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Etsy guide 4: Create an identity

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

In previous guides I have discussed how to write a listing and how to use E-Rank for Search Engine Optimization. Whilst using the right words on listings is important to attract the right customers, your initial shop image can also be used to attract the right people. The choice of fonts, style of your logo and the colours you use can also help to suggest who you are and what you sell. It is a really good idea to ensure all of your literature whether online or in physical form should all have a theme running throughout, and consistency will help your identity to be recognised. Creating your identity could take weeks and should definitely take longer than five minutes!

Shop name

A treasured friend from the village has just left after we designed her new shop's identity. I have asked her permission to use her shop for this guide (second half of this blog) and all that we had discussed, as an example of all the avenues that needed to be addressed in creating a shop identity. Whilst the shop is going to be selling chakra jewellery and wellbeing soy candles amongst other bits, the name and imagery could not be specific to one crafted item and a more generic name would be needed.

Things to consider with choosing a name:

  • Make sure no-one else is using it, you need a name that is unique to you. Check for copyright infringements

  • The name needs to be obvious to spell, (in that don't spell things in a contemporary, quirky way, e.g. Cindy is unlikely to be found if it is spelt 'Sindi').

  • Try and use words that could help to show what you sell and to help you appear in internet searches

  • Try and pick a name you keep for life, good research and careful thought will mean you won't be changing your shop name every five minutes

Shop style

Once you have a name you need to consider the font style and colours as again they will visually reflect the sort of circles you want to mix in. (You can't change the fonts Etsy uses, I'm referring to any fonts you may add to photographs, compliment slips etc). I sell rustic jute and lavender gifts and so I would not be using a modern font in the glitzy bright colours better used to sell stick-on funky fingernails. A punk t-shirt shop wouldn't fare very well if it used a William Morris type font. There are thousands of free fonts and picking the right one to compliment your products and name will help complete the visual package that will be associated with your shop.

Things to consider in choosing your style:

  • Ensure the font and colours reflect what you sell

  • As with the name, try and pick a style you keep for life, good research and careful thought will mean you won't be changing your shop style every five minutes

  • Identity should be consistent on everything whether it's social media, your Etsy shop or physical literature

Logos and banners

When creating the visuals for your Etsy shop you will need a square image for your logo and a long, slim 1:4 horizontal image for the shop banner. As with everything it is always best to use your own designs or photographs to protect your individuality, you don't want a logo already widely used. Where it isn't possible to create your own logo from scratch try and doctor a free template to make it your own.

The perfect logo does well if your shop name is included but keep it really clear and simple as it will only ever be viewed as a very small icon both in your shop and on social media.

The shop banner is a great way to really express what your shop is all about. An atmospheric photo or a close up of a finished piece would both look good, especially with blurred backgrounds and complimentary colours. It is an opportunity to artistically express yourself without necessarily using images of your crafts. Show how creative you can be, demonstrate you have an understanding of colour and composition and give a clue as to your sensitivity towards attention to detail

Tag line

Beneath the shop logo is a line of smaller writing called the 'title'. This is like a movie 'tag line' where you get a few words to sum up who you are. If you have already used E-Rank for your SEO on a listing then you may find it'll help for your title.

Analytical discussion on designing an online shop identity for Aileni Gems

Aileni Gems based just around the corner in Kyme approached me to help redesign their Etsy shop. The name has Welsh ancestry and it translates as 'rebirth' or 'regenerate' which is excellent terminology for gemstones and gemstone jewellery. I know nothing about the jewellery industry but I do know what this shop makes and the name is pure genius, a perfect example of what I talked about earlier where the name clearly tells you what it represents. The shop has Welsh roots and the crafter has used this genealogy to create and appeal to a niche market ensuring a monopoly in an unsaturated market.

The image below is the rough I was presented with and we went about discussing the changes needed. Straight away I suggested changing the colour. It isn't very clear in these photographs but the top image is more magenta and the new design underneath is the deepest purple on the blue side, a fabulous Celtic/pagan colour leading back to the Welsh background to the shop. The Celtic font chosen is very unusual and unique, a very clever font that has a hint of Hindu writing shapes, connecting the shop to the Indian chakra traditions.

The name is spectacular, as is the font in the deep purple and so we got to work setting it all out to create a brand worthy of the jewellery

We discussed what worked and what did not, concluding:

  1. The tree is a free stock image and so we would need to personalise it making it unique

  2. 'Made in England' needed to be much smaller and more delicate, it's a suggestion and not of vital importance, just a nice touch

  3. The font is a real test as the capitals can make the writing very unbalanced and awkward and so we tried lots of different layouts using upper and lower case letters

New compliment slip

Below is the new design for the compliment slip which is clean, well proportioned and visually very appealing. I used a second font for the smaller details which is very delicate to balance out the heaviness and complexities of the shop name font. I chose to align it to the right to show the shop has individualism and the ability to think outside of the box. If, as and when the shop gets a website it will be the only thing that'll need adding, no other social media information needs to be added. If you have done a good job in researching your shop name you should be found easily online by a google search simply by keeping your online presence active.

As the basic layout had been established we moved on and designed 'gift message' notes, keeping the logo and shop name in the same places for continuity and familiarity, both of vital importance when creating a brand.

At this point I still wasn't too happy with using the tree symbol despite the fact it looks really good. Below are sheets of compliment slips and gift message tags and it really demonstrates how powerful the imagery is. It has created a clear identity for the shop and one that is extremely personal and relevant. I suddenly had a really great idea for the tree....

I noticed that the second font I had used had similarities to the tree design. I suddenly saw the name within the circles and although one word has two extra letters, they are both roughly the same length, giving an organised chaos balanced either side of the trunk. I then noticed how the capital 'A' had the same shape as some of the tree branches. I had considered changing the font to the heavier option, but I think it is clear to say that this needs no changing, the font and tree are perfect together.

The finishing touch was to somehow change the tree so it became different to the original stock version and preferably more personal to the shop. I felt the heavy trunk could do with a little detail and it made sense to add the seven chakra points. The orange needs to be a little stronger as it is currently too close to the yellow shade with a big jump to the red but overall it is a really great logo and design.

Having spent the morning looking at the design and altering little bits I will check it again tomorrow after a break from it. Looking at it with fresh eyes will help to spot anything that still needs altering. If I am happy with the logo I will add the coloured chakra points to all of the trees on the compliment slips and gift message notes all ready for a trial print run. I always print one copy before signing it off as I prefer actual copies than computer screens. In the past I have found a few little issues that are easily fixed before doing the full print run.

As with any aspect of selling crafts online it is always a great idea to check out the competition by looking up successful shops in your genre. Look at shops with high sales and reviews to see the wording, colours and attention to detail they use. I go on social media once a month just to see what is out there, to see if anything new is happening and if there are any new trends and fads. None of my things ever follow trends and fads but it is still interesting to see what the masses are up to! It also helps to pay attention in case your work is copied, which can and does happen. Be unique, protect your ideas and be vigilant, try not to copy anyone else and don't be copied!

Other blogs in the Etsy Guide series (I'll be doing one a fortnight, ish):

Etsy Guide 1: Christmas Chaos

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