The concept of branding has an incredibly long history. This mark of displaying ownership over something and branding animals has somehow in today's design community, morphed into something the similar but very different.
Many design studios doing branding work are really just convincing the client to give them ownership. To trust them with the look and feel, logo, strategy, and messaging of the business—that takes a lot of faith.
I think sometimes as designers, we misuse the concept of branding in order to gain position, ownership, recognition, and equity from a project. But I'm convinced that if we really want this true autonomy, we must create for ourselves. Real beauty is created through collaboration, strategic conversations, setting a course together, and pursuing that future. The real beauty is in what it takes to get there, the person you become, not the thing you create itself. The thing is a bi-product—the overflow of a human transformation.
Because we tend to design best within constraints, we've retreated to a process where we have the most control over the foundation of what we're creating. We're invested in defining the constraints in which our creative work can live best. But what if this box is always moving? What if our design solution works well only for a short time? Will we be able to throw it away? Will we be able to try something completely new based on what we've learned in the past? How attached are we to our ideas? How tightly are our hands clasped around them? Have we defined where we're going and what success looks like?
How many times have you redesigned your personal branding?
Hint: too many. Pick something that works, and go create value!
We think of design as constraint, as definition, as contour. I really think we need to start seeing design as a living, breathing organism that can grow with us where we are headed. I want to create beauty, not branding.