Written by CLUTCH Vol. 7 Participant: Tiffany Trinidad
Good design is always overlooked while bad design is broadcasted everywhere (seriously, do a Google search right now). Designing involves a conscious choice. It involves purpose, planning, and intention. It is often used to identify, inform, educate, and entertain. Succinctly defined – graphic design is a visual form of communication. It has been steadily rising in popularity because, simply put, it makes everything look better. It ensures that pamphlet is legible. It can help make information easier to understand (just think of infographics). Maybe it’s the reason you go to that one coffee shop instead of the other one much closer, because it has a better logo and somehow looks more professional or more appealing. Graphic design is just one factor that helps others distinguish you from the crowd.
This brings me to my point – and the premise of this workshop – that branding is extremely important. This workshop was facilitated by Christine Mangosing, Kapisanan’s very own Design Director, as well as founder of Cmango Design, and an Art Director for Exclaim! Magazine. Graphic design is just one tool used to convey your brand, no one understands this better than Christine. It goes beyond your business card or personal website.
You are your brand and everything you do reflects that. Ignoring a client’s e-mail for two weeks isn’t going to fly. Posting a horrible comment on someone’s photo isn’t going to reflect positively on you. Your brand is your reputation. It’s your credibility and authority as an artist. It’s your artistic integrity. Think of all the social media flubs that have happened and how those mistakes have affected that company’s image. Their logo remains intact, but their reputation and their brand is tarnished. Brand exceeds visual design.
I’ll illustrate with a further example – I might buy Starbucks because I think it’s better quality than the Tim Horton’s down the street, but when you get down to it they both sell the same product, coffee. So what am I buying into? The quality? The personalities of the baristas? Truthfully it’s a mix of both, but one comes out on top when I make my decision. Everyone has ideas of what each brand represents and what it says about you when you consume its products. Think about your best experience buying a coffee. Now think about your worst. They may or may not be defined by the physical product, but in all likelihood it had something to do with the experience or service.
Let’s bring this back around – to an extent we all already understand branding. We might block our parents from finding us on Facebook, maybe we untag ourselves from embarrassing photos. We make sure to post a professional photo of ourselves on LinkedIn. We understand that the information we share with others affects what they think of us. You can’t control what others say about you but you can have an impact by making conscious decisions about what you share.
Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way advocating you to hide any aspect of yourself. Never pretend to be something you’re not. I think it’s important to be transparent and honest. Anything you set forth and share should hold true to who you are and your integrity. You are your brand and it’s in everything you share – whether it’s vocal, written, or through the use of images. Stand out and stand proud.
To quote an obscure artist “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!” Take it to heart, my friends.