Building your own personal brand is a must in the online design community. In order to get work as a designer or freelancer, you have to establish a virtual presence — who you are, what you do and how you can do it better than your competition.

To help spread this message, we’re running a 99designs community contest to encourage designers to create their personal brand. We’re asking you to create a logo for yourself!

The community team will be giving feedback and critiques to help designers push their work and bring it to its highest potential. In the end each designer will come out of the contest with at least a start to their logo – So everyone wins, whether you receive the prize or not!

Start 2013 fresh with a brand new personal logo and enter!

Here is our guide to getting started with your personal branding:

1. Brainstorming

It takes thought and preparation to figure out how you want clients to see you as a designer. The most important step you can take is to brainstorm and focus on what story you want to tell.

Ask questions

  1. What are your goals as a designer? What do you want to achieve and why?
  2. What skills do you possess in order to achieve these goals? What is your history as a designer?
  3. What do you see as your future and how you fit into the larger community of designers?

Create a Mood Board

We all take inspiration from the world around us, so what inspires your design? Create a moodboard of your favorite images, colors, designs, photographs — anything!

  1. Gather: All of your inspirational materials.
  2. Refine: Narrow your board down to the elements that are the most important for you.
  3. Analyze: Look for patterns. What is is about these images that inspires you? You can use these overarching themes to help form your personal design identity.

Your mood board can be a collection of images on your computer, a Pinterest board, or a collage on your office wall — you just have to go for it!

2. Research

Once you have a general idea of what aspects of your work and personality you want to represent, you have to decide how you’re going to do it.

Take a look at what your fellow designers are doing! Think about how they make themselves stand out from the competition and how you can do the same in your own individual way.

Keep it Simple

brand yourself

99er TinBacicDesign plays with the letters in his name to create a smooth and simple style that can be easily adapted to all kinds of media.

Infuse it with your personal design style

brand yourself

99designs user Athenabelle has a more feminine logo but with a bold and funky typeface, very indicative of her personal design style.

Make it iconic

brand yourself

Dustin K. Friesen uses a badge-style logo: easily recognizable and unique, but still able to easily alter for different uses.

Play with meaning

brand yourself

Shoam Thomas plays with his design — incorporating a double meaning into the “plus” sign and letter “t” of his design.

Give them a peek into your personality

brand yourself

OnlyDee Studio from 99designs does her own take on the monogram, and her use of transparency speaks to her love for other more physical art forms, like watercolor painting.

Make it stand out

brand yourself

99designer Cross The Lime shows off playfully stylized characters with her illustrated logo.

Keep them guessing

brand yourself

You know you’re not in for an ordinary illustrator when you see Amy Martino’s logo. The creative font takes a second to decipher — just long enough to draw the viewer’s interest and get them excited about her work.

3. Execution

Create your logo

  1. Sketch sketch sketch! David Airey will show you how.
  2. Vectorize your sketch. Remember, a personal logo is going to be presented in all kinds of formats: on your website, in stationary, as an icon, so make sure you create a logo that is versatile both visually and in formatting.
  3. Refine refine refine. We say it all the time: make sure your design is simple, memorable and conveys your unique message.

Expand your brand

Start with your logo and then build up the rest of your branding:

  1. Submit your logo to our 99designs contest.
  2. Add it to your personal portfolio site.
  3. Create an icon version (75 pixels by 75 pixels) to add to your 99designs user account and social media pages.

Ready to create your own?