In the early days of my graphic design career, I wanted people to just let me do all the work. I did not want anyone putting any parameters or requirements on me. It felt good to have complete and utter creative freedom on projects. Now do not get me wrong. Creative freedom is a great thing. However, it can also be a trap that will send you into a black hole of revisions and frustrating back-and-forth discussions that pull you further into the darkness.
On my Instagram, I post daily* episodes of “Touch of Gold IG.TV”. I was empowered by Instagram’s decision to extended the length of video uploads from 15 to 60 seconds and inspired to take full advantage with an Instagram video show.
Topics I’ve touched (hehe) on include (but are not limited to):
– Creating visual brand identities
– How to create a video show for your brand
– Reason to create sitemaps before designing websites
– The importance of sketching in creating logos
Touch of Gold IG.TV is a deposit I’m making into the creative community.
This past week, the Instagram episode of “Famous Brand Reveals New Logo And Everyone Freaks Out” debuted – and it was glorious. I’ve already outlined, in what will probably is the most evergreen piece of content I’ve ever written, how we tend to react to new logos that brands reveal with varying degrees of fanfare. The comments, the tweets, the redesigns, the outrage – I love it. It ranges from thought-provoking to downright ridiculous. Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t voice our opinions. Most of the people I follow and I agree on our impression of the new Instagram logo. We aren’t up in arms like many others but we aren’t completely in love with it either. However, I submit to you that it doesn’t matter in this particular case for a few reasons.
This past Thursday, I attended a monthly gathering of AIGA Oklahoma at Bricktown Brewery in Oklahoma City. Each month, they bring in creative people to speak and share their stories and experiences. After each event, I make the drive back to Stillwater inspired, motivated, and thankful I became of member of AIGA. The speakers are great and I get to meet other designers, illustrators, writers, etc. It is important, especially for an introvert like myself, to get out and not be in a bubble (see Bubble Boy episode of Seinfeld – spoiler: doesn’t end well). It’s helps you gain perspective being around others who operate in the creative space.
The latest speaker they brought was Deborah Adler, mastermind behind Target’s award-winning prescription bottle redesign (ClearRx). She spoke passionately about how design can improve the quality of healthcare services and patient experience. Deborah articulated exactly how important design can be in our society. It made me thankful for the skillset I have and reminded me of the power this field wields when motivated by a noble purpose.
I have written about why organizations and companies have brand & style guidelines and the steps to building your own visual brand identity. Now, I would like to take you through a recently finished identity project for Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority.
Tau Beta Sigma is a co-educational national honorary band sorority dedicated to serving college and band programs.
Tau Beta Sigma operates primarily as a student service and leadership recognition society whose chief aim is to assist the Director of Bands in developing the leadership and enthusiasm that they require of their band.
Crafting a visual brand identity is not an easy task, especially when you doing it for a large national organization rich in history, relevance, and influence. These visual assets will help tell an important story and must resonate with sisters (active and alumni), the band community, and the public at large. Getting to this point involved conversations, directives, and insights from the National Council, Board of Trustees, and the Alumni Association. This playbook will educate sisters on how to properly communicate the mission, message, and personality of Tau Beta Sigma.
As an individual, company, group, or organization, your brand is everything.
A brand is everything that makes you…you — the images you showcase, the promises you give, and the actions you take (or don’t take).
Whether you are an employee of a company, an entrepreneur, or a member of an organization, you need to know the brand you are representing. As a human being, everything you put out into the world is under the umbrella of your personal brand. It is important to be cognizant of the image you are projecting and make sure it is true to who you really are.
This one is inspired by my work and my presentations for Kappa Kappa Psi & Tau Beta Sigma.
Engaging your fans and alumni is very important. They have the capacity to be your greatest champions, financially and otherwise. If your band or chapter is in need or striving for a particular goal, it is crucial to gain as much support as possible. Opportunities can also open up to you, when people take notice of the influence you have and the power you wield in the community.
Know what and who you are
Your brand is your gold, as I have mentioned before. You have to mine and refine that gold to establish yourself, your organization, your company, etc. Before you can truly build and tell the story of your brand, there are some questions that you must answer. Here’s a sample of three inspired by the SHYPSI client questionnaire, used to educate the designer on the potential client and what they need.
When a company or organization unveils its brand new logo, people react in a myriad of ways. My favorite part about seeing a logo reveal announced is knowing that the design community will be ready with some hot and fresh critiques. Some logos are immediately rejected by the public, some are immediately adored, and others have to grow on people. Everyone has opinions. The way these opinions manifest themselves can be a source of great entertainment or frustration, depending on your perspective. The cycle that usually occurs surrounding many reveals is something I like to call the 5 Stages of New Logo Reaction.
Invest In Your Brand (Or Else)
“That much for a logo?”
noun: investment; plural noun: investments
the action or process of investing money for profit or material result.
a thing that is worth buying because it may be profitable or useful in the future. “a used car is rarely a good investment”
act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result. “the time spent in attending a one-day seminar is an investment in our professional futures”
Whether you want to build a personal brand or a company/organization brand, you need to invest time, energy, and money into that edification. While on break, back home in North Carolina, some friends of mine talked with me about some projects they wanted to get off the ground. I threw out a possible ballpark estimate for a logo and they were shocked by the price range.
“…for a logo?”