Whether you’re just starting your business, have a small marketing budget, or you simply want to DIY your visual branding – it’s so easy to be swallowed whole into the deep, dark wormhole of all things BRANDING.
Fonts, colors, stock photos, backgrounds, plugins, themes, layouts…yep, there’s plenty of goods that you can spend hours upon hours searching for and drooling over.
That’s why I’ve created this compilation of essential resources for every entrepreneur and blogger that wants to DIY their visual branding.
Over the last 3 years that I’ve been DIY’ing it (is that even a word?), I’ve assembled sites, plugins and goodies that are oh so helpful in putting together your dream come true online home.
In fact, I got so much into the DIY of things that I even started to offer web design services at some point and up to this day, I still do them for some clients that I’ve been working with for ages. I love me some web design! <3
The tools on this list are those I’ve used and still use to visually build brands and businesses, including my own!
From essential websites, website builders, themes, graphic design resources all the way to stock photos, vectors and backgrounds, here’s your Visual Branding Bible of Resources, tried and tested by yours truly!
Visual Website Builders (Drag & Drop)
The number 1 tool for my visual branding – a drag and drop website builder. When I discovered this technology miracle, I was hooked.
I use Divi for my own website and most of the client sites I’ve built, but I’ve also worked with Thrive Architect extensively (the opt ins on this website are actually made with a plugin that uses Thrive Architect).
Highly recommend both for those of you who want to go all out and build your website from scratch (keep in mind, there are a TON of free templates that you can use for both builders, linking them below for you!)
Divi – what I used to build this and many client sites, super easy to use, feature rich and beginner friendly.
Free Divi Templates:
Layout packs and whole compilations of layout packs – this is more than enough to build a couple dozen websites with a click!
Warning: it’s so easy to end up with 58493049 browser tabs open while you check out the demos to these gorgeous and FREE layouts before you end up downloading all of them anyway – just thought I’d let you know! 😉
Thrive Architect – very similar to Divi, with a slightly different back end / front end setup. Also a visual builder, though I’d say Divi is more beginner friendly.
Free Thrive Themes Layouts
Thrive themes has over 200 free templates to choose from within the actual website builder OR if you sign up for the membership, you get a wide choice of themes and templates to choose from.
I have found one extra template to share with you because it’s the amazing Video Fruit inspired home page template. If you don’t know who Video Fruit aka Bryan Harris is – he’s one of the absolute list building and online business marketing gurus (at least in my books – def worth checking out!)
Done For You Website Themes
If you’d rather lay off the creation and just edit / tweak your website theme, these are the places I highly recommend you look to, in order to get a beautiful and highly customizable WordPress theme. In the beginning stages of my business, I always loved a theme that I could make my own (before I could actually create my own from scratch), these themes / sites offer themes that you can definitely tweak and touch up until they feel like home.
Elegant Themes – you can purchase a membership and have access to a bunch of awesome themes including Divi – which is a theme / website builder
Thrive Themes – the creators of Thrive Architect, also a membership based option to access tons of responsive website themes AND the Thrive Architect website builder so you can tweak and adjust as you please
Theme Forest – A huge repository of WordPress themes, which at one time before I started building my own, I was totally addicted to!
Hello You Designs – Beautiful, feminine WordPress themes build on the Genesis Framework. Done for you designs that are just stunning!
Who doesn’t love to spend hours upon hours picking the best fonts for their site and then changing their mind 5 minutes later? Well, I can’t account for your self discipline (can’t even account for mine when it comes to fonts) but here are my 3 fave sites to find free fonts on.
Color Palettes + Pickers
Another wormhole, this time looking like all the colors of the rainbow. Well, picking colors is no picnic but you do need to have the right tools and inspiration to support you, so these are my absolute must haves when I’m on another mission to color palette city!
Design Seeds – incredible repository of all the color palettes under the sun and then some
Coolors – I cannot live without this tool. Not only does it generate color palettes with a click of your space bar, but it also lets you generate palettes from uploaded images, let’s you tweak them till you find “the one” and save every single palette in your profile for later (awesome if you need to keep a bunch of client palettes in one place).
Pinterest – you know it! There is nothing this platform can’t do! If you’re stuck for inspiration on a color palette, simply type in “color palette inspiration” or “color you like + color palette” and you will get a whole bunch of inspiring palettes coming your way!
Graphics, Logos, Design Elements
This is where the real fun starts, as we get into the nitty gritty of visuals. The sites below are pretty much graphic design “malls” that have #allthethings from graphics and logos to themes, fonts, overlays, foil effects, vectors, backgrounds, illustrations, the package.
Warning: you will get sucked into the wormhole of graphic design infinity, you have been warned!
Etsy – yes, Etsy! You’d be surprised how many incredible graphic elements and designs you can find there!
FREE Stock Photos
Not only are these free, they’re also “non stock’y” ie you know those photos that are so staged and fake that when you actually see them used on a site it hurts your eyes?
Like the generic business woman looking at laptop photos, or laughing corporate team photos…yeah. No. These sites have some legit, incredibly high quality and non shitty photos in every niche under the sun!
Creating Your Own Graphics
Unless you want to get into Adobe Suite programs like Photoshop or CC, I highly suggest you get friendly with Canva. It’s my number 1 tool for creating social media graphics, blog graphics, infographics, just anything graphics in general and it’s the only tool that I use and love.
You can also explore Pic Monkey as an alternative, which is pretty similar and does the job as well, however I’m a Canva girl so that’s what I definitely recommend!
Fair warning: installing too many plugins will slow down your website = make it less user friendly, pages will load slower, people will leave faster.
Fair warning 2: if you’re planning on having lots and lots of images, graphics and the good stuff on your site, you have to install a plugin that will optimize these images = they don’t strain your servers and don’t take too long to upload.
The plugins I recommend here will ensure that your beautiful visuals do not slow down your site + a couple of extras 😉
Regenerate thumbnails – super helpful little plugin, if you’ve changed your blog template or your thumbnails default size, this helps you regenerate all the thumbnails across your site, so the images show up just like they’re supposed to (not cut off in a weird place etc.) If the images on your blog page are not showing up right, you might wanna try this one to fix it!
Use Anyfont – upload and assign any of your gorgeous fonts to your headlines, paragraph text or quotes to make your site ultra YOU.
Alright buttercup, you’re all set with the tools and resources that you need to kick off your DIY visual branding adventure. These will come in useful not only when you’re building your brand, but also when you’re tweaking, updating, creating social media / blog images, freebies and all that good stuff.
I hope you found this helpful and fingers crossed you don’t fall too deep into the wormhole that is all things visual branding! 😉
I’d love to know, what is your biggest challenge when it comes to creating your visual brand? What’s the thing that you struggle with the most? Leave me a comment, let’s figure it out!
Know someone who could benefit from this list of ah-mazing tools and resources? Sharing is caring, please share this post!