Just over a week ago I attended my very first professional conference. The Women Entrepreneur Conference presented by the SBDC here in Tyler, TX was a grand experience. I had the opportunity to express myself and my business to other women business owners and talk about how I could help meet their needs in the graphic/web design world.
Most of the commentary I received was in regards to how fun my booth was and how my personality really came through in my own branding- and the branding that I created for my clients. I was profoundly happy with these statements because that it was I aim to do when I work for you.
Unfortunately, I also heard- more than one time, more than two times- THREE times that some of these small business owners were dissatisfied with consultations they’ve had in the past for branding or design services because the designers weren’t willing to maintain the owners personality through their business identity. This is disheartening on a number of levels; the least of which is knowing designers are out there still designing work for their clients as though they were designing for themselves.
As a designer, I work for you. My job is to present who you are and what your business is through your branding/marketing/website. I’ve already branded myself. I’m done with me. I’m no longer designing what I want, I’m designing what you want. As your designer, my goal is to focus solely on your identity. This doesn’t mean I’ll create something I’m not proud of to make you happy. I will guide you towards the most timeless design that is representative of who you are and how you want that to show through your business.
As a small business owner I understand the importance of maintaining a sense of self through your marketing. My clients are often as small as I am, with a single person running the entire show. Sometimes, my clients are bigger – like a company with a whole FIVE employees. Smaller businesses often rely on their personality and identity as individuals to drive word-of-mouth networking their way. It’s important, as the client and as the designer, to remember that when customizing your branded materials.
As an individual I want to be proud of the work that I’m putting out there, whether for myself or for my clients. For me, this means being as honest as possible about who I am, my experience, my skills, and my drive for awesomeness. Branding for the first time, or rebranding for the 50th time should not mean losing any sense of your- or your company’s- identity.
In fact, it’s my job as a graphic designer/website designer/marketing professional to ensure that who YOU are is accurately represented in YOUR business. It’s the primary reason my end statement has been, for so many years: