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Write an Effective Design Brief for Your Personal Brand

Your personal brand identity system provides a powerful layer of communication for your brand. When well executed, it can help to create a strong first impression that compels your target audience to want to learn more.

It's highly recommend that you work with a professional designer to identify a color palette, font(s), and other imagery that convey your brand message. You may have a logo designed for your name in the fonts and colors you choose with or without a symbol.

You can use this brand identity system everywhere — your e-mail signature, your personal website, your business cards, and the social media profiles that allow for customization, such as Twitter.

To ensure that your designer understands both your personal brand and design preferences, it’s helpful to write a design brief — a document that helps the designer align the business needs of the client with the design to ensure the client's desired outcome.

Include information about the standout qualities you’d like to convey and/or the primary message you’d like to communicate with the design alone. Keep this brief focused because you can communicate only so much with the design.

Here’s a sample design brief for Mark Johnson.

  • Project Scope: Blogsite banner for Mark Johnson. His objective is Senior Manager of Information Security at a big-four professional services firm. It’s important that he comes across as an information professional rather than a tech guy.

  • Copy: Insightful business strategies that reduce the risk of breach and secure company information (emphasize “secure company information” in the layout). Mark Johnson will write the draft of his copy.

  • Colors: He prefers blues and purples. Blue works to convey business, trust, and technology. Purple conveys wealth and high end. The background of his headshot is navy.

  • Fonts: Mark specified a font called Bladerunner (he describes it as a computer font, yet he’s trying to get away from being seen as a CIO), and he’s open to recommendations. His target audience, professional services firms, is conservative. He wants a strong, modern font to convey security and innovation.

  • Images: He wants to use his headshot in the banner. Other imagery could communicate a stable structure/risk management/corporate compliance/global.

It’s helpful to provide your designer with a lightbox of stock photography you like from services such as iStockPhoto and Veer and let your designer know if you have a preference for photography or illustration. Sometimes you can combine several images to create a custom image or alter images to fit.

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