One of the hardest parts of beginning the process of this Digital Me project is branding myself. It is certainly much harder to brand yourself than it is to brand a client.
There are lots of things to consider when branding yourself – trying to ask yourself, “Who am I?” is a lot harder than I first anticipated. The first obstacle I have come across is whether to have a logo or not? I had previously created myself a logo to use on my social media (e.g. Instagram), but was unsure as to whether I should carry this through to use in this project or leave it behind.
After speaking to the lecturers in university, they recommended not to use a logo and to sell yourself as a name instead. Why not a logo?
What does a logo mean? A logo represents years of commitment, hard work, reliability, trustworthiness – it is a promise of professional skills. As a student designer, I do not have these years of experience under my belt yet so I would not want to risk a negative response of my logo from, let’s say, a director of a well-established design company, who has built their own business over many years and has worked hard to develop relationships with people who are now their clients – they have established a clear identity, a well-trusted, competent brand, and this is all shown through their logo. It is important for me to consider how you might respond to a newly-graduated student’s logo in order to make me realise that perhaps not having a logo was the best way to go for self-branding.
What is a logo representing? How might I want to reveal myself through using graphic language to include my human-scale skills, personality, ancestry, culture, interests, motives, awareness of graphic design? And how might I contextualise this graphic representation sensitively, perhaps discreetly into your house-style? This could potentially be quite difficult to show through a logo at this stage, and I certainly do not want to create something that simply isn’t very good. “If [it] is… terrible, I’ll instantly be put-off. Better to keep it simple… If [it’s] a great idea, it needs to be really great.” Mark Smith, branding specialist. This leads me agree that a logo is not needed and that my own name would be the best way to brand myself for now.
Things to consider when branding myself:
- Simplicity and clarity – have a single focus and don’t make it confusing.
- House-style and consistency – apply a well-developed visual consistency throughout all pieces (PDF, online and CV).
- Photography – use high quality images only.
It was suggested to me in my first tutorial, that I somehow link the geometric horse with the banner in the logo more. I created two versions on Adobe Illustrator which I felt did this.
The first version of the logo that I created simply portrayed the horse jumping over the banner, but I felt that I could improve this as the banner isn’t really at all relevant to the company. For the second version of the logo, I instead rendered the geometric horse jumping through a horseshoe – I felt this this one was more appropriate.
However, my logo has changed again after I having an individual tutorial today with Ian Weir. Although I was planning on using the ‘horseshoe’ version of the logo, Ian made me realise that neither of the logos were quite right – he felt that even the horseshoe didn’t quite insinuate the write thing. He said, as a viewer, the first thing he thinks of on seeing the horse shoe is ‘good luck’ and even wedding-related thoughts. After speaking to him, we both agreed that it was simply not needed and perhaps a geometric horse simply on its own would do the trick just as well and probably more effectively too.
Also, I have been trying out different fonts because I am not happy with the current calligraphic font style I’m using – it clashes much to much with the geometric style of the horse and I believe I need a sans serif font instead. Although the calligraphic style is what my client wanted, I will present them with my new logo that I feel works better and hopefully they will be in agreement. Perhaps I can use a small amount of serif font somewhere else in the touchpoints, in order to keep my client happy, just not in the logo itself.
I have decided to use one of my previously created geometric horses for the logo.
While testing out designs for the first few touchpoints, although my tutors and peers both liked the idea of a purple colour scheme too, I found myself really struggling with my own chosen colour scheme of purple. I started with creating the website as my first touchpoint, but I couldn’t seem to make anything work. I trialled out various design ideas, but nothing seemed right.
In the end, I decided that I would resort to a new colour scheme. I re-read over my client’s brief in order to make sure that I picked a fitting new colour scheme. In his brief, my client makes clear that Young Stallion’s target audience will probably live in rural areas, as they are more likely to own a horse – I took this idea and decided to try out a matching colour scheme, using colours such as orange, green and brown, which I would consider to be countryside-related colours. After designing the opening page of the website, it is already clear that these colours are much easier to work with and my designs will look so much more fitting and professional for the brand.
Yesterday was our first day back to University and first day of being a Level 5 student. We were introduced to our first project for this term, BrandWorld: Company Branding.
We, as the designers, need to be able to put ourselves into the shoes of both the client and the designer. We need to remember that we are sat in the middle, between the client at the front side, and the audience on the other end.
I have not previously done a lot of work on branding so I found it really interesting looking so deeply into what branding is. We looked at what I would have thought were just the simple basics, such as what branding is and why we use branding, but it was much more perplexing than I had originally imagined.
What is a brand?
A brand is a logo. A brand is not just a logo! A brand is made up of six key elements, including identity, values, attitude, behaviour, aspiration and personality. Each of these areas play an important part in the brand and are extremely important to the designer if they want to create and develop their client’s brand suitably to the client’s wishes.
The brand’s values – These are key to getting a client’s brand designed right. They are a list of words that describe how the product/service want to be perceived by their target audience. For example, a company’s values could be, “sophisticated, luxurious, feminine”, “young, fresh, friendly” or “traditional, established, quality”.
The brand’s personality – This describes the impression that the product/service want their brand to be perceived by their target audience. Developing a brand personality makes it easier to create other aspects of the business.
The brand’s identity – This includes everything from the company’s logo and their name, right up to the images they use and the main key colour.
Why create a brand?
There are many reasons why creating a brand for your company/service is a great idea. Some of the reasons we looked at today included:
- Branding creates a valuable asset
- Branding adds value
- Branding makes your product/service more visible
- Branding builds reputation
- Branding provides a sense of customer security
- Branding can create an emotional attachment to products and companies, also known as, brand loyalty
This week we are acting as clients.
The first step is to create a product/service, which I will eventually be handing over to one of my peers, for them to then design it a brand. The service that I was designated earlier today was a cocktail bar.
Before jumping straight in, I need to investigate! There is first some research that I will need to carry out in order to be able to create a professional and realistic service. My research is to include: finding out about the type of work involved; the equipment and materials used; the history of cocktails and variations; finding who my main competitors are. We have been asked to use our research to come up with three main things: a name for our brand, five brand values and our brand’s backstory.
In the lecture today with Ian, we looked at how you can name your brand. There are so many different types of brand names and often, brand’s name their companies with a deeper meaning that someone may not actually realise without being told or looking into it. We looked at a wide range of brand name types today, with example of each to go alongside them.
Type of brand name:
- Descriptive names (e.g. ToysЯUs, Pizza Hut, British Airways)
- Acronyms (e.g. BBC [British Broadcasting Corporation], IKEA [Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd – the founders first and second name, followed by the farm where he grew up and then his hometown in Sweden])
- Associative names (e.g. Twitter [associated with twittering/chattering as birds would], Google [a play on the word “googol”, a mathematical term for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros, associated with the amount of search choices one can make on the Google search engine])
- Evocative names (e.g. Innocent [smoothies], GoApe [outdoor adventure activity centre])
- Invented names (e.g. Kodak, Aviva)
- Founder names (e.g. Disney [Walt Disney], Adidas [Adolf “Adi” Dassler], Barclays [James Barclay])
- Place Names (e.g. Fujifilm [Japan], Evian [mineral water from Évian-les-Bains in the French Alps])
- Esoteric names [no connection to product or service] (e.g. Tango, Egg [a bank])
- Latin, Greek and Mythological names (e.g. Nike [the Greek Goddess of Victory], Volvo [meaning “I roam” in Latin], Ambrosia [meaning “food of the Gods” in Latin])
- Heritage names (e.g. Scottish Widows [an investment service company that started out originally by securing supplies for Scottish widows])