I am having a real joy of a time trying to figure out my own branding. Sense the sarcasm? How did you come up with your branding, packaging etc? Any advice on how I should go about it?
This question made me laugh! It is so true! Designing for yourself can seem like a whale of a project, especially when it comes to branding yourself. It is hard for creative types to find one thing and stick with it and feel like it represents all of the different things they are capable of coming up with. A designer never wants to pigeon hole themselves into only doing one thing over and over again. It is also hard to give yourself deadlines because you have so many already so why add another one? Right? Right. I also think we tend to compare our work to others sometimes and don’t want to come up short so we opt to do nothing at all which can be the worst mistake ever. Here are a few tricks that worked for me when I went about branding myself (for the 7th or 8th time).
1. Do the whole process. Don’t skip steps.
Pretend you are the world’s best client. You love all of your work you are paying lots of money for this project (because in the long run branding yourself well really will earn you more money). How would you treat such a client? Would you put him/her off? Never send over estimated time frames for different portions of the project? Fail to create a mood board full of relevant and beautiful visual inspiration? NO! So don’t do that to yourself! Write out a time frame. Fill out your own branding questionnaire! Create a mood board. Do all of the little things that you do with clients and do them now! I recently refreshed my brand and went through the whole process with myself. When working with clients I usually give them two completely different design options. I didn’t think I needed to do all that extra work for myself but I did it anyway and it was really helpful. Creating two different looks that I really loved helped me narrow my vision and gave both designs room to breath because I wasn’t trying to cram every detail into one brand.
2. Don’t expect to create something that is instantly going to stand the test of time.
Brands are constantly changing and evolving and as an artist you should be to. Yes you should aim to create something that is going to be consistent and cohesive but don’t let yourself be so overwhelmed with pressure to get it perfect that you can’t create anything at all. I have been blogging under the name Jane Reaction for 4 years now and everything about this blog and my design for it has changed at least 10 times. I think the only thing that has remained consistant is the name (and at one point I even tried to change that but it just didn’t feel right and I had to follow my gut). Create an entire brand and try it out for a few months. If you hate it try something else, if parts of it feel good try tweaking the parts that don’t. It’s ok to evolve!
3. Be yourself!
3a. YOU ARE GOOD! I know how it feels to see something amazing and wish you had created it for yourself, but just think others are looking at your work and thinking the same thing. It is hard for us to realize that because we are our own biggest critics. Your work is good and you are capable of designing something beautiful for yourself!
3b. Let your personality show through. I have to admit that I feel like my branding half represents me and half represents something I thought I wanted to be. I never would have figured this out if I hadn’t put it all together and tested it out. It works for now but the next time around I know what to keep and what to change. The fox will stay. For anyone who reads my blog or knows much about me knows that my son’s middle name is Fox. I created my most recent brand identity while pregnant with him and I wanted to create something that reminded me why I am doing the things I am doing. Working is important to me because it helps me provide for my little one. It also reminds me to stop working when it’s time to stop because there is something more important to attend to. Branding doesn’t always have to be that sentimental or symbolic but make sure it is something that represents you.