A general designer may not be the best choice for designing your brand.
How do I know this? That’s where I started.
Let me back-track a bit…
I started working for myself about three years ago this fall. Honestly, I thought the main thing that needed to grow was my portfolio because in the design world, “Portfolio is King.”
That phrase was drummed into my head throughout my schooling and job applications. So when I started ‘freelancing’—honestly, I never freelanced, I jumped feet first into business because my intuition was pushing me to just go for it—I logically assumed that the same ideology would carry over.
Guess what. I have done a lot of work. Only a handful of it is in my personal portfolio, even less is featured here.
The problem is that I didn’t really know what branding really was when I started. I operated under the impression that as long as I had a logo, fonts, and colors figured out I could create anything needed on the fly and it would be consistent. And what’s more, I could do the same for my clients.
I honestly thought that a brand was just the visual identity of a business—aka the overall look and feel—so that’s what I focused on…exclusively.
I took it for granted that the consistency of the visual identity (logo, colors, fonts, patterns, symbols/icons…) is what built the brand over time. Hence the importance of starting your brand early on in the game so that you could build brand cred. up right off the bat.
Sure, there is some truth to that idea, but it’s narrow-minded so…
let’s just say I was wrong.
Case in point: The first logo for my business (previously Lavish Craft):
If you didn’t know that I do branding now, I’d bet money on the fact that you would assume I designed wedding stationary. Am I right?
If all that truly mattered in branding was that it looked good and I maintained visual consistency (which, obviously, I did) then this first logo would still be relevant to me now. But it’s not is it?
I’d say that a picture speaks a thousand words in this case.
That first brand identity was based on what I considered beautiful and it shows. It didn’t communicate the right message or purpose because it wasn’t based off of one.
Branding is about so much more than looks. In the time since I’ve studied branding almost exclusively and have determined that there are actually 5 Pillars that make up a good brand, the visual identity is the last one for a reason.