03 Apr / Branding Yourself… (Part 1)
…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:
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:
- 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.
- It needed to be round. This is mainly a function of my website’s current layout.
- 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…
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.
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!