2017-04-10 Josh Wilson

Getting the Branding In Place

I’ve found the initial friction point for launching a creative company is branding. There are so very many sickeningly cool video production companies, directors, cinematographers, graphic designers, motion designers, and otherwise amazing creatives out there, and the temptation for me is the felt need to look as good as they do. After all, if what I’m doing isn’t perfect then I’ll never be taken seriously. I must have THE BRAND sorted out first.

This is a lie.

The lie of THE BRAND takes me down a very deep rabbit hole and keeps me from actually getting started. If I let it, I’ll spend days, weeks, or months trying to make it perfect. Meanwhile, I’ve stalled before I’ve even reached the runway.

I confronted myself with two truths:

1. I’m Not a Graphic Designer

It’s true. I’m not. I’m engaged in a visual industry, but I am not a graphic designer. Sure, I can tell good design from bad design. But I don’t create logos or branding guides. I connect with people and help them tell their stories. I think I’ve finally become OK with that. I highly recommend recognizing your strengths and being OK with your weaknesses.

2. My Clients Don’t Care

It’s not that my clients don’t care – it’s just that they don’t care nearly as much as I care about my company name or brand. A client is really asking the questions “Do I like their videos?” and “What will it be like to work with them?” Neither of those have much to do with my name or logo.

Here’s how you can push past the friction: recognize your name and brand just need to be non-embarrassing and moderately competent. Here are five examples that I’m literally making up right now:

  1. The Black Shirts
  2. Window Frame Films
  3. Light Pole Productions
  4. Tabby Cat Pictures
  5. Green Tree Story

Register the domain name and social media accounts. Put it in a sans-serif font in your image editor of choice. Black on White, White on Black, Black on Transparent. Add a version with a little color if you want. Save them as .png files. Done.

This is exactly what I did for our first logo shown below:

Wolfmtncreative square logo

Beat the friction, move on, and revisit it later once you have some projects done and money to spend.

This is not an original thought at all. I’ve wholesale stolen this from How to Make a Logo for Free in About 5 minutes and John Saddigton’s article How to Start a Company in 72 Hours. I will not be stuck in branding mud ever again, and you don’t ever need to get stuck there.

When you’re starting something new, the law of inertia does not work in your favor. You are battling friction, and for creatives like us that looks like getting distracted and stressing out over small things. It’s your reptile brain working against you. The challenge isn’t to be really really good, it’s to get something done. You can always go back and refine.