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personal branding #3: brainstorming...

Updated: Feb 8, 2019

I thought it was about time to document my personal branding journey further, as it's been a while, so here goes!

In order to kickstart my quest to brand myself, I felt a brainstorm of concepts and important things about me could help- kind of like a moodboard made up of words. I started by furiously scribbling down things about my past, present and personality. The main thing I seemed to gravitate towards was what I look like, and what I wear. I felt that my strange sense of style (dunagrees, Vans, glasses) could represent me if I create an avatar- or even my weird placement of moles on my face/hands, or the grey streak in my hair. I also considered different themes and things that I appreciate; for example, my love of technology, space, dinosaurs/dragons, cacti, and videogames. These themes could be used to determine my colour palette or to use as patterns or small additions to make my branding unique.  I then thought about basic facts about me, like that I am very, very English, and from a very small town in Cheshire nicknamed 'Beartown'- which gave me the idea that bear imagery could be used to represent me. Maybe even a bear in my signature dungarees. Who knows.

Lastly, I started to think about my name, and how it could be more memorable- 'Emily Green' doesn't really stand out to me as unique or punchy enough to stick out in the sea of exotic names on the likes of Instagram or Pinterest. So many people share my name! However, what most people don't have is my middle name- Kristianne. This would be much more memorable; mainly because people can never spell it right first time- but memorable nonetheless.

From these lines of thought, I came up with some very initial ideas as to what my 'brand' or symbol could be. I liked the idea of an illustrated portrait of myself, or some kind of bear or dinosaur to represent me. I also noted that imagery of a hand holding tools or creating could show my purpose more than a portrait of myself. I also thought that a handwritten logo could work, as it would be unique to me- but not so unique in the world of designers. What I know for sure, though, is that I want my symbol to be textured or made from traditional materials to give it a feeling of being natural or handmade, similar to the Alphabites box in my packaging probe series.

At this point, I decided that I wanted to investigate each route very thoroughly as this is a long term project, so I made the choice to start with the concept of a self portrait. I set about creating some rough sketches to get a sense of potential styles I could try; but upon later inspection, I feel they could be a little more extreme or caricature-esque to really get my features across. These were my first few sketches. I really like the stumpy style of the body in the last sketch, and the face from the first one feels simple but communicative in reflecting me:


 Next, I tried out this very tall/long style of my character, with chunky limbs. This was an unusual style for me to try as I normally draw miniature or real-size characters rather than giants. I actually really liked how the hands looked, as they give off a naive, young feel. I also really like the thinner legs and oddly shaped feet. I feel that maybe the head and hair design could be amended to be more unique or extreme in style. I could also emphasise the hands more to link back to my idea of focusing on hand imagery- as that is where my skills come from.

In my next set of doodles, I found this head style really interesting and unlike others I have seen before. I like how the hair turned out as it is a very stylised version of my hair, being much more round and extreme. I also really like the quirks of the curls in the ears and very rounded eyebrows, with less emphasis on the nose and mouth. I feel like this face could work really well in representing me; but I would need to find a body to fit, and a method of colouring.

The day after my initial sketches, I was doodling and started to brainstorm a new illustration style. I actually really liked this style and immediately felt that I wanted to take it further than my sketches. I created rounded, playful characters with large eyes, dark noses, and squashed bodies, with hands and arms similar to those in my other sketches but with more defined fingers. These were the first few I came up with (based on photographs of myself and my friends as bases):


This was my full body sketch of my personal character (I really do love how this turned out, apart from the slightly awkward wrist of the hand making the thumbs-up):

I think that with all of these sketches, I have definitely sunk deep into the idea generation behind the self portrait idea. My next steps should be to produce more polished tests of these, and then try out my other concepts to see if they might work better, taking what I learn from the creation of the self portraits and what I already learned from the Instagram icons, putting my knowledge to good use. I would definitely like to explore the hand idea or the bear idea further, and try to find a better balance between illustration and a more simplified symbol as my logo, to give my branding the ability to demonstrate all of my skills. More coming soon, but there's some animations I would love to discuss first!

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