The Overlap

Why you can't just build something for yourself.

April 6, 2020

"Well, I'm my target market, so I should design a brand for myself."

I hear this a lot, especially from startup founders who think they have an amazing product that is going to solve world hunger and end war forever (I'm kidding, but you get the idea). However, despite the product being so amazing, they can't get sales, have a hard time pitching, and are constantly pivoting to the point of exhaustion. What's more, they all have shitty brands.

Why is that? Because going into business to build something for yourself is a surefire way to have an aimless brand, one that you cannot objectively validate. It's doomed from the start. Think about it, if you fully embody the exact persona of someone who could use your product, then they don't need you. They are able to solve this problem themselves. Good luck making them feel something other than contempt for you imposing yourself on their day-to-day.

I get it, you want to enjoy the work you do and have a brand that you can appreciate being a part of. You cannot find that focusing on yourself.

The key is to find overlap, a common thread between what your customers value and what you value. There is a reason they are listed in that order, as you, being an entrepreneur, can build a kickass business and brand whether you feel personally attached to it or not. You'll crush it because solving problems for other people is what you're best at, that is your job.

If you happen to have a passion for the brand and can align with it personally, all the better. But, you have to focus on a customer first or you have no business. Not only in the products you create, but the way you make them feel. That's where the branding magic is born.

More you say?

If Design Matters, Do it Right

A fatal flaw in the entreprenuerial mindset that needs to be addressed.

4.8.2020

This will be simple.

If you want people to love your brand, don't give a half-assed effort into the design of it.

If you don't care, carry on as you have been.

A minor effort into a major problem is a recipe for disappointment.

read more

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.

read more