Branding Your Interior Design Business (with Katie Saunders)

Episode #291 the Wingnut Social Podcast

Branding Your Interior Design Business

Should my brand style be the same as my design aesthetic? How can I go beyond aesthetics and form an emotional attachment with my audience? And what really is a brand besides just logos and fonts? Brand designer and strategist Katie Saunders is here to answer all of these questions and more.

Brand designer and strategist Katie Saunders combines artistic talent with marketing strategy to create effective brands and websites for interior designers and other creative businesses. Using a collaborative approach, Katie provides her clients with strategy and implementation, creating custom branding that’s authentic to their story and speaks to their ideal clients. Katie lives, works, cooks and plays a mean game of backyard basketball with her husband and two daughters in North Carolina.


What even is “my brand?”

You may think you have a brand. You have a logo, colors, maybe even a few fonts. So you’re good to go, right? Sure, that’s a big part of your visual brand, but what people tend to miss is that’s just the implementation of what your brand actually is. Your brand is really what people are saying about your business when you’re not around, and what the overall feeling your business gives people. It’s hard to control this on your own. It’s something that, if you don’t have an idea of what you want your brand to be, other people decide what your brand is – which is never a good thing. We want to control that conversation!

Does my branding have to match my design aesthetic?

This is the number one thing interior designers want to do when they start their brand. Your design aesthetic influences your brand, so it does need to shine through, but it doesn’t define the whole thing. When your brand totally reflects your design style, interested clients will indeed be attracted to your visual brand, but that’s where it ends. You’re showing them the style you create, but this allows potential clients to simply choose between multiple designers of the same style, with the final choice eventually being decided by price. You take emotion and gut feeling out of their decision making process. Katie recommends that you do pull in some of your design aesthetic, but more importantly, you need to find a way to make an emotional connection with your potential clients. Your brand should express your values and also the experience of working with you.

What goes into making a successful brand? How do I express my values through my brand?

Katie recommends starting with a positioning statement, an internal facing document to help inform all of your decisions. It’s almost like an elevator pitch, but just for yourself. You can use this document to determine what’s important to you, the type of client you do the best work for, the type of work that you do, and more. You may do lots of different work in the interior design space, but there needs to be one thing that you really hone in on. This will help you niche down in your messaging. You need to identify your ideal client – even if you take jobs outside of this “ideal client,” you should always be messaging for the ideal. You also need to identify your core values, and what the experience that your brand gives people. When they come to work with you, what is your process like? How is it different than if they had hired someone else? Once you know that experience, figure out how to administer that feeling to the copy on your website, your voice on social media, and more. Everything should feel like the client is having an organic conversation with you. Katie’s tip is to start with the words – the copy and messaging – and then go to your visuals! So, how do these words transfer into your visual brand? Katie says you have to unlearn everything as a designer because you have to be very objective. It’s not about what you like – there is a ton of psychology behind colors and fonts, which Katie spends a lot of time on before even diving into a design. For example, green can represent new life, and you can select a wide range of fonts from high-end and expensive looking, to friendly and approachable.


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Resources & People Mentioned: “Atomic Habits” by James Clear

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