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  • Writer's pictureSarah Harley




Definition: The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products

Branding is basically your business identity. It’s combining a range of visual elements and tools to create a brand name and identity that becomes synonymous with you/your company. This can include font, size, colour, graphics and illustrations. These should then be used across all material that you use to promote your company – logo, website, business card, leaflet, adverts and so on.

What could you do to make your business stand out from the crowd?

The first key task is to research other photographers in the same field to see what their identity looks like. This will help generate some ideas on creating an identity that stands out from the competition, but also looks appropriate so that it appeals to potential clients. If it doesn’t seem right for the sector because it’s too different then this is not necessarily a good thing.

Different ways of making yourself stand out could include: Brand name, colour, font style and size, strapline, slogan, adding something to your package that others don’t – do you have identifiable skills that could enhance your photography that others don’t have, look at locations where there aren’t as many photographers and promote your services to this area.


The name of my business is Harley Photography. As I am essentially selling myself and my skills, I felt that using my identity was important to show belief in my ability. I also wanted to create a generic name that didn’t necessarily relate to one sector so that I could appeal to a wide range of potential clients. I felt that the business didn’t need a niche branded name.

Photography is also a widely searched term which will help when companies/individuals are searching for a photographer. Most well-known photographers are also known by their own name rather than a brand name. It was a case of sometimes less is more, in this instance reinventing the wheel did not seem necessary.


At this stage, I am looking to focus more on commercial photography for companies and people. This could include the following types of photography – products, food, headshots, business premises, events and environmental portraiture.

My initial target area will be regionally based in order to build a professional portfolio. Concentrating initially on the local area will allow me quickly identify target businesses and people. It will allow me to use local contacts to generate business, which in turn will help develop a portfolio, a reputation and recommendation by word of mouth.


In most designs, I’m immediately attracted to those that have simplicity. I like clean lines, unfussy identities that stick with a simple colour palette. I tend to avoid bright colours and stick with the three colour rule if choosing complimentary colours – a rule I learnt when working in interior design.

When researching what makes a good logo there seems to be an agreement that there are some key principles to adhere to:

If we think of logos that have a global recognisable presence then immediately a few spring to mind:

Through the use of colour, font, a simple graphic or one symbol then the brands have become household names and adhere to the key 5 principles of good logo design.

Researching photographers logos then it seems that most use their names and that the main approach seems to be simple photography related graphics and text – other than those who specialise in a certain genre such as weddings, whereby they will intertwine a wedding and photography related graphic.

Some examples:

Although in some instances others add what may be considered unrelated graphics/design:

Although I already have a logo, I do remember when I created it I remember that the key elements for me were that it was clear, easy to read, muted in colour, easy to replicate in colour or black & white yet showed a small element of creativity and or free spirit.

I initially researched some ideas on Canva and found a basic concept I liked which was a name positioned on what was essentially a brush stroke.

However, I didn’t like the pink tone to the brush stroke and had some concerns that the font made the ‘r’ difficult to read. Although I liked the handwritten style, as Harley is key to the brand identity then it needs to be as clear as possible to avoid people mistaking the ‘r’ for an ‘n’.

Other than those elements, then the concept was clear, showed a simple artistic element with the brushstroke – without being too fussy, wasn’t genre specific, would work well on both online and printed materials and had scope to be simplified making it easy to reproduce in colour or black and white.

Taking the basic concept, I decided to redesign the logo in Adobe Illustrator with the key aim of changing the brushstroke to grey, simplifying the font to make the ‘r’ clearer whilst maintaining the handwritten flow of the logo.

I started with a simple artboard with a transparent background:

I then added a simple brushstroke in grey:

Then I researched various fonts and settled on the following for Harley:

As I also wanted the word Photography in my brand then I decided to go for a contrasting clean font, also in capital letters so that the two words stood apart but equally complimented each other:

Although this was a relatively quick process, my business is photography and I wanted a clear logo that did not detract from the images. Using my name as the brand also makes it easy to use as a watermark on images. The name will be identifiable alone and is not dependant on the brush stroke or any graphic to make it recognisable. The black text can easily be changed to white if required, or indeed used in a different font if necessary.

Having worked in branding and marketing, then I am also aware that it is perfectly acceptable for brands to change their identity once they are established. It is often common practise amongst brands to redesign in order to generate fresh awareness and provide the business with a news story. Whilst I do not envisage doing this for some time, then I don’t think it will affect business in the long run if I do change it over time. My name is the brand and my images and name are hopefully what people will remember and look for.

In order to ensure that my brand has continuity, I have also used a mock up to see how it would work on items that would be needed in business - leaflets, business cards (covered in a separate post), letterhead and envelopes.

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