[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]As a BA(hons) Graphic Designer, I’ve spent much time drowning myself in visual identities. These can be seen everywhere. They make those brands you know so well. they make up that ‘thing’ about the girl you meet every day on the bus. They make you recognise.
These days we hear much talk of personal branding. Some people do this in a very successful manner, while others might want to reconsider theirs. There are many do’s and don’ts in all aspects of a personal branding, but what hits me as the most important is this: Be consistent.
Every time I embark on a new brief, I start with the identity of it. Without a proper foundation, you’ve got nothing. How am I going to display this to my client?
But now we come to the period that I call the battle for identity.
For anyone trying to get noticed, identity should be in focus. How do you dress yourself? What is your appearance? How does your online profiles look and do they connect? Do you want to keep certain of your fields separated? Do you have such a thorough personal visual identity, you can wear the same style to every occasion?
When you prepare for a job interview, you are often told how your clothing matters. Girls should take care too dress pretty, but not too pretty (some would say they should dress to about a 7). Be careful and show a masculine, respectable being with a feminine touch is often the expert advice. But why should you?
Always dress the part. Be it actual clothing or designing an online profile. Even facebook can be tailored.
Use a presentable profile image. Consider your options: Should you use the same image everywhere, or will your personal brand be more effective if you use some variations? Should there be a colour scheme? And how should you appear out in the real world where people can actually see you?
Where would coke be without it’s red colour and contoured bottle? Would it be as recogniseable without the characteristic logotype?
Another good example can be found in Petter Stordalen. A Norwegian entrepreneur with a huge passion for many things. On the website for his company Home Invest Group, you can see a fancy blue background image with a sun bursting out of some clouds (the site has some other interesting elements as well, and is worth playing around on). This background gives the site a characteristic feel, and can be seen on Stordalens blog and twitter profile and youtube account as well. This is a simple twist, but it makes Stordalens web presence that slight bit more visible. You don’t need to read anything on the page in order to know that the blue colour and bursting sun is him. This is a good way of capturing the value of recognition.
Many believe that a business card is the most important thing there is, when it comes to making other people remember you. Why? Is it really that necessary? My most valuable contacts are people who have noted down my twitter username after a couple beers, or people who’s written their name and number somewhere on my arm. A business card is great for its use, but it’s not necessarily right for everyone. I, for example, hold a world record in how to lose them in the shortest time possible. And still I make a living out of making those bastards.
You can draw anything into identity theory. You can talk about how you shouldn’t have gradients in logos, how you should stick to the pantone chart, how you should keep as few elements as possible, how less is more or how much emphasis you should put on each separate puzzle. But you know what? The only thing that matters is still consistency.
Here’s a mantra for you (and repeat after me, now): consistency is key.
Earlier you were supposed to keep letterheads, business cards, compliment slips, invoices and a range of branded gimmicks if you were supposed to look serious. Those days are slowly disappearing now that the internet is growing deeper and deeper into our lives. Now we add each other on linkedin and twitter when we meet, our invoices are more often digital, and we hardly ever write letters when e-mailing is faster and more convenient.
Earlier all you needed to get a decent job was a resume. This sheet of paper should include relevant information about you, your education and past experience. And that was it. Then you were encouraged to put a photo on there. Now you’re told that the employer will google you, and you should take care what you release online and where. Be on the ball and get the negative stuff removed, and make sure there is written enough positive about you and everything will be fine, they say. What’s negative and what’s positive is an individual issue. What’s important is that you take ownership of yourself, and how you look anywhere. You wouldn’t go to a job interview in your PJs, so why should you be a slob when it comes to how you look online?
The bottom line is this: You cannot get away from having a visual identity. You will show through in how you decide to portray yourself both on- and offline. How people perceive you is as simple as you taking control. You are your own personal brand.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]