After mulling over the details of my design process and attempting to scribe the frustrations I experienced along the way in order to arrive at the design you see in front of you today, I realized it would be best to split my explanation into a series of posts. Normally I get annoyed when people do such things, but I feel I have a solid reason for doing so. I’d really like to take these posts a step further and show you all how I go about choosing various elements in my web projects – ranging from typography to even simple brainstorming techniques. Hopefully by offering this insight I can help you understand how I go from blank document to a fully-fledged design. I am by no means an expert of this ever-evolving process, so interpret this series as a peek into how I work; hopefully you might pick up a thing or two along the way.
Choosing a Name – Aye, There’s the Rub
Let’s start at the beginning: deciding your brand name. I’m sure many of you are well aware of the terrifying peril of being a complete OCD freak about your personal brand. Client work allows us to separate church and state – to be rational about design directions, decisions we make, and avoiding unnecessary client intervention. A designer’s portfolio / agency brand is a whole other 3-headed monster. It feels like an ultimatum: you are essentially deciding the whole image of your company (not to mention yourself) and if you screw it up, well, your world might very well explode into tiny little pieces.
I was frozen.
For months I wrestled between different names and branding ideas – I filled sketchbooks with huge lists and registered a forsaken number of domain names (now lying dormant only to die a slow and painful death). Basically, I was lost. This not only cost me months of valuable traffic (since I had no active website), but also made me appear foolish given that I was jumping from name to name constantly.
So what the hell do you do in a situation like that? Pros vs Cons analysis? A/B testing? Ask your mother? All these things sound ridiculous, and that’s because they are.
Your Stomach is Smarter Than You Think
I decided to bite the bullet and go with my gut feeling – I was leaning towards “Galpin Industries” for a few reasons:
- After much flip-flopping, I decided it would be best to use my name so the brand could be more attributable to myself. No abstract names to confuse clients and other folks.
- Fit with the design direction I wanted to portray (gritty, textured, industrial).
- Domain names for my other ideas were getting scarily long since squatters had taken the obvious ones (sidenote: I hope domain name squatters would perish in a tank of sharks with acid-tipped teeth)
Once I decided that there was no turning back, it was a lot easier for me to move forward with actually getting the rest of the site design together. The hardest part was putting my foot down and forcing myself to be rational about the problem. Once I got over that hurdle, I was finally prepared to begin exploring different logo concepts for my new brand identity.
I’ll be writing a follow-up post on my logo process a bit later, more specifically discussing how I prepare inspiration for my projects (such as my logo mark). This series will be constantly updated and changing as I get comfortable with a tone of writing and add more information that may be useful to you guys.