Behind The Brand: The Behind the Scenes of My Personal Brand

As a designer, one of the most difficult things you can do is work on your own brand identity. I tend to be my own work enemy when it comes to designing my own materials. 

Ever since I committed to launching my own personal brand a little over a year ago it's been a struggle. I've gone back and forth on font choices, color palettes, and image selection. Constantly looking through inspiration boards on Pinterest and trying to figure what other creatives are doing.

Maybe you can relate?

To be honest, all this back and forth eventually started to have an effect on my self-esteem. I thought "If I can't brand my own materials, who am I to take on anyone else's project?"

But then it hit me. I was my own nightmare client! I had become the very client I can't stand. I was wishy-washy and non-committal on every decision. Every other day brought a new idea or concept that I could try. My seriously lacked focus and direction.

Once I realized what I was doing to myself and my brand I knew I had to make a change.

So what did I do? I started treating myself like I would any other client and made myself go through my own branding process. 

Start By Defining Your Brand

The first thing I do when a client has signed on to work with me on a branding project is to ask them a series of questions in order to get to know them and their brand a little better. Often this allows the client to see things they might not have ever noticed about themselves. 

Some of these questions include:

  • What are goals for this brand?
  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What are your values?

All these things are super important when trying to get to the core of what your brand represents. By taking the time to answer these questions I was able to finally see what I wanted my brand to represent.

I want it to be fun, honest, and helpful. By the end of the design project I want to be friends with my clients not just their designer. I want the people I work with to feel like they're a partner in the process.

For me, this step was crucial because it allowed me to focus on my brand alone. It didn't matter what other people were doing or how their brands looked because their goals and objectives weren't the same as mine. It gave me clarity.

This is huge for anyone like me who has trouble going back and forth with brand decisions. Clarity gives you a map to stick too. It gives you boundaries to stay within. 

Once I had gone through the questionnaire and figured out who and what I want my brand to serve, I took that knowledge and began to research the design direction that would best represent those objectives. 

I already had a logo in place for several years and didn't want to go completely away from what I had been using. Overall it still fit within what I wanted but I knew I needed to simplify it. By cutting down the bold font and using the same script throughout I was able to keep the overall feel without starting over from scratch. I also changed the tagline to better describe the services I want to focus on instead of a vague description like graphic artist.

Color:

Next I began to think through my color pallet. Through the discovery process I found out some of the key words that kept coming up for me were: fun, creative, kindness, and understanding. Using those guide words I was able to create a palette that best represented the creative and inviting feeling I want for my brand.

Typography:

For the typefaces I really wanted something that felt friendly and inviting. I ended up choosing Montserrat Black and Open Sans. Montserrat Black is a very bold, chunky font that almost feels like a hug (if typefaces could hug) while Open Sans is a really nice clean compliment that reads well at various sizes and weights. 

Imagery:

The last thing I needed to figure out was imagery. This one was actually pretty easy. I knew I wanted my brand to focus around typography and photography. I wanted images and textures that felt natural and authentic like wood, paper and denim. I also wanted to create a style that was clean and consistent throughout different mediums. 

Below is a brief look at the final style guidelines.

Is brand clarity something you struggle with? Are you like I was and sick of going back and forth trying to figure out what your brand stands for? If so, I'd love to help! Let me know in the comments below what your greatest struggle is right now with your brand. Or feel free to contact me via email. I'm always here to help.