Let Your Creativity Work for You” in the New Year!  GET THE BOOK >

Let Your Creativity Work for You

Purchase your copy today!

Crafting a Brand You Believe In with Melissa McKinnon

Melissa McKinnon is a Canadian artist with a recognizable style. Using a palette knife, she shapes acrylic paint on canvas to create almost magical scenes. She describes herself as a “Mother of two spirited girls,” who loves to paint in vibrant colors and thick textures.

Melissa is featured in my book in Chapter 8, “Crafting a Brand You Believe In.” Having yet to meet her in person, let me tell you how her brand introduced us online…

If you’ve ever used a Google keyword search to find images, you’ll be able to visualize this scenario. While browsing the Google image search results for “handmade cards” and “artist thank you cards,” one picture managed to stop me in my scrolling tracks.

A crisp, clean image of four vertical greeting cards standing boldly against a clean white background looked like something out of a magazine. Just a few images to the right, the same style and vivid colors with white borders against a black background connected the dots and created a lingering impression.

The colors and contrast caught my eye. But the professionally executed photography is what drew me in and elicited a “click.” The image led to a webpage that was equally crisp, clean, and bold. Bright blotches of pure hue saturated the site of independent artist, Melissa McKinnon, who paints and sells out of her home studio in Alberta, Canada.

Melissa’s images, paired with my Google search terms, introduced us in the right place at the right time. Someone like me—not necessarily searching for artwork at the time—happened upon her website as a result of what I like to call, “Search Serendipity.”

The connection to Melissa’s artwork could have ended right there in the search browser. Instead, the images opened the door for Melissa to gain a new admirer and for me to have another chapter case study.

Here’s what every artist needs to know about branding:

A brand is more than a logo design. In fact, a brand is created from many cohesive elements, much like your artwork. And, if we want to dip into a little analysis, we can divide branding into two categories: (1) explicit and visible branding, and (2)  implied and invisible branding. Both categories work together to open doors and represent you exceptionally well.

And here’s the good news: As an artist, you already have a recognizable and consistent style in your art. So, rather than spinning wheels to come up with a brand style, use your artwork as the baseline for your branding. Here’s where your brand can come to life:


  • your marketing materials and collateral
  • any digital marketing (including your website and social media accounts)
  • your photographs and images of your artwork
  • the fonts and graphics you use in your communications
  • the packaging and/or framing that puts your work on a pedestal
  • your materials, style and craftsmanship
  • the vision you have for your art business
  • your driving mission that fuels you in creating your work and sharing it with the world
  • the way you interact with people and the business principles that keep you grounded
  • the type of news and press you receive; your overall public relations strategy
  • your pricing strategy and place of sale (which form an impression on buyers)[/right]
Branding elevates your artwork and opens doors!

The professional approachability communicated by Melissa’s website, paired with the branding consistency across all of her social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest) quickly converted me from being a mere website viewer just moments earlier to being a fan.

Melissa’s brand is explicitly stated through her stylized graphics, fonts, and online presence; it is a reflection of her artistic style. Her brand is implicitly shared through her communications, customer relationships, and the thoughtfulness that goes into every detail making her brand a reflection of her personality too.

So valued reader, use branding to create an irresistible first impression. Creating a well-packaged brand that gives attention to both your artwork and to you as the artist makes a world of difference to prospective buyers, especially those who find your artwork online. Use your artwork and style to inform your brand thoughtfully, and you’ll stand out from the crowd!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *