been conditioned to think that shipping should always be
free and orders should arrive the next day so they even expect it with much
smaller businesses. If this is something your business can’t deliver on, you may
fall short of your customer’s preconceived expectations.

What your visitors and customers end up saying about you online and to others
is out of your direct control. Word of mouth and what people say about your
brand online can significantly contribute or detract from your brand.

Breaking Down a Brand Persona

There are several essential elements that make up a brand persona including brand
pillars, brand promise, and brand mission.

Again, you can think of these elements in a human context to make them easier to

For example, brand pillars are your personality attributes. They’re words someone
might use to describe you if they were telling a friend about you.
Your brand promise is what you work towards delivering to your customers and
is just like the goals you work towards everyday to help others around you, like
being a better husband, father or friend.

Finally your brand mission is your ultimate and overarching direction and to some
extent represents the legacy you want to leave.

Let’s take a look at each one in more detail below:


Brand pillars are a few key words or attributes (usually 3-4) that embody what
your brand is about and serve as a starting point for developing your brand per-
sona. Later, these words are used as a check against most activities of the brand.
For example, when creating your website, an advertisement or even a conver-
sation with your customer, you do a check against your brand pillars. Does your
design/website/ad/conversation represent the essence behind those words?

Your brand pillars act as a simple tool for keeping your brand consistent through
all of your activities and serves as the foundation for your brand.
A brand promise is a statement to your customers that outlines the distinctive
benefits that customers can expect with every interaction of your brand.

Below are two examples of well known companies’ brand promises along with an
example of them delivering on it:

Coca-Cola: “To inspire moments of optimism and uplift.”

Example of Coca-Cola delivering on this brand promise: Click here

Virgin: “To be genuine, fun, contemporary, and different in everything we do at a

reasonable price.” Example of Virgin delivering on this brand promise: Click here

A mission statement is a statement of the purpose of your brand, it’s your reason
for existing beyond making a profit. The mission statement helps to guide the
actions of your company and brand, spell out its overall goal, provide a path,
and guide decision-making. It provides “the framework or context within which
the company’s strategies are formulated.” It’s like a goal for what the company
wants to do for the world.

Note: For the purpose of this guide, the step-by-step section will exclude
higher level elements of creating a brand, including brand promise and
brand mission statement.

How to Craft Your Brand Persona

Now that you understand the major elements of a brand persona, it’s time to
create yours.
This brand development process can be completed on your own or in a group. I
would recommend that you find at least one partner (spouse, partner, friend) that
understands your vision so you have someone to discuss and bounce ideas off of.
If you have a team of three or more people that will be involved in the branding
process, it’s a good idea to appoint one person to lead the strategy session. Not
only will they lead the session but they should also act as a devil’s advocate in the
process. There is a tendency when branding to get too creative and far-fetched
sometimes. It’s the job of the leader to question these notions and keep the team

Before beginning you should have one to two hours together with your team
for your strategy session. It’s a good idea to also have everyone put their
smartphones on silent and place them in the middle of the table to avoid
distractions. It can really suck the energy from the rest of the group to have
even one person disengaged and always checking their phone.


Before you develop your brand persona, you should assess your current business
(if you are already established), and who your target customer is. After all, your
brand should ideally cater to them.

There are two key things to consider:

1. What do you, can you or will do better than anyone else in the market?
2. Who is your main customer?

For the second question, you’ll want to build a basic customer profile of this
person. To build a customer profile, you need to assess who your existing and/or
potential customers are. If you feel strongly that there are several types of core
customers, you may decide to build multiple customer profiles.

A customer profile is simply an outline of character traits for each major core
customer group.
As the online space becomes more and more crowded, it’s becoming increasingly
important to have an ultra targeted brand. You shouldn’t dive into building your
brand without identifying who your buyers are or will likely be. Knowing and un-
derstanding your buyers is imperative to crafting a brand that will match your

To understand core customer groups, it has become a standard to create buyer

(or customer) profiles. Buyer profiles are fictional, generalized characters that
help paint a picture of your ideal customer and your target market. They usually
encompass not only demographic information like age, location and income, but
also psychographic information like interests, reasons for buying, and concerns.

Your Buyer Personas Will Evolve and Change

When you’re first starting out and creating personas for a brand new business,
much of you customer personas will likely be based on personal thoughts, feelings
and hunches. However, as your business progresses and you make sales, you will
start learning a lot more about your core customers. It’s important to know that
your buyer personas will change as business goes on and you learn more about
your customers and what motivates them.

Defining Your Buyer Persona Details

So where do you start when it comes to defining your customer personas?
There’s a lot of possible information you could research, however, a great place
to start is by looking at what information you can practically use. Facebook is
one of the fastest growing ad networks and it’s also one of the easiest to use.
Most importantly, it also has a lot of targeting options that go hand in hand
with your customer persona. This makes Facebook Ads a great place to start
for determining buyer profile demographics and psychographics to define.
Here are some of the major elements you may want to consider defining for each
of your personas:

• Location – Where do people from this persona live?

• Excluding Location – Where do people from this persona not live?
• Age – What is the average age range of this persona?
• Gender – What is the dominate gender of this persona?
• Interests – What are the interests of people in this persona?
• Education Level – What is the education level of this persona?
• Job Title – What field of work do your customer work in and what types of job
titles do they carry?
• Income Level – What is the income range of this buyer persona?
• Relationship Status – What is the relationship status of this buyer persona?
• Language – What languages do people in this persona speak?
• Favorite Websites – Why type of websites do people in this persona frequent?
• Buying Motivation – What is this persona’s reasons for buying your product?
• Buying Concerns – What is this persona’s concerns when buying your product?

Keep in mind that you don’t need to answer all of these questions about each
of your buyer profiles and you may opt to answer different questions altogether.
However, the purpose should always be to understand your customers more, to
be able to communicate more effectively, and to be able to target your ads more

Even just discussing your core customer and answering these questions as a group
can help everyone better understand the customer profile you’re targeting so that
everyone’s on the same page.
As mentioned previously, brand pillars are a few, usually 3-4 key words (attributes)
that embody what your brand is about and serve as a foundation for your brand.
Building out these brand pillars is the most important part of building your brand.

Review Customer Profile: Begin the strategy session by reviewing with the team
your customer profile so that everyone is starting with the right mindset of
thinking about your core customer. Remember, you are building your brand to
appeal to this type of person.

1. Worksheet A (Brand Attributes)

To begin, hand out Worksheet A to all group participants.

Worksheet A

Active Academic Actionable Ageless Agreeable Aggressive Altruistic

Approachable Artistic Assured Authoritarian Bold Brave Broad-minded
Budget-conscious Business-like Calm Careful Caring Classic Coarse
Colorful Comfortable Committed Complicated Composed Concerned
Confident Conservative Conventional Cooperative Creative Cultured
Dedicated Deep-thinking Deliberate Dependable Determined Different
Distinctive Distinguished Down-to-earth Dreamers Dynamic Easy-going
Edgy Elitist Emotional Energetic Enterprising Entertaining Ethical Exciting
Exclusive Experienced Extravagant Extrovert Fair-minded Fatherly Fast
Firm Flexible Focused Forceful Fresh Friendly Frivolous Fun Generous
Gentle Genuine Greedy Heavy-handed High-class Honest Hospitable
Imaginative Immaculate Impersonal Impressive Independent Individual
Innovative Inspired Inspiring Intelligent International Inventive Inviting
Kind Leader Level-headed Logical Logistical Loyal Maternal Mature Mid-
dle-class Modest Mould-breaking Obliging Passionate Patient Patriotic
Peaceful Persuasive Pioneering Pleasant Popular Posh Powerful Predict-
able Presumptuous Professional Proud Questioning Quiet Reassuring
Recognized Reliable Reserved Responsive Robust Serious Showy Shrewd
Simple Slick Small Smart Smooth Sophisticated Spiritual Status-con-
scious Stimulating Sociable Solid Strategic Strong Superior Supportive
Sympathetic Tactical Thoughtful Traditional Transcending Trustworthy
Understanding Unique Unusual Visionary Welcoming Well-known Wise
Worldly Youthful

Note: To save your own copy for printing, go to File – Download As – PDF
Document (.pdf)
2. Set A Timer
Set a timer for ten minutes and ask everyone to write their name on the worksheet
and to circle up to ten words that they feel best represents the brand you’re trying
to build and the personality you want to convey to visitors and customers.

Consider these questions: How do you want to see your brand? More
importantly, how do you want your target customers to see your your brand?

3. List Everyone’s Brand Attributes

Upon completion of the exercise you will need to take all the selected words
from everyone and list them out in a word processor by person.

For example:

Bold, Brave, Artistic, Confident, Creative, Cultured, Distinctive,
Exciting, Fun, Fresh, Inspired, Kind, Passionate, Sociable, Unique

Artistic, Colorful, Comfortable, Confident, Extrovert, Exclusive,
Independant, Mold-Breaking, Powerful, Proud, Trustworthy,

Colorful, Cultured, Deliberate, Individual, Mold-Breaking, Passionate
Simple, Smart, Youthful

Artistic, Bold, Confident, Different, Mold-Breaking, Visionary, Edgy,
Pioneering, Proud
4. Categorize
With all participant’s selected brand attributes, you will need to distill this information
down. To begin, you’ll want to group the words into similar categories.

For example, from the list above, you might want to group the following together
as they all carry a similar underlying sentiment:

• Bold
• Brave
• Confident
• Powerful
• Proud
• Extrovert

It wont always be possible to fit all the words neatly under several groups, but
the idea is that you start to group similar thoughts and sentiments of the words.

Here’s an example of the attributes from above grouped:

Bold Distinctive Kind

Artistic Brave Recognized Passionate

Creative Confident Exclusive Genuine

Cultured Powerful Independent Honest

Inspired Proud Mold-Breaking Trustworthy

Extrovert Individual Assured

5. Group Discussion & Distillation
Now that you have all (or most) of your chosen words grouped, it’s time for everyone
to discuss each grouping and distill each grouping into one word that everyone feels
works best and articulates the brand you’re trying to craft.

Your final goal should be to settle on 3-4 words that truly represent the brand you
want to build. There is no formal process to this, as it becomes a matter of debate.
In larger groups, your group mediator should act as a devil’s advocate here making
sure to challenge other group members on their stance.

As an example, I decided on the following four brand pillars:

Cultured Bold Independent Genuine

The 3-4 words you select now become your brand pillars and serve as a very
important foundation for the rest of your brand, so choose carefully.

6. How To Use Brand Pillars

Making use of your brand pillars is simple. These 3-4 words should become a part
of your brand as much as your company name and logo. As you move forward
with your business, whether you’re creating an ad, choosing a hero image for
your website or a new promotion, or even selecting your shipping packaging,
you’ll want to do a check against your brand pillars.

It’s as simple as asking yourself: “Does this image, packaging, or ad, embody our
brand pillars?”.
For example, if we use the brand pillars I selected from above (Cultured, Bold,
Independent, Genuine), which image would you use?

It may not be a perfect match to all of your brand pillars every single time, flex-
ibility is allowed, however, your brand pillars help keep you on the right track,
keeping each of your business decisions, as well as your brand, grounded and

How to Develop Your Brand’s Visual

Once you have defined your brand pillars and persona, it makes it much easier
to develop your customer facing assets. Your visual assets can include any or all
of the following:

• Logo
• Tagline
• Tone of Voice
• Color Palette
• Fonts & Typography
• Photo Style
BONUS: Teaching design fundamentals like color
theory and typography go beyond the scope of this
guide, however, a foundational understanding of
design is crucial and can have a significant impact
on the success of your brand. I highly recommend you check out the
Design For Founders Ebook which covers all aspects of understanding
design for non-technical entrepreneurs.


The first thing you’ll want to do is to build out a mood board. A mood board is
essentially a collage of images and elements that visually represent the brand
you’re trying to craft. Your mood board can contain anything including, but not
limited to, photography, website screenshots, packaging examples, font styles
and color swatches.

One of the easiest ways to create your mood board is to use Pinterest and create
a new board for this project. From here, you can start searching for and pinning
items to that board to begin building it out. I would suggest you add somewhere
between 5-15 elements to your mood board.

This can be done together, as a group or separate, then brought all together to
finalize just one mood board that everyone agrees on.

Some other tools you may want to consider for building your mood board are:

• Dropmark
• Niice
• GoMoodboard
Here’s a quick mood board I put together with a bit of hipster flavor:

Now that you have a finalized mood board, you can and will use this as well as
your brand pillars for reference as you move forward to build the rest of your
visual assets.
The color pallet you choose for your brand is important because it not only helps
identify your brand, but it also sets the tone for your brand visually. Ideally, you
want to choose between three to five colors, as that will give you some options
to work with.

There are two ways that I’ll show you to help select your brand’s color pallet.

1. Extracting Color Pallets From Images

The first is the easiest way. Using a service like Adobe Kuler (Free), you can
upload your mood board. The Adobe Kuler tool will then automatically select
the predominant colors from the images and present you with a color pallet of
five colors.

You can slightly adjust the presented colors by using the Color Mood menu,
and selecting one of the preset moods: Colorful, Bright, Muted, Deep, Dark or
2. Community Created Color Pallets
You can also opt for choosing or being inspired by a color pallets created by others.
There are many services that allow people to make custom color pallets that are
then voted on by the community.

Two of my favorites are Color Lovers and Adobe Kuler. Start by spending some
time scanning through the highest voted and most popular color pallets:

Colour Lovers – Check out the most loved color pallets and patterns of all time

Adobe Kuler – Check out the most popular color pallets and the most used color

Here are several additional resources for picking great color pallets for your

• Brand Colors: Colors used by famous brands.

• Coolors: Super fast color schemes generator.
• 0 to 255: A simple tool that helps you find variations of any color.
Finally. It’s time to create what many people consider to be the centerpiece for
a brand: your logo.

Before we go creating a logo, let’s first understand what makes a good logo. A
good logo is distinctive, appropriate, practical, graphic and simple in form, and it
conveys your brand’s intended message. There are four basic principles to cre-
ating a great logo for your brand:

• Simple
• Memorable
• Timeless
• Versatile

You’ll also want to keep the following questions in mind as you’re creating your

• Is your logo still effective if it is displayed in one color?

• Is your logo still effective if it is displayed with colors inverted (i.e. light logo on
dark background)?
• Is your logo still effective if it is displayed at the size of a coin?
• Is your logo still effective if it is displayed as large as a billboard?

A good trick to creating a versatile logo is to design in black and white and add
color later. By doing this, you’ll be more focused on the core elements of shape
and simplicity.

Designing Your Logo

Again, during the logo design process, you want to keep in mind your brand’s pil-
lars, you may also want to take a look at your finalized mood board again as well.

I have a secondary worksheet to complete, specifically to help you better plan

your logo design.
Worksheet B – (Logo Communication)
The purpose of Worksheet B is just to get everyone on the same page as to the
elements you want your logo to convey. This will not become part of your final
brand; rather it’s just meant to get everyone on the same page and to think more
critically about what you want your logo to convey.

1. Handout Worksheet B

Worksheet B

What do you want to communicate?

Example Brand

Maculine Feminine

Complex Simple

Obvious Subtle

Young Mature

Luxury Economical

Serious Playful

Loud Quiet

Classic Modern

Note: To save your own copy for printing, go to File – Download As – PDF
Document (.pdf)
2. Complete Worksheet B
Each participant in the branding strategy session should complete Worksheet B
by making a check on the scale for each attribute, with the middle circle being
neutral. There is also a line beside each attribute if participants want to give an
example of another brand’s logo to better illustrate their stance.

3. Group Review
As a group, you will want to go through each attribute listed in the worksheet
one by one and discuss each in detail. Going around in a circle, ask each partici-
pant what they rated each one on the scale and why.

There are no right or wrong answers since they are all personal opinions. It is the
job of the moderator to lead the discussion and have the group all come to an

You’ll want to come up with a final worksheet with everyone’s agreed stance for
each attribute and possible examples for each.

Note: There should be general agreement on each criteria but all opinions don’t
have to be exactly the same. The purpose of this worksheet is to bring everyone
together on the general tone you want the logo to convey.

4. Create Your Logo

Now that you have a better idea of the attributes you want your logo to convey
as well as keeping in mind your brand pillars, it’s time to create your logo.

There’s lots of different ways at different levels of cost to create a logo for
your new brand. Traditionally you would go to a designer and pay anywhere
from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars for several logo concepts
and revisions. If your budget supports this, this is definitely a great way to go,
however, for most of you bootstrapping your new business, a designer won’t
be a viable option.
In my opinion, your best option is to use one of the more advanced logo generators
on the market. A logo generator can help you create your brand’s logo cost effec-
tively. In another blog post, I put ten online logo generators to the test and the one
that came out of top was TailorBrands.

TailorBrands is a revolutionary branding platform that allows you to easily design

a logo for your brand with very little effort. Using advanced machine learning
and powerful algorithms, Tailor Brands will analyze your brand’s name, values
and industry and will create a series of unique, beautiful logos within minutes
that you can choose from. The automated process requires no technical skills
and most importantly, the logos look great.

By just entering a few details about your brand and selecting a few preferences,
TailorBrands will generate six different logos for you. From there you can select
and further edit and refine them, until you find one that fits your brand perfectly.
Next up is your brand’s typography (fonts). Essentially, you’ll want to choose two
fonts, maybe three.

Body Font
The first font you’ll want to choose is your body text. Your body text makes up
95% of the text on your site, so you’ll want to choose a really clean, simple and
easy to read font.

Header Font
The second font you’ll want to choose is a header font. This font will be used
for headers, titles and sub-titles. This should also be clean, simple and easy to
read, however, because this text is used much less than body text, it doesn’t
need to be as clean and simple.

Finally, you may wish to also choose another font that can be used in certain
occasions, like promotional banners. This font can be a little more fancy since
the text will only be used occasionally and usually only in very short sentences
like “50% Off!”.

As an example, can you spot the three main fonts (Header, Body and Promotional)
For more information and tips on how to pair fonts, check out the blog post The
Only Font Pairing Guide You Need from Heidi over at Design For Founders.

Bonus: Courtesy of Design For Founders, download a free PDF of 16

gorgeous font pairings using all free, web-ready fonts. Don’t forget to
check out the blog post on font pairing as well!


Finally, you want to make sure the things you say fall in line with the the rest of
your branding. This applies to everything from the headlines in an ad, to your
product descriptions, to the way blog posts are structured or the sentiment of
a tweet.

A brand voice is just as important as the brand style. Your brand should sound
and look a certain way and you’ll want to keep it consistent.

Outline the type of acceptable language that will be used. Should the tone be
formal, or more conversational? You might include particular words and phrases
that should always appear, or which words should be avoided. How should your
emails start (i.e. Hi, Hey, Hello,) and how should they end (i.e. Cheers, Thanks,

Using a consistent and distinct tone can help clients and customers identify with
a brand, and creates an association with what the brand stands for. When creating
guidelines for text and tone, think about your brand pillars, again your pillars will
keep you brand consistent and grounded.
Photography is a reflection of your brand. Specific styles evoke certain responses,
and if you’re really good, people can recognize a brand based off of a photo.

As an example, what brand do you think the image below belongs to? 9 out of 10
people tend to get it right. Click the image to find out.

When developing the brand for your ecommerce business, you’ll want to choose
several image styles. The first is general images and photography styles that
you’ll use or homepage hero images and any other images for design. In my
opinion, the best way to do this is to build a small portfolio of example images
that you believe best represents your brand (again keeping in mind your brand
pillars). Should your photos be monochrome, color, bright, dark, high contrast,
still, lively?
The second photo style you’ll need to decide on is for your product photos. The
most common product photo style for ecommerce businesses is to feature the
product isolated on a pure white background.

Although this is the most popular style because it keeps your images clean and
the focus on the product, it also requires the most work to edit. Keep in mind, if
you want your product photos to have a pure white background, you’ll need to
enlist the help of a service like Pixc.

Maybe an easier alternative to a pure white background is taking a photo on a

solid background under consistent light. This prevents you from having to edit
each image to remove the background. Keep in mind you’ll want to choose a
pretty neutral color like Prospector Co. has done below.
Another alternative is to use different background for each image. This works
especially well if you have a smaller collection of products, and if each product
has it’s own brand that can be accentuated with a complimentary background.
Below is an example from Beardbrand:
Finally, your third choice for product photos is to set the scene and show your
products in their natural environment. This works better for some products than
others. For example, Ikea is notorious for setting the scene and showing you how
their products can be used and incorporated into your own home.

Creating a Brand Bible

A brand bible, sometimes called a brand deck is essentially a document that
brings together all of your established brand standards.

Normally, for large companies, a brand bible can be dozens of pages long and
goes into way more detail than you’ll need. However, a simplified one page brand
bible of your defined brand gives you an easy guide to refer to for all activities
in the future.
Usually when I’m done a branding project, I’ll put all the major elements onto
one page that I can then go back a refer to when creating all other material. It
serves as a consistent reminder of my brand pillars, typography, color palette
and tone of voice.

Here’s a list of some things you may want to include in your brand bible:

• Overview of Brand
• Brand Pillars
• Logo Examples
• Typography
• Color Palette
• Image/Photography Style
• Writing Style and Tone of Voice

And here’s a simple example I put together for my brand, Finch Goods Co.:
If you’ve read up until this point, you should have a much better understanding
of what a brand is, what branding is, and how to strategically approach the pro-
cess. If you’ve actually followed along and completed each of the steps, con-
gratulations, you have built your brand from the ground up.

Remember, every interaction with your visitors and customers brings the op-
portunity to improve your brand in their eyes. Referring back to your brand pil-
lars can help you keep your brand consistent and help you respond appropriately
in every situation you’ll back.

Finally, branding is hardly a one time action or process, it’s constant and ongo-
ing. Make sure you revisit your brand every six months or so to make sure it still
reflects your audience and the message you want to portray.