3 Essential Brand Building Tips

HOW Design Live delivers everything you need to pursue a fulfilling, successful creative career — in one essential event! Join us in Chicago, May 4-8, 2015!

As a designer, brand building, crafting logos and formulating identity systems for clients comes with the territory. However, the struggle is real when conceptualizing your own brand.

HOW Design University’s online course, Designing Your Personal Brand, will guide you through the brand building process to design a visual identity that perfectly defines you as a designer. With a solid visual identity and marketing plan, you’ll gain more clients and credibility.

Learn from Ellen Shapiro, who gives her vast knowledge on branding from her 25 years and counting career heading Visual Language, LLC. A prolific design writer, she is a contributing editor to Print Magazine and a contributor to Communication Arts as well as other design publications.

In Designing Your Personal Brand, you will:

  • Understand the concept of personal brand, and how having a distinctive brand identity in print and online can benefit you.
  • Define what you stand for and how to communicate that position to potential employers and clients., you can also check out Ellen Shapiro’s book, The Graphic Designer’s Guide to Clients.
  • Create a visual identity for yourself—a typographical logo or other identifying concept, which could be a graphic icon, photograph, illustration or collage of several elements.
  • Begin or complete the design of your letterhead, business card, resume, portfolio and website.
  • Launch your brand message.

The course begins on 1/19/15, so register here. Check out a glimpse of what the course covers in the excerpt below:

Designing Your Personal Brand

3 Essential Brand Building Tips

Brand identity is flexible and changing.

Gone are the days when identity manuals directed: “The logo must be printed in Pantone 345 and placed one-half-inch from the left and top margins.” Today, everything is flexible, moves, morphs, transforms itself. Google is just one example. Is there a Google logo? Sort of, a simple typographic rendering of the word “Google,” with every letter a different color, the yellow of which is not very legible. The distinctive aspect of the Google brand is that it changes every day, every season, every holiday.

How could that concept be adapted to serve a smaller entity, even a single individual in a creative field? A freelance photographer, for example, could choose half a dozen images from a photo shoot. She could use one image on the website, a different one on the letterhead, a different one on the business card. Her brand identity will be consistent in style and color, but give the potential client a larger and more comprehensive taste of her work than one image could possibly convey.

If you check out images of the brand identities of MTV and Burton Snowboards, two other examples, you’ll see that change is the key characteristic. A certain amount of controlled change can be a more distinctive identity than a single, immutable logo.

Consistency is key.

With so many products and brands competing for everyone’s attention, it’s important for each brand to have a consistent identity. Otherwise the public would be confused. Consider Starbucks. Wherever you are in the world, when you see a mermaid in a green circle, you know you can plug in or log on their wifi, stay a while, read your email, and enjoy a favorite beverage. If Starbucks decided to use a series of different logos, you’d be in trouble (and so would they), whether you were looking for a Starbucks in Beijing, Guanajuato, or in another neighborhood of your own home town.

You’ll need to experiment and decide whether your personal identity will be completely consistent across media — or have an element of change and surprise.

It’s gotta be visual.

If I could characterize the stuff that comes into my inbox that looks truly amateur, it’s too busy, cluttered with way too many words. Even major companies and institutions make the mistake of going on and on, flooding the page or screen with words nobody wants to read. Occasionally, if I do take the time to read the text, I may find it’s well written, that an editor pored over it. And then there’s no compelling visual to catch the eye — no big idea — to make me stay there and want to do business with them. Keep your words short, strong, and to the point.

T6894If you’re a graphic designer looking for real-life advice and long-term success, The Graphic Designer’s Guide to Clients by acclaimed designer Ellen Shapiro is the book for you. Not only does she reveal the secrets behind getting the clients you want to recognize your name and brand, but she also discusses how to land those clients and create a positive and productive working relationship with them. Through one-on-one interviews with prominent designers like Milton Glaser, Mike Weymouth, April Greiman, Drew Hodges, Marc Gobé, and partners in Pentagram, you’ll also discover personal experiences and insights on how to uphold best practices while also fulfilling the needs of your clients. Whether you’re trying to attract your first clients, or want to bring some fresh faces into your established business, this volume is a must-have addition to your graphic design library.