F Word 3: Forthright

Look in the damn mirror.

September 23, 2020

Without a genuine and honest view of ourselves and our visions, we cannot expect to move forward.

Our culture abhors imperfection. We alter beautiful people in photoshop to achieve god-like standards. We post pictures of our significant other during our vacation to Fiji on Instagram, but neglect the brokenness of the relationship. We lie to preserve a false sense of perfection.

Fuck that and damn it to hell.

That is not the path of rebellion. That is conformity. That is a fearful shell of what could be and shifts one's focus to what others might think instead of what one can do.

Why forthright?

/ˈfôrTHˌrīt/ direct and outspoken; straightforward and honest.

Being forthright doesn't beat around the bush. It means stating simply whether something is good or bad. Yes and no, not maybe. Being forthright demands that you speak up and stake a claim.

This is most important when looking inward. A rebel must be honest with herself if any improvement is to be made. It is honesty that allows her to notice what could be better and act upon it earnestly. Even on a grander scale, it allows her to examine the impact of her vision and whether or not it is truly valuable to the world.

A rebel must be forthright.

More you say?

Are You Playing the Wrong Game?

A note on brand positioning for startups.

4.27.2020

Positioning is the spot your startup fills within the head of your customer. It matters because most people already have a go-to brand for most products and services they need. For example, Apple is positioned as the leader for personal technology, for most, non-technical people. Unless you are a developer in which case, you probably prefer PCs and Android phones. They claim different positions for different people and it gives them authority as a an option for people to buy.

Here is where startups go haywire with their positioning,: they play the wrong game. Specifically, this one: they try to look, feel, and act like a large company and go head-to-head with the ones already out there. This trickles into their branding efforts, making them appear sterile, stoic, and dehumanized. Why? Because they see large companies they are trying to compete with do the same thing. Here's the secret: large companies have to act that way so they don't get sued for upsetting people with their character.

As a result, customers long for something more personable (someone to claim a different position). This is something your startup could offer them if you weren't playing the "we're a big company too," game. You will lose every time. But if you gave a minimal amount of effort into giving your startup a personality and stopped trying to look, act, and feel exactly like the companies you are looking to dethrone, you'd win more often.

Play the right game.

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Typeface Hack

Three rules the most important part of your visual identity.

10.6.2020

Typography is the use of letterforms in design. It's everywhere. In logos, in signage, in websites, everything. Figures that when designing a brand identity this is given a lot of attention. Truthfully, I think people underestimate the power of well selected typefaces. They are certainly just as important as crafting a memorable logo and can make or break a brand identity. So how do you figure out which one(s) to choose? There are three things to consider:

Simplicity, distinction, and appropriateness.

Simple
Typefaces selected for your brand need to be easily seen and legible. This means no comic sans, no papyrus, no curly q's. You can't write a paragraph in those typefaces without straining a reader's eyes. When selecting a typeface, consider asking yourself this question: can I read a blog in this typeface and not be annoyed by all of the characters I see before me? If you are, time to change.

Distinction
There is a fine line between choosing typefaces that are plain and overtly stylized. The key is to understand that a typeface does not need a lot of swirls and flourishes to make it beautifully individual. It could be the way the O's are crafted, the subtle rounding of corners, or sharp, stylized serifs. Whatever it is, I guarantee it doesn't have to be much. A little spice goes a long way with typefaces.

Appropriateness
In all things brand identity, you cannot deviate from the core emotional values of the brand. Meaning, if you call people to be gritty and tough don't use a typeface fit for a wedding invitation (and vice versa). Typefaces have an emotional quality to them. Take time to think about what it makes you feel. Do you feel nostalgic or futuristic? Where have you seen this typeface before and what does that make you feel? Whatever you do, make sure the typeface is aligned to the gut-feeling you want your brand to connote.

It's just three things, but they can carry your brand identity a long way. Go snag some typefaces!

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