Many digital startups begin as blog creators on WordPress or some other platform. Maybe they began as a small business with customers buying their products but then they realize they can share that product or service online as well and a blog seems like a good way to start. Most businesses also take advantage of simple post creation on social media to draw customers. At times they may start with a storefront.
Often they choose a template they like and just begin writing posts or adding other content that pertains to their business. As their following grows so do their responsibilities as a publisher. Soon they may find they need a logo but it doesn’t stop there. They realize they want to be on social media platforms as a form of advertising and gaining more followers to their main website or products. Maybe they decide that a Youtube channel is the way to go. As their creation grows they learn how they can monetize their products apart from advertising revenue and some begin to offer classes or tutorials. Some sell plans or project directions. Some open a store and sell products. Some sell books. Some create newsletters or magazines.
Suddenly they realize they are a brand with an image but what image are they projecting?
How to avoid costly and time consuming redo’s
The responsibilities begin to accrue as they care about their image now that it is out there but how many responsibilities can they take on to keep expanding? Often these responsibilities take away time from the creation of the product or service and they realize not only the importance of planning but also the importance of creative direction from the start.
Colors And Fonts
Most content creation platforms or storefronts offer minimum choices of fonts and colors.
After at least having a logo some content creators stop there believing that if they just keep their font and color palette across content creation their overall image will remain cohesive.
It helps but it doesn’t end there.
Finding Their Niche Market
Most creators already know their niche market and have a fairly good idea about how to visually appeal to them but ensuring that appeal is on target can be confusing when faced with myriads of choices on photo sites.
Most startups rely on free images or mass production content. What they quickly learn is that they soon see that free image/image style or other mass produced content everywhere. They may also see their actual logo (or very similar variations) everywhere if they rely on sites like Fiverr for logo design.
As a result most content creators almost always realize they will be producing their own photos at least or buying them from a stock vendor and this is often where creative direction in shaping a brand image begins, with their image choices.
What is the style direction I want my images to have to relay my overall message to my target audience?
At this point it may be helpful to engage in target audience demographic collection.
Content creators usually find they have a need for graphic elements which can include type effects, backgrounds, scene creators and textures.
Often these are just used as backgrounds due to platform design limitations but the uses are endless for simple graphics in a particular style.
Some content creators prefer illustrative effect images only to give their brand a different style.
Again, when planning your content creation ensure that there are enough designs in the style you are using to complete either one project or numerous projects by gathering collections of specific image types and styles. Don’t mix and hope to match.
These should also relate to the overall brand image style they have chosen while keeping in mind it is what their target audience gravitates to that matters.
Content creators often have collateral material either for sale directly or as offered in classes or tutorials.
Sometimes content creators don’t see their content as a salable item in and of itself but it can be easily planned and created from the start to be a tangible product either in a bundle or a book. And then offered directly for sale on your site or through another publisher, even print publishing. All kinds of collections can be offered as a product from photos to recipes. Recipes can be created as a template and then uploaded as an image to save writing time.
They may also need labels or package inserts that can be designed as a template.
Newsletters, magazines and flyers can also be created as a template.
In this instance a template that adheres to the overall image can be a timesaver, a brand enhancement and a product .
Brand Image Style Across The Board
As most content creators grow their brand they move in to several arenas to compete for attention. This almost always includes social media.
This is where carefully selected elements come together to help form a cohesive style across all platforms.
Social media templates can also be created as can ad templates. In this way creators can ensure both a style and good design as well as time and cost savings as they simply rewrite the copy and add new images. All other design elements, application modes and layout remains intact.
These are just a few of the important decisions content creators have to make as they begin to scale their online business.
With careful planning from the start with creative direction that is on target for their online presence across the board making design decisions should not be a piecemeal approach to avoid costly and time consuming redo’s in the future. It is no easy lesson to learn you were way off the mark in design strategy and then have to redo almost all of your content.
With this in mind content creators can focus on the part of the business that got them where they are and what they usually love best. Design planning can quickly help them pivot toward faster monetization of their products or services. It can also help them reach their advertising goals across many platforms with a brand image that seemingly grew organically but was mostly well executed creative direction.