As designers, we can brand a funeral home, a dentist or a dumpyard with success. We can also create personal brands for clients that reflect them personally and professionally. Designers are like the Clark Kents of Metropolis, unseen and unheard but in reality designers are SuperMen (or SuperWomen) because we’re the ones who actually take action and bring brands to life. As designers though, we also have our own kryptonite which is branding ourselves.
Why is it that designers have the problem of designing for ourselves? Is it the universal palette that opens too many options or the typical artists strive for perfection where nothing but absolute perfection is acceptable?
If you’re a designer looking to rebrand, here’s some tips to help.
1.Clark Kent Or Superman?
Your first question for good self- brand design will be to question your strategy. Are you creating a personal brand or a company one?
It’s an obvious question but subconsciously it creates a big problem when we self -brand, especially for one man bands/freelancers. It’s such a problem that even when we make the decision we may end up swaying back and forth to get the right message across.
To solve this, make a decision, make a double one if necessary and create two separate brand designs if you’re unsure. One for you personally as a designer and one as a company. Even if you don’t use both it will prove to be a good exercise in exploration as to how you could be branded.
2. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No its…..
Creating a business name is an important process and decision. It’s not the be all and end all of your business but being in the design field it’s an opportunity for us to be creative in another way so we indulge it.
If you answered question one then you’ll know whether you’re creating a personal or company brand but in in either case don’t be scared to just use your own name. It can seem uninventive or boring but in today’s day and age it appears that personal brands are taking a bigger and better role then before with the likes of social media.
Using your own name is pretty personal and original to a degree but more importantly it creates personification and an instant relationship which are 2 great selling points for self-branding.
Using your own name is not a must but don’t throw the option out.
When it comes to self branding, design wise, as a designer, the world is yours. You really, truly have a blank canvas but you’ll know from experience that it could also be your downfall. You have super abilities to create an amazing piece of work but there’s still a doubtful notion that, well, it’s just not right.
That’s usually when you’ve let creativity overtake purpose because you possibly wanted to outdo yourself and let style overpower communication.
Don’t get high on your own supply, instead do what you tell your clients to do and fill out a …
It’s a compulsory task for clients that helps us to generate ideas and regulate projects but we make it an optional task when branding ourselves.
Give yourself a brief to set a goal. Be strict, define a problem and define who you are as a service provider.
Creating a brief is a good way of not flying off the handle design wise but at the same time as a designer you’re probably full of character and creativity and this may be the one design where you get show that off, so, what should you do?
5. Creative Freedom Vs Creative Brief?
Should your flair, personality and creativity be traded off to become a boring design project. No.
Whether you’re creating a personal brand or company one, you still are a creative and if you’re looking to be a little daring or different with your brand design then go for it because it is a brand identity which means it reflects your business in one way or another. You are a visual person after all.
Clark Kent, Superman, Kryptonite???? Just Save the day!
The key to finding the right balance is to reflect your personal creativity but remember it also has to be professionally creative as well.
The biggest problem we face as designers when branding ourselves is clarity. We can’t decide if we should be:
- Conservative Or Creative?
- Small Or Big?
- Comical Or Serious?
- Trendy Or Classic?
- New or Norm?
The problem here is that every bit of inspiration we’ve ever gathered fills our head with options for our own personal branding and what we essentially forget is the sheer definition of “creativity” which is to “create meaningful new ideas”.
Remember all of those ideas you’ve gathered and then throw them all out to create a personal brand design that suits you. (Even Blue spandex can work within context (if your daring enough)).