The practical guide to creating an authentic brand

Most information on branding is focused on corporations, startups, and personal brands. The information for service based brands is often muddy and sounds like spiritual hippy wisdom, instead of solid business advice.

This book is different—it covers practical information on growing a brand that’s focused on the people in your business, and the relationships you form with your clients. It bridges the void between personal branding and corporate branding for business owners who feel that neither of those is suited for them.

This book contains theory, examples, practical exercises, and stories to make learning easy and engaging. The bonus workbook turns it into a self-guided class that enables you to implement the information you’ve learned right away.

Human Centered Brand workbook tablet preview
The Human Centered Brand is not your typical approach to branding. It's designed specifically for heart-centered professionals and visionary souls who yearn to authentically show the world how exceptional and unique their work is.

Though branding has many moving parts, Nela clearly and thoroughly explains it all in a way that anyone can understand and use to elevate their creative business to the next level. The book balances theory, practice and examples with some fun visuals and personal stories that will teach, guide, and inspire you to create a truly original brand with your core values at the center.
Jennifer Lee
Jennifer Lee
Author of The Right-Brain Business Plan
With The Human Centered Brand, Nela takes the confusion and overwhelm out of creating a brand for your business.

This book goes far beyond font and colour choice. The Human Centered Brand is a comprehensive guide to constructing a brand for your business and ensuring that it reflects your values as a business owner.
Devon Smiley
Devon Smiley
Negotiation Consultant
This book is easy to read, and yet has the quality of a handbook, a resource you can come back to again and again. This book would be a good use of money for anyone who wants to get serious about branding. If branding has felt like something fake or externally motivated, and you like to do things in your own authentic way, this book will help you brand your business or creative project from the inside out.
Marie Mikkonen
Marie Mikkonen
Visual artist and Creativity Coach
Before reading this book, I thought of branding as an 'external' thing — the physical stuff like the logo and colours, and the kind of image you project. I now see branding as a complete philosophy for attracting the kind of clients I really want to work with. Branding is about a hell of a lot more than what your logo looks like and the picture you've got on your About Me page!
Cherry Jeffs
Cherry Jeffs
Artist & Creative Practice Coach
Nela Dunato has given us a valuable gift in this book. She unpacks why traditional approaches to branding feel too creepy to many creative and social impact oriented business owners. Then, she takes the reader step by step through a process that will help you land on a brand for your business that is resonate and effective with your ideal clients. The part I appreciated most about The Human Centered Brand is how granular Nela is in her suggestions – this book goes way beyond theory to practical strategies that I feel deeply aligned with and use similar practices with my own marketing clients.
Paul Zelizer
Paul Zelizer
Founder of Awarepreneurs and Business Coach for Conscious Entrepreneurs

What you’ll learn in the book:

  • Why conventional branding approaches don't work for service based businesses.
  • How to identify your core values and use them in your business and marketing decisions.
  • Different ways you can make your business unique among all the competition.
  • How to express yourself verbally through your website, emails, articles, videos, talks, podcasts...
  • What makes your “ideal clients” truly ideal, and how to connect with real people who appreciate you as you are.
  • How to craft an effective tagline.
  • What are the most important elements of a visual brand identity, and how to use them to design your own brand.
  • How to craft an exceptional client experience and impress your clients with your professionalism.
  • How your brand relates to your business model, pricing, company culture, fashion style, and social impact.

…and so much more!

Human Centered Brand Discovery Pyramid by Nela Dunato

Become your own brand strategist

Learn how to make better branding decisions, so you never have to rely on “gurus” to tell you what to do.

Who is this book for?

This book is intended for service based business owners and independent creatives.

Whether you’re a writer, lawyer, illustrator, designer, developer, dentist, psychotherapist, coach, marketing consultant, hair stylist, jewelry designer, painter, creative agency owner, musician, bookkeeper… the methods described in this book will help you express yourself naturally in your business and grow authentic relationships with your clients.

If you keep attracting the wrong clients who don’t understand you, treat you badly, haggle, call you on the weekends… this book will show you how to keep them away, and attract your dream clients that adore your work.

If you work in a super saturated market and have no idea how to prove that you’re different and justify charging higher rates, this book will show you how to do that.

If you’ve been procrastinating on writing your about page, redesigning your website, creating content, or reaching out to new prospects because you don’t know what to say, this book and the bonus workbook will help you find the right words and finally start making progress.

If you’ve tried other branding methods but they didn’t work for you because you’ve felt squeezed into a box, give this book a try—it’s written with the rebels and creative personalities in mind.

If designing your graphics frustrates you, this book will guide you in putting all the essential strategic and design pieces in place so that you can create your graphics in less time, with more ease.

If you’ve never thought about branding and have no idea what the fuss is about, this book will open your eyes to a whole new world, and then provide you with a map so you can find your own way toward your own irresistible brand.

If you’re a design student learning how to create brands for your clients, this book offers a framework you can use to design brand identities with depth and meaning.

Whether you’ve been in business for 20 years or 20 days, you’ll discover something new in this book: it’s a trusted guide you can return to over and over again for inspiration, nuts and bolts, and fresh ideas.


Language: English
ISBN: 978-953-48171-0-0
Number of pages: 270
Formats: PDF, EPUB, MOBI for Kindle (DRM-free)


Language: English
ISBN: 978-953-48171-1-7
Number of pages: 320
Dimensions: 140 x 216 mm (5.5 x 8.5 in)

Edited by Siobhan Colgan. Published by Nela Dunato Art & Design.

What I love most about Nela’s approach is that it emphasizes the importance of discovering and embracing our strengths, weaknesses, and values to build a brand we feel truly in alignment with. We all have unique things to contribute. We all have a distinct way of seeing the world. We all have different qualities and ways that make us effective. Nela’s framework shows how to make those elements the linchpin of our brand.
Natasha Vorompiova
Natasha Vorompiova
Founder of SystemsRock Ltd

Masks are meant for Halloween, not for your business.

With the Human Centered Brand approach, you’ll never have to pretend you’re someone else.

Download the Sample Chapter & Bonuses

Get your free book resources:

  • Sample book chapter & table of contents
  • The Human Centered Brand Workbook
  • One-page Human Centered Brand Strategy Template
  • Brand Alignment Checklist
  • Core Values List
  • Authentic Promotion Guidebook
  • Regular branding tips

When you submit your contact information, you’ll receive the download links in your inbox. You can confirm to subscribe to the email updates if you want to stay notified about the book and receive additional articles, videos, resources, and branding tips in the future.

Your contact information is safely processed by MailChimp, a US company. Your email won’t be used in ways other than stated on this page. Read the Privacy Policy for more information on how your personal information is stored and processed.

Providing a plethora of sensible advice and valuable insights, the Human Centered Brand will surely be of use to both those just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey as well as those who've found themselves at a crossroads or in need of a new direction. My favorite thing about the book, however, is that there is much advice to be found between the pages that is applicable to other (creative) pursuits and areas of life as well.
Igor Rendić
Freelance Writer & Fiction Author

Buy the Book

Enjoy just the book, or get the bundle with the book, template, and video instruction.

Why buy the bundle?

The templates included in the bundle enable you to create your own brand style guide by just filling in the blanks. The book, templates, and videos provide a great value for those who don’t yet have the budget to hire a professional brand designer. It’s also a great option for graphic designers who want to start creating brand style guides for their clients.

Digital Ebook

$25USD + VAT

Create your authentic brand strategy

  • PDF ebook for your tablet & computer
  • EPUB ebook for e-readers & phones
  • MOBI ebook for your Kindle
Buy the Book

Brand Style Guide Bundle

$60USD + VAT

Design your own brand like a pro

  • The Human Centered Brand ebook (PDF, EPUB, MOBI)
  • Branding style guide template for InDesign, Canva, PowerPoint & Google Slides
  • Video instruction for template use
Buy the Bundle

Paperback Book


Great gift for your business buddies

Looking to buy multiple books for libraries, client gifts, students, or a book club? Contact me for bulk discounts.

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EU customers and VAT

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If you have a registered business with a valid EU VAT number, you can request a VAT refund from Gumroad by following these instructions.

Risk-free Purchase

I fully stand behind the quality of the content and the production of this book. Although it’s self-published, it’s been through many hands to ensure that the final product is as at the level of a traditionally published book.

If you realize this book (or the Style Guide Bundle) is not as useful as you expected, contact me within 30 days and I will refund your money, no questions asked. (This offer is only valid for the electronic versions of the book, as paperbacks are sold through other retailers that have their own return policies.)

30 day guarantee
Nela Dunato

About Nela Dunato

Nela is a multi-passionate artist, brand designer, teacher, and writer. She’s been working as a graphic designer since 2005. In 2013 she started her own design consultancy, with the focus of helping small businesses craft expressive brand identities and exceptional client experiences.

She has taught graphic design as a course instructor, leads in-person workshops, regularly speaks at conferences and universities, and is often invited to mentor startups and students. Although this is her first published book, she’s been writing about design, branding, marketing, business, and creativity for over a decade on her multiple blogs.

Learn more about Nela and her work at:

Promote your business with clarity, ease, and authenticity.

The Human Centered Brand will help you build a healthy foundation of a brand that grows with you.

Tell your friends about this book

Do you know any business owners, freelancers, or artists who struggle with promoting their creative work? Help me reach more people who need this, and your friends to overcome their struggles by telling them about this book. Win win!

You can find the sharing graphics and text snippets here.

Occasionally Asked Questions

Something went wrong! What do I do?

If at any point during the checkout process something goes wrong and you don't receive your book or bundle even though the payment was processed, contact me and I'll do my best to fix it ASAP.

Please note that I'm in Europe, so I may be asleep when your email arrives. Thank you for your patience.

What software do I need to use the Brand Style Guide templates?

The bundle includes templates for Adobe InDesign, Canva, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Open Document Format.

The ODF version can be opened in Google Slides, Openoffice or Libreoffice, which are all free. Please note that the instructions you get in the bundle are made for Google Slides. If you use a different program, you’ll need to find your way around using their respective Help manuals, since every piece of software is different.

You’ll be able to use the PowerPoint file in Keynote for Mac, but the bundle doesn’t provide instructions for Keynote.

I’m a designer, can I use your branding framework with my own clients?

Yes! You're allowed to help your clients implement this framework—but please only use the official book resources in their original form.

Please do not recreate your own worksheets using my questions, and do not teach my content to other people (through consulting, coaching, classes, workshops, talks, your own books, etc.). The content in my book and the supporting material is copyrighted property that should not be redistributed or copied in any way without my permission.

You may use the Brand Style Guide templates in your client projects. You're not allowed to use them to create your own templates for sale, or for free distribution.

Can I buy the ebook as a gift?

Yes, you're able to choose a different recipient for the ebook or bundle. Here are the instructions on how to buy a gift.

Can I get a bundle with the paperback?

Yes, but you need to buy the paperback first. The book contains the discount code you can use to upgrade to the bundle. (If you have trouble finding it, email me and I'll tell you on what page it is.)

Since paperback books are sold through different online retailers, I'm not able to give book discounts if you've previously purchased the bundle.

Can we get a bulk discount for our students, employees, mastermind, retreat attendees, library, etc.?

Sure! The Human Centered Brand makes a wonderful business gift, and teachers have been using it in marketing and design classes. Please get in touch to let me know the number of copies you need, and where you need the books shipped to (if ordering physical copies). I'll offer a discounted quote based on the number of copies.

We run an organization that helps people from marginalized communities start their own businesses, can you help?

Yes. Please get in touch and tell me who your organization is serving and how. We'll see how we can work together to get these books into the hands of people that need them the most.

Your quirks are your strengths. Learn how to use them for good.