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  • Writer's pictureStephen Cole

Why trust a "Graphic Designer" with your personal brand?

Updated: Feb 12, 2018

The title graphic designer comes with a lot of misconceptions. It seems to be a source of confusion for many as to what they do. Graphic design is an umbrella term that encases a number of disciplines: branding, packaging, editorial, web etc. The misunderstanding is that graphic designers only create the visuals, the logo, the graphics on packages, the web page, etc., what people don't see is the research, planning and strategic thinking that goes into creating those designs.

Graphic designers aim to translate abstract ideas into visual language and present it in a way that evokes a response from the viewer. The key thing to understand is, graphic designers are experts in communicating. They have an innate ability of finding the appropriate angle from which to look at a complex idea so that everyone can understand it clearly. It is this ability that makes graphic designers the right people to discover what makes you unique and how to translate it into a great personal brand.

Each project a graphic designer undertakes is unique but there is a general process.

1. Discovery

When presented with a design challenge a graphic designer will research as much as possible. They want to understand the product or service, who will be interacting with it, where it will be located and anything else that is relevant to th

e project. Even if the graphic designer has never heard of the product or service they will educate themselves.

2. Analysis

Once armed with knowledge a graphic designer will look at the current state of the

project and see how others may have tackled it. This starts to form possible directions they can take when building a

design. “Directions” are not finished ideas or solutions but rather arenas in which to

explore. They look at tone, context and a way to positions the idea that will best communicate to the viewer. I like to think about it like this: You have a crystal dodecahedron (12 sided shape) in your hand. Each time you look through one of the sides at the project you see a different direction. A graphic designer will spin it around until they see a few directions that make sense and start forming strategies to take it there.

3. Development

Now that they have focused on a couple of ways to approach the project it is time to start testing their strategies. This is where they begin to work with the creative tools available to them. They look at the right way to phrase the communication. They look for images, colours, typefaces etc. that will capture the tone and personality they have outlined. Throughout this process they are referring back to their discovery and analysis to ensure they are meeting the needs of the project.

4. Refinement

After soliciting feedback on the concepts the process moves into the reduction phase. Now that the idea has been validated and approved graphic designers will remove unnecessary material and shape the idea down to a simple and elegant solution. The old adage stands true that the simplest ideas are the most effective. The skill of a graphic designer is to encapsulate an idea into a simple communication that evokes a response from the viewer.

5. Partnership

Each project is a journey and it doesn’t end when a design is delivered. Through this process a graphic designer has come to understand the challenge and find a solution that fits. This experience and knowledge turns them into a partner to whom you can turn when you have questions while working with the new design. From creative questions such as, which colour to use or what font to questions about strategy or tone of communications. A graphic designer will help your brand remain true to you and be represented consistently.

This process is applied to a wide variety of design challenges but can be particularly important when developing a personal brand. When applied to an individual it builds confidence in their message and gives them guidelines to inform how to communicate the brand.

I wouldn’t say that a graphic designer is a one-stop shop. Depending on an individual’s needs, a social media strategist or PR manager would be better equipped to help formulate a communications plan. After going through the process of creating a great personal brand however, you will have a strong foundation from which to launch.

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