When asked by my professor what I would want to make out of a final project in my Digital Media Design + Aesthetics class, I knew almost instantly what I wanted to create. With a background in marketing, and not much at all on the creative side of that industry, I’ve often wanted to expand my design skills to be able to better clearly communicate my ideas and services. The problem was, I had no knowledge on how to use Adobe products like Photoshop or Illustrator to do so. The best I felt I could hope for was a somewhat aesthetic, self-crafted Google Slides deck whenever I was putting together project presentations for work or school.
So tying in my business knowledge and my desire to expand my digital design skills, I decided to build a visual personal brand for myself and take a deep dive into learning Adobe Illustrator along the way. In doing so, I knew I’d be able to force myself to learn a new tool, pick up some design skills when it came to logo creation, and end the semester with a project that was both functional and fashionable. Having a consistent visual identity to tie to all things professional (resume, business cards, LinkedIn profile, etc.) would not only help set me apart as a marketing professional when it came time for job hunting, but also help give myself a tangible piece of work that would help me continue to decide who I wanted to be and what I wanted to stand for as I began to kickstart my career.
My goals for this project? Develop a visual brand guidelines packet for my new professional identity and apply it to a few different pieces of collateral that would help boost my professional appearance while giving me the opportunity to become comfortable using Illustrator.
I began by doing what I do best- making a list. Pulling from an excellent design article on Medium by Inkbot, I formulated a logo design process that was tailored to my needs. I started by drafting up a creative brief of sorts to make myself commit to my goals and really hone in on what exactly I was wanting to get out of a personal brand logo and who my audience was. Once I narrowed down my own expectations and ideas, I began to research personal branding, looking up resources on the do’s and don’ts, why it’s important, and who some great examples might be that I could reference.
Doing this research really helped get my wheels turning, and in time, I turned to good ol’ Pinterest to throw together a mood board. This board helped me pull together some great inspiration for so many elements of my project, such as typography combinations, color palettes, other people’s logo designs, etc. From these ideas, I began to draft up my own. Starting on paper, and moving to Illustrator as I began to gain confidence using the software through some very helpful Lynda tutorials.
Some of my ideas were interesting, some were hot garbage. But finally, I landed on THE one. Confident in my decision, I forced myself to pick a color palette that felt right to me (bold but uncomplicated) and applied it to my draft to make the whole thing come to life.
Once I was happy with the long form version of this logo, I started playing around with different use cases in my head and developed a couple other versions to be used when formatting and style dictated so. I also created a short-hand version for simplicity’s sake, making sure to remove the tagline.
Make no mistake, there were many revisions and minor tweaks, this is not an easy process for most designers, let alone for a student who is only just beginning to scratch the surface. But once I was content with my choices, I began applying this logo, color palette, and typography to a variety of mediums, fleshing out a set of brand guidelines as I went to make things consistent and cohesive. My personal favorite is the mockup I created of my business cards, which you can see below.
Most challenging was applying this to an entire website, though I will also say it feels the most rewarding as I know have somewhere for my design to live and show to others. Is this project complete? In terms of my original goals, I’d say yes. In terms of my personal goals, nah. Looking forward, I want to continue developing my brand further, to include more detailed things, like a tone of voice and other content applications. I also hope to revisit my website soon, customizing my code further and really making the template my own. As I reflect on this project, I can honestly say I feel that this is one of the most interesting and rewarding ones that I have worked on throughout my entire academic career. I can’t wait to continue evolving these skills and designs in the future!