How to Choose Your Brand Colors

Working with colors can be the most fun part of brand design...unless you start putting your brand colors together and end up with something that looks like unicorn barf. Gross!

The good news is there’s no need to toss everything and start all over again from scratch.


  • How to take all of your graphics from unicorn barf to unicorn sparkles

  • How to avoid color overload

  • How to create enough variety so you can use your brand colors endlessly

Sarah DayComment
5 Basic Things Your Brand Style Guide Should Include

Have you ever wondered how some companies keep their content and social feeds looking super professional and consistent? The key is that they've taken the time to define their style and write down specific guidelines and rules for how to execute this vision day in and day out. Think just because you're a one-woman show that you can keep those thoughts in your mind palace? Think again. We make decisions every day that can eventually take a detour from our initial vision. Keeping a brand style guide at your disposal ensures that you always measure your decisions up to your brand standard and that your teammates are empowered to make those same decisions!

Here are 5 things your brand style guide should include:

1. Your vision/mood board.

We can't make decisions without a clear vision of our brand. Your vision should encompass your brand's ideal client persona, the things that make your business different, and the overall tone and values of your business. This is so helpful to refer back to whenever you feel like your content is veering away from your original mission.

2. Your logo.

It's the greatest distillation of your brand and you want to always use it with integrity and professionalism. Your style guide should include rules about how to use it properly, from how it's shaped to how much padding it gets to what colors it appears in.

3. Color.

Your color palette is a huge part of your visual identity and can often become one of the most recognizable parts of your brand. What colors are a part of your palette? Make sure your palette range is large enough to give you flexibility, but not too large that you lose consistency.

4. Typography.

With so many custom fonts on the market, your visual identity is largely becoming connected to its typography in addition to its colors. Certain type styles go hand in hand with certain visual styles. Are you traditional, modern, artsy, gently, professional, or irreverent? Make sure your type styles match your brand persona and that there are guidelines dictating how and when they're used.

5. Photography.

It's the age of Instagram and content marketing, so photography is a huge part of your brand whether you want to believe it or not! Make sure you're thinking about how you want people to be represented and depicted. If you're a product-based business, create rules around how your products are shown. If you use stock photography, create a running list of keywords that you search for.

Each brand is different and requires guidelines specific to the way they run their business. Have sub-brands, courses, or products that need specific style rules outlined? Add 'em! Have a specific way that you create Pinterest graphics, or use your icons? Add it! While making these style decisions might sound a little daunting, getting started on what you do know can be so helpful in making sure you and your team are always sticking to the path that aligns with your vision.

Need in-depth guidance on how to put together your own brand style guide? Get The Balanced Brand Lab Kit, where I'll provide you with a style guide template to edit and give you video training sessions on all the nuances of each section!

Nicole YangComment
Introducing the Balanced Brand Lab Kit!

There was a time earlier in my career when I used to look to fancy brand designers a little green with envy. They were producing gorgeous logos, working with brands that I admired, charging a dime, and taking long vacations. Get paid to make beautiful things every day and then take a tropical vacation? Sounds good.

Now that I'm more experienced and have had dozens of my own clients under my belt, I see that often, when things are pretty and sparkly on the outside, there's not much going on on the inside.

Having worked with so many clients on not just branding, but their everyday design needs, I see where these pretty branding packages are lacking. I see clients like you being thrilled with the gorgeous logo and the new "style guide" ...that is, until you have to start creating content with it and find that things are actually pretty sparse.

Where's the direction on how to use those brand colors together? What about those fonts? What about when you've created four dozen Pinterest graphics that all look identical and you don't understand why other brands don't have this problem?

I now go through a specific process for all of my branding clients that provides them with a formula for using the colors and fonts that are given to them, and I want you to have it, too!

A jam-packed do-it-yourself workshop to create a formula for all your design decisions.

(So you can start feeling confident that your branding is the best representation of your business.)

Inside this workshop:

  1. You'll get access to my scientific method for creating a thorough and balanced brand style where I walk you through how to make decisions and create go-to formulas for the future.

  2. You’ll do the work alongside me, experimenting with your formula and plugging in your answers to a style guide template I provide for you.

  3. Then, boo-yah! You’re ready to show off that sizzling new brand to the world and start implementing your formula in anything from Facebook ads to Instagram posts to newsletter opt-ins.

Ready to leave the insecurity in the dust?

Nicole YangComment
How to Break Up Long Blocks of Text In a Design

Have you created an awesome course packet, pricing sheet, media kit, etc, but then realize the text in your design is boring AF? This is actually the #1 thing people ask me about on the Design Hotline - "How do I break up all this text!?"

The truth is, you don't have to have access to tons of graphics, photos, or icons to make your text stand out.


  • How to create visual interest

  • What to do with white space

  • How to make your words more powerful and easier to read

Sarah DayComment
What Is a Brand Style Guide?

I was going to start this by saying that I don't like being a bubble-burster.

But when that bubble perpetuates racking up business expenses with little return on investment, feeling lost even when you've hired all the right "experts" and going around in that circle without a clue how to get out...well, I'm happy to pop that bubble for you.

Here's the thing: We often think of branding as three things: a logo, a color palette, and a list of fonts. But then we find ourselves STUCK when we have to go make a Facebook ad or a webinar presentation because we have NO direction on how to use these things together. So that brand you paid good money for? It's not pulling its weight. That style guide you were given? It's not a style guide, it's a glorified list of color swatches and typefaces.

What other brand designers mean when they say you'll be getting a "style guide:"

Brand Board.png

What a style guide actually is:

nicole a yang brand style guide.gif

A style guide is a giant brand document that outlines all the rules and formulas you need to create content. It covers your logo, your colors, your fonts, yes, but it also covers how to use them together, patterns, icons, graphics, language, photography, and MORE.

If you've ever struggled using the "brand" you've been given, the solution isn't a rebrand—it's asking your brand and your designer to do more for you.

Need more guidance on determining if you've been struggling with your brand? Sign up for my newsletter below!

Nicole YangComment