Hard and Fast Rules of Branding

by Lizzie Sorensen of Lizzie Sorensen Brand Management

On Twitter I get a lot of inquiries regarding branding, marketing and PR. I’m happy to answer those, and one recently struck me as perfect for this blog. The question was “Are there any hard and fast DON’Ts when branding, or is everything up for grabs, it just depends on style and timing?”

I’m going to break it down in list format, as that seems to be the easiest. This is my opinion, but having worked with brands large and small for a decade now, please take my advice…

  1. Don’t be too trendy with your brand, website, packaging colors or your fonts.
  2. Don’t use more than two fonts unless you absolutely have to.
  3. Realize from the start that just because you like the way your branding looks, that doesn’t mean that the general buying public will.
  4. Make sure print resolution is always high quality on all outgoing materials.
  5. Don’t use these fonts:  Curlz or Comic Sans.
  6. Don’t even think about launching a company without a website. Even if it is just a simple page that links to where people can read your blog, buy your product and get a hold of you. These “people” are customers and media reps,  such as editors. You want them to get a hold of you, or else your business will fail.
  7. You’re going to have to get real, get serious, and give up your name and a real address. You cannot run a business without people knowing your full name (why be shady?), and you need to provide legitimate contact information, especially if you are e-commerce, even if it is a PO Box.
  8. Secure any domains, twitter handles, trademarks and DBA’s that are as close as possible to your business name the minute you have the idea.
  9. Keep a good mix of business and personal on the internet.  You are your brand; everything published can be read and spread.
  10. Evolve.  If something isn’t working, seek help, and evolve your brand, your product selection, services etc.  Don’t give up – seek help from a professional.


  1. Thanks for the easy-to-follow instructions in this “cheatsheet”. I agree with Sara on #5!

    If you’re looking for requests, I find that sometimes it’s difficult to explain the benefit of having a brand and consistent design standards, even as a small independent business. I think that an article on this from your perspective would be a great resource.

  2. Becka says:

    This is such helpful advice. Thank you for sharing it. Concerning #8, how does one go about securing domains, trademarks, and business names? I feel so lost in such a big sea.

  3. Kimberly O says:

    Concise, clear and concrete! Great suggestions / guidelines! Traditional and classy have lasted the test of time for a reason!!

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