Recently I completed an online class around building your brand as a person. This type of thinking starts literally when looking for your first job right out of school (as this class was directed toward design school grads - still I found it relevant to business). The classes I took on brand design in school were definitely my favorites. Logo design was something I was excited about going to design school - but brand identity design was the big nugget I graduated with. The degree was literally called Visual Communication.
It's more than just the logo.
"Deliberate differentiation" is what Debbie Millman calls branding and I couldn't agree more. Branding is the result of all the things that happen inside and outside of a business. It takes time.
Let's take the farm I grew up on. It's four generations old. It's been taken care of by a long line of entrepreneurs and it's still in practice today. Trial and error. Experience and dirt. Teaching passed down over and over from dad & mom to daughter & son. It's not expressed out loud that often, but if you think about it -- nowadays they are 'deliberately different' is because it's still in practice after so many years. Knowledge and science and patience and faith are the resulting values of all those years.
Taking this online class helped me shape my mission that has been in my brain for a while now but I've never put into a statement before:
I seek to share the work of an entrepreneur in a more beautiful way.
My lengthy experience with large brands has given me the gift of a strategy and process brain. What will consumers think of this or that? Is this color to jarring? Will this connect with people? Can they literally and figuratively read it?
Working directly with entrepreneurs over the last 4 years is similar but different. It's more personal for them and for me. They sell products and services that they have worked countless hours to bring to fruition. It's the best feeling when they trust me to take their business vision and make it real. Make it a thing that will draw people in and connect right away and/or over time.
This mission is bigger than me and bigger than my skills as a graphic designer.
I love to look at beautiful things. I mean isn't that how Instagram became so popular? But beauty means different things to different people. Glossy and shiny is beautiful and so is dirty and rustic.
When I experience a business or business idea, it's exciting to share some ideas that resonate with the owner - as they are the ones closest to their vision of the brand. When we land on the logo mark that they love, I get to bring that fullness to life with the help of an initial inspiration board look. Patterns, textures, fonts, colors - a beautiful system that works together as a kit across all print and web.
While it's a breath of fresh air to get my mission into a statement, I think the part that moved me to do so was the fact that it's okay to develop it and change it over time. Maybe it will change in a year or maybe in 10 years.
I recently shared my mission out loud with a colleague and the reply I got was "Huh..."
Perfect! It resonates deeply with me and inspires thought in others.
Consider your mission that is beyond the skills you were given. Remember it can change or develop over time. Do you have one you'd like to share? Please share in the comments!