Beauty branding: the basics

 Branding and packaging design for Luscious Skincare by Aligned Design Co.

I was recently invited to be a guest on the lovely Formula Botanica's podcast, Green Beauty Conversations. You'll be able to listen to the podcast soon, but it inspired me to share some insights here on the blog. Some beauty branding basics to get you thinking and help you figure out where to start when it comes to visual identity for skincare and haircare products.

Why does branding matter for beauty businesses?

If you think about the beauty market, and how many products are out there, you can see how having a distinct identity is essential differentiate your products. A good brand communicates what you do and what’s special about it, so it makes it easy for the customer to choose your product above someone else's.

The visual identity communicates instantly what it would take a long time to put across in words. For example, are your values organic, natural and eco-friendly or glamorous and glossy? Are the products for men or women, children, or anyone? What sort of lifestyle does your ideal customer have? The customer will instantly get an impression from your packaging and marketing material to help them decide if the product is for them. Of course the words are important too, but you have to get your customers to notice you first, and that's where visuals are so important.

Beyond that, well-considered branding also elevates your image and helps you get taken seriously. In a very real way, it can help take your products from a market stall to a retail store.

How do I go about creating a brand that works?

First and foremost, think about your niche. Don’t be afraid of having a niche and a specific target customer group. 

If your target is too broad, you won’t reach anyone or make the emotional connection you need to build a following. For example, I love the brand Tata Harper. They communicate a very ethical approach, pure ingredients that are really effective, and with a luxurious feel. It’s perfect for me. Whereas someone else might love the really scientific, more glossy brands like Rodial. Neither is better, but both brands know how to communicate their values and that's how they laser-in on their ideal customers. Your vibe attracts your tribe!

Spend some time really nailing down what makes your products different. What's the story behind why you started? What really matters to you about your business? Do you use special ingredients? You need to not be afraid to show what makes you stand out, there’s a lot of power in that.

Within this, consider your price point, what retailers you would most like to be stocked in and who your closest competitors are.

It's really important to do this background discovery before you even go near Pinterest! By putting the time in to think about these questions, you'll find that narrowing down the visual look will flow a lot more easily as it will be more obvious what suits your brand and what doesn't.

Next steps

It's great to do some digging yourself and start pulling together a mood board of colours, font styles, packaging and photography that might work for your products. When it comes time to hire a designer to create your brand identity, this will make your work with them a lot easier, as well as helping the designer to create something you love.

Pinterest, magazines, Google image search and Behance are all great resources for finding inspiration. Have fun, and do pop any questions below and I'll be happy to answer them.