7 months ago I waved my youngest off to his first day at school and sat down at my desk to work out how to restart my Graphic Design career after 6 years off parenting. I had two goals in mind: to fit my career within school hours and to use my skills for good. Goal one lead to only one possible answer: self employment. Goal two has become my holy grail.
"I will be a logo designer!" I thought. "I will design logos for the the many awesome people in my local community who are doing good things - following their dreams, doing more of what they love, providing valuable goods and services locally or building social enterprises that will make not just Brighton but the world a better place!". Sorted, I thought. I wanted to provide my clients with an honest and transparent service, so I decide to label myself as a 'logo designer' because I felt that was the most helpful, accessible description of what I could offer them.
It turns out I was wrong. And this is why:
A logo design done properly (and not for a fiver) is the end result of an in depth process. By failing to highlight this crucial process I inadvertanlty suggested to my audience that I was skipping straight to the last part - designing a logo. The process is something I've always done and taken for granted but never labelled before: branding. I've shyed away from the word because for me it always felt false, a brand was something marketeers dreamt up to sell more products. Something fake. Something designed to manipulate customers. However, through working with my first few clients I've come to realise I was wrong - strong brands are built on the truth, and it is only by uncovering and representing these truths that my work becomes valuable. 'Logo designer' just doesn't say all that.
So there you have it: I'm not a logo designer, I'm a brand identity designer. I help people get to the honest heart of their brand and I find a way to clearly express it visually so that everybody else can see what they are all about, at a glance. And it doesn't stop at a logo. Creating brand guidelines that address brand values, typefaces, colours, and image choices has been key for my first few clients so that they have the structure they need to implement a coherent, professional brand identity.
So there it, I said it: Branding. And it doesn't make me cringe anymore, because now I know I can be in the business of branding without compromising my values. So it's back to the drawing board for me to rewrite my web copy, reprint my business cards and immerse myself in the business of building honest brand identities for people who are doing great things.
If you are local to Brighton, UK and would like have a free chat about developing a visual identity for your brand contact me here.