Starting a Small Business in Canada
Step 2 – Building a Better Brand

By Christine Kollo

TL:DR – Branding is more than what colours you choose or what fonts you use. It’s consistency and building something instantly recognizable. Click the link to read more!

Starting a Small Business in Canada - Step 2 - Building Exciting Branding 1

What is Business Branding?


irst off, if you haven’t yet read our other blog post in this series, I highly recommend it. If you are just starting out in business or are working on a bit of a refresh, it’s certainly worth the read. We are here on step 2 but if you would like to read step 1 click HERE.

Business branding represents the idea on a whole of people’s perception of a company. Branding from a design perspective is what colours and fonts to use and how to use them, different marks – such as little symbols, and of course the all important logo.

When all of these parts of branding are working well together, the overall brand tends to be healthy for the company and everything just fits well together and sticks out in a way that is useful and positive.

But branding is far more that just the appearance of things, it’s a cohesive plan to help you get and maintain business relationships. It’s a calling card saying you care and it’s in the fine details that can get you there.

There are rules to branding and when they are followed, it’s like going for a car ride on a freshly paved road. Smooth and sleek. Bad branding is a golf cart ride on the moon.

There is something completely amis here and sometimes you’re not even too sure why you don’t like the look or feel of a company…you just don’t.

When you look at a company and they have bad branding, it not only detracts from the overall company brand (obviously) but it even goes so far to give the appearance that the owner doesn’t have it together or worse, doesn’t care.

Sometimes there is too many typefaces being used in one application, their logo has nothing to do with what the company represents or the entire idea is just off somehow.

I’ll give you an example – Picture a lawyers office. This is a very serious place of business. The branding for this kind of company should be almost regal. Maybe black and gold, or deep reds with grey. Something that says “we take ourselves exactly as serious as we should.” The typeface shouldn’t be too severe but  something with a serif that is a bit more formal.

That being said, now imagine that same lawyers office that has branding that should be on a party store. Bright (somewhat insane) colours, a balloony typeface and lets say, smiley faces instead of bullet points inside their documents.

This is, of course, an extreme example of what I’m talking about here but I think you get the idea. Branding can, and does (literally) form a business. Your identity in the world of business should be consistent, tasteful and uniquely you.

If you read that last bit there and resonated with those statements a little bit too closely, please call us…we will help you 🙂

Hello, My name is…

Saying Hello, my name is Christine and I am the owner and creative director of OakTree Designs and we’re from Halifax, Nova Scotia….is too long and would start getting really annoying to everyone.

That’s where your branding comes in.

Building a brand is not something that you tell a graphic designer to just go and do. There is a process and I, the creative director and owner of OakTree Designs from Halifax, Nova Scotia is here to tell you all about it…annoying right?

The process goes something like this:

A sit down with said designer to talk about who you are…yes YOU as a business owner. What are you into? Why did you decide to open this business? Money is great and everything but it isn’t the driving force behind the passion you put in.

Money doesn’t keep you up at 1 am writing blog posts about graphic design and corporate branding. There are lots things to talk about when you have that sit down. There are things that you need to know and things your designer needs to know.

Your designer will come up with some ideas and create a mood board…or 3, for you to look at. Different palettes, fonts etc. to see what direction you want to be heading in.

Once an idea is formed for the feel and tone, your designer will sketch out some ideas for your logo.

A final package is made up and your designer will write up some rules that you should follow when implementing your new branding materials. Things like “don’t adjust the sizing of your logo to a weird angle” or don’t use other fonts in conjunction with your logo…etc.

This process is sometimes a short one but can also be one that takes a while. While you know your business best, your designer knows what to do and you need to trust each other through that process. Say, if you’re a lawyer and want a balloon font, we will persuade you to change your mind.


One thing we hear from new clients a lot is “my business isn’t big enough to need all that.” Be confident in your idea and I promise you that if you put the time and attention into your business while is small, it won’t be that small for very long. Let us know if we can help.