Art Biz Branding
Updated: Feb 28
Should You Brand Your Art Business? (And What Does That Mean, Exactly)”Binding” is a word that you hear a lot.. at least I do. But it’s confusing, right? Is branding the same as marketing? Does that just mean, make a logo for your business?
There are books on the subject of branding. Literally. Books. So I am not even going to touch the heights and depths of what could be discussed here. Rather let’s just answer the question, “should I brand my business?” and also, perhaps— if so, “why?”
In a word, yes.
Yes, you should brand your business. “Branding is one of the most important aspects to any business, large or small, retail or B2B.” (source) So if you consider your art and art sales a business, (or heading in that direction,) then you should brand yourself and your work. And if you’re here, I’m going to assume that means you.
I will be the first to point out that the reason that this is top-o-the-content list is because it is what I am currently dealing with on this very fresh Art Business Essentials site, and thought that all my processes and musings might actually aid others of you as you may be wrestling with similar questions.
Mood board for the Art Business Essentials website to keep things focused as we are building things here: the direction that we’re headed as well as what we’d like to see more of — not limited to the logo, but considering mood, color palettes, typeface, and imagery.
Firstly, what is branding?
Literally, your brand is your logo, color scheme, and consistent visual elements that distinguish what you make and how you present your ideas from the next guy. Ideally, your brand is the idea of who you are and what you are selling.
“Put simply, your “brand” is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name. It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s romantic). Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it. It’s fixed. But your brand exists only in someone’s mind.”
In practical terms that mean intentionally presenting yourself and your work in the light that you want to be perceived. That’s big.
Why does it matter?
Think about it. If I can on purpose say to my target audience: notice me, I am different from everyone else in my industry because of these key reasons [that you really like], chances are I will do one of two things: 1.) Already have worked through who my potential client is, including how I can best serve and reach them, and 2.) Look incredibly professional and put together compared to others competing for that same attention.
And it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Sure, a logo is a natural piece of your brand, but there’s no need to over-complicate the process. As an artist looking to define what you stand for start with the things that are the easiest to pinpoint: what are your go-to colors? What are you most proud of in the work that you share? and How would you like for people to remember and describe you?
Ok, so if it matters, how do I get started?
Since we’re talking about your creative work as a business, you likely already have a pretty great handle on what distinguishes your work from somebody else’s. Start by finding consistent threads in the work you are making or want to make more of.
What are the colors you come back to time and time again? Clean lines or messy? Classic or modern? Noting what you do can quickly set the stage for defining your brand & building on your aesthetic.
What do you value most about what or how you work— honestly? timeliness? a fresh perspective? Put that into words and pictures so that others can see what you see.
How do you want your work to be remembered and described? The work I am most proud of is always _________, and never _________.
What energizes you? how is that energy communicated in what you do?
How does branding apply to my art business?
As a creative, chances are that despite the effort, answering some basic branding questions about your work will likely be tons of fun for you. In most cases, your art is the brand, and you need only to build around that. Yes, you are selling a product, but the value of the work is the emotional connection that you provide. That means it is less about the work (craftsmanship, originality,) and more about the associations that you want to attach to what you do.
And here’s the great news: putting in the effort of branding your art business can effectively get you three steps closer to marketing your work well. This is not the same as selling, however, it does answer some of those questions that you need to address in order to sell what you make, namely the who and why.
Have you already branded your business? What kind of difference has that made when you share your work— or do you not see a difference. Leave a comment and let us know!
RESOURCES CITED IN THIS ARTICLES: WHAT IS A BRAND, ANYWAY? —LINK TO ARTICLE FORBES.COM
THE BASICS OF BRANDING— ENTREPRENEUR.COM