a resource for Kansas creatives

Art Branding 101: Create a Strong Brand Statement for your Art


A brand is not just a logo – rather, it’s an important marketing tool. Should you consider branding? Let’s talk about it.

What is branding and why is it important for art?

Plainly put, a brand is what you’re known for, above all others. Don’t confuse good marketing with good branding. In the simplest explanation, marketing is what you do while branding is who you are. When you think of big companies like Nike or Apple, you recognize their logos, slogans, and products instantly.

Like large companies, gaining and keeping customers requires establishing a brand of your own. As an artist or arts venue, it’s possible you haven’t considered branding as much as the big guys. It matters.

The goal is to stay active in someone’s mind long after the conversation is over. Branding is how you set yourself apart from the crowd by focusing on parts of you that you want to present to your audience.

Well … who is your audience?

Creating a strong brand

Branding builds a bridge between a concept or product and a “specific” audience. Effective branding begins with understanding your customer. Your brand is defining who you are to that customer. So, it is about you but it’s more about them. Walmart can market to everyone, but people in arts are aiming at a much smaller target – more narrow than most. Not everyone is in your audience. Pinpoint your audience and serve them by reducing that explanation to as simple a phrase or concept as possible.

Some ideas are too broad. You could define yourself as “The best landscape painter in Kansas”. Who’d care? Many artists or galleries could make a similar claim. Instead, the “Hemingway of the prairie” would leave an indelible image, or brand, in someone’s mind.

Build your brand around you

Defining your audience is another post, but assuming you have an understanding of your target let’s talk a little about creating and defining your brand.

  1. Define your core strengths and what you offer

Have a seat. Grab a pen and paper and spend some time brainstorming to really define one single thing you do that is your biggest strength or offer. Write down all of the comments that other people have mentioned as well. Chances are you’ve received compliments that exposed qualities you’ve overlooked.

There is no right or wrong way to do this. You are unique. Your unique qualities are probably why you chose art. Life experiences, inspirations, influences, and curiosities collectively shape who and what you are. No matter how diverse your interests, you should begin to see the similarities on paper and pinpoint a unique element that defines you.

  1. Create a phrase around those core strengths and offerings

Your key phrase, or branding statement, should be concise and short. Work in that direction.

Avoid ambiguous, vague generalities like “The best oil painter around.” Around where? Compared to who? Who decided you were the best? In Kansas or the Untied States? See how that statement is ineffective?

Take a look at other artist’s phrases. Don’t overlook the big company phrases or movie taglines.

  • Pandora: The Next Song Matters
  • Orange is the New Black: Every Sentence is a Story
  • M&Ms: Melts in Your Mouth Not in Your Hands
  • Lay’s: Betcha’ Can’t Eat Just One

Consider everything. It should be catchy, show benefit, be positive, and differentiate you from everyone else.

Thomas Kinkade is known as “The painter of light”

My own: “Art without limits.”

Everyone has something unique or notable about what they do, something worth mentioning, something that will be remembered. These things will form your phrase.

Continue developing your art brand

Your art brand is your stamp and defining your brand is a critical step in clarifying who you are and what your goals should be and communicating that to the world. A strong art brand should capture the attention of patrons so they remember the work, even if they don’t remember you. You may never reach the status of Apple or Nike. But with consistency you’ll watch your brand develop and stick.

When you define your phrase, start shouting it from the rooftops.

A phrase is just a start.

I could never cover branding in one sitting. We’ll continue to cover branding in other posts. It’s so important, an entire course would be beneficial.

For now, follow the continued reading links and start clarifying who you are and who you want to be in the art world.


Resources for continued learning:



Photo Credit:  zengin

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