Creative and crafty tips for Etsy branding

If you’ve got an Etsy shop, chances are you’re super creative, artistic, and can craft circles around the rest of us (especially the craft-challenged Pinterest-fail regulars like myself). But finding success is bigger than being amazingly creative. It’s about developing unique Etsy branding that sets your shop apart from the other 1.7 million ah-mazing artists on the site.

Being successful on Etsy is about more than art. You’ve got to run your shop like a business. And just like a successful business, you need strong Etsy branding to differentiate yourself from the competition, draw attention to your products and land more customers.

If you’re not exactly a branding expert, there are probably a bunch of questions swirling in your brain right now: What does great Etsy branding look like? What assets do I need? Where do I get them? Gah! Why can’t I spend all my time just making pretty things?!

Take a deep breath and don’t stress. I’m going to tell you exactly how to use your creative skills to brand your Etsy store.

The 3 keys to creative Etsy branding

Step 1: Define your brand

Before you do anything about your Etsy branding, you need to define exactly what your brand is all about (#obvi). The most successful brands—on Etsy and beyond—are the ones who know who they are (and who they jive with) and integrate that flavor into everything you do.

Who are you? Ah, the great branding puzzle. Via TheContrastStudios Etsy shop.

When you’re defining your brand, here are three questions to consider:

Who are you?

If you really want to be successful, you need to hone in on who you are and what you do best. The most popular Etsy shops are the ones who have a strong sense of self. They’re not trying to create custom dog portraits and bohemian dip-dye yarn tapestries and Harry Potter knitted pillows all at once (although, if you can do all of those things, please call me. I’ll hire you as my interior decorator).

Successful Etsy branding is not about throwing a bunch of spaghetti at the wall and seeing what will stick. It’s about getting clear and focused on exactly what makes you unique and special. THAT’S your brand.

Now, this might mean giving the old heave-ho to some of the products offered in your shop, which won’t be easy. But honing in on the “special sauce” of what makes your brand uniquely “you” will get you immeasurably more business than being an Etsy jack of all trades, master of none.

Who’s your audience?

Just as important as who you are is who you are for. Your target audience is going to play a huge role in your branding. For example, if you want to appeal to new moms decorating their kids rooms, you’ll definitely want to take a different approach than if you were trying to sell to, say, college students. What works for one audience won’t necessarily work for another, and if you want to maximize your results, you need to tailor your branding efforts to the audience you’re after.

How do you want to be perceived?

Once you know who you are as brand and who your target audience is, you need to figure out how you want your audience to perceive you.

Do you want to be viewed as edgy and innovative? Friendly and approachable? Stylish and chic? Jot down a few words that you feel best describe your brand DNA. Knowing how you want to be perceived in the Etsy marketplace will help lead your shop styling decisions.

Step 2: Lock in your brand assets

Now it’s time for your favorite part. Let’s start creating!

There are two main brand assets you’ll need to create for your Etsy shop: your shop icon and your cover photo. These are the two pieces of design that will greet your shoppers before they ever get a chance to click through your products, so make sure they make a strong statement about who you are as a brand, catch your shopper’s attention and hook them enough to keep scrolling (and shopping).

Etsy artist Sorrythankyou79 got her Shop Icon through a 99designs Contest. Design by c1k

Shop icon

Consider your shop icon the face of your shop that’s featured across the Etsy platform. It appears on your homepage, on shopper’s homepage feeds, on product round-ups… Seriously, this little icon is going to be EVERYWHERE. And that’s why it’s important to get it right.

Your shop icon should immediately give potential shoppers a strong sense of who you are and what you’re about. Just like a great logo helps you form an immediate connection with a company, your shop icon should help your shoppers form an immediate connection with you.

Etsy shop icon from OlivineAtelier

For example, if you’re in the business of knitting argyle sweaters for cats, your shop icon might be an illustration of a cat in a sweater (uhm, can you say adorable?!). Or if you specialize in custom charcoal portraits, your icon might be a charcoal portrait of yourself. You get the picture.

Whatever you decide to go with for your shop icon, it should be memorable and instantly recognizable. You want to it leave an impression on your shoppers so when they see it, they automatically connect it to your awesome shop.

Etsy cover photo by Demestik

A few technical things to note:

  • Your shop icon will show at its full size (500 x 500px) on your shop homepage, but elsewhere on Etsy it’ll be scaled way down. Make sure your shop icon translates no matter what the size.
  • Avoid using too much text in your shop icon. When it gets scaled down, it’s nearly impossible to read and trying to read it will make your shoppers think they need to head to over to an Etsy glasses shop, STAT.

Cover photo

If the shop icon is kind of like the logo for your Etsy shop, then think of your cover photo as a full-page ad in a glossy magazine. It’s basically a billboard that you can use entice Etsy-ians and get them shopping, just like those pesky Netflix billboards advertising their latest show will send you straight to your couch for an impromptu binge session (…or is that just me?).

Etsy cover photo by Urban Chandy

Just like a billboard, your cover photo will spread the entire width of your Etsy page. Since you’re not confined by the relatively small 500x500px parameters like you are with your shop icon, this is your chance to go wild and bring your brand to life.

So, again, let’s say your shop specializes in kitten sweaters. Your cover photo might be an image of a group of kittens outfitted in your sweaters sitting at attention and looking at the camera (seriously… dying from cuteness overload). Or, if you design custom fabrics, you might want to feature an enlarged version of one of your favorite designs to give potential shoppers a feel for the kinds of fabrics you create. Whatever cover image you decide to go with, make a big statement about your brand and create enough visual interest to get people shopping.

Etsy cover photo by Luna on the Moon

Since it’s not being shown all over Etsy, you don’t have to worry about keeping it as consistent as your shop icon. Change things up to keep your shop to give a fresh look to your shop; you can even create themed cover photos for different holidays and special occasions (I’m picturing kittens in Christmas-themed sweaters with little Santa hats… and I just died from the cute).

A few technical things to note:

  • The minimum size for an Etsy cover photo is 1200x300px, but the ideal size is 3360×840, so design accordingly.
  • Remember, not everyone is going to be looking at your Etsy shop from a desktop, so you want to make sure your cover photo looks just as good for mobile users. Avoid using too much text or smaller design elements that might be harder to make out on an iPhone screen.

Because your shop icon and cover photos are such an important part of your branding story and your shop’s success, make sure they’re impeccably designed. If you’re not in the business of graphic design, hire a designer who specializes in branding to help you bring your Etsy brand to life.

Step 3: Style your shop to match your brand

Once you have your basic branding elements, you want to construct the rest of your Etsy shop to align with that brand.

This Etsy shop does an amazing job of bringing their ethereal brand to life in product photos and mysterious profile photo. Via CaitlynMinimalist.

Product photos

Your product photos are the images that you’ll use to highlight each product in your shop. But you can’t just take a quick snap with your iPhone, throw it up there and expect it to sell. Your product photos should feel like an extension of the branding you’ve established on the rest of the page.

If your brand is cute and playful, your images should be cute and playful. If your brand is sleek and sophisticated, your photos should be sleek and sophisticated. If you’re going for “sleek and sophisticated” but all your product photos fall into the “cute and playful” category, it’s safe to say you’ve missed the mark and your branding will be lost on your audience.

Profile picture

At the core, your brand is you. Which is why you need to be a presence on your Etsy shop. By adding a profile picture to your shop and giving your brand a face, you’ll increase trust and connection with your audience, which can go a long way in boosting sales.

Your profile picture should be on brand. Show your audience that you’re the real brains behind the Etsy shop by choosing a picture that’s in line with your overall shop branding. So, again, if you’re a kitty sweater designer (the last time I’ll use this adorable example, I promise), you’d want to use a profile photo that highlights how fun, playful, and silly you are.

Your profile photo should be a square image that’s at least 400x400px. And remember, it’ll be highlighted right at the top of your shop page, so make sure it’s a good one.

About page

CaitlynMinimalist uses her about page as a place to showcase more photos, introduce her team, and tell her brand story. Via CaitlynMinimalist.

Your last opportunity to drive your branding is your about page.

More than just a place to throw up your shipping information and FAQs, your about page is a great place to reinforce your overall branding message and build a stronger bond between your brand and your shoppers. Use it as a place to tell your brand story through text, images, a photo gallery or video. You can also introduce your team and build a more personal relationship with your shoppers.

Wrapping things up (pun intended)

As an Etsy shop owner, we already know you’re creative. And now that you’ve got this guide on how to brand your Etsy shop, you’ll be a business master, as well.

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Author: Deanna deBara