Identity sets you apart form everyone else it tells everyone who you are, your purpose, and what you are all about. In history, people painted their faces or wore certain colors to identify which tribe they belonged to. They flew certain colored flags, banners or painted symbols on themselves and their belongings to identify who they were and that their things belonged to them. In medieval times, Kings used royal seals on their documents to let everyone know that it was from the king. It was their way of identifying authenticity.
Branding is how that identity is carried out, distributed and how people find out who a company or entity is, and what they are all about. A company that doesn’t focus on branding is one that misses out on their opportunities to advertise. Branding includes emails, newsletters, packaging, web banners, web sites, stationary and business forms, products, signage, in store advertising, radio, television/commercials, and much more. All of these things communicate what that company is, what they do, and who they are.
Branding across all of these areas helps to build recognition. It needs to be consistent and direct, and make a connection with the consumer. It is that connection that helps to build value in the brand and a trusting relationship with your consumers. It tells the public that you are different from the competition and how that is so. When considering branding and how to distribute your identity and brand to the world, you have to make your company mean something. In the design world, we have to communicate the idea that we can create their web site, their logo, create their entire identity from start to finish, and that we can be trusted to do so, while taking care of their individual needs, and minding their budget.
One thing to think about is your identity and brand as a designer. Do you have one? Are you working on building one? I know I am. This sort of thing doesn’t happen over night, and may take years, a decade, even longer, but it is well worth it. If you are in for the long haul, then you need to consider how you are going to communicate professionalism, passion, knowledge and trustworthiness into your brand. I have seen some newer designers go for the urban look in their designs. They show themselves on skateboards, wearing urban clothes, with head phones on, which is perfectly fine. Some of those types can design circles around me. if your are one of those people, is that the message that you want to send to your clients? Maybe you are extremely corporate and seem to “high brow” for some clients. Maybe you have branded yourself to be too flashy with too many effects and not enough substance. Do you only want certain clients to approach you? Do you want to pick up corporate accounts, or land huge projects? Would you go to those meetings in baggy shorts with your headphones on? If so, and it works for you, great. Would you go to a very small, local business in a 3 piece suit? Maybe a giant flaming phoenix isn’t a professional way to present my work. Maybe the message that I am trying to send is that I am great with special effects, or maybe it is something creative and fun that I came up with. Maybe it is not a good idea to show a photo of my daughter and I in the back yard on my About Me page, or maybe it is because it shows that I am a family man. Is that what I want to portray to my clients?
I am not saying that anyone has done or is doing anything wrong or right, I am simply making the point that the way that you present yourself gives people an impression about your work. Maybe we all as designers should think about how we present ourselves and our work, to help us to land the types of projects that we want. Do what works for you and what you are comfortable with, but make sure you are getting what you want out of the identity that you are marketing.
I would love to hear your thoughts about this. this is a topic that can go on forever and branch off into so many directions. What do you think?