Ep 356: Create Your Visual Identity in 30 Days or Less with Nadine Hanafi



Most people assume that having an expensive-looking brand costs a lot of money.

As you’ll discover in today’s episode, that isn’t necessarily the case!

Since 2013, Nadine Hanafi has helped everyone from Fortune 100 C-suite executives to bestselling authors to startup entrepreneurs share their brand message through inspired visual storytelling.

After founding the award-winning design firm, We Are Visual and crafting eye-catching visuals for some of the most viral TED Talks on the internet, Nadine is now funneling all of her talent and expertise into her latest passion project: Digital Brand Kit.

As the world’s first turnkey branding system for personal brands, Digital Brand Kit offers you all the strategic design assets you need to create a beautiful, cohesive, and affordable brand identity that looks and feels like you.

Today, you’ll learn how Nadine can help you create your visual identity in just 30 days or less, some of the biggest mistakes that people make when embarking on this process (and how to avoid them,) as well as tips for hiring a designer and so much more.

If you’re struggling with crafting your brand’s visual identity, this is an episode you won’t want to miss!


  • An overview of Nadine’s non-linear path into the design world.
  • The surprising ways you can use PowerPoint to create beautiful designs.
  • Some of the biggest mistakes people make when crafting their visual identity.
  • How Nadine uses what she calls “the blind test” to help you choose your signature color.
  • A step-by-step guide for choosing the right colors to represent your brand.
  • The purpose of determining your brand guidelines before jumping into design.
  • Why your personal brand is so much more than a logo and fonts.
  • How you can benefit from building what Nadine calls a “starter brand.”
  • Key advice when it comes to your personal brand: don’t take it too personally!
  • Why you need to be mindful of who you hire and how you manage the process.
  • The value of creating your ideal client avatar versus building a Pinterest board.
  • How often you should be posting branded visual content.
  • Tips for creating a cohesive social media feed using Lightroom presets.
  • Nadine shares some of her favorite affordable tools and resources!


“There’s a science and an art to visual branding and identity. The art piece is making things beautiful and all that, but the science piece is picking out brand [and] design elements based on certain truths.” — Nadine Hanafi [0:13:33]

“If you want that professional look, you need to have a cohesive brand, which means that those colors, fonts, and logo you have need to be infused into everything that you do.” — Nadine Hanafi [0:26:55]

“A starter brand is something that you can get off the ground in less than 24 hours, that is going to cost you less than $2,000, and that is going to give you everything that you need to get into motion, to start putting yourself out there.” — Nadine Hanafi [0:36:15]

“It’s your responsibility to be the creative director for [your] designer.” — Nadine Hanafi [0:41:49]

“The first mistake that people make when they are getting started in creating a visual identity for themselves is that they go straight into the actual visual identity piece of it. That’s a mistake because the visual identity that you’re going to create needs to reflect and represent you, and your personality, and your energy. If you’re not clear on that, then you’re never going to land on a visual identity that is a match for you. Step one is take a step back and really meditate on who you are as a person in this particular space that you’re trying to get into—whatever your niche is.” — Nadine Hanafi [0:12:24]

About Nadine Hanafi

Nadine is the founder of an award-winning design company called We Are Visual and the creator of Digital Brand Kit, the world’s first turnkey digital branding system designed specifically for personal brands.

Since 2013, she has helped hundreds of clients from C-suite execs at Fortune 100 companies like Disney and Verizon to bestselling authors like Lori Harder and Sarah Knight share their messages through inspired visual storytelling and branding. 

Nadine is here to show you how you can build a brand you are proud of without handing over your life-savings to a custom designer or piecemealing your branding with cheap Canva templates.


Nadine Hanafi

Digital Brand Kit

We Are Visual

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AJ Vaden on LinkedIn

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Rory Vaden

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Take the Stairs

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The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Stitcher

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AJV (00:02): Hi everybody, this is AJ Vaden here, and welcome to another episode on the Influential Personal Brand. I am here today with a one and the only Nadine and, and Nadine is a very close personal friend. She lives here in Nashville, so lucky that she moved here to Nashville from Morocco where she was born. Although she’s got dual citizenship now, she can call herself a true nashvillian. So I’m so lucky and fortunate that I get to share the same city with my dear friends but also a client of Nadine’s. And we met through mutual friends three or four years ago, and it’s like one of those phone calls when you meet someone and you’re like, I love you like this. Like I love you and I love you. That’s how I met Nadine for a friend bit. It’s like the very first time that we spoke, I was like, you’re amazing. AJV (00:56): And you guys are about to experience just how amazing she is with her very unique craft. And before I get her our little formal introduction, I just want to tell you why you need to stick around and listen to this particular episode. Because when you think about design and how you want your brand to look how you want it to feel how you want other people to experience it, I am here to tell you, you are most likely wrong. And we’ll tell you people that I recently made. Cause what most of us do is we look around and we go, I like this and I like this, and this is my favorite color and this is my favorite font here, put it together and make it look great. And then it comes back and you’re like, well, this doesn’t feel like me. AJV (01:46): And it’s because you have it all wrong. And if your brand doesn’t feel like you, it’s most likely because it’s not. And it’s because we’re making decisions on the exterior things around us, not based on really how we want or how our brand is meant to be. And so if you’re struggling with like, what is my brand and how do I want it to look like in terms of the visuals, this is an episode that you must listen to. The second thing that I think is really important is most people assume that having an expensive looking brand is expensive. And that’s not true. And that I think outside of Nadine’s incredible creative talents is making it affordable, is her next best specialty. And so we’re gonna talk a lot about that. So if you wanna look like a million dollar brand, you don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to do it, specifically not in the beginning. AJV (02:48): And she’s gonna teach you and talk about how you can do that on what I would say balling on a low budget, right? So , all the things that we’re gonna cover today. So please, please, please stick around. This is not an episode to be missed. So without further ado, let me give you a quick formal bio of my good friend Nadine, and then we’ll jump right into this interview. So Nadine is the founder of an award winning a dig a design company called We Are Visual, but she is also the creator and founder of Digital Brand Kits. And here’s what I would say about that. Like, when we think about how do you get a million dollar looking brand one is we want it to be affordable, but we also want it fast. And she has figured out how to make it look like a million bucks, make it affordable, and get it to you in 30 days or less. AJV (03:37): It’s going to blow your mind. But over the last 10 years, she has helped hundreds a clients from Suite execs, the Fortune 100 companies like Disney and Verizon to bestselling authors like our good friend Lori, harder from the Earner Happy podcast Sarah, she’s worked with Sarah Knight, she’s helped build beautiful slide decks for so many different Ted Talk presenters. I could go on and on and on , but instead of doing that, let’s just, let me introduce you to Nadine and we will share some of the most life changing information when it comes to building your brand visually that you will ever experience. So Nadine, welcome to the show. NH (04:20): Well, thank you and thank you for having me. Thank you for that wonderful introduction. I have one correction to make that I was not born in Morocco, I was born in Minnesota of all places on a very cold winter day . It was negative 40, which is probably why I do not like cold weather now as an adult . But I am from Morocco and I spent four glorious years in me before moving to Nashville. So, but it’s, it’s so good to be here. Thank you for having me. And yeah, so I am so excited to talk about design. AJV (04:57): Before we do that, I think it’s worth giving people just a quick story about how you got into design, because it is not the traditional path. No, it’s not like you went to art school and like you came at this in a very different way, which I think is a part of your uniqueness. And what makes you so different is that this wasn’t something that you really came at for, like, this is what I’m gonna go to school for and this is what I’m gonna do in my life. It came by opposite. So why don’t you just give us a high level view of like, how did this ever even become a theme for you? NH (05:30): So I like to say that I am a designer who did not go to design school and does not know how to use any of the design tools. . So I don’t know how to use Photoshop. I don’t know how to use InDesign. I don’t know how to use any of the fancy design tools. I only know how to use one tool, and it’s called PowerPoint. And I can design crazy things in PowerPoint. And so I did not, I’ve never set foot in a design school. I went to business school with a specialty in marketing. And my first job out of college was in marketing. And I was a marketing manager. And really I fell into design by accident. I know I’ve always had like this designer eye I’ve always liked colors, I’ve always liked beautiful things, but not never in a formal way. NH (06:17): And so I accidentally fell into design because my first and last corporate job, , I was asked to take a design training because they needed, you know, more design help in the marketing department. And and so they paid for me to get this training online. At the time it was something called linda.com, which was bought back by LinkedIn. And it was the first place where you could really buy like actual professional courses in everything. And I took , they paid for me to take a Photoshop course. And so I log in, I open up the Photoshop course, and I see that it says like 15 hours vi video. And I’m like, oh my gosh, I’m literally gonna sit through 15 hours of videos to learn how to do Photoshop. I was not excited about that. I got started, I watched the first video about three minutes into the first video. NH (07:10): I was like, mm-hmm the heck no, I closed it. I was like, I am not watching this. I am not getting through this training. And so I still needed to get some sort of formal training and design for this company. And so I just went through and found other courses inside lynn.com that taught me basics of design. And that was much more interesting to me. I could actually watch hours and hours of videos of, you know, how to do design. And what I figured out is I could take all of those design principles that I was learning and actually apply them using PowerPoint since it was the one and only design tool that I knew how to use at the time. And I basically hacked PowerPoint to make it do what I wanted it to do for me. And I started creating brochures for this company, obviously besides the slide deck that I was creating, which got better and better cause I got better at design, but also brochures, sales materials, one pagers. NH (08:02): I even created graphics for the website. Everything I created in PowerPoint. And in this process, one, I realized PowerPoint is an incredibly powerful tool. It can do not all the things that Photoshop can, but a lot of it and all, everything that you actually really need if you’re not a professional designer, creating these, you know, crazy designs. And the second thing I realized is I have probably a monetizable skill here, , that I could probably sell to other companies. And so that’s what I did. I left that company and I started, we are visual and my, my expertise at the time was let me create really beautiful artistic presentations for you in PowerPoint. And there’ll be presentations that don’t look anything like your typical boring PowerPoint, which is, let’s face it, that’s the reputation, right? Of PowerPoint. That’s true. You would have no idea AJV (08:56): Of that. These were PowerPoint design, like we use PowerPoint designs that you created for every single one of our brochures, landing pages, you know, websites. It’s like you would never have an idea that these originated and PowerPoint, in fact, you should be like PowerPoint spokeswoman. This is, NH (09:13): I’m working on it. I am. So if anyone knows somebody who works at Microsoft , AJV (09:19): Put in the universe, NH (09:21): I’m a spokeperson. Yes, absolutely. But AJV (09:24): I think it’s really amazing because what you have figured out is how to do something. And what I love about it, why I think it’s so cool is that with programs like InDesign or Photoshop for the end user, consumer like myself, it’s like I don’t know how to edit it or move something or update something. And so I’m trapped by whoever was the designer or finding someone else. And it’s like the best thing about you, the way that you’ve designed all these templates and all of these tools for our company at Brain Builders Group is that it’s like I actually do know how to use PowerPoint most people, so I can go in and make the copy edits without having to have the expense or the burden of finding someone else to go and like reformat this. And I think that’s a really important skill set, and you don’t have to be good at design to make very quick updates to something that is already very well designed. So with that said, I wanna kinda like take it up a level and just talk about some of the things that you’ve learned, you know, really over the last 15 years or so of what makes good design and what, what should people really be looking for and what should they really be asking themselves as they go on this visual process for their own personal brands. And I know without a doubt you’re gonna share the horrible mistakes that I have recently made. , AJV (10:45): I’ll NH (10:45): Be fine, AJV (10:47): Totally fine. I gave you, I gave you permission to do this, but I do think it’s good. As people are kind of going, right, I’m at this place where it’s time to create some sort of visual component on either a website or a landing page, or I need something, where do I start? NH (11:04): Well don’t start by hiring a designer mistake number one. The, the first mistake that people make, I think when they are getting started in creating a visual identity for themselves is they go straight into the actual visual identity piece of it. And that’s a mistake because you, the visual identity that you’re going to create needs to reflect and represent you and your personality and your energy. And if you don’t, if you’re not clear on that, then you are never gonna land on a visual identity that you know is a match for you. So step one is take a step back and really meditate on who you are as a person in this, in this particular space that you’re trying to get into, right? Whatever your niche is who are you in relation to others? This is a lot of what, you know, we learned with BBG is your uniqueness and you’re positioning all of that, but really more at an energetic level. NH (12:05): What kind of people do you want to attract? What is the vibe that you wanna create as a brand? And who are these people that are gonna be attracted to that vibration? And so once you have done that homework first, that’s when you can really get into visual identity. So, and there’s really a science and an art to branding, visual branding, visual identity. And so the, the, the art piece is like making things beautiful and all of that. But the science piece is picking out brand elements, design elements based on certain truths, right? So we talked about this before. I am a proponent of don’t build a brand based on trends. Build your brand based on truths, okay? And so you can actually pick colors based on what those colors mean, the symbolism behind them, the emotion that they trigger, et cetera. So depending on what emotions you wanna trigger in your audience and you know what energy you wanna create, you can pick actual colors that will help you create that that energy. Exactly. And so do you want me to share , of course. The story AJV (13:19): Emotion to me, NH (13:21): Right? the AJV (13:23): Of what not to do. Yes. NH (13:25): Go. Yes. So I developed something called the Blind test and as part of a, a bigger program that I’m developing called The Color Workshop, which will actually be a workshop that I’m gonna be launching soon. And it’ll be a workshop that will take you through a step by step process to help you identify one, your signature color, the color that really embodies your essence as a brand, but also your entire color palette really. And how to, you know, make everything kind of look good together. Part of this color workshop is something I call the blind test. And the blind test is I basically give you all of these cards that have words on them, right? And they’re color cards. So behind the words are colors, but you don’t see the colors cuz the cards are black and white. And so you have to, there are 12 cards and you have to go through a process of elimination in taking out the, the words that you don’t connect with, right? NH (14:19): And technically at the end of this process, the last cars that you end with, we then unveil them, right? We take out the cover and then you can see what colors they are. And the reason I built it this way is because we all have preconceptions about colors, right? We might have, maybe we’re following someone on Instagram who uses yellow as their signature color and we hate that person. So we’re never gonna use yellow. And maybe yellow is actually your color . You just dunno it, right? So I don’t wanna have those preconceptions that therefore I remove the colors. And so once you’ve chosen all of your, your colors by words and we unveil them, you find out what those colors are. So the funny story is, when we did this with you aj, we were already in the process of working on a visual identity and we had already picked out color palette or a color palette that were based on colors that you had picked out AJV (15:08): NH (15:09): Before. And I don’t know where those colors came from, but you probably saw them on someone else’s branding or in beautiful spaces that you had visited. But they felt right in those spaces, they felt right for that person maybe. And, and so you thought that they might be right for you. And the funny thing is, when we did the blind test the first thing I ask you is gimme your first five hard nos AJV (15:33): And you eliminated, it’s not exaggerating y’all. No, it’s not exaggerating. NH (15:38): You eliminated literally your first three hard nos. The cars that you eliminated were the three primary colors of your actual, AJV (15:46): For myself did not follow any sort of process or logic or process. NH (15:53): But the funny thing is, is you were not connecting with those colors. You had pick them out, you thought they would work and then for weeks you were, you know, thinking about it and asking people and people were reflecting this back to you. These are not your colors. You knew it in your core. These are not your colors. You just couldn’t figure out why. And then when you did this test right away, it was just so clear you realized why those colors did not feel right. It’s because they were not right for you. They did not represent your energy and we figured out what your energy is. And it was not any of those colors AJV (16:24): . Yeah, I know. It’s, it’s interesting cause I know there is at least one of you listening who has done this exact same thing and there is at least two of you at least listening that have a brand right now that does not represent you, right? And it’s like you can’t figure out why, but you’re just, you don’t connect with it and, and thus you don’t promote it. And there is something, and it’s most likely cuz you started with design versus trying to figure out who you really are what your uniqueness is, who your audience is. But second most likely is because you did it wrong. You hired someone who didn’t get to the heart of what are you really trying to emote out into the world. And instead just said, you know, what colors do you like? And or you came to them, which is what I did. And said, all right, love NH (17:13): My colors. AJV (17:14): I love this idea of like hot pink cluttering, I think some orange might be good, maybe this like sea shell pink. That’s pretty, I like that. And I was like, put this all together, make it look awesome. And that’s what Nadine did. And then she sent it back to me and I was like, well NH (17:31): That doesn’t feel right. AJV (17:33): Yeah, it’s a real right. And it’s like, and it’s like one of those things where it’s like, you know it, but you’re like, hmm, yeah, what happened here? And, and I think it’s so many of us do that cuz we see someone else’s brand and we go, I want mine to look like this. And what you mean is I want it to look beautiful like this. Not I need these colors. But until you go through this very personal process of going, who are you and who are you trying to reach? Who are you trying to attract? And it’s not just who you are, it’s what is going to attract the audience that you want to build. And when we did this process, I’m, I literally was like definitely not that one and that was great . And then I said, the next one, definitely not that one. AJV (18:23): And it was pink. And I was like, definitely not that. And it was orange. I was like, there you go. That’s why I don’t connect. But here’s the thing, if, if Nate Dan would’ve showed me the colors that were truly coming out from the words, I would’ve never let her convince me of it that way. Cuz I’ve been like, Uhuh red, red is not my signature color. And let me tell you my internal reasoning of why is because I have red hair and I think bright red conflicts where my hair, so I’d never red. I was like, what a silly, ridiculous reason of going. Well I just, I don’t really have red in my wardrobe, so I don’t really think I can be a brand color. But that was like my very illogical process because emotions were tied into it versus going, no, these are the words that I say, define me. AJV (19:08): These are the words I wanna be known for. And then when you reveal the color, you’re kind of like, okay, and I need to like settle in with this a little bit. And I think the most amazing thing that happened for me, just as an example for all of you is I had an adverse reaction at first cuz I’m like, don’t really love red. And yet I look at the words and it’s like, bold. And it’s like, well, that’s pretty fricking bold. And it was like, I’m passionate. Well that’s pretty passionate. And it’s like all these things. And I’m like, why am I resisting this? And then it was the craziest thing. So for me, I’ll just give you this example. It was red purple, black gold, yeah. Are my colors. Did I miss one? I think those really, those were. And I walked out into my garage later that afternoon and Nadine, I haven’t even told you this story. AJV (20:06): And in my garage, I took a picture on my iPhone like 10 years ago of the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen in my life. And it was so breathtaking. I blew it up on this huge canvas and it’s in my garage and I walk out and I was getting in my car and it just caught my eye. And I looked up and I see this canvas there, and it is the most brilliant sunset of golds and dark shades of black and deep purple and reds and magentas. And for the first time ever I saw that and I was like, that is how I wanna be seen. I wanna be seen like that. And that’s how you should feel. That’s how you know it’s yours. And so I’m just curious, Nadine, if you could give us some examples of, could you just read off some of the words and colors that are represented that there’s 12, we don’t have time to do 12, but to kind give people an idea of what this is process is like. So if you’re not going through this process with someone that you’re working with, you should stop and go, why the heck not? Because if you’re just picking colors like I did at, at some point, you’re gonna go, man, that was fine for a season, but that’s just not really me. And you don’t have to do that. You can actually get it right the first time. NH (21:27): Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So you want me to share some of what the keywords are for maybe your, your colors? AJV (21:34): Sure. You can do mine. I think this is just really helpful, but don’t tell us the color until after you read the words and just, I think this was a really powerful process that anyone can do if you just, like, even if you don’t, which we’re gonna give you access to do some of this really cool stuff that Nadine has created. But it’s like, just go Google these colors and go like, what words are associated with these? You can even do that. NH (21:56): Yeah. This is public information. So I’ll, I’ll share the words for my signature color, which you don’t know, so I’ll tell you what it is. But my words are creative, abundant, sociable, positive, passionate, joyful. Those are my words. And my signature color is orange. And I connect with orange on a very high level. I, when I did this test for myself a long time ago, and I figured out my was orange, I was like, that’s so interesting. I have so much orange in my closet. I have so many orange objects like decorative objects. And I realized that for years I was curating objects that were orange without even real because I was attracted to them without realizing that I, you know, I was attracted to that color for a reason. So that’s, that’s mine. Your secondary color. So we talked about red and what those, those words were for, for red, but your secondary color was visionary, purposeful, truthful, authentic, spiritual, ambitious, imaginative. NH (23:02): And that was purple, right? And so we talked about how we can marry purple with red to create these really deep fiery shades of purple that have all of those aspects of red but but still anchored in that purple color and all of that purple means. So let’s see. And another one, black is a color that is used a lot and not everybody that likes black ends up picking black as one of their cards. You did. But black is sophisticated, substantial, efficient, elegant, intelligent, confident, authoritative. So these are examples of the words. So these are the words that you need to connect with or either eliminate or choose as part of this exercise. And you know, and that’s why we do this by process of elimination, because you will find that you connect with a lot of words across a lot of different cards. But the the goal here is to connect with the cluster of word of words where you’re like, okay, I have a, you know, I identify myself with most of these words in this group of words, and that’s what leads you to, to your color. So do you want me to share? AJV (24:10): No, I think that’s, I think that’s good. I think, you know, for anyone who is listening, like nad has created so many different tools and quizzes and amazing things to help you do this. So if you go to brand builders group.com/db, digital brand kit db k, so brand builders group.com/db k you can go and check out and she’s got this amazing color quiz that will tell you what season you fall in, gives you all these cool different color palettes. But I think this is a really defining part of, like, this is a part that most people skip as they don’t really do this introspective work. And instead they go right into, well, I just need a website. So can you talk a little bit about like, the purpose of doing brand guidelines before you go into designing Yes. Fires, brochures, landing pages, and just kind of like talk about if you’re ready to go this route and it’s time, what is the process that someone should follow? NH (25:08): Yes. So I would say this, A lot of people when I ask someone, do you have your branding? They’ll say, yeah, I have my logo, I have my colors, I have my fonts, and I’m working on my, my website. So yeah, I have my branding. I’m like, yeah, where’s the rest of it? Did you not have your branding? You have the beginning, you have a style guide. That’s what you have . Those are your brand elements, but those brand elements now need to be infused into everything that you do because that’s how you accomplish brand cohesiveness. That is how you are able to create an online presence where no matter where people find you online, whatever touchpoint you have with people, everything looks like it belongs together. Everything looks like it’s you. And most people struggle with this. Like they’ll have, you know, they’ll have their look, website will look a certain way, and then their presentations, their PowerPoints will look completely different. NH (26:02): Usually because the website was made by a professional and the presentations were made by you trying to mimic what the professional did. and you’re struggling . And then your social media, you’re probably like curating some templates from Canada, whether they’re free or paid. And so that looks nothing like your website or anything else that you’re doing. And so your branding is a freaking mess, right? And so that is, that, that’s where you get that look. That’s, you know, not, not put together, not professional. And if you want that professional look, you need to have a cohesive brand, which means that those colors and fonts and logo that you have need to be infused into everything that you do, every brand asset. Now here’s the problem, most people don’t know what all the brand assets that they need, so they’re constantly reactive, right? You’re not proactively creating assets for your business. NH (26:52): You’re constantly in a oh, I need this shoot. Let, let me go hire somebody to do this. Oh, I need that. Oh man, I need to, okay, can you also create this for me? And so you’re constantly on this hamster wheel of asset creation on demand as the demand arises instead of proactively creating everything. And so digital brand is really the solution to that. Like I already surveyed and figured out, you know, surveyed people and, and, and did my homework and figured out all of the assets that a personal brand might need across all your platforms at every touchpoint from, you know, like a podcast if you have one all the way to your social media, to your webinars, to your, you know to your invoices, et cetera, et cetera. And so in order to have that cohesive brand across everything you need to infuse your, your style guide into everything. But you also need to know what all of those assets are, right? So yeah, that is, does that answer your question, ? Yeah. AJV (27:50): Some of the examples of like what are the assets that most people don’t even think about? Cause you said is like, I think a lot of people at some point are probably, okay, I know I need colors and I need fonts, and I need a logo. And that’s what they think is their brand guidelines. That’s what they think is their branding, but they’re missing so much more. So you can kind of just give us like a checklist of like, what are all the things that you don’t even know that you’re gonna need that you wanna make sure is cohesively done on the front end so that it’s not piecemealed together and it’s, you know, I think the benefit for me is like, if you do all of this work on the front end, it’s so much easier and cheaper and faster to do things later. NH (28:31): Absolutely. If you are able to execute on your ideas, like on the go quickly because you have materials that you need to execute on that idea, instead of like, oh, now I have to go create this template or buy this template and then I can create it, that saves you a lot of time. But to answer your question, some of the things that, you know, a lot of people won’t think of, it’s like, all right, so let’s say you go buy a social media, you know, Canva template pack that’ll give you, you know, like all of the little squares. But then are your, like all of those highlights at the top of your of your Instagram account, are those gonna be, you know, look the same as your Instagram picture? Are your stories going to look the same? And so it’s like, just across your social media, are your LinkedIn posts, do they look like your Instagram posts? NH (29:19): Are they branded the same? So just having cohesiveness within your social media is is something to look out for. But also I mean if I’m gonna enumerate things from the db k package, we have a course kit, for example. So if you’re gonna build a digital course, you are going to need slides, right? That you’re going to actually put your content into that, you’re going to then record on your, on your video lessons. You’re going to need the PPS that you’re gonna provide to people as downloads, as free downloads with your course. You are going to need a course roadmap template so that you can paint a picture to your students of like, here’s everything that you’re going to learn in each part of this course and give that to them as a pdf. You are going to need, once you get all of your course materials put together, you’re gonna need to upload all that into a course portal like Kajabi or Thinkific. NH (30:10): You’re gonna need to brand that, that’s gonna need a you know, banner image and thumbnails and all of those things. I created all of those things for you already, and that’s all in the course package. So the day that you decide that you wanna build a course, you don’t even know everything you need, you’re gonna open up your course kit and you’ll know exactly what you need to build your course and you’ll have it. And as a bonus, I give you a course outline builder that you can use to actually build the outline of your course and a, you know, in a smart way that’ll make it easy for you to record the course. So it’s weave in in some of the strategy other things that people won’t think about, like your videos, for example. Like you wanna start a YouTube channel, you are gonna need video thumbnails and you cannot afford to be creating video thumbnails on the go. NH (30:53): Like, especially if you’re gonna have them professionally done. Cuz if you wanna create a lot of videos and every time you need to spend, you know, three hours on camera just putting together one video thumbnail, you’re not gonna get very far. Right . So I give you a library, a video thumbnail. I also give you the the the end screens that you have at the end of your videos so that you can send people to other videos from your channel, right? That’s a graphic alone that you might go on fiber and spend two weeks doing back and forth emails with somebody just to have them create the thing that you need, the way that you want it. So it, it’s all of these things I won’t go into more, but it’s all of these things that you really don’t think about and can’t really think about until you’re in motion and actually doing the thing. Yeah. That’s when you realize, oh, I need this. And so you’re, you’re, you’re constantly doing this guesswork that I, you know, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve tried my hardest to eliminate that AJV (31:48): Guesswork. Well, I would, I would, I would second as a customer, as our whole company, as a customer, and then I am personally a customer. It’s like what I would say that I think is really amazing about Digital Brain Kit and what you’ve created is it is all of the design, but it’s also the strategy. And that’s been with like partnerships with a variety of different tools and resources and education that you’ve gone out and done. But I think one of the things that’s really cool for the community at Brand Builders Group is like we were able to work with you of going, here’s what everyone’s gonna need in a speaker kit or in a media kit or, and so it’s like all of those things are pre-built in there. So, and I think that’s a really unique opportunity of going, it’s like you’re gonna need color fonts and logos, yes, but you’re also gonna need imagery. AJV (32:32): You’re gonna need the right size dimensioned banners, you’re gonna need thumbnails, you’re gonna need the bumper slides, you’re gonna need the highlights, right? You’re gonna need a press kit at some point. You’re gonna need a media kit for podcasts or just general media. You’re gonna need a PowerPoint slides for something at some point in your life, right? Yeah. So it’s like to have all of this done and kind of prepackaged together is, it’s not just beautiful design. It’s well architected in a way that helps conversion, but it’s also the strategy of going, oh my gosh, if you just think about all those things of how much it would cost and time and money to do them separately over the course of time by finding betting new vendors all the time is outrageous. And so you’ve been able to do that in this well consolidated package. And then I know that we mentioned this earlier, it’s like a part of this is having great design that reflects you and that will attract your audience. The second thing is that it’s done in an affordable way. And so I know one of your things is, is that you, you know, you, you say you need a a beginner brand, right? What do you starter brand? A starter brand Starter brand, NH (33:43): Yes. Like a starter home. AJV (33:44): Yeah. It’s like, and I think this is a really cool concept of you don’t need to go hire a $30,000 designer to go out and build a very high end professional brand. And what you need is you need something that can get you going. So you can, can you kinda tell us about what that is and what that looks like? NH (34:04): Yeah. You don’t need to go hire somebody expensive to create this beautiful professional brand for you if you are just starting out Now, if you’re, you know, 5, 7, 10 years into business and you’re, you’re like, I know who I am, I know who I’m serving, I’m very clear, I’ve got the money. Yes, by all means, splurge away and get yourself the best designer ever. But if you are just starting out, first of all, it’s not a good investment because your brand at this stage of your business is very fluid. You are gonna iterate, you are still figuring out who you are in your market and also who you’re serving and who you’re attracting. And you’re not really gonna get answers to those questions of who are you and who are you serving until you actually get into motion and build momentum and start showing up and start doing things, and then let the market respond to you, and then let yourself kind of figure things out. NH (34:56): So as you’re figuring things out, things might change. Who you are might change who you serve. You’re like, you know what, these people are not who I wanna serve. You’ve got a lot of complainers, a lot of freeloaders, like I’m attracting all sorts of wrong people. , this is not right. I I need to, I need to pivot. So we, you cannot, I mean, it would be a shame to pivot out of a $30,000 visual identity that you just had custom made, right? that would hurt. And so what, what you need at this point in your business, do they start a brand, what I call a starter brand? A starter brand is something that you can get off the ground in, you know, less than 24 hours that’s gonna cost you less than $2,000. And that is going to give you everything that you need to get into motion to start putting yourself out there to start creating content and publishing content and building that momentum so that you can get that feedback that’s going to either confirm that you are in the right visual identity and that this visual identity could probably serve you well. NH (35:57): Like you could get a lot of miles out of, out of a starter brand, maybe five years, maybe seven years with that starter brand. Or maybe you’ll realize six months down the road, yeah, I picked this visual identity, it’s not serving me well. I need to pivot. Well, you’ve only lost $2,000 at this point which is not $30,000. And you also, most importantly, did not lose months and months of, of time of like going back and forth with designers to figure, you know, to build things. All of that frustration and time you now saved yourself because you got all your assets in one instant download. You didn’t go create them and, you know, invest your time and money into creating them. So, so really it’s you know, I like to say it’s like a starter home. Like you can not as a first time home buyer go out and buy your dream home. NH (36:42): Like that’s not the smart move. Like, you need to go buy a starter home first, , you know, build some equity and figure out what you want in a home. Like, you know, what, what are the things that you like about this home and that you wanna have or that you don’t have that you wanna have in your next home? And then you figure out what your dream home is going to be. So same thing with your brand. Don’t try to build the perfect brand right off the gate. And also don’t get hung up on on your branding too much. Don’t get too personal with it. That’s the other advice that I really wanna share because you know, it’s, it’s beyond perfectionism. Perfectionism is one thing, but getting hung up on, oh, I don’t know if this is the right combination of these colors together. NH (37:25): And you know, a lot of people get really personal with it. And so it’s like, well at the end of the day, this brand is not about you. It’s about your business and what you’re building and who you’re going to attract. And the goal here is to get things done, is to make things happen. So stop getting hung up on the colors and on the fonts and oh, maybe this other font looks like this one really, it’s very close, but it’s not exactly, it’s a little bit more round on the edges and it’s like you’re wasting time. You are procrastinating. Just take something and go with it and go make things happen. And then, you know, maybe two years down the road when you have a seven figure business, you can afford to then go to a designer and argue about which font is rounder and better for you AJV (38:11): Time NH (38:11): To do that. AJV (38:12): That’s the best advice that any designer could give someone, is the point of this is not to get caught up in the details. Because I think that’s often what designers do. And I think that’s also why I love what you do so much. Cuz it’s not about the granularity of well, this hangs this way and it’s, it’s like, no, the point of this is to get things done is to get things in motion. It is, is to start knowing that things are gonna evolve and change over time as you evolve and change as your audience evolves and change. But I, I know so many people, so many people that the only reason they haven’t launched is because of something like this holding them back. And it’s like, this is the best advice is like, hey, this is the point is not to make it perfect. The point is to get something done so you can get things in motion. NH (39:01): Yeah. And I, I’d wanna share one other thing that’s very important to me to share with the people is if you are going to for any reason, hire somebody to help you with your design you need to know how to choose who you’re going to hire. Oh, . AJV (39:20): Okay. So if we can just go from, I’m just gonna start with the point is not to make things perfect, it’s to get things done and then you’ll pick up with something else I really wanna share. Okay. So the the whole point is not to get things perfect, it’s to get things done so you can get things in motion. That’s what’s important. NH (39:39): Yes. And the other thing I wanna share that’s really important to me is for people who want to go out there and hire somebody to help them with this, and that’s perfectly fine if, if you choose to do so. I would just say you wanna be mindful of, of who you are hiring and how you manage the process because there are, there’s, you can make one of two decisions when you’re gonna hire somebody. You can either hire a an affordable junior designer who is going to get things done on the cheap and quickly, or you can hire a designer who’s also a creative director. The difference between the two obviously is monetary first. The creative director is gonna be more expensive than the junior designer. But the reason why is because the junior designer isn’t is somebody who executes on your vision, your creative direction, and your very specific guidelines. NH (40:32): And a junior designer is typically not somebody who is first in marketing, digital marketing, the online business, personal branding or any of that. They know how to make beautiful designs and they will apply exactly what you tell them. But you need to inform everything that you give them. You need to, to educate them a little bit and also give them very specific instructions and very specific feedback because that is the only way that you’re gonna get good actual good design from them. So if you are working with somebody and you are getting frustrated because they’re sending you things that you’re like, well, no, this is not what I asked for. No, this is not what I meant. No, you’re not getting this and you’re in a position, you’re, and you’re finding yourself having to write a lot of mean emails . AJV (41:19): Nobody wants to do. Nobody wants to. Yeah. Which NH (41:21): Nobody likes to write those mean emails. But if you’re finding yourself on the cusp of sending an email that says, no idiot, that’s not what I asked for . It’s probably not their fault. It’s probably yours. It’s probably because you’re not giving them the creative direction and the instructions that they need because you think that they’re mind readers first of all. And you think that they know they know anything about digital marketing or personal branding or this asset that you’re asking them to create. They don’t. So it’s your responsibility to be the creative director for that designer. That’s now, that’s a problem that you would not have when you design, when you hire a creative director. But again, this is where you are going to have to, you know drop a little bit more money there. You have to up your budget to have a creative director, which will take those kinds of things off your, off your shoulders. NH (42:15): But still, you have to find a creative director who is also versed in marketing and digital marketing and personal branding and is used to working with high profile brands so that they can actually, you know, steer you in the right direction with certain things and know how to create certain strategic branding assets and communication assets, et cetera. And so, again, that is the other thing that I wanted to create initially when I created the first iteration of Digital Brand Kit, I really just went to make beautiful designs for people. But as I did and I started got into motion, right? And got this into the hands of people, the feedback that I got was, well, I need strategy, I need, I need help actually executing on this. And so that is where I went out and got, you know, took classes and learned more about this. I was like, I’m certified in digital psychology and and I’m certified in all of the things that you know, so that I know how to infuse all of that into these designs so that you don’t need to make those decisions, right? Or figure those things out on your own again, so that you can go and get things done. So I just wanted to caution people about working with other designers and what that looks like and where your frustrations might be coming from. AJV (43:31): I think that’s good. So if you get terrible designs, it’s your fault. It’s your fault NH (43:36): Basically. , AJV (43:38): I think that, I think there is a lot of truth in that because when you don’t go through the initial brand guidelines process in general of really defining like, what are my signature colors and what are these things, it’s like how in the world is someone else supposed to get into the inner workings of your mind? Who is your core target audience? What are you offering without a ton of time? And the more time it takes, the more costs. And so it’s like the more work you can do on the front end of being like, I want, I’m very clear on this. And if you’re not ready to invest that amount of time and money, the starter brand that, like, that’s who this was built for. But it’s like as you elevate out of that and you go, now I want something a little bit more, you know, elevated, that’s the word. It’s like you’re still, it takes it’s time and it’s introspective and I think that’s the part that people wanna skip through and they go, I just want something that’s awesome, awesome. Put it up there. And it’s like, well it’s not gonna be awesome unless we go through this process. I think that’s so wise. And I know we just have a couple more minutes yet and I just wanna do a couple of like rapid fire questions for you, for everyone out there who’s going, okay. NH (44:48): Hmm. , AJV (44:49): What, what should I be doing? Like what are some, like the big things I should be looking for? So I’m just gonna do some like rapid fire questions outside of doing like a colorblind test, like what would you say, what should people be doing to have an idea of what their visual identity should look like? NH (45:08): Hmm. I’ll tell you what they should not be doing. Don’t go build a Pinterest board AJV (45:14): , right? Feedback. NH (45:17): Don’t go build a Pinterest board if you’re gonna do one thing. It would be take a piece of paper and write down who your ideal client avatar is. Mm-Hmm. and, and, and just excruciating detail, who is this person as if they’re real person, give them a name, describe him or her, what they do, who they follow. And that is probably the best time that you could spend because when you do come up with your visual identity, that’s who you need to test your visual identity against. You’re gonna need to, you know, read off your, your, your client avatar description and imagine that as a real person and imagine whether or not this person’s going to be attracted to this visual identity that you created. And that is one of the tasks that you know, that you would run your visual identity by is your ica. So that would be my answer. AJV (46:09): I love that. I think that’s, I think that’s really wise up going. Your visual identity is not for you. NH (46:15): No it’s not. NH (46:18): Beautiful picture is that you pinned on pinches doesn’t mean that’s your visual branding. I know you feel , I’m not talking to you aj, just a little. But you’re, the thing is, is we all, I’ve made this mistake, so I’m not above any of this. I’ve made all the mistakes. Guess that’s why I’m so wise . That’s why I know all these things is because I screwed up first. I, I went for years thinking that pink was my signature color and it’s not, it was not, it’s, it’s not my signature color orange. I like to infuse pink a lot of things just because it’s the color that is dear to me, but it’s not my signature color. I made that mistake. I made mistakes with my fonts. I made mistakes with creating p board and pinning all these beautiful pictures that I like. And what I end up with is a soup of, there’s beauty everywhere. You’ll find beauty in a lot of things, but you, if you curate a board that has a lot of different beautiful things, you’re gonna have a very hard time finding the through line that is going to bring all of that together into something that makes sense and that is cohesive. So that’s why I say don’t go build a Pinterest board. You can build one after you figure out your signature color, but not before. AJV (47:24): Oh, I think that’s so good. And I, I love that. You know, it’s like, as you were talking, it just made me think it’s like you’re not building a website so you can go look at it. You’re not posting social media so you can go read your own posts, right? You’re doing this so that it reaches someone that you care about serving. And so it’s, it’s gotta be reflective of who you are so that you can attract the people that you are trying to curate as your audience. And that’s, that’s so good. Cause I think the emotions of people, the reason this is so hard for people is because they want it to be so perfect for them and they forget that this is not for you, this is for your audience. That I love that. That’s so good. Okay. Other quick things just like high level, how often do you think people should be posting like visual things online? AJV (48:15): You know, cuz I think, you know, I see so many people where it’s like they’ve gone to just like black and we black and white text, or some people just use photography now, or some people have like curated like design posts for social media. And I’m just curious, it’s like one, how often do you think somebody should be posting something that’s like attached to their brand? Like design-wise? Mm-Hmm. mm-hmm. versus like videos and stuff that’s really just has no design elements at all. Mm-Hmm. is, so any ideas or thoughts around that? NH (48:44): Can, are we talking specifically about Instagram? Sure. AJV (48:47): Example about Instagram? I think that’s probably the most visual of all the platform. Yeah, NH (48:51): I would say just enough that if somebody is scrolling through your, your feed and looking at your images, they’re getting enough pops of your brand color throughout that they’re recognizing that there’s some sort of cohesive you know brand elements that are coming up, you know, over and over again. So I would say as much as you can, but not to where it’s, you know, overkill. So, but just pops of your brand color throughout would be, you know, just so it’s like cohesive with your brand. That would be my AJV (49:23): Just enough where it’s like you can get the feel from it. And I think that’s like all these different trends where it’s like so many people are just the, just doing photos of themselves. And so that was the second question is should you infuse your brand colors into your photography? NH (49:39): Yes. That’s a great question. Guess what, the only Adobe tool that as a non-designer I know how to use is light room and light room. If you buy certain presets or if you can use pre-made presets that you find in Lightroom, Lightroom will let you put a filter on your images and you can mass do this on many images and just put these filters. So why this is useful is, let’s say that your visual identity has a lot of cool tones in it, cool cooler colors, right? Maybe some blues and some lavenders, things like that. You’re not gonna wanna have your photos be very warm, have warm tones because it’ll clash with the, the, the cooler tones of your branding. So if you wanna have something cohesive in your in your feed, you’re gonna want your imagery to have those cool tones. And that’s something that you can do in Lightroom using these they’re called presets. So if you just literally Google Lightroom presets you’ll find tons of vendors that have beautiful presets that you can just put these filters on all of your images and vice versa. If you have warm colors, go with warmer filters and that will give you that nice cohesive look. AJV (50:51): Is Lightroom also the tool that you use where you can like do the cutouts or remove the background? NH (50:57): No, that would be, well technically that’s Photoshop, but I don’t use Photoshop cuz I don’t know how to use Photoshop. I use a tool called remove.bg, so the website is removed bg and it’s so awesome. It’s like, I don’t know how much I paid less than $10 a month. And you literally drag and drop an image into this thing and it’ll remove the background for you. And it’s genius. So that’s, that’s another awesome tool that I would recommend. AJV (51:22): I think that’s super cool. Specifically if you’re in this like starter brand mode where it’s like you’re gonna be doing a lot of this DIY and just going, how do you do this? Can’t figure it out. Yeah. It’s just knowing some of these really cool tools. So that one’s called Remove bg. NH (51:38): Remove bg. AJV (51:39): Yeah. So super cool. So any other cool design tools like that that it’s like for you out there, who is the, you know, DIY of going, man, how do I make this awesome, but I don’t, I don’t got a lot of skills, so help me out. Any other tips or tools that you think would helpful? NH (52:00): You’re putting me on the spot. I’m thinking I have, like, I have an entire bookmark folder that has resources in it, but there is another one that’s the equivalent of remove.bg, but for videos. So you can actually remove the background from your videos and it’s called onscreen, so I think it’s onscreen.com. But just Google onscreen and it’s basically you just load your video into it and it’ll remove the background and then you can actually po you know, put your video with any background that you want. So that’s pretty cool. I, you know easy gift.com for making gifts gifts are just such an easy way that, you know, you can add like a little motion and something that pops. You can put this in your emails, you can put it in your presentations. I mean, there’s all sorts of ways that you could do this. NH (52:50): , I will share one more and it’s place it, which is a tool that will allow you to create mockups. So, you know, mockups of like tablets or phones or all sorts of things, and mockups are something that you probably a lot of people don’t, don’t know to use, but don’t think to use. But it’s a great way to give physical form to all of your digital products, right? So courses or coaching programs that are these like non-physical things, this is how you give them a physical, you know, look and presence is through these mockups. And so that’s a great way to do it. By the way, digital brand has tons of mockup templates just saying, but if you wanted to use this tool, it’s also a really easy, easy tool to use. AJV (53:39): So I love that y’all like, this is so helpful. And it’s, you know, just, it does, again, it doesn’t matter if you are just getting started or you’re super established. We always need something refreshed with our visual identity at some point, right? You’re gonna need a new asset, you’re gonna need a refresh of social media, you know, square images. You’re gonna need new headers, you’re gonna book designs, Prescott designs, new speeches. It’s like the list goes on and on and on. And at some point you’re gonna need to keep things fresh, right? You can’t have the same thing that you used five years ago, and nothing has changed ever since. It’s gotta be refreshed. And so there’s so many different tools that Nadine has created to make that process easier for you. And the easiest thing of all is to make sure that you start with a solid set of brand guidelines that really reflect you. So one of the things that I would just really encourage is at the very least, go to this website and take this color. Yeah. And it’s like, this is an amazing tool to get you pointed in the right direction of this is what you say about yourself without looking at colors, which is a really important thing. So again, brand builders group.com/db. And go take this. Nadine, if people wanna follow you personally, where do you want ’em to go? NH (55:00): Well, I would say check me out on Instagram. I’m not very active on it, but , but I, I DM all the time, so I’m happy to DM with you. So that will be at nafi, aa and then otherwise just, you know, shoot me an [email protected] if you have any questions. AJV (55:23): Ah, so generous. If you guys have got questions, you know, dmr most of the questions are taken care of for you with digital blankets, be honest. But this is so many good tips, so many good tools. We’ll link all of those design tools in the show notes for you guys. And we’ll also link brain builders group.com Forge slash dk. Go check it out. Take the color quiz get started. Keep building, keep doing what you’re doing. Nadine, thank you so much for being here. And everyone, we’ll catch you next time on the Influential Personal Brand. See you later.

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25 of the World's Most Recognizable Influencers Share Their Tips on How to Build and Monetize a Personal Brand

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