April 25, 2018
Have you ever wondered how a design came to be? I find it fascinating to see what inspired a work of art. I love to hear how a designer can take a word, object or image as a starting off point to creating something so special. Today I hope to inspire you by sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the inspiration for my brand, Vanessa Bucceri Creative. In addition, I hope this will give you some ideas on how to find inspiration for your own personal brand.
Before we get started let’s take a quick moment to define what I mean by personal brand. Put simply, it’s your public identity and yours already exists whether it’s been intentional or not. Everything you put out into the world becomes part of who you are and by extension what your business is and stands for. The best explanation I’ve heard about personal brands is this – it’s what people say about you when you’re not around.
You are putting out a message regardless, so why not be intentional about it?
Here’s how to get started…
When trying to build a personal brand, it can be really challenging to step back and see what sets you apart or makes you stand out from the crowd. We tend to see ourselves differently from the outside world and we are usually way more critical of ourselves! So when designing for yourself, I’ve learned there’s truly no better place to start than with those that know you the best.
Asking others for their perspective is a great starting off point. Reach out to friends, family, clients or coworkers that can speak to your character, your style or your abilities and see what they say! You may get some great insights and a solid starting off point for your personal brand.
Those that know you best are also the ones that will be upfront and honest with you. Authenticity is so important in business. Online readers are skeptical and often have their guards up. I believe the best way to position yourself and your business is by being true to yourself. Anyone that interacts with your personal brand will see that you are being open. Therefore they are more likely to resonate with you and your offerings. Also, it gives others a true reflection of what it would be like interacting with you. When they do decide to book your service, they’ll know exactly what to expect and will be that much more satisfied with the overall experience.
I found the best approach when asking friends for their opinions is to get them to be concise and specific. You are looking for adjectives that will help you form the overall look and feel of your personal brand. It’s best to be clear on what you are looking for. The question I asked of my friends and family was:
“What three words come to mind when you think about me, my style and the quality of work that I do?”
Curious what they said? Here’s how they responded: (Bonus points if you can pick out my husband’s descriptors.)
“Refined, Versatile, Classic.”
“Modern, Elegant, Fresh.”
“Diligent, Loving, Strong-Headed.”
“Sophisticated, Discerning, Unexpected.”
Amazing right? I was so humbled and flattered (by 11 of the 12 anyway!) by what they said and also thrilled to get such great adjectives to build my personal brand. I used these descriptors as a starting off point for my design.
Your brand words can be anything that describes you. Here are a few other examples:
Can you see how our design choices would vary based on these 4 examples? The colour, typography, and imagery would all be very different to reflect these brand adjectives.
Another great branding exercise is to think about what kind of mood or experience you’d like your customers to have while interacting with your business. Do you want to be quick, reliable and courteous like a service repair shop? Or maybe you’d rather be dark, dramatic and exciting like a visit to the theatre?
For my brand, I decided I wanted it to feel like you had just entered the quaintest little boutique. I wanted visitors to be curious and perhaps a little amused by their surroundings. I also wanted a vibrant brand that made my website come alive with colour but was still comfortable so I knew white space would be important.
Now it’s your turn! What experience is your personal brand most like?
This is a fun one! Think about some slogans from some of your favourite brands and what adjectives you would use to describe them. Here are a few examples:
In building out my personal brand, I was drawn to the quote below from Coco Chanel which became part of the overall brand inspiration.
My favourite places for photo inspiration are Pinterest and Instagram. In fact, many of my clients come to me with inspiration photos as Steph did with her project for her luxury travel brand. So get searching and see what resonates with you!
Some of the types of images I love to use for branding and web design inspiration are fashion, gardens and room interiors. You can learn so much from how other designers combine colours, textures, and materials to make an outfit or space come alive. The working materials may be different but the design concepts are universal and easily translated into other forms of design such as websites.
I began my online search with places I had travelled that had inspired me. My husband & I had visited the Palace of Versailles back in 2010 while on a vacation in Europe. I remember falling in love with everything about it so my search gravitated towards the pictures of its interior design and exterior landscape architecture.
Source: Avenly Lane Travel
What I loved about the palace and knew would be must have’s for my site included:
And the room that became the launching off point for the colour palette in my brand?
Finally, here it is!
Now, if you were to ask those closest to you what adjectives would they use to describe you? Let me know in the comment what you think they would say. I encourage you to ask other’s for their perspective and see how it fits. You may be pleasantly surprised!
Share your story, sell artfully.