Look through Pinterest and you’ll notice which bloggers have nailed it with their blog branding. Learn how to create a consistent look for your pins too!
Today I’m talking about something else besides parenting I’m passionate about: blogging! I know several of you have mentioned you enjoy behind the scenes articles on the blog, and today is one of them.
In particular, I’ll be talking about yet a third thing I can’t get enough of: graphic design.
I worked in graphic design all my adult life (my interest even began in high school). Design has been a huge skill I’ve been able to cross over into the blogging world. Even if I don’t create my own designs, I can still see what makes for good design and what doesn’t.
And the same holds true with my pins. Several of my blog friends have said I maintain a clear brand and they can always tell which pins are mine right away.
For any blog that relies on Pinterest, having beautiful and consistent pin images is key. (These are the images you see on the upper right corner of each article on this blog.)
Why consistency is important in blog branding
Bloggers sometimes shy away from having the same “look” because it can feel restrictive.
But take a look at any major company with awesome branding, and you can see the consistency they follow. Think about Apple and how they use the same font, from their packaging to billboards. They usually stick to the same gray scale color and clean white or black backgrounds.
Or Target, and how they’ll rarely deviate from red. You can pinpoint a Target ad anywhere because they use the same branding, even without their iconic logo.
Your branding defines who you and your blog are. A person should be able to take a look at your pin images and tell right away they’re from your blog.
In the graphic design world, we even have “brand guides.” These documents outline instructions on how designers can use elements of the brand. Things like colors, fonts, spacing, messaging, and everything that defines that company.
Examples of consistent and branded pins
To show you what I mean, below are a few examples of consistent branding in pin images:
How to create consistent branding across your pins
So, what are a few pointers you can apply to your pins to make for consistent blog branding?
#1: Use the same two fonts
Your pins should use the same two fonts, in the same treatment. You might have your main words in all capitals and bold while the supporting words are in a smaller font.
Your fonts should also be the same as the ones on your blog. Your reader will find a natural tie between the pin and the blog once they land on the article.
And try to stick to two fonts. Rare should be the occasion to have three or more, and it should be for a good reason!
#2: Use the same colors
Like fonts, stick to the same colors as much as possible, and again, this should be your blog colors.
Sometimes you’ll need to deviate and use a different color, maybe one that ties in well with your image. Maybe your title will be in purple to match the purple outfit on the photo even if it’s not your blog color. You can definitely make exceptions, but make them just that—exceptions, and not the norm.
For instance, I found this image, but it happened to have a black background.
But by staying consistent with fonts, colors and type of photograph, the pin still looks like it belongs to my blog.
If you’re consistent with everything else—fonts, image type—you can be flexible. Because you’re using the same two fonts, deviating from the norm won’t be too big of a stretch from your brand.
#3: Stick to a style of stock photos
On Sleeping Should Be Easy, I use images with light backgrounds so I can add the article title on that white space. But for 31 Days to Better Parenting, I used saturated images, or those with deep, dark colors.
One trick is to find a few photographers you like and search through their photos first. Most photographers have a consistent look that lend itself well to consistent pins.
Another trick is to use the same filters on your photo. In Photoshop, I have an “action” that applies certain filters on all my photos. It’s like applying the same Instagram filter on all your pins (stick to one filter for most of them).
And even better if you’re a photographer! You could control your own images much better and rely on your style.
#4: Use the same template and layout for text
You’ll notice on my Sleeping Should Be Easy pins that I tend to have the main word of the article in the blue, narrow font. The supporting words, meanwhile, are in the smaller orange font. Then, any time I use numbers, I put them in a circle:
For 31 Days to Better Parenting, I used the same transparent white boxes to place the titles. They also follow the same pattern with the main words together and the supporting words in script above or below:
Create a pattern for your own pins. Use the same treatment for numbers, aim for the same placement if possible, and use the same elements.
Pull up your latest pin images. Lay them out in rows and see if they have a consistent look. It should look like the same person created all the pins all at the same time because it’s so consistent.
If you’re not happy with your branding, see if you can apply a few of the tips above. Maybe stick to the same two fonts and colors, preferably the same as your blog. Use the same type of stock photography. And create a template of elements so they’re consistent across the board.
If you need to deviate, do so a little at a time while still keeping everything else consistent. And most importantly, think of your brand as who you are. You can be many things and have different interests, but in general, there is only one you.
The same is true for your blog and brand. Let the brand be your blog’s “name,” and your pins the consistent images that convey who your blog is.
Ready to get started? These are my go-to resources for anything image-related (some links are affiliate links):
- Canva: Affordable stock photography. I’ve found photographers I like and can usually search their portfolios first.
- iStockPhoto: For those with bigger budgets, this one has more images, including icons and illustrations. And it has a better user experience (for instance, a more sophisticated search tool and image results).
- Photoshop: There are beginner options for image creation out there, but Photoshop is the only one I can recommend. For those frustrated with the limits of other programs, this is the graphic design industry standard for creating images. By the way, Adobe Creative Cloud (the company that created Photoshop) is holding a Black Friday Sale until 12/02/16 where you can save 20% on Photoshop and other programs!
- Lynda.com: To learn how to use Photoshop and other programs, Lynda.com is an online “school” to help you do just that. I’ve been using Lynda.com since back in the days when they’d put their courses on CD-roms (remember those?).
Tell me in the comments: What do you think of your blog branding? Does seeing consistent pins on Pinterest help you identify your favorite bloggers right away?
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