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ASK THE EXPERT: Branding on a budget

Starting a business is exciting, but it often comes with many risks and uncertainties. For most entrepreneurs, having a trusted resource when problems arise can often be the very element needed to achieve game-changing success.

“Ask the Expert”, our bi-weekly feature designed especially for startups, invites North Texas industry thought leaders to share helpful advice and strategies with current and aspiring business owners

Meet the Expert

Caitlin Miller is a Dallas-based graphic designer with 10 years of experience in transforming brands with a strategic design that goes beyond cookie cutter. She is passionate about helping businesses grow their brand with clear and effective marketing strategies, strong branding, and eye-catching, out-of-the-box collateral that engages customers, drives traffic and sells products.

Miller graduated from UT’s prestigious Texas Creative Sequence with a BS in Advertising. Since then she has worked with brands such as Dillards, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Flywheel Sports and Paramount Pictures to name a few.

Along with her design business, Miller also owns a popular Etsy shop, Favors and Stuff, known for its unique printable party games. The shop currently boasts over 2,000 downloads and 100 plus five star reviews.

Branding Basics

Start small and be consistent. Get in a habit of using the same fonts on everything. If you capitalize your brand name, capitalize it always. Consistency is key even if you don’t have an established brand and fancy logo yet.

Startup secret weapons: Creativemarket.com (for all your graphics needs) / flaticon.comthenounproject.com (for icons)

Make them feel something: Think about the feelings you want your audience and target customers to feel, and make sure all of your graphics, photos, colors, and copy used are cohesive and reflect the intended tone.

White space is your friend: Balance is your friend. Keep it simple when you’re getting started.  Stick to two or three colors and two fonts at the most with your branding elements.

Keep a visual hierarchy in mind:  What’s the most important piece of information you want your readers/visitors/audience to notice or learn when they connect with your brand? Focus on the most prominent information in your design/blog/site/article first, then work backwards with the next most important nugget of information.