A wise man once said that branding is more than just a logo. This is true, but a good logo is a big part of what makes your brand recognisable to the general public. I’ve recently been introduced to a couple of games based around logos – one where you are given a logo and have to choose the company it belongs to, and one where you are shown only part of a logo (a couple of letters, a block of colour, etc.) and again have to identify the company which uses it. I’ve found these games very enlightening, and I was really shocked at how many logos I was aware of and could guess instantly. For example, I would never be able to describe to you the Alfa Romeo logo, but when it popped up on screen (minus the words Alfa Romeo of course) I straight away knew what it was. The same happened with the Goodyear winged sandal, John Deere (Why on Earth am I familiar with the John Deere logo? I have no tractor experience whatsoever!), and a number of other brands that I’m surprised that I recognise.
I found it especially surprising how familiar I was with American brands – Target, USPS, UPS, and Bank of America among others – products, companies, and services that I have never used in my life and yet, due to things like TV and other forms of media I guess, they are ingrained in my mind and very easily recognisable.
This kind of made me start to think again about my personal brand. What name should I go by professionally – my own personal name, or a company name? I like my name well enough, but I have a name I’ve used online for my Twitter and Instagram accounts which I feel fits with who I think I want to be in the “real world” or at least throughout fourth year and post-graduation (oh my god fourth year panic). The name is simply my initials spelt out, and I do worry that sometimes people don’t get it and I have to explain it, but I like it and it feels comfortable to me. I think I like the idea of keeping things away from my real full name, but I suppose this is something I have to do some proper work on over summer.
In my Design and the Market personal enterprise proposal I gave myself a timetable of summer work and research, and part of this was deciding on what name to use, setting up a proper website, and sorting out all of that fiddly stuff. I think what I have to do is just go with it – have a somewhat solid idea and make it work, because as my uni work and business self evolve it’ll be easier to change and update any online presence, rather than wait until halfway through fourth year to try to develop a website and online persona from nowhere when there’s lots of other important nonsense going on. Will I need a logo though? That’s the question.
That’s it. The end of teaching time for the semester, for the year. This is bananas.
I got some really good feedback on my SDC project today – I was told that I was very high on the list of people to be entered into the competition, and that I’d produced the best set of presentation boards that Andy had ever seen from me. This was all really great to hear – I feel like the start of this year was really slow for me, and I really didn’t enjoy myself or my projects much, and the SDC project really opened me up and turned things around a bit. I got a bit of constructive criticism, and Andy said that the digitally printed and hand-finished sample I included on my presentation board was much better and more engaging that the plain hand printed one. I agree with him and explained that I’d had many grand plans for my digital prints, but was unable to carry through with them because the prints took for ever to come back. I’d really like to continue to work on my extra fabric samples, but our access to the workshop has been closed off so that the fourth years have enough space and time to work on their final pieces, so I think (depending on time) that I’ll do a bit more paper work and create an extra presentation board with some alternative designs and colour options just in paper.
We’ve had our last Design and the Market session, and now have to produce a 2000 word personal enterprise proposal. We’ve worked through NESTA’s creative enterprise toolkit and had some absolutely fantastic talks from some incredible speakers (Patricia van den Akker came to speak to us and I’ve never taken so many notes so quickly – 6 sides of A4, plus some sneaky phone photos of her slides so I can come back to them later!). My only problem is that throughout the workshops I haven’t really had a solid business idea – I want to design and make things for sure, but I haven’t had that spark of an idea that has ignited a passion in me. I really want to focus on personal branding, because I feel that where ever I end up going after uni (working for a design company, working freelance alongside having a “real” job, or going into business for myself) this would be very beneficial to me. I’ve mentioned in posts before about how I want to “discover who I am” and I feel that identifying my values and passions using the NESTA worksheets has really helped with that, and I’m sure that expanding this idea into my fourth year report will set me up really well. I just have no idea how to go about doing it. I feel a bit like I’ve floated through the workshops without a solid idea and now that I don’t want to write a business plan I’m a bit lost.
On Saturday Iain took me on a wee post-work adventure to Newport and Wormit beach to take pictures. It was good fun, although I wasn’t exactly prepared or dressed appropriately for climbing over slippery, seaweed-covered rocks and sliding through muddy puddles. It was a bit cold and miserable (I thought my fingers were going to freeze off), but the sunset was beautiful.
In order to avoid doing any work on my uni summer project (and because I like sewing) I recently made a patchwork pincushion for a friend’s birthday. I got the idea and pattern from Very Berry Handmade, and my first attempt went terribly wrong when I tried make the cushion bigger than the pattern dictates but somehow grossly miscalculated things (probably to do with my terrible grasp of both numbers and logic, and for whatever reason sewing with a seam allowance two times too wide).
Anyway, I’m happy to say that attempt #2 went well (considering I’ve never really done patchwork before), and I was kind of sad to give it away. But I did. Selfless.
If you’re very interested, there are two more pictures on Flickr – one of the back, which is plain but embroidered with an “A”, and one of the ladder stitching I did to sew the cushion up at the end; it’s not perfect, but I’m happy with it! I hope she liked it.
I also “made” the pins as well. It’s the simplest thing in the world, and quite cute (I think) – I have a rather large collection of Swarovski crystal beads from back in my jewellery-makin’ days, and all I did was break out the superglue and glue the beads up against the pin head. It takes a while for the glue to dry, but if you’ve just made a pincushion it’s not as if you haven’t got anywhere to put them while it does!
The Olympic torch came to Dundee yesterday, which was quite exciting! I mean, it’s not often that this sort of thing happens in my little city. I met Iain after work for a walk through the very busy town centre, and then we made our way to Baxter Park. It was really nice to see so many people just hanging out in one place and (mostly) having a good time and getting along.
We watched performances by Emeli Sandé (good), Anderson McGinty Webster Ward and Fisher (good) and were given a total of 10 free Nature Valley cereal bars (good). The crowd was a little bit lacklustre and difficult to ‘work’ sometimes, and pretty much as soon as the cauldron was lit people started leaving – even though there were people on stage still talking (some schoolkids, the Lord Provost, and a local MSP), which I felt bad about. But I think everyone seemed to have a good time, in the end. I do kind of wish we’d made our way over to the other side of the park to see what was going on over there; apparently people could have their photo taken while holding an actual Olympic torch, which would have been a fun thing to do.
Today I almost went for a brisk-walk-slash-attempted-run but didn’t, and then headed to uni for a proper nosey around the textiles department degree show and a final wee meeting with my 4th year mentor, Eilidh (everyone should have one!). If you haven’t been already, I’d really encourage you to visit the DJCAD degree show – it’s open 10am to 4pm this weekend. I took an extended walk home in an attempt to experience fresh air and that thing they call sunlight, and here’s a couple of things I dug along the way:
This graffiti appears to depict a dinosaur riding a penguin riding a giraffe. Genuinely three of my favourite things!