Branding Your Business – Artistic Tools

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I have some thoughts regarding branding that I’d like to share. I’ve spoken a little bit about it before, in a post about Brand Identity. I recently came across a rather long interview with Sammy Blindell where she speaks about how to build a brand.

Brand Identity

First off, the interview. She was asked a question about things seeming to go slowly which ultimately makes your endeavor feel like a money pit. She counters with a lovely quote:

If all you do is try and take from the business, it will never give.

I guess I think that spending time and money on efforts of branding and great graphics is like giving to your business. But, so far, we haven’t spoken a lick about branding. But at 11:11, she mentions a website audit that showed a company who had all but one link in the  banner with information about them. Nothing about or for the customer. A few minutes after that she begins to rail on designers. Check it out:

This is where I started to get interested and really think about some of my own processes. In my experience, you can go down two different roads.

The Autodidact

Autodidact:

ˌôdōˈdīdakt/
noun
  1. a self-taught person.

If you are a DIY, inspired individual that loves a challenge – then you’re probably an autodidact. You look forward to learning how to design a logo or webpage and have the artistic ability to see it through. You probably also have lots of time on your hands.

If this is you, I can heartily recommend Inkscape for the bootstrapping entrepreneur. It’s totally free, very powerful and is the second cousin to Adobe’s Illustrator.

To get you started, I can wholeheartedly recommend Nick Saporito’s YouTube Channel. I’ve created many of the graphics on my site from the teachings of his quick tutorials.

brand identity

Some of Nick’s paid work.

Give Inkscape a try. You’ll probably get something out of it – if not for graphic design destined for the web, it can be the first steps towards creating CNC plasma cut art and signs.

The Ones Who Aren’t Good at Pictionary

You know who you are.

For those of you who don’t have the time, or the desire, or the…um… ability, to create artwork and graphics for your business, may I suggest hiring a designer?

My go to guy is Matthew Rampy of Rampage DesignWorks. Way back he refined a logo for me and made it such that it wouldn’t be jittery if you scale it up. Pure magic.

brand identity

The bad ideas were all my own. A case where brand identity isn’t working.

I can vouch for Matthew and say that he is in defiance towards the norm, he asked me tons of questions and wouldn’t stop refining until I was happy.

The main benefit of hiring a designer, at least a good one like Matthew, is getting access to their creativity. These folks have turned creativity into a career – they have to be good at it or they go under. Here’s what I mean:

brand identity

Beautiful artwork. Creativity, not just squares and circles.

This is the kind of work from someone that can draw the things in their heads. You know what I mean. You’ve had those back-of-the-napkin drawings looks like the pictionary photo from above.

I believe this creativity – combined with skillful execution – is what makes or breaks a project.

Case in Point

I’ve been using Inkscape for the past two days straight. I’ve started to enjoy it yet have only discovered the tip of the iceberg. It’s powerful, but I’m not quite there yet. I discovered this in an attempt to streamline my Facebook page so that it synced up with the website’s identity.

I wanted the same cool blue colors with the orange highlights to show off what Raum is. Furniture for the people that is made to last. Click. Ship and Create your space. Easy.

Here’s what I came up with after an hour.

Brand identity fail

Ehhhh..

 

It’s OK. It’s cool, kind of sleek and modern but it doesn’t convey the message of Raum. Also, I can’t figure out why it has the white space at the bottom. I’d like to show our business tenets in a clear way and all in Facebook’s recommended 831×315 pixels. I’m not sure what to do with it just yet.

I think there are two points to be made here. One – you have options. Do it yourself or join up with a pro and get pro results without the hassle. Two – just like Sammy did for that mystery website – get some perspective. I know, you didn’t see that second point coming. But really, show your work to an unbiased group and see what they think. Do they see your vision? Are they feeling your brand? Brand identity is in the details.

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