Picking Perfect Colours: How The Fluent German Retreat Got Its Look

Maybe 4 years ago you could get away with a bland website and a picture taken at the local copyshop, but these days...Nuh uh. It's visual brand time. Most online brands these days look just as good as they write, and the websites of gurus, experts and even your local garage seem to have had weeks of design work put into them.

Visual identity has become a hot topic on the internet, and even for online teachers and freelancers it can pay to keep your profiles looking slick. For me, design is something I can do "when I need to", but it certainly isn't my zone of genius.

I started out with great photography and a good website template -- no thoughts about my "signature" anything. Recently I've been learning on the job. You can see clear development of a visual identity for the Fluent German Retreat, for example, with "allowed fonts" and a colour palette that I use consistently.

As always, the mantra for a solopreneur is "get it done before it's perfect", and I do rely on captivating you lovely reader with my writing style and the quality of what I share - sometimes more than my hot typeface. Brand and personality in a nutshell.

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So what is an easy way to get that look for less?

Signature Colours

In the coffee shop queue, waiting for my drink, I noticed the tattoo on my queue neighbour's arm: a large flower. It went perfectly well with her palm tree print top. And as I cast my eye over what else she was wearing, I couldn't believe just how much of a signature her look was putting together: floral print rucksack, floral print purse, brightly coloured shoes. I really liked the look and it stood out to me, coming together perfectly. That was signature look right there, and made me want to run off and purchase floral everything.

In recent weeks, I've been hearing a lot about the idea of a signature colour. It started on the Happier Podcast, where Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft discussed how a signature colour can do a lot for personal happiness and a sense of identity.

Our signature can be a colour, pattern, a font or a specific style of writing.

My own signature look is still in development, but consistent use of colour and pattern throughout a brand is something I can really connect to. It fits in with the tag line idea I created as part of the Savvy Brand Toolkit, creating a way to some up the essence of who you are, why you work and what it does for people in just a few words.

Where to Look for a Signature Colour

Start with that tag line concept, the idea of summing up your whole enterprise in a few words. Then working from that, the next step is to find a visual way of communicating this.

  1. Is there a picture or a memory that you really treasure? A colour you love wearing? A print that you adore?

  2. Whose brand stands out to you out there in the world of marketing? What do you love to buy, and what do their own logo and colours communicate to you? Which messages connect with your own beliefs?

  3. Is there something that you want to communicate to your own clients, such as "I'm fun!" or "I'm reliable and punctual". If yes, think about an image that would communicate this - ideally not one of those stock photos of people in suits staring at computer screens.

  4. What's your style? Do you like wearing casual clothes or dressing up? Your mood is communicated by what you wear every single day, and so your company can dress up and express itself in the same way.

Take the concept of the signature colour likely, feel free to play around with colour scheme generators and work with a few colours that you like at first. Over time, the signature colour will emerge.

The Fluent German Retreat takes place in a beautiful, natural and green place in Germany, so its signature colours are calm greens. The Retreat is special and designed to give learners a bit of a break from the everyday pressures of life, so I chose fonts that helped me create a calm look overall. The owl communicates "wisdom" and "nature".

The Fluent German Retreat takes place in a beautiful, natural and green place in Germany, so its signature colours are calm greens. The Retreat is special and designed to give learners a bit of a break from the everyday pressures of life, so I chose fonts that helped me create a calm look overall. The owl communicates "wisdom" and "nature".

The colours were inspired by this beautiful image of our Retreat destination, darkened a little here.

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You can read more about the idea of developing a personal brand, and go through my proven process that has helped dozens of teachers set up their own systems, in the Savvy Brand Toolkit.

Do You Have A Signature Colour?

If you've been playing with design concepts and colours on your website recently, drop me a comment and a link below. Don't be shy - I am curious to see what your materials communicate!