Every year, as December winds down, I set aside a chunk of time to update my corporate identity. I use this as an opportunity to ask myself what has changed about my brand in the last year and to explore new design influences. Though, this isn’t all for fun — as a freelancer, I require updated invoices and presentation decks, both of which are sent out multiple times a week.
When I update my corporate identity, my goal is to keep it simple — I never want my branding to overpower the work that I am presenting to a client. I did a predominantly black and white identity for many years but in 2010, I needed a big change and added some soft, cool grays into the mix. But, I really do adore the classic simplicity of black and white. It was time to get back to my roots.
I needed a little modification from the past incarnations of my corporate identity, a little something that made it unique and not so slick. In the end, adding bits of handwriting was the answer. Firstly, our handwriting is unique to us as individuals and secondly, we don’t see nearly enough of it now that everyone does everything digitally. Also, I’m not gonna lie — the Bumble and bumble. identity is one of my all-time favorites. All of that scribbly handwriting all over minimal packaging is too much for me to resist.
On nearly all of my branding this year, I made it a point to include my semi-new tagline, Design, Marketing and Style Magnified. Taglines can be incredibly hard to create but they serve a valuable purpose by summing up your brand in a handful of words.
There are some subtle changes in my branding from last year. First off, I’ve dropped the DIN family of type for Trade Gothic, mostly of the Bold Condensed No. 20 variety and the serif is Austin Medium. The ‘light gray,’ while flat last year, has been changed out to a metallic silver swatch. Much of the client information now is stacked in a simple list form instead of dragging on forever in a single line.
Probably the most important component of my collateral is the invoice because without it, I wouldn’t get paid! I never need to print these. Since my clients are scattered all over the globe, I always format them as a PDF and fire them off via email.
CDs and DVDs deserve a bit of drama, don’t you think? Nothing like a splash of black to make these stand out in a sea of paperwork!
For the last few years, I’ve been using mailing labels on all of my packages — they add to a polished look and a great first impression. I print them out on my home printer and use packing tape to attach them. Perhaps someday, I will invest in some with sticky backs but at this point, I don’t use more than a few a month so it wouldn’t be very cost effective.
Branding-wise, not everything got a facelift. Those striped Kors Firebird wedges adorning the backs of my business cards and cover sheets have been a permanent fixture since 2007. To this day, they still sit on a shelf above my desk.
By returning to my identity every year, I can explore areas of growth and experiment with new ideas. As you’ve probably gathered, by the end of the year, after I’ve seen it a million times, I’m ready for the next round of tweaks. And then, the process starts over.