Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Writer Branding: A Cheat Sheet for Your Brand Elements

by Cynthia Owens @EfficiencyADict

As writers, we regularly hear about branding, but what is it really? Simply put, branding is what helps others recognize you.

Think about Coca-Cola. You see that looping red font anywhere in the world and you know cold, carbonated refreshment is not far away. Then consider UPS. They deliver 20 million packages and documents worldwide every day. When you see one of those brown trucks pull up to your home, you know a package is coming. But what if their trucks weren’t always that special UPS brown? What if they were different shades of brown or sometimes green? We’d no longer instantly recognize them. They’d blend with the other vehicles on the road. By not being consistent with their branding, they’d lose visibility.

That’s not what we want to happen with our writing brands. We want readers to be able to recognize us easily, which requires consistency. Here are two tools to help you solidify and maintain your special brand.

A Brand Board
It’s time to go old school. Break out a cork board and collect all the elements that make your brand. Start with color swatches, fonts, and pictures. Then, add keywords that describe your brand and quotes that epitomize what your brand represents. Keep this board somewhere visible in your workspace. As you develop items for your brand—memes, blog photos, tweets, etc.—compare it with your board. Does the item you’re creating match the feel and look of your brand? If yes, send it out. If not, start revising. 

Having a visible reminder of your brand always in front of you will keep you focused. It’ll also help you recognize when your brand needs to change. If your board no longer represents you or your current body of work, it’s time to make some adjustments.

A Brand Elements Chart
Whereas a brand board is a visible reminder, a brand elements chart is a practical tracking tool. It helps you remember things like which font to use for your titles or the color code that matches the blue in your logo. I’ve included a branding chart you can download at the end of this article, but first, let’s see how one works.

Take a look at this example for Cheri’s Café. Her logo contains a collection of fonts and colors. We can track these in a table like this:

Note: Hex Codes are used to designate colors on your website or in programs like PicMonkey and Canva.

You can use this same system for tracking how you format your pictures. When you get something just right, you want to be able to repeat that process easily. What special effect, frame, or colors did you use? Keep those details in a picture branding table.

As promised, below is a blank branding chart you can download, plus the Cheri’s Café example to remind you how everything works. (Click on the titles below to download the resources.)

If you’re just starting to develop your writing brand, here are a few links to help you succeed:

My Pinterest Branding Board: A collection of over 30 articles on all aspects of developing your brand, including articles on color psychology and branding your blog.

100 Color Combinations: This article by Canva shares 100 professionally created color combinations complete with hex codes. It also includes a link to a color palette generator. If you have a picture that contains the colors you want to use, the generator will analyze it and return the hex codes of the dominant shades.

Font Pairs: Learn how to choose font pairs like a pro. This article by PicMonkey explains what makes good font pairings and gives examples you can use immediately.

How do you keep track of your brand? Please share your ideas in the Comments section.


Writer Branding—A cheat sheet to stay consistent in your writer brand. #marketing #writinglife @EfficiencyAdict on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Cynthia Owens is The Efficiency Addict, a technical trainer helping writers, speakers and small business owners work more effectively. 

For more writing and small business tips, connect with Cynthia on Twitter and Pinterest.


  1. Great information. The Brand Board is a great idea in seeing one's focus. Love it. Your efficiency tips are gifts in saving time while avoiding headaches. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I never even thought of this. My writing is so eclectic, I wonder how I would combine it all without losing some of the distinctions...

    1. Choose two eclectic colors that you can't live without and go from there :)

    2. Good advice, Soni! I'd add to collect items that "speak" to you--pictures, ads, words. Just collect these and periodically look at them all together. Your style will slowly emerge and this underlying "you"ness will be part of all of your writing.

  3. Thank you for the Branding chart. I intend to use it to solidify my branding.

  4. This is such great information and so timely for me. I'm planning to do a review and probably some re-branding work in a few weeks time. This will all be so incredibly helpful. Thank you so very much!