Branding beyond your business: How to brand your programs, courses and serviced

I put a lot of emphasis on branding your business. After all, I am a brand designer.

But what I haven’t covered quite yet is creating a “sub-brand” for your offerings. That is, until now.

Because while each program, service, or course should take on the overall aesthetic of your business’s brand, each one should have it’s own distinct style so it’s easily recognizable.

Striking that balance can be a little bit tricky, but it can also be a lot of fun.

So in today’s post, I’m guiding you step-by-step through how to brand your course, program, or service.

1  |  Choosing a color palette

Good news! 

You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) start all over when you’re creating a color palette for one of your offerings.

In fact, you should use your brand’s color palette as a jumping-off point for this new sub-brand. 

This will create consistency and make your sub-brand feel like a part of a greater whole, especially if you create separate sub-brands for each one of your offerings.

First, highlight one specific color in your brand’s color palette.

Because your brand colors are recognizable and specific to your business, it’s helpful to choose one or two colors from your current color palette.

Then, add a couple tints and shades of the main color.

Finally, consider adding one complimentary color to set the sub-brand apart.

Now that you’ve created some consistency with your overall brand by choosing from the same color palette and adding tints and shades to the main color, adding a complimentary color into the mix can differentiate your sub-brand and set it apart.

This complimentary color can be in your brand’s existing color palette, or you can pull from outside of the existing palette.

2  |  Choosing fonts

The “same but slightly different” approach that we took to choosing a color palette also applies to choosing fonts.

Creating a completely different set of fonts for a sub-brand will be confusing to those who are familiar with your overarching brand. 

You’ve already created recognizability and memorability with your current brand fonts, so stick with them! Especially for any clean, simple brand fonts.

However, you can make this sub-brand unique by adding one new, distinct font that pairs well with your pre-existing fonts.

3  |  Creating an inspiration board

Inspiration boards help provide visual direction for a design project. 

Instead of trying to pull ideas out of thin air, you can pull patterns, shapes, and designs from the photos in an inspiration board for your sub-brand.

This will come in handy as you design a logo for your offering, icons, collateral items, and more.

You might choose to use some photos from your overall brand’s inspiration board to create consistency and pull in some outside images that represent your product/service/course well, or you might choose to pull all new images.

You can also incorporate the colors of your new sub-brand’s color palette.

4  |  Designing a logo

Creating a logo for your courses, products, and services creates recognizability and memorability. 

It also differentiates your offerings from others in your industry and makes it appear more professional.

It’s very easy to overcomplicate the design of a logo by adding a ton of features, but it’s best to keep it simple. Especially when it’s a logo for a sub-brand. 

Stick to the fonts you’ve already set to your brand, and consider adding one design element to set it apart.

5  |  Adding some “flair”

This is my favorite part of the entire process. 

Now that the colors, fonts, and logo are out of the way, it’s time to add some “flair” to your sub-brand through icons, patterns, borders, etc.

These seemingly minor details make your brand more memorable and engaging to potential clients and customers. 

The fun is in the details.

So spend some time creating these small design elements. 

If you have a course, consider creating a unique icon for each of your modules.
If you have a service, consider creating a unique icon for each step of your process.
Or if you have a product, consider creating a unique icon for each feature or benefit.

Also consider how you’ll use patterns and borders and come up with a design style for them. This will come in handy in step 6...

6  |  Creating collateral items

Now that you’ve created your sub-brand, it’s time to put all of the components together.

But before you do, make a list of all the collateral items you’ll need to create for your brand.

Like header images for the course pages…

Lillian Gordon