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Polish your brand management and your image will shine

As a creative professional, you know how important image can be. Whether you are a designer, illustrator, writer, developer, photographer, project manager, or a member of an account team—helping elevate the identity of your clients is a daily task. But have you taken a step back and thought about your own brand management? As a busy professional, developing your own brand often gets pushed aside. But polishing your professional identity could be the difference in progressing your career or gaining a new client.

In this post let’s dive into the art of self-promotion and brand management. I’ll explore some tips about branding for creatives and pose questions to get the ball rolling in your professional development.

Self Brand and Brand Management

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Part Three of Creating a Brand Style Guide

Creating a Brand Style Guide Series is written by Pariah Burke, consultant and trainer for creative, publishing, and editorial professionals.

  • Part One: “Why You Need a Media-Comprehensive Brand Style Guide.”
  • Part Two: “Defining and Creating Your Logo Uses”
  • Part Four: (coming soon)

 

In the Previous Installment

In the previous installment, Part 2: “Defining and Communicating Your Logo Uses,” you learned to think of your logo in terms of an asset that must be protected through strict usage and placement rules. You created different versions, color spaces, and formats to account for its use in any situation and medium, including print, on the Web, in ePUB and fixed-layout ePUB, video, and other media. You learned how to manage and organize your different logo editions for easy access by any teammate, partner, or client, as well as how to communicate logo usage guidelines and proper treatment for each rendition of the logo right within the logo file itself. You learned to document through text and visuals rules required sizes, placements, and spacing around the logo, alignment of the logo relevant to specific surrounding elements, and other common brand style guide requirements for consistent logo application.

 

Equating Color with Your Brand

Depending on your business, what it does, what it stands for, color may be an important visual element of your brand or the most vital.

Coca-Cola owns several truly iconic trademarks such as the flowy script of its logo, the shape of the classic Coke bottles. As valuable as those pieces of intellectual property are, none is more so than the color Coca-Cola Red. It’s a registered trademark color vigorously protected in every country in the world. Few people on Earth don’t instantly connect and equate that unique and almost ubiquitous shade of crimson with Coca-Cola, even when the color is far removed from a can, bottle, or white swoosh.

Where would Barbie be without her signature pink? Mary Kay and T-Mobile are also identified by their own unique, trademarked hues of pink. What could brown do for you if it wasn’t so intrinsic to the UPS brand? Millions of people start their days with the signature green aprons, cups, and wrappers of Starbucks. More aprons, this time in orange, even more readily identify the Home Depot brand. The list of brand-crucial colors stretches on, across all industries.
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Misfits_-_Misfits_(Collection_I)_coverTechDirt recently uncovered a story that, while amusing, does point directly to how typography directly relates any entity’s branding – band, company, non-profit, etc.

The punk band Misfits recently sent a cease and desist order to the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market demanding that they stop using a font that the band considered too close to the typeface used in their logo.

A somewhat humorous exchange of letters between lawyers ensued, that was more than a bit akin to name calling.

In the end, it seems that the Misfits have declined to pursue their claim.

Yet, this does underscore the power that a typeface can have. It’s understandable that many organizations work with type foundries to build their own custom typefaces.

Most people know Times New Roman as it’s pre-installed on most computers. Yet, originally it was created for the British newspaper, The Times as the distinctive typeface for the newspaper.

Some brands choose a typeface and own it for their branding. For example, it’s hard to separate Myriad Pro from the recent decade or more of Apple marketing.

If you’re interested in building your own custom typeface, while it doesn’t come cheap, it can definitely be worth it.

What typeface have you adopted as your own?


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As a slightly less than metrosexual guy, I believe there are three key elements a man needs for his overall presentation: a good haircut, a decent watch, and nice shoes. Of course clothes and grooming matter, but these three items are key in presenting ourselves in a way that’s polished, professional—and, let’s face it—pretty.

Let’s extend that analogy to graphic design. There are a few key elements that define a brand, most notably logo, positioning, editorial voice, design approach, and color. Once that’s been established, we’re all ready to go out into the world in the form of a site launch. Right?

extensis-better-call-saul

Two low-rent scripts that match the garish and tacky character, Saul Goodman. (Script Natural & Dancing Script)

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Political Campaign Logos and the Designers Who Hate Them

Meredith Post, Author at LPK Taking Brands to Extraordinary

Wired recently ran a piece entitled Typography is Why Jeb’s Logo is Worse Than a Piece of Crap. I say this in a non-partisan way, but it’s one of those headlines that kind of says it all.

Even though Bush has been using a variation on this logo since 1993, the recently unveiled 2015 version unleashed a new barrage of snark from the design community, with pundits criticizing everything from the typeface (Baskerville) to the exclamation point (“I don’t want to be told to get excited”) to the baseline of the exclamation point. AdWeek fed the flames of the controversy by reposting a bunch of mostly negatively “humorous” takes from the twittersphere.

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In our first post, we covered the fundamentals around the art of self-promotion, including tips on what questions to ask yourself, how to build your visual identity, and the various channels to explore in promoting yourself.

For Part 2 in our series, we’ve interviewed four damn good designers we’ve worked with from all over the world on our Fontspiration project—a showcase of the designers’ favorite fonts to help inspire your own work. We asked our designers—Jose, Rosa, Amanda and Justin—how they self-promote, with questions running the gamut from how often they update their portfolio to the best places to showcase their work to how often they network.

One thing we found is that, not surprisingly, there’s no magic bullet, and everyone has their own preferences and does things in a way that works for them. That said, there are some common threads. We’d like to share some insights that stood out for us to help frame how you might think about your own self-branding efforts.

4 Damn Good Designers Tell Us: How to Self-Brand & Promote,  Justin Freiler's website

Justin Freiler updates his portfolio site when Jupiter and Uranus align.


 
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jim-kidwell-tfma-2014Last week I attended the Technology for Marketing and Advertising event at Earl’s Court in London. Besides being an event custom made for me to attend (ooh, look cart abandonment software, how neat!) I was fortunate enough to also present a couple of topics to attendees.

My first presentation was to a sold-out crowd on branding and typography. It included a decent amount of back and forth conversation with the audience, and even though British audiences are traditionally more reserved, these attendees weren’t shy about sharing.

If you’d like to view the presentations, I’ve uploaded them to Slideshare below. While you won’t get all of my stellar speech, at least I think that you’ll get the gist of it.

The second talk covered topics that companies should consider when thinking about moving their DAM solution to the cloud.


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We all know how important first impressions are. It can be the difference between success and failure in any relationship. The first impression any brand makes is critical to the introduction of new customers to your products.

In our next SXSW submission Rebooting a Fugly Brand is from our VP of Marketing, Amanda Paull.

She will present the dos and don’ts when diving into the icy cold waters of a brand refresh. As company that specializes in software for creative professionals, we recently underwent our own brand refresh. Amanda will share the secrets of how we arrived at our new visual identity (you’ve probably noticed the fish here on the blog) and how that identity conveys our company’s personality and values.

We hope that you’ll take a moment to vote for us!

Other Extensis submissions

Looking for other great stuff from us? Check out these options. We hope that you’ll vote for them as well.