Personal Branding

A project to create a personal logo for my website and business cards.

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The Brief

Many designers identify themselves by logos, fonts, or by using particular media. I wanted to come up with an identity for myself in order to add distinction to my portfolio website and business cards. This process took a number of years, and this case study documents my process up to the current iteration.

Like most designers I am my own worst critic, but I knew that I was the one that had to create the logo. At times I have had to walk away from my work and come back to it later on with a fresh perspective, which I have found very helpful. Tastes and styles change over time and I wanted to create something that I can take with me on my continuing journey as a designer.

Inspiration

I created a Pinterest Board in order to keep track of websites, posters, photographs and sketches I have seen on the Internet that resonate with what I wanted to create for myself. Most notable is the work of Daren Newman and Berger & Fohr because I feel they have managed to create a really distinctive style and portfolio of work that makes them stand out. I also find websites such as Friends of Type and Fonts in Use to be great resources for inspiration.

What I did

Sketching

I began by sketching out a number of ideas using my full name as well as my initials. From researching other logos I had made a decision that I wanted to eventually create a monogram that could be used on a variety of media and would fit nicely with different sizes and colours.

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First iteration

I scanned my sketches, and imported them into Adobe Illustrator. This allowed my to draw around each of the letters to ensure that the lines and spacing was crisp and sharp. This also allowed to experiment with a number of different sizes and colours. I made the decision to keep the monogram in either black or white so that it could fit easily with different backgrounds and colours. My first print of business cards had a black monogram on a white background.

Second iteration

In the second iteration of my buiness cards I wanted to make the logo stand out more. This led me to experimenting with different backgrounds, but I eventually settled on a white monogram with a solid black background.

I wanted to be clear about the fonts I wanted to include. After trying a variety of differnt combinations I settled on using Bebas Neue as the title text, Merriweather as the subtitle text and Open Sans as the main paragraph text. I also decided to include a bright orange accent colour on the sides of my business cards to add some warmth and brightness. This orange is now an important part of my personal brand as it is used on my website in the form of buttons and text links.

Prototyping

I wanted to create a mobile responsive website that could accomodate both my design work, as well as my writing. I researched a number of websites of both Product Managers and UX Designers to try to find common themes between the two. For example, I explored the personal websites of Martin Eriksson, Melissa PerriZach Kuzmic and Andrew Doherty to explore their site architecture as well as content.  

I created a site map and began writing out the content for each page. This was to ensure that each page had a distinct purpose and there was suffcient content to support that purpose. From here I began sketching out paper prototypes, uploading them into Marvel and started testing the flow on fellow designers as well as a few hiring managers to get their feedback.

Visual Design

The process of creating the logo and business cards had allowed me to make some important decisions around colours and font styles. The next setp was to utilise these features within my website design. I had heard about Semplice from a number of other Designers, and so I decided to use it for my WordPress portfolio. The advantage of using Semplice is that it is a robust and seamless addition to the WordPress CMS, and allows you to apply your style without the need for very much coding expertise.

Because I had already prototyped the user flow, had outlined the initial content of each page and had clear distinctions around which colours and fonts were to be used, it didnt take me very long to get this version of my website up and running.

I decided to get some professional photographs taken by Alishia Love Photography as I felt her photographic style aligns with the quality I want from my work, as well as provide me with some great collatoral that I can use on social media.

Tools

Adobe Illustrator, Marvel, WordPress, Semplice, pen and paper.

Results

I began designing this logo back in 2012, and so far I feel it still very much fits with what I am trying to communicate about my brand - high quality, stylish and bold. 

The feedback I have recieved about the second iteration of my business cards has been very positive. It has particularly helped me at career events and job fairs, where it is difficult for candidates to make themselves stand out. As soon as I have given one of my business cards to another designer or hiring manager, their eyes light up and they are visibly impressed.

My website is still in the early stages of being out their, but having my personal brand outlined has allowed me to stay focused on type of content I create and how I share it on the Internet. As any good designer knows, each milestone is mearly a new iteration and so I'm sure I will continue to make adjustments to it over time.