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.