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Self branding project - thorough description

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  • Self branding project - thorough description

    Hello GDF,
    I think I was registered and semi-active here before, but older passwords and usernames don't seem to work.
    This is going to be a long post. I want to describe everything in details.

    To the point. I'm making a self brand and I need advice if everything I've done with the two images below is relevant to the wall of text above it.

    My story I'm trying to communicate:
    I'm agressive and I bite, because everyone look down on me all the time and ignore me.
    Why is that happening? I more than often have nothing to show out of my current portfolio as 'example work'.
    Not because I'm bad or I can't make something - most of those works are small or NDA, and I can't snatch anything big. People plain tell me to my face I'm underqualified to work on a brand!
    This here is the solution - I'll make a beautiful self brand, with all the attributes (business cards, banners, envelopes, postcards... anything I get my hands on, basically), and show those to everyone as proof.
    And yes, it has a gaming twist to it - Asus RoG being the closest 'similar' work inspiring me.
    The second image is ideal - one of a kind I was specifically looking for. Notice how my icon looks similar to the trident to the upper right of it.

    My color scheme:
    Monochromatic, #600100 being my main color + its highlights and shades.
    Screenshot might seem brighter - used Overlay to achieve this effect.
    Red is my color, and nothing moves here - red for rage (and passion), exact match.
    Might go green someday.

    My fonts:
    Copperplate Gothic Bold as main, Sanidana Regular as secondary.
    This is where you can hit me for my weird choice - if there was Sanidara Light/Thin, I'd go with it. Alas.
    Don't want Helvetica/Oswald/Roboto/Verdana... etc, I want to stand out.
    I also want the fonts to compliment the icon - the sharp edges on the second one are doing it.
    If you know of something similar, that is commercial-friendly, please point me to it - 'Triangle', 'Geometric', 'Sharp' font searches returned nothing.

    Pretty much all for now.
    Thank you if you made it this far.

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  • #2
    Branding isn't about yourself.
    It's about your potential clients.
    Explain how the pieces you reflect here relate to attracting the client or employer you want to attract?

    (and where did you find that particular gladiator image? Copyright aside, if you want to reflect the trident shape, an image that actually showed a better view of a trident might be...better.)
    Last edited by PrintDriver; 06-11-2017, 11:28 AM.


    • #3
      Thank you for the great question!
      Yesterday late night, after my 'blindly fall in love with my work' period ended, I had a long thought on who or what should this branding exactly show or refer to.

      Here's my response:
      - It's all about aggressive, young professionals.
      We're not recognized because we haven't done much big work or we don't have X years in the industry yet. But we want it!
      We're packed with knowledge, the right skillset and mindset which we're ready to apply or already applying.
      We're tech-savvy (sorry for the awful generic word - if I could put up 'can figure out upcoming trends and new things quickly AND use them in our work' into one or two words, what would it be?)

      - Emotional contrast.
      Many competent (as in 'accomplished most of the things in life they wanted and are content with what they have, laid-back') professionals prefer to be calm, because of that they may seem slow and boring.
      We're a young bunch, packs of explosive energy! We still have a lot to prove - some to others, most to ourselves.
      We're rough, edgy even, when it comes to securing that 'one more contract'.
      We rush in fast and furious, get to the point quickly, complete the job in the shortest amount of time possible with the best quality available.
      Then we're just hungry for more. Not sated yet!
      One word - 'fire'.

      All in all, I'm unsure how many people actually 'unleash their inner beast' and be themselves.
      And don't just shoehorn a young and fiery spirit into a dull box for it to fade away slowly, to 'adapt to the norm'.
      Call this a psycho brand even - it should help me find out the answer if done right.

      On the image: Sorry if I haven't cleared that out in the first place.
      It's CC-Attribution, found on Compfight, and what it should show, it does - the fight and the struggle to be named the best.
      And when the viewer turns their head a bit, they notice the symbol looks like a trident. It's not the general idea, it's a bonus 'wow' effect.


      • #4
        It's nice how the slants of the beginning and ending Vs match the slant of the triangle logo to imply as still larger triangle. I like that.

        What I'm not liking is Sandiana, but you astutely anticipated others objecting to it. What's baffling is why you went ahead and used it anyway.

        You mentioned wanting it to stand out, but it's the secondary typeface. Do you really want the secondary typeface to fight with the dominant elements. Sandiana clashes terribly with the personality of, both, your logo and the Serif Gothic. I don't think the face compliments the sharp edges of the logo at all; the sharp, little picky details in Sandiana are so small they can't even be seen at the size you've used them. The thing that's noticeable, instead, is the quirky squareness of the glyphs, which doesn't match anything else. Sandiana is a sour note in the middle of an otherwise harmonious composition. Select something more neutral, instead.


        • AnSHLaGG
          AnSHLaGG commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you for your feedback!

          The 'triangle in triangle' solution came naturally, through experimenting: I've tried lines, slashes, swooshes and trails of claws before I realised they're all too small to fit in and I should use whole, bigger shapes instead.

          On Sanidana - didn't think about it that way, but now I see. Will take notes and redo that part. I've tried Gotham Black and light combination, and a non-completely blocky font seems to ruin the 'sharp' harmony.

          What do you think on Cecile?

          I've tried making my own font out of triangles and forfeited it - A to K characters were easy, all but the dreaded 'D'.
          In order to make it visible as a character, I have to turn it on the side and it's way higher than the others.
          If I scale it down, its weight falls dramatically.
          If I bring back the weight - the gap in the middle is smaller and it's still awkward in the letter row.

        • B
          B commented
          Editing a comment
          Cecile? I might think you're messing with me, but I suspect you're serious. That experimental typeface is barely readable.

          Let me say what I tried to say before, only in a different way.

          I like the logo mark itself. It's very nice. I like the top row of type because it complements the mark by having similarities that are subordinate to the mark while simultaneously contrasting with it. I like the position of the top line because it matches up perfectly with the triangular mark to make an even larger triangle. I even like the hidden trident shape, even though hardly anyone would get it without it being explained to them. So far, there are some good things going on with it. But then, for some reason, you want to toss in something that just doesn't fit.

          Let's use some analogies and say you're a director making an edgy, energetic movie. There's a scene where the main actor is racing down a busy city street in a sleek, stylish and very expensive Ferrari. It's a high-speed chase and the co-star, a police detective, is right on his tail with sirens blaring.

          To make the movie realistic, you, the director, need to have a realistic mid-city street scene in which all this action is taking place. Now because you just happen to be the director, you say, ''I can't have all those ordinary, nondescript people in the background driving Fiats and Ladas. They don't match the Ferarri or the energetic, edgy nature of the movie!'' So to fix this problem, you decide all the cars in the background should also be expensive sports cars.

          Well, OK, now all the cars match, but it sort of screws up the movie. All those expensive sports cars look out of place and draw attention away from the Ferrari being chased by the police. The movie viewer, instead of staying caught up in the action, is pulled away by wondering what kind of weird city is this in which everybody, including the police, are driving Lamborghinis and Bugattis.

          Your composition is the movie. The logo mark is the main actor. Your name at the top is the co-star. The words in the small type are the background extras. Let those extras be what they are without stealing the scene. The focus needs to be on the main actors, not what's going on in the background. I'll end this post the same way I ended the last one, ''Pick something more neutral, instead.''

      • #5
        Read up on the various CC licenses. This one has an "Attribution" ''No Derivatives'' CC 2.0 license.

        As for young and fiery, I see a lot of that in the show biz end of things ie big events, where design is more edgy and now, now, now. If you want an adrenaline rush on pretty much a daily basis, at least in the production weeks and days leading up to the event, you might look into it. Tough to break into and always the next guy rabidly waiting for you to make the fatal mistake so he (or she!) can step up. There's very little of that out in the real world. Most corporations and ad campaigns play it safe for the most part and it's very difficult to push through the corporate block when it comes to taking chances with a brand.

        As for what you've shown here, you are in a phase that I think a lot of young designers get into where they haven't quite yet separated themselves from their work. You are focusing on your likes and your favorite things and ignoring the perceived picture you project of yourself.

        I don't see an edgy, fiery designer. I see someone still playing video games and doing sig art. Sorry. But that's how it comes across to me. I'd be looking for someone a little more ''mature,'' beyond the ''I'', ''me'' phase and more aware of images and appearances. I'm not telling you to become old and boring. Just more outwardly focused. Someone who can apply their skills more client-facing rather than inward.

        Your NDA work. When you sign those NDAs do you ask at what point the NDA is lifted? Or by NDA do you mean they don't allow attribution as in SEO attribution? That you can't even list them in a client list?


        • AnSHLaGG
          AnSHLaGG commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes, I know - but I haven't changed it directly, just applied a pair of filters over it. Still counts as derivative? Even if I give full credit, say, in the Behance credits section?

          Alright, showbiz is me getting eliminated in a matter of days since I'm unrefined yet, corporate is too slowww.
          What about targeting startups and entrepreneurs? Seems like a good idea for a flashy, young and aggressive brand.

          Separating myself from my work still has me in doubts - if I do that, won't it become faceless, impersonal, tasteless even?
          There's this matter of balance - on one hand, I'm trying to draw a portrait of myself, and from your words I see I did it successfully! I am a guy playing videogames and trying to go big in a large, formed industry using the 'me' approach, which is suicide somewhat.
          On the other hand, if I draw a portrait of the customers I'm trying to target in a personal brand, it isn't a personal brand anymore - it's a brand for everybody. No face, no personality. What's the point?
          Can, for example, make up a character named Dylan, who's 25 years old and achieved a lot already, and work from there.
          But I'll either forfeit it halfway thinking 'it's unoriginal - it's bad' or start mixing in new details into it while I add more and more graphic works. Both of those are lousy options. The end work would be inconsistent or won't be at all.

          See, I am usually focusing on the customer - talking to them, finding out what their problem and pain is and helping fix it, plain offering the fastest and budget-friendly (not cheapest!) solution.
          I mostly do that with words, and few write back.
          Those who do, however, are glad they chose me, always leave me the highest feedback and we communicate like good friends in the process. Problem is they almost never have repeat work.
          This has me tilting - I'm good, a lot of people say it, why can't I go big?
          Sometimes I catch myself thinking that too many designers nowadays are using this 'customer first' approach and they (the customers) are so used to it that you need a lot more than kind words and insight to make them reply back.
          That's why a self brand was chosen - extensive amount of graphic work to back up any words in every situation, give my future customers something to look at and not just be 'all about talk'.

          Thank you if you made it this far - I know that's a lot of thoughts and some may seem unlinked. So what I should do to improve my work is choose better imagery and improve overall appearance, right?

          On the NDA - it differs. Some will be over in 2-3 years, some are timeless, most of those are 'you have no credit and no permission to show it until then'.

      • #6
        Originally posted by "AnSHLaGG'
        Alright, showbiz is me getting eliminated in a matter of days since I'm unrefined yet, corporate is too slowww.
        What about targeting startups and entrepreneurs? Seems like a good idea for a flashy, young and aggressive brand.
        Entrepreneurial startups are typically the most demanding clients with the least amount of cash to spend. Most crash and burn before achieving financial success. Corporate clients might be slow and boring, but the budgets are bigger, the work more stable and they typically pay on time.


        • AnSHLaGG
          AnSHLaGG commented
          Editing a comment
          About that previous post - no, wasn't messing, was serious.
          Guess that's where I make the biggest mistakes - I overdo what's already complete.
          And WOW, thank you for the awesome example and detailed explanation!
          Now I'm a 100% sure I got your point, why any triangle font would be bad and why I need to fix it.

          On this post:
          Damn. I'm still having trouble picking the right language to talk with corporates.
          I'm young, rush everything and usually end up in the black hole or the trash can.
          Still, I try to learn - how to properly talk, communicate, slow down and ask one question at a time.
          And still, when it gets to the final decision - me offering an example, a test task or a consultation even before grabbing the job - that's when they go black on me and never respond again most of the time or just tell me they went with 'that other guy' after a pair of weeks' thinking.
          Hope some day I'll figure out what I did wrong.
          So, no options but corporate, it seems. Ehh.

          Definitely hope I'm not flooding the conversation with side facts - just trying to explain how I came to certain choices in my life.

      • #7
        Alright, disregard all those questions - I understand it's a matter of my own to find out answers to them.
        Did my homework - better and more relevant imagery, secondary font is secondary, improved overall appearance.
        All images taken from Pexels, license checked - CC0, any derivatives allowed.

        Now the hard question:
        1,2 or 3? Left or right? Or better say which are bad.
        The weakest in my opinion is 2 right.
        Did some colour level balancing - it gets any brighter and the font+icon will be swollen by the light, gets any dimmer - too much subtlety, the imagery won't stand out at all.

        P.S.: I'm experiencing a weird glitch. The first time I've attached the images and clicked fullsize they would appear as usual. The second time they turned into random sized thumbnails. Put all 3 in an album - link below.


        • #8
          I haven't read through this whole thread in its entirety, but I just want to say that YOU are your brand, you are the CEO of you. You get to decide who you are best suited to work with, who you want to work with, and what you want people to know about you -- how you're different, what makes you YOU.

          In the last examples you put up -- you look literally like every other graphic designer out there. Now you're targeting boring and conservative clients -- if that's what you want, that's awesome. But you don't HAVE to do that. And it won't necessarily turn off corporate clients to be fiery, or different, or express your personality in your brand. My brand is ME, it's hot pink and 72pt type... I work with big corporate clients and do boring corporate work. My brand doesn't have to be a reflection of the work I'd produce for them. My brand has to be ME.

          The thing about advice is -- you can get 20 different opinions from 20 different super talented, smart, successful people... in the end, you're the CEO, you do what is right for you. When you finish reading this, throw it all in the garbage can if it doesn't feel right.

          I liked your first round. It told a story. I like the gladiators, although the left guy is a little passive/wimpy in his expression and posture. I'd push that even further and go even more aggressive if you go in that direction. I don't like the red tone on the photo either -- too much. Black and white with a pop of red -- that strong red has a meaning, keep it on the mark.

          If it were me, I'd experiment with different weights of Futura, I think that would go well with this. But we all have our opinions. Good luck.
          Last edited by EC; 06-17-2017, 10:12 AM.
          You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on. --GWB


          • AnSHLaGG
            AnSHLaGG commented
            Editing a comment
            I'm still searching for the right balance of 'me' and 'what I want to be' in my imagery.

            That last set was something 'a little more mature', yes, it should target more corporate clients, as expected.

            Thing is, I like it more now - background carbon, as in the original post, in differentmost colours is used by 90% of people I watch/listen to in their artworks, so the new version is more original to me.
            I like geometry and working simple shapes into more complex objects, and image 3 is the ideal showcase. I've tried a ton of other imagery, and none look as good as that one does.
            Where I can stand out, I've seen examples - a person who had a jumpy letter in their font built their deliverables around it. So prepare for the terrifying triangular cards, envelopes and what not!

            Furthest I went for is putting garden gnomes in my composition - they often come in red colours, have a human face and emotions despite being sculpted, and a homely, warm feel overall. So it's a whole different direction and a different set of emotions to try on.

            Going with 'looking like every other graphic designer' for now - but there will be a flaw or a detail that stands out. I'll come to it eventually.

          • EC
            EC commented
            Editing a comment
            Right on AnSHLaGG -- best of luck to you! And nothing wrong with looking like everybody else -- your brand is far more than your logo and identity system. You seem like a very hard working person with a lot of passion -- keep on keepin' on, you'll get there!

          • AnSHLaGG
            AnSHLaGG commented
            Editing a comment
            A big thank you @EC for the words of support - these are the most valuable thing there is nowadays.





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