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Your Brand: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Updated: Aug 19, 2019

I get this question almost as much as I get asked what music I like: how do I create my brand?

It’s one of those questions I kind of dread and kind of love. I’m a Gemini so it’s par for the course. I dread it because there is so much that goes into the backstory of your brand and if you really don’t have an idea, it can be a labyrinth to make your way through. I love the question for the exact same reason. I get to hearken my inner Sherlock Holmes and deduce and ponder and well, you get the idea. A mystery is afoot!

So there’s a few things I always ask my clients first to get a feel for what they’re bringing to the table.

1. Who is your ideal client? What do they look like? What do they do on the weekend? What age are they? Do they prefer Dave Matthews or Radiohead? Do they put their pants on one leg at a time? This will give me an idea of who they’re selling to and in turn who we have to appeal to.

2. Next, I like to ask them what they envision. This can be dicey because asking a non-creative what they envision can be like asking a tongue-less man to describe chocolate. BUT it will give me an idea of what they see their brand as.

3. I avoid and I mean like the plague, trends. Trends are great for cars and clothes. They’re perfect for houses and Hollywood diets. But trends do one thing: they die. And my goal is to create a timeless design that will build with my client‘s business. So trendy is out. I don’t care what the Pantone color of the year is or who it’s dating. I want to know what my clients love and hate. I want to know about their business. Because the brand should be the foundation. And it shouldn’t be out of style in 3 months when Kanye West declares red is the new Avenir.

4. I ask them what they hate. Yes, hate. Hate is a very strong emotion and it can lead down a very straight path. Love is convoluted and can be conditional. So ask them what they hate and get down to brass tacks.

At this point, I know the style, colors, and imagery needed to help build their brand. And it’s not built from a template or cookie cutter like so many are today. It’s built for them. About them. Based on their business. It will stand the test of time and grow with their business. Like any solid brand identity should.

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