from this desk

 

16 Aug / New Stuff

New stuff! New stuff! New stuff is in the works!

I’m in the midst of trying to make my site less design-centric in order to incorporate some of my writing and multimedia projects. Problem is, it’s always going to look more appealing with photos and graphics up front, so how do I give everything else equal airtime?

Still looking for a solution. Relishing the challenge. :)

Posted by geneve in from this desk, thoughts Read More

Today – actually, late last night – I built my resume from scratch. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and something I admit I’ve been afraid to begin to do. Perhaps it is a symptom of my Northwestern education, but I’ve never even considered any other option aside from the Word-formatted, serif-fonted, power adjective-ridden resume I’ve seen in all the career counseling books. Don’t get me wrong: that has served me – and no doubt, a million other college kids – well, and is the standard for most industries, especially high-flying ones like banking and consulting that the bulk of NU kids apply to.

But then I started looking at resumes for creatives. And boy were they a whole different ballgame. As I found more and more (you can find my favorite ones pinned here on my Pinterest board), I realized that for a designer, a resume represents not only a written summary of one’s experiences and credentials, but is also an excellent gauge of his or her creative judgment. By this I don’t mean the ability of a designer to make his or hers the most beautiful resume around, but his or her ability to to solve the one problem of anyone trying to cram their life’s work into one sheet of paper: How can I best represent myself with this little space?! And so a designer’s resume is, fundamentally, both form and function, content and formatting. What’s the best page layout to use that will be aesthetically pleasing as well as read smoothly? What font is best to convey personality as well as make text readable? What visual symbols – icons, if you will – can I use to indicate that this is an e-mail address without actually saying it?

And so I opened InDesign and set about re-working my resume from scratch, incorporating elements from the fromthisdesk.com brand structure. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t go to crazy with the design, but also wanted to step it up from my old, boring formatting. Here is my before-and-after:

resume-before-after

Same content, totally different style. I’m happy with the result for now, but I’ll still have to test-run and refine it. It’s tiring but exciting to realize that a resume is always a work-in-progress, and so I expect I’ll be coming back to this before I know it and changing it up once again. But for now, it’s good. You can see the full version of my new resume here.

…can also be kind of fun!

Last time, I talked about how my personal brand identity made its way from a mess of uncollected thoughts to becoming an actual logo. Although that was a fairly long process, expanding on that basic brand image took even longer. I wanted to build elements around the basic rocket pencil that would move soundly with its look and feel. Anything I did from this point on needed to be harmonious with what I’d already created. Already in my mind I had played with the possibility of creating a pattern – not least because I’d stumbled across this helpful tutorial some weeks before. And so with the heavy tutoring (heh) of Vectips.com, I set about creating my signature pattern.

Now, I’ve always been fond of patterns – I love the way they dress up any surface, rather like a good wrapping paper. They’re repeatable, thanks to the powers of Illustrator and Photoshop, and is an easy way to replicate a look. It’s almost cheating – but not quite. Patterns are also great for “futureproofing” any brand. However I choose to expand my collection for the future, I can always slap on this pattern to make sure everything is in line with the established look. Here’s the final look:

fromthisdesk_Website Pattern Showcase

Love that I can do whatever I want with it. I guess I always come back to that unthreatening, kid-like feel.

Also, I wanted to be explicit about what exactly fromthisdesk.com is without being too in-your-face or formal. I’d seen a bunch of business cards for a photography studio somewhere that used precisely a pattern like this to broadcast their range of services. I decided I wanted to do the same – thus the little word banners.

With a pattern in tow, it was now so much easier to expand outwards. I kind of went crazy on these business cards, which are printed with moo.com – I cannot recommend them more – and kept things interesting by changing things up with the colors and orientation. So happy with them. Here are some pics:

 

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(Edit: I am reviewing this post from my iPad and I just hate how the screen dulls the pinks! Trust me, in real life, each card is a vibrant, healthy, pink!) I particularly love how the rounded edges turned out. I think just that detail adds a lot of character, and contributes to that whole kid-like look.

I also went a little crazy and bought stickers. They’re multi-purpose, help to brand anything you own, and are great for sealing letters, too.

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The last element in my initial stationery set is a Thank You card, which I use to add a personalized touch to my notes of gratitude! If anything, it helps to make you a little more memorable (read: interviews). Here, I could’ve taken a shortcut and used that same pattern (it would have worked aesthetically), but realized that I didn’t always want to send a card that broadcasted my design services. I’d like to use these for personal events, as well. And so, staying in line with the pink, pencil motif, I came up with this. I tried to make it look like the rocket was somehow catapulting into the sky from a cityscape. Smiley face can’t hurt, as well. (There’s one on the inside of the card too.)

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Now that all is just about done, I’m looking to expanding this set. Designing a letterhead is something I’ve got on the back burner for now. I’m excited. Welcome to fromthisdesk.com!

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…Is hard. Although I know it has to be done – especially for someone hoping to enter the creative industry – it’s the biggest challenge ever. Somehow, despite having handled other branding projects (to varying degrees of satisfaction), when it comes to thinking about myself as an entity apart from my personal self, I’m completely clueless. I think it comes as a result of being in my own body… does that sound weird? When I think about what a “Geneve” brand could possibly look and feel like, everything I know about myself comes flooding to my mind, and I can’t for the life of me think straight. Added to the fact that I know I’ll have to stick with this identity for a long time, everything sort of becomes overwhelming. A couple of weeks ago, I finally buckled down and took up the challenge. Faced with interviews in the coming week – with intimidating names in the entertainment business no less – I finally had no excuse but to get my portfolio, business cards and other networking paraphernalia designed and printed. I was just not happy with my previous logo, something I admittedly threw together in the early stages of test-running this website:

fromthisdesk

There was something about it that looked unfinished to me, and so I set about from scratch, wondering how on earth I would tackle the task of “re-branding” fromthisdesk.com. There were a couple of things I set straight on the outset:

  1. I needed to have my name on it somewhere. Normally, this wouldn’t matter too much to me, but since I had to take into consideration that this would function as my personal brand as well, I had to have “geneve” in it somewhere.
  2. It needed to be round. This is mainly a function of my website’s current layout.
  3. It needed to be pink. Don’t ask.

And so, for the first time in a long time, I sat myself down and did a concept brainstorm. I didn’t get far…

fromthisdesk_brainstorm

Annoyed and kind of tired, I started brainstorming visually instead. And, although I kept telling myself that it was totally cliched, I kept coming back to the pencil. The pencil has become more than just a mark-making instrument to me. It’s the first step of every project I take on. I use it to sketch, write, take in the stuff all around. I used to carry around my book all the time so I could pencil in things of interest (I use a camera now). My high school art teacher was also a pencil freak: I remember stooping over communal trash cans shaving 2B, 4B, and 8B pencils with newly-sharpened X-Acto knives (Mr. C: “It also sharpens the mind”). Dropping one was nothing short of sin. And so, in taking my (somewhat demented) art education with me to college, I still view the pencil as an ally; a friend. So, starting with the pencil, I started to sketch aimlessly. From this desk – a desk with a pencil – where can that take me? Its pointy end started to look like the nose of a rocket. I looked at my drawings again. Hm. A rocket. That could fly.

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And so after days of reconsidering my branding, I came up with this. I still like the vintage effect that I’ve applied to all my previous logos because it gives everything a tactile feel, and adds depth. But I also like that if I want to, I can subtract the distressed effect for a clean-lined look. I also think this logo works in just about any color, but most importantly, it works in black. Working on other people’s projects have taught me that no matter how you intended for it to look, a logo is bound to appear in grayscale somewhere, and much tinier or bigger than you’d ever want it. And so I prepare for that.

But this is not the end of the story! Branding is more than just a logo, of course. It’s an entire system of visual images that come together to create a unified look for a company or individual. Everything should match, from colors to line weights to fonts to how each motif is used. And so I set about creating a whole look around my brand identity. The results to follow – look out for Part 2.

TL;DR: Branding yourself is hard. And look, a new logo!