The Design Business Show 240: Making Your Mark with a Strong Brand Identity with Karla Pamanes

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | August 7, 2023

Karla is an award-winning designer, branding expert, and mentor based out of San Antonio, Texas. She has designed for brands such as HGTV, Food Network, Facebook, in addition to several other amazing companies. Her focus is on building branding that tells a story and reflects the core values of a company.  Her motto is to “be the person you needed when you were younger.” She created “The Brand Design Academy” to share the knowledge and experience she has learned over her 15 years working with corporate brands and small businesses.

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

  • Originally from Mexico, Karla’s parents sent her and her siblings to school in El Paso, where she graduated with a degree in Graphic Design
  • A month before graduating, a woman from an agency visited her college and Karla asked her for internship opportunities (and she got it because she was the only one who asked for one)
  • After graduating, she followed up with that agency to see if they had a job opening for her; and they said yes.
  • Karla had a successful design career, and she says she always knew she was meant for more
  • She started her business in 2020 after being laid off for the second time; and she decided to quarantine with her parents during the start of the pandemic
  • Karla lost her dad to COVID a few months after moving to Mexico and she was grateful to have time with her mom while they grieved
  • Inspired by her father’s legacy as a teacher she decided to take the leap and create a course that taught both brand design and entrepreneurship
  • Around the same time, she and her then husband decided to separate, and she ended up moving to San Antonio and decided to go all in on her busines

Karla’s entrepreneurial journey

  • Karla actually started her business when she was still working full-time and made $5000 in her first year
  • During her second year, she was able to 4X her business revenue and earn $20,000
  • Karla had a coach who encouraged them to aim for their first $100,000 in revenue without providing a specific strategy, and she made it happen
  • Surrounding herself with people who were doing the same thing, and people who believed in her helped her make it happen
  • Karla decided to niche down their business to offer logo design and web design services, even though she had imposter syndrome about designing websites
  • Karla discovered that you actually don’t need to go to school to specialize in brand design and learned about Affinity software as an alternative to Adobe, as cost is sometimes a factor
  • Karla teaches a course, Brand Design Academy, on their design method, which starts with exploration and getting to know the brand

Karla’s tips for a strong brand identity

  • The first part of the process involves research, understanding the client’s target market, and the messaging they want to convey
  • Visual research is also important in determining the brand’s visual direction
  • Brainstorming and sketching ideas on paper is the next step before transferring them to the computer for the design process
  • Karla acknowledges that while the logo is not the most important part of a brand’s identity, it is usually what people encounter first
  • The overall brand look and feel, including the use of fonts and colors, are vital in conveying the right story for the brand
  • Karla shares why it’s important to ask for opportunities to get more doors opened for your business

Links mentioned:

Connect with Karla on Instagram

Karla’s Brand Quiz

50 Adjectives 50+ Adjectives to Map Out Your Brand Identity

Karla’s Brand Design Audit


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