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Personal Branding Meets Design

Branding isn’t just for large corporations like Nike and Starbucks though we are all familiar with their logos and culture. Branding is also for individuals, particularly those who work as speakers, consultants, coaches but can also be important for doctors, massage therapists and more. What is Personal Branding? Tom Peters wrote a brilliant article which coined the term back in 1997 and is still the official guru on the topic. However, the young Dan Schawbel has run with the concept! Every thing you do, every thing you say (especially online and in print) is part of your brand.

How does graphic design fit in with personal branding? You need a compelling set of graphics for your various marketing materials: Website/blog (including WordPress theme as appropriate), business cards, Twitter background, postcards, flyers, e-book covers, print book covers and more. All of this helps build and support your personal brand. Generally, but not always, personal brands don’t have a logo but a group of interesting and unique photographs is a must.

Unlike corporate brands, the brand called “YOU” is more able to express its individual attributes. Are you a casual t-shirts and jeans kind of consultant? Or do you speak to and consult with more traditional business like insurance or banking? Your branding philosophy should be more formal then.

Some individuals building strong personal brands are Gary Vaynerchuk, Oprah, and (love him or hate him) Donald Trump. Visually Vaynerchuk does a great job of creating a quasi-logo using his name. Trump uses his name on EVERYTHING. Even though you are not yet this famous there are things you can do to visually build your brand:

Use your signature (if it is a cool one) as your logo. Use it on business cards, as your blog/site header and more.

Take advantage of an odd name or see if there are any play on words you can use.

Make sure you have an email signature telling people what you do.

Get the best quality print and online materials you can afford. Michael Port recommends this in Booked Solid on building your client base (and his personal brand is pretty strong also). Your materials represent YOU and it is important to get the best you possibly can.

Ratio7 can work with you on developing the visuals for your personal brand. From custom WordPress and Twitter themes to good old fashioned business cards, we have a creative and “in the know” design team who can help you stand out!

Today’s Business Card

Despite advances in technology, Web design and capabilities, a business card still makes an important statement and is a necessary tool for networking. If you are still using one of the 1500 business cards you bought 5 years ago, it might be time to have a designer review both your design and the content on the card. With the advent and popularity of social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as blogs, you need to provide a variety of ways for people to contact you. Besides, business cards continue to change shape, size and material so it might be time to break out and have some fun with that tiny piece of cardstock that represents you after you’ve walked away from an in-person meeting.

What changes can you make?

Ratio7 finds that clients are increasingly choosing a portrait set up vs. landscape. See below for sample.

Consider adding all your social media contact info, a brief overview of your business or service offerings, or just a striking logo  on the back side in a contrasting color. See below for sample.

Try selecting a unique material to make your card stand out. Cards come in wood, metal, vellum, plastic, aluminum, cardboard and more! To generate ideas, check out the Flickr business card group here.
Small changes like rounded corners, or even one rounded corner, make your card stand out from the pack. Raised lettering, a punch out on the card, or a magnet feature are all options.

Finally, do add all of your social meda contacts on your card. This can increase your following and contacts and gives your network the ability to find you and what you do in a variety of locations.

Ratio7 is a full-service media and graphics firm and can create a striking, yet affordable new look for your business card. Just contact us for a free consultation!