So you’ve hired a designer to create a logo for you new startup. Your designer emails you a the proof of your logo. You love it!!! It’s great!!!! You forward it around to your friends, partners, and coworkers and they all love it. “It’s beautiful”, your friends say. It has touched your emotions, and aesthetics are definitely a part of selecting your logo. But is it correct for your audience? Will it attract the crowd that you hope to attract? This is a much larger part of logo selection and creation. Your logo is the design that will represent you as a first and lasting impression to your current and future customers. If it doesn’t convey the message that you want to send, you must be brave enough to step out of the emotional side of it and tell your designer to try again. We as designers, have no emotional attachments to the design, so we won’t have a problem going back to the drawing board. Our job is not to touch your emotions but rather to create a new emotional experience for your audience that will bring them back to you. -A Designer Named Jeff
“To assure quality- excellence must be an earned word assigned by others to us, not proclaimed by us to ourselves”- Ed Catmul, founder of Pixar
When trying to solicit clientele for our business endeavors we use words such as “excellence” to describe the service that we offer. A “flaw” of mine, and possibly the reason I have yet to find the success level that I seek as a freelancer or as a designer in general is that I am honest; probably too honest when it comes to describing myself and my abilities. I cannot call myself a master of any task if I still struggle to perform that task. I will not describe my service as excellence until I get the accolades of others who are professionals at my craft. I call this a flaw because those others are still not as good as I know I can and will be, yet they will use those words and garner up business and carry the perception of success. Yes, I know that marketing teaches us that we must tell the customer how to feel. If I could tell those lies, then I would have more financial success as well, I’m sure. But I just can’t do it. My focus is on quality, and I hate putting out sub standard work and convincing paying customers that it’s “excellence”. So when I read the above quote in Ed Catmul’s book, “Creativity Inc”, it resonated with me. This man, who founded this billion dollar company feels the same way that I do. If you’re calling yourself excellent and you’re the only one saying it, then you’re probably not all that excellent. You must earn that word!
Lexus also had a quote, which was their slogan/tag line for a while that always resonated with me, it was “the relentless pursuit of perfection”. I loved this line!!! It implied that no matter how good we get, we will never stop trying to be better, our pursuit of perfection (though we know perfection is unattainable) is relentless. WOW! They have since taken out the words “of perfection” and the slogan only reads “the relentless pursuit”. That has no where close to the same impact and I don’t understand their logic in the change. To me, those quotes go hand and hand in business. Excellence must be an earned word on our relentless pursuit of perfection. I will earn that title because my pursuit of perfection is definitely relentless. Peace! #iDesignStuff
Whatever you’re known for is your brand, use it! If you’re known as the pretty one, the loud one, the one with the strange voice, or the one that has a crazy laugh, that is your brand. Find a way to incorporate it into your brand identity, it’s already how people know you.
A brand is not a logo, a letter type, or a color; it’s all of those things put together plus a feel, how and what you post on social media, and more. Your brand is anything that makes your audience remember you after you have left them and they can recognize it even without any words telling them it belongs to you. Think about Apple products and marketing and think of how easily you can recognize an Apple ad even without the icon or the name anywhere on the ad.
I downloaded Steve Harvey’s audiobook “Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success” and it wasn’t his voice reading it. That kinda disappointed me, I thought to myself, this book would be so much more effective if it were read by Steve in his country grammar. His voice is his brand but for some reason he chose not to use it, taking away a little of the potency of the book. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a great book and I took a lot from it, including inspiration for this post, but from years of hearing Steve’s voice, whether he was telling jokes, giving advice, reading the wrong winner of a pageant, or even discussing his ill advised meeting with Donald Tump, the points of the book would have hit home so much more if he had chosen to read it himself as Oprah does with her audiobooks. Steve’s voice is his brand, as much as his face, his suits, or his name.
As an Art Director I am trained to use any and all things recognizable as part of the brand building of a person, place, business, or whoever commissions my services. Audio, visible, or textured, use that thing that you’re recognized for as part of your brand.