Simplicity to the CORE: The Key to Branding

This is a guest post from Kayt Joyce who will be a panel member for Jam Session | branding edition on October 21st. Read on for the step by step process to defining your core branding so you can keep it clear, simple and consistent.


“KEEP IT SIMPLE, KEEP IT CLEAR, KEEP IT CONSISTENT.” –Kayt Joyce twitter-bird-black

Communicate your business’s CORE concepts in every single thing you do.

No. Matter. What. It’s that simple.

But… what is your CORE?


What do you want your brand to communicate to everyone it interacts with?

What emotions do you want it to evoke in every element of your branding?


Branding is your effect on people. What they take with them, consciously or subconsciously when they interact with any aspect of you or your company. A brand is a curated grouping of various elements that they experience and reflect upon.


Finding your Business’s CORE in 2 simple steps.


Get your word list on – spew that shit – don’t think, don’t question. Just FLOW BABY FLOW. This is the FUN PART – NO RULES!

Get yourself the best fresh and fun piece of paper you can find, your favorite pen (or in my case, fattest and most fabulous sharpie! Different colors even!) and let your brain F-L-O-W… This is the step in which you get it all out. No refinement here. We want a full page (multiple pages!!) of WORDS WORDS WORDS!

(Those super fun HUGE giant sticky notepads are great for this – you know you always wanted an excuse to buy one.)

List anything and everything about your company, any word that pops into your brain. What does your company do? What are its goals, qualities, intentions, visions, mission, and passions? WHY do you do what you do? What do you want your company to communicate? WHY are you in business?

This can be ongoing, no judgment. You do not have to do it all at once, but remember no thinking, just do. Work how you work best, but make sure to leave it all on the table.



This is where stuff get’s a bit more serious. I mean it doesn’t have to not be fun, but there is some big time reflecting going on and it can be uncomfortable for most. For some, boiling down their whole business and everything they do down to a few simple words can be a dreaded to do. That is why I stick with the word list approach; it is hard not to have fun brainstorming that way. And then no matter what roadblocks you hit in the process you have a big ol’ fat pile of great content to work from to get back on track.

Ok, here we go… you can do it! Pick 3-5 single words from that beautiful word list you created that communicate EXACTLY what you want anyone who interacts with your brand to feel.

I know it is tough though – you have to dig deep and it takes 100% of your focus at this point. These words are now your CORE. But taking the time to find your solid core will save you umpteenth time, resources, money and not to mention sanity down the line. Trust me. Take the time to do this step at the start of your branding process.

When I work through this step with clients, it feels like I am their therapist, and in that moment I am! (Aren’t we all each others therapists at some point? That is what makes all this creative collaboration so dang RAD!)

But that is the whole point. Do not focus on the overwhelm or all the directions your business could go in branding, types of graphic, colors, fonts, what you want your website to say, etc. Simply focus on your brand’s foundation, find your core in these 2 simple steps and then just execute like the pro you are!

* Disclaimer – your core is not set in stone. It should be solid enough to be a foundation for years to come and should not make total shifts. But you grow, your business grows. Just don’t let yourself create a faulty foundation due to a lack of simple branding.


Crosscheck and All-Call!

So you have created your CORE and you’re in business. (Yay!) Each time you make a business choice you are executing your brand. Are you keeping it CLEAR, CONSISTENT and SIMPLE? Let’s check:

You’ve created a great graphic for social media, you received the final proof for your latest ad, or you just finalized the plans for your new retail space design… Before you execute, ask yourself this: Does it communicate my business’s CORE?

Yes? –> Go forth and conquer!

No? –> Why the hell not? Revise.


Keep a constant, conscious open dialog with yourself and your team about your branding and all your business – It will make it fun and a breeze.


Did you dig this? If so, join us for Jam Session where we will be discussing defining your brand. Ask Jessica your questions and meet other like-minded creative entrepreneurs. Get all the details here!

More on Kayt:

Kayt Joyce, Owner of Kayt Joyce Design + Print

Print, a SoCal Design + Print Studio who’s mission is to simplify brand execution for creatives and small businesses through unified marketing design + printed collateral. With majors in both photography and design, she has always had a passion for creativity through composition. Kayt has been designing and managing her own business for over 15 years. Along that journey she has had the opportunity to experience adventures in a wide range of specialties and with a wide range of companies; including holding a title as a Creative Director for a custom promotional and retail product company, working directly with the Olympics on both a US and International levels, Major Cruise Lines, our National Park System and Sandals Resorts.

With a strong passion for simplicity and supporting small businesses, Kayt is all about the #locallove. She enjoys actively supporting various non-profit organizations through design, marketing, hands-on community work and animal rescue. Along with being a collaborative member in her local creative community. Surrounding herself with like-minded talented people, spending time outdoors and with her family helps to keep her grounded and fuel her inspiration.

Kayt believes strongly in the importance of ART and art education in the lives of students and all people, as creativity is an integral part of our world, no matter what the application. The creative process is encountered on a daily basis, can be seen in all aspects of life and is applicable in all business types.

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