Designing a visual identity / by Glenn Dixon

I’ve become painfully aware the communication of my professional visual identity has been ad hoc, experimental and inconsistent. Design elements for my branding were selected from templates offered by web hosting companies, spreadsheets and business card printers rather than being underpinned by a holistic and deeply considered strategy. As a result my website, project proposals, invoices, print books and business cards conveyed disparate messages over time. I'm now on a journey to implement a brand identity that unifies and accurately communicates the evolving story of my freelance practice. 

Images above: An early concept by Principle Design.

I’ve been creating a life and living through my freelance filmmaking practice for six years and I’ve resisted reaching out to a brand partner until this point. Not only was there a financial hurdle to overcome but deep resistance within myself; ‘I don’t think I’m ready yet.’ ‘Perhaps I’ll wait until I know what projects I want to make and who I want to make them with.’ ‘Perhaps I’ll work out my brand offering and design a solution by myself.’ These considerations played out in my mind until I realised two key things; 1) Now is almost always the best time to begin. 2) I’m never going to be capable of doing this alone.

I’ve commissioned Principle Design, a branding and graphic design studio to help make this a reality. The process so far has been incredibly insightful and exciting. During the discovery phase, one activity in particular had a significant and lasting impact on the way I think about my practice. We arranged fifty or so photographs of automotive vehicles on a table and began describing my practice though the characteristics embodied in those vehicles. Through analogy and abstraction I discovered new ways of articulating my service offerings with minimal emotion or industry jargon. The designers helped me realise things I’d never considered.

This week we identified the concept that will underpin the visual identity. The next steps over the coming weeks will be refining the designs and publishing. Through the process I have become far better acquainted with my own brand stories and been equipped with the language to articulate them. This realisation is perhaps just as valuable, if not more so than the initial project deliverables.