How Kristin Harper Shows She’s a Professional with Her Freelance Brand
A Professional Brand
Kristin’s freelance brand stands out from other freelancers and shows she’s professional with her freelance brand. Here’s how Kristin developed her brand.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Clients often think that freelancers are alike and that we’re unprofessional. Kristin Harper, PhD, MPH, ELS, overcomes this perception with her freelance brand. “A catchy logo and tagline help people remember me and demonstrate that I am a professional who takes my business seriously,” says the freelance medical writer and owner of Harper Health & Science Communications, LLC.
Kristin writes clear, convincing, and competitive grant proposals, continuing medical education (CME) activities, and journal articles. She works with pharmaceutical companies, CME companies, research institutions, public health foundations, and other clients.
Here’s her logo and tagline.
A Consistent, Professional Image
Using her freelance brand in all marketing materials—email signature, website, business card, resume, and even invoices—enables Kristin to create a consistent, professional image. Kristin’s logo clearly shows her expertise in science and in writing/editing.
And having a strong freelance brand shows that Kristin pays attention to details—in her business and on her client’s projects. Kristin’s brand also shows that she’s willing to invest in her business, a key part of being a professional.
When Kristin goes to conferences and other networking events, her freelance brand helps people remember her. “The eye-catching logo gets attention in a sea of business cards,” she says.
The Plan for a Professional Freelance Brand
When she launched her freelance business in 2014, Kristin started thinking about branding. She developed her logo in 2016 and her tagline about a year after that.
Luckily for Kristin, her sister-in-law, Sarah Stoner-Duncan, is a graphic designer. Sarah asked Kristin if she:
- Thought about any images when she envisioned her logo
- Had any specific colors she wanted to use.
Sarah also asked Kristin to send her other logos that she liked.
The right images
Combining communication and science images was one of Kristin’s goals for her professional brand. Kristin’s initial thoughts included a laptop, books, or marked-up papers with a pen for the communication image and a beaker, laptop, or microscope for the science image. “I didn’t want the logo to be too busy, but I wanted it to convey both ideas,” she says.
The right tone
Kristin also knew that she wanted her logo to be clean and simple, like the Apple logo. She sent Sarah a web page she had found, 99 Creative Logo Designs for Inspiration, and told her that she liked many of the logos. Kristin also included the web pages of specific logos that she liked.
The right colors
Kristin didn’t know what colors she wanted to use, but she did know that she wanted to use “warmish colors” because she works closely with her clients. Sarah chose orange and purple, which Kristin never would have thought of on her own. “But I loved them after I saw them on paper,” she says.
I wouldn’t have thought to combine orange and purple either. But I agree with Sarah and Kristin that they look great together!
Evolution of a Professional Freelance Brand
Here are the first design concepts for Kristin’s logo. As you can see, Sarah gave her options using several different communication and science images, or icons.
Kristin used the first round of concepts to select the general image she wanted to use in her logo: the microscope with the pencil. “I worked with friends and colleagues to get their feedback about the different choices. I already had my favorites, but it’s nice to hear other people say they like them too,” says Kristin.
Back then, I didn’t know Kristin, but I agree that she made the right choice for her logo. The microscope with the pen instead of the lens and tube effectively communicates Kristin’s key message of blending writing and science. And it looks fabulous!
Here’s Round 2 of the design concepts for Kristin’s logo, using the microscope and pen as the image. Kristin used these concepts to “hone in on just the right image.” Once again, she asked friends and colleagues for feedback. And once again, Kristin made the right choice: #1.
A Tagline that Builds on a Professional Brand
Kristin had been thinking about tagline ideas for some time. A tagline is a memorable phrase or sentence that helps your target audience(s) understand what you do and is part of your logo. A logo with a tagline is much stronger than a logo alone.
While attending a couple of leadership workshops, Kristin had been asked to think about branding and expressing her goals concisely. After she read something on the Freelance Marketing Blog about standing out on LinkedIn, her tagline came to her: “Making the world a healthier place, one word at a time.” “This is really how I think about my business—what I want to be doing with my life,” says Kristin.
Kristin added her tagline to her logo. Here’s what it looks like.
As you can see, Kristin’s tagline is short enough to look great with her logo. It builds on Kristin’s company name and logo imag. And it’s clear and interesting.
A Trusting and Honest Design Process
During the logo design process, Kristin trusted Sarah to do a great job. “When I hire somebody to help me with something, my philosophy is that I’ll find someone great, tell them the key things that are most important to me, and then let them do their magic,” she says.
By not micromanaging the people who help her develop a professional freelance business, Kristin never misses out on “something incredible I could have never imagined myself.” Sarah was able to take Kristin’s “not-very-specific ideas and run with them,” creating a logo that Kristin loves.
Kristin also recommends asking to see examples of the designer’s work. “Your logo is really personal, so you want to find someone who can deliver something you love,” she says
“You won’t be sorry you invested in a nice logo with a tagline that stands out,” says Kristin.
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