It's Not About You

Why building a brand requires you to focus on someone else.

March 3, 2020

A brand is not a logo, it's not a product, it's not your reputation, it's not your name, so what is it?

A brand is the gut-feeling someone has toward your business. You make them feel a certain way through your company's behavior, it's appearance, and the experiences you provide.

All of this to say that making someone feel a certain way requires you, the business owner, to stop thinking about yourself and think about how you will impact someone else.

It doesn't matter what you like, what matters is what the person you are making this company for likes.

It doesn't matter if you don't like the name of your company, what matters is how it impacts your user.

It doesn't matter that you don't like your logo, what matters is how easy it is for your ideal customer to recognize it.

You get the picture.

The beauty of this, is that the pressure is taken off of you and your subjective standards, and instead focused on how much you can affect someone else.

It's not about you.

More you say?

Rebellious Logo Checklist

There are defined steps to creating a rebellious logo. Skip at your own risk.

1.31.2020

What do you mean a rebellious logo? 

Well, rebellion in its simplest form is this: when everyone goes left, are you willing to go right? Rebellion means looking at the context your company is in and figuring out what is missing.

Discovery:
At the onset of every identity project there needs to be a common goal between the designer and the owner of the logo. This goal is assessed by drilling down on the story, voice and tone, character, ideal customer, and the mission, vision, and purpose of the brand.

Competitive Analysis:
After getting introspective about who you are, you need to see what's already out there, especially in terms of a logo. It's astounding to see how the marks used by your competitors are similar. In fact, I'd guarantee you find at least two recurring motifs like an image or color palette used multiple times. The goal here is ascertaining what NOT to do.

Concepts:
After observing what's already out there, now you can formulate concepts that are different from your competitors. My recommendation is to think of them in categories: a pictorial mark (something that is a representation of a real object), typographic (word-based mark), and abstract icons (shape-based marks that don't resemble something real). You'll find that at least one of these categories makes up the majority of your competitors' logos. Don't pick that one.

Black and White:
Every good mark works in both a solid black and a solid white version. If you have to rely on color to make the mark effective, go back to the drawing board.

Color:
If you're good to go on the black and white versions of your logo, move into choosing colors. Remember, the key is to choose elements that are different from what's already out there.

Applications:
Logos are special because of the things they live on. By placing your mark on business cards, marketing collateral, signage, digital environments, and at varying scales, you can forecast against placement issues in the future. This saves thousands of dollars ensuring that the mark doesn't incur printing hazards down the line and can retain its structure regardless of where it goes.

Go get em rebels.

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Defining "Design" and What it Means for Startups

No, it's not making things pretty.

5.1.2020

There are big elements of design and there are small elements. Both are necessary if you want to use design as an asset within your startup.

Design is the process of crafting with intention. This sets the trajectory for allowing design to be an integral part of your startup. In fact, it speaks to the idea that it should be intrinsically woven into every decision the company makes. If you act with the purpose of achieve a specific goal, you are designing. The opposite would be aimlessness or choosing to craft without purpose.

While such endeavors can lead to interesting results, it's not the best mindset to adopt with investors breathing down your neck or crucial deadlines looming int he background. Choosing to adopt a design-driven mindset is what allows you to measure progress and iterate with precision. In short, design turns wandering ideas into obtainable goals.

That's way different than making things prettier.

Yes, this concept tends to be confined within the areas of improving the aesthetic of apps, websites, interiors, products, or brand identities (a bunch of small elements), but these outlets don't give it power. Look beyond aesthetic and focus on creating things with purpose. How you want them to make people feel, what you want them to do, the goals a project is supposed to achieve.

I guess the main point is this: if you see design as only making things look pretty, even the things you want to look pretty will fall short of expectation. But, if you decide to see design as crafting with intention, you will be able to get results... and maybe make something beautiful int he process.

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