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Personal Branding: what logo style to adopt for your personal brand

Types of logo styles used for personal branding by the super successful personal brand empires to inspire your own brand creation.

Firstly, what is personal branding?

By definition, "personal branding is the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of an individual by positioning them as an authority and a leader in their industry, elevating their credibility, differentiating themselves from the competition and ultimately advancing their career."

For any brand (personal or product), you want to be consistent, recognisable and intentional with your visual design, values, behaviour, actions, language, signature style and trademark. Personal branding follows the same planning requirements as any product branding process, and as such, should have clear guidelines as a compass for the execution and implementation.

Who can Benefit from Personal Branding?

High profile personal brands you may recognise that have created a brand franchise from their personal brand. Roger Federer uses the RF, Oprah Winfrey uses the O, Kim Kardashian uses the KK. Their brand has extended from their personal brand, through to a product range, media empire or foundation, all while staying consistent within their brand family.

But personal branding is no longer just for those on the sporting field or those in front of the camera. It is just as important for those in the business world that want to scale their operation, build a credible profile, been seen as an industry thought leader and attract clients wanting to work them them rather than chasing them.

This growth in the business world has been sparked by the digital era.

People want to do business with those they know, like and trust. It's about the people who work for the companies more than the actual companies themselves. And they want to check you out online first. Not just your professional LinkedIn profile, but google your name.

If you are a consultant, coach, course creator, athlete, executive leader, public personality or influencer, you can benefit from having a strong personal brand. So before you try to build your digital footprint, you need to define what your brand is about, your values, who you serve, your purpose and how you want to be visually represented.

Today I'm going to share one element of personal branding, which is your brand identity or logo.

Brand Identity - Logo Styles

The majority of personal brands fit into one of 5 styles which I will outline below.

1. Motif

The motif style is creating a unique, decorative image or design, especially a repeated one forming a pattern. The motif style can be versatile for packaging, gift giving, website backgrounds and watermarking your work. It can also be used in conjunction with your with your name alongside it when needed like on your website or letterhead.

Below is an example of a motif logo created for our Founder, Shelley Tilbrook. The motif was created by writing each of the letters in her name on top of one another (S.H.E.L.L.E.Y. T) to create the design.

Course Creator and successful female entrepreneur, Grace Lever's brand incorporates her initials G & L to form a power button and her written name.

The power button suits Grace's brand because she is all about encouraging others to take action and her tag line "Stop Dreaming, Start doing", marries in perfectly.

2. Signature or Lettermark

The signature style is your written name, usually incorporating a signature style font. This is one of the most popular styles for entrepreneurs. Also called the lettermark, wordmark or logotype is a font-based logo that focuses on a persons’ name alone.

Below is an example of a personal brand logo we created for business strategist and coach, Sarah Curtis-Fawley. With this logo design, once the colour palette was set (using our colour psychology method), then it was down to selecting the right fonts to suit her brand values, target market and business industry. The simplicity took into account the other brands we were developing for her as it will sit alongside these, ie Podcast, courses and coaching.

3. Monogram

Monogram logos or lettermarks are logos that consist of letters, usually the brand name initials. A monogram is a logo or form of identification interweaving someone's initials. Traditionally it contains, first, initial, last initial, then middle initial, but in personal branding, there are no hard and fast rules. It's your brand.

These designer monograms have originated from their designers names into fashion brands.

Using your initials to create your personal brand is common among sports stars like Roger Federer, Kevin Pietersen and influencer Kim Kardashian. You can choose to just have your initials or your initials and the name combined.

Roger Federer's success on the court has lead to many successful and lucrative partnerships with Mercedes, Jura, Lindt, Rolex, Wilson, Credit Suisse, Barilla, Uniqlo to name a few. The clever design is also used in the work peRFect, so you can get lucky with your initials fitting into a suitable word that reflects your brand personality.

Australian golfer, Adam Scott has a very premium personal brand and has aligned with prestige brands including Mercedes, Rolex, Bulgari, Titleist, and Uniqlo over the years. In this example the mirror effect has been used to have the A and S reflect each other symmetrically.

Kim Kardashian's brand follows the same mirror style as the example above with her KK initials.

4. Combination Mark

A combination mark is a logo comprised of a combined wordmark or lettermark and a pictorial mark or abstract mark.

This is less common for personal branding than it is for big commercial brands like BP, Hungry Jacks or Adidas.

5. The Emblem

An emblem logo consists of font inside a symbol or an icon; think badges, seals and crests. These logos tend to have a traditional appearance about them that can make a striking impact, thus they are often the go-to choice for many schools, organisations or government agencies.

It has also been the branding approach for Tennis Champ, Raphael Nadal. His logo is an abstract bull formed by two symmetrical lightening bolts. The bull symbol references the 19-time Grand Slam champion's nickname 'the raging bull'. Bulls epitomise masculinity and symbolise strength and power in both their physical and spiritual presence.

How to decide what's best for you

To help you select the most suitable type for your personal brand, here are some tips:

  • If you are not yet well known, include your name as part of the logo.

  • If you are planning to launch additional brands under the umbrella, keep the design simple so it can complement the additional brands.

  • If you are planning to include your personal brand on merchandise, consider the motif, monogram or emblem style.

  • If you are a coach or consultant the signature style is popular and can attach nicely to your programs, podcast or products.

Tell us in the comments which one is your favourite style for your personal brand.

If you need help developing your personal brand, contact us to discuss personal brand with Shelley Tilbrook or our Building Your Personal Brand package including brand strategy, website build, logo, brand guidelines, templates and digital footprint growth.


Image by Jeremy Bezanger
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