Mint and Chip

If someone hates you, someone is sure to love you

December 3, 2019

Everyone loves ice cream, but getting people to agree on a flavor is difficult. You gauge a room of people to see what they want and no one will seem to agree. Especially if someone suggests mint and chip.

My guess is that most people are indifferent, but there are those who vehemently oppose the flavor with everything they've got. Hell, someone even wrote an article on how terrible is it.

Here's the thing though:

One of my closest friends absolutely LOVES mint and chip ice cream. It's her favorite, she will go out of her way to get it and she'd happily argue with the author of that article about why it's a good choice.

Branding a startup works the same way. Some people will love it, some will not. You have to be ok without pleasing everyone.

More you say?

I hate titles

Why design titles are just like toothpaste.

2.14.2019

A LinkedIn connection of mine posted a document yesterday asking what titles his connections give themselves. The post contained 20 different variants of designer titles, here are a few:

  • UX Designer
  • UI Designer
  • Design Researcher
  • Creative Director
  • Design Lead
  • Senior Designer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Digital Designer


Oi vey. That's only half. And he didn't even cover all of the options out there. You might be thinking, isn't the point to distinguish ourselves from people? Yes, it is, but it has to be done in a way that matters to the people that make the purchasing decision. Most business owners don't know the difference between UX and UI, hell most people who ascribe the title to themselves don't even know the difference.

It's like the pointless variants of toothpaste:

  • Anti-cavity (shouldn't all toothpaste be anti-cavity?)
  • Breath freshening (no shit, is the alternative a toothpaste that makes my breath smell bad?)
  • Fighting Gingivitis (isn't that the job of floss?)
  • Daily Repair (what else is it supposed to do?)

The only variant of toothpaste that makes sense to a user is when it speaks to a particular need of theirs. Like sensitive teeth being addressed by Sensodyne, who focused on people with this issue entirely.

Now let's apply the same thinking to some of these design titles:

  • Design Researcher (shouldn't all design be based on research?)
  • Digital Designer (if you use a computer and you're a designer, you are a digital designer)
  • UX Designer (99% of the world doesn't know what you do and the term user experience is applicable to everything)
  • UI Designer (isn't this the same as graphic design except digital?)

Here's the thing: these titles do nothing for the person on the other side of the table, you know that person who pays money for design services.

What's the solution you ask? Try this:
I'm a designer, I craft things with intention. I've got a portfolio of work and case studies to show the problems I solve. Do any of these sound like you? Cool, let's make something happen.

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Blind Branding

Remove visuals from the equation, do you have a brand?

3.5.2020

Most startup founders associate branding with identity design (logos, color, patterns, etc.). While visuals are an important part of the branding process, it isn't everything. In fact, they are the last step taken.

It stands to reason that your logo is not your brand, and your brand is not your logo. Period.

Logos are symbols, a brand is a feeling. Specifically, the feeling one would associate with your company.

Think of it this way, if a blind individual could not see your logo, but they could hear the things you say and how you want to make an impact on the world, would they understand who you are? Or would they be presented a shallow articulation of who you are and how you're different.

Branding is not a logo. If you do not know how to communicate who you are to someone who cannot see, you're in trouble. You should sound different, act different, and feel different. Only then can you make a case for looking different.

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