Capturing you with a warm smile, kind eyes, and an air of openness, Amanda Guerassio makes you think. And just as importantly, she holds space for you to comfortably think about your values, your business mission and goals, and what you want to be communicated to your existing and prospective clients, supporters, partners, and colleagues. She lets you think and then guides you to a concrete and clear understanding of what your business is and how you want it perceived and then she leaves you in peace.
She disappears into the depths of Illustrator and her office, taking with her your list of intangible concepts, your vision, and dreams for your business, and re-emerges with tangibles for your brand. Suddenly, you have colors and images, fonts, and styles. When put together, all of these things mean something. They give you visuals to an identity that would otherwise remain in an intangible state.
A brand designer, an entrepreneur, a wife, and a mother - Amanda Guerassio, founder and owner of Studio Guerassio, sat down with NOMAWO to discuss the importance of branding, life as an entrepreneur, and how freelancers and independent professionals can go about creating a brand they feel proud of.
NOMAWO: Why is branding important to a business?
Amanda: What it really boils down to is it helps you to show people or communicate to people why they should choose you. You know, what you're there to do, what kind of vibe you have, what makes you different, all those things are wrapped up in branding. And knowing the answers to those questions kind of helps you shape everything you put out there so you are communicating that. I always say that the first step is figuring out the answers to that. And that really is the core of branding.
She went on to share how branding affects her own choices when seeking out a service provider. She says that the website stands out to her the most and how important quality branding is. "If you don't care enough about your own business to have that kind of stuff in order, why would people trust you with their business? It makes me question their competency or their commitment or their level of quality."
But on the other side, good branding can pull her in. A clean website that allows her to find what she's looking for easily and consistently is key. Her answer led us to wonder how much branding was related to UI/UX design.
Her response? They aren't the same but the brand should definitely inform the UI/UX design and process and can help ensure that the potential client finds what they are looking for.
Like most brand designers, Amanda created her own. Clear but gentle language and a soft palette of greens, purples, and blues make up her website. In creating her own design she walked herself through the same process she would take a client through although confesses it's quite challenging to be your own client.
NOMAWO: What was the process like when designing your brand?
Amanda: Being both the designer and client wrapped into one, it's like, it's almost hard to settle on one designer you know there are so many other possibilities or tweaks you could do so it's almost never-ending. But at the same time I did walk myself through the same process I do with my clients and so then when I had something I was pretty solid on, I sent it out to a few designer friends and said 'you know, I'm trying to say "this, this, and this. Do you think it matches up with this?"' So I did source outside of myself to see if it was communicating what I wanted to communicate.
However she settled on it, her own brand reflects her incredible skill at translating intangible concepts like friendliness, honesty, and openness into a tangible design. She uses that same skill to support entrepreneurs and independent professionals in creating their brands either by designing them or coaching them through the process.
NOMAWO: What advice do you have for freelancers and independent professionals creating their brand?
Amanda: Carve out some time to sit down and really think about what you want for your business. Because it is your business and you can shape it to whatever you want it to be, you need to know what that is first.
Beginning in September, Amanda will be hosting the NOMAWO Branding Track, an 8-week program. The first four weeks of which will be focused on getting to know your business, what it represents, and learning basic principles that will make your brand work for you. The second four weeks will be all about creation - creating your brand with an option to DIY it with her guidance or to choose the DFY option and work directly with her as she builds your brand.
We look forward to hosting her and seeing the beautiful brands the cohort creates with her skilled and gentle guidance.