Learn why and how to identify who you are as a designer, and what makes you unique.
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- When I started my career I was sure that the world would immediately find one of my magnificent solutions and I would be thrust into the world of fame and fortune. That didn't happen. Success was built on hard work, commitment and showing up every day. After several years I did receive the recognition I'd hoped for. But it wasn't by waiting to be discovered. The recognition came from having a clear and easily identifiable brand. What I'm talking about here is not only a great logo or groovy typeface.
It's not just a swell portfolio. It's the story. The thing that separates you from the designer down the street and every other one across the country. Magazines and websites want readers. Clients want something to grab on to. And remember, it's your job to create that. Good work is the expected. It's like good tires and brakes on a car. I expect these. They won't make me buy the car or tell my friends they must see it because the tires are nice.
Like any successful brand your message needs to have a unique story. And yes, I can guarantee everyone is unique and has a story. When I started out I sat down and made a list of the attributes that defined my work and ideas. Of course, there are the expected ones -- quality and efficiency. But then I moved beyond these. Ask yourself these basic questions: Why am I a designer? Why do I believe design is important? What is the thing that makes me weird? Why would someone hire me before the guy down the street? These answers don't happen in a few minutes.
Give yourself some time to consider them. Maybe it will take a day or a month. And you can always and probably will change your mind over time. Let me give you an example of my answers: Why am I a designer? Because I discovered that I had a knack for making complex issues clear. What do I believe design does in the world? Design can make the world a better place. It can solve big and small problems and create beauty.
What is the thing that makes me weird? I've always been OCD about details and an optimist all my life. Why would someone hire me rather than someone else? I believe design should be honest, clear, and straightforward, not complex or chaotic. From these answers creat a list of attributes about your focus and attributes that define your brand. Let's presume they are: Optimism, honesty, design for good, and clarity.
Print these attributes out and tack them to your office wall. They are the brand messages and regardless of your mood that day they're the only story you tell. These attributes are a good check and balance system. They make sure you don't make a business card with hard-core goth tattoos or a website that feels hyper, techno and digital. These also guide your interaction with social media and the press. In reality, you are much more complex than these simple attributes.
But your job is to maintain a clear and concise brand message.
In this course, Sean takes you through the steps of determining what your design identity is and developing the essential pieces every promotional system needs. He takes a deep dive into some of the more complex and critical components, such as developing an effective and elegant website, and also touches on topics one might not think of—such as writing an effective bio and working with colleges to give back and brand build. Learn how to let the world know who you are and what you do. Start promoting your design career now.
- Compiling brand assets: your CV, images, and project descriptions
- Creating a website to showcase you and your portfolio
- Creating business cards
- Sending thank-yous
- Managing your social media presence
- Joining AIGA and other design organizations
- Participating in events and conferences