Self-Branding: Logo & Brand

Creating my own logo, brand and portfolio website

Posted by Callum McMurray

Final Outcome

The final outcome for this project was to develop and produce a logo and brand for myself to be able to carry forward through any material I want to print or publish. This would include my portfolio website and professional portfolio.

Open the final outcome in a new tab here.


Brief, Original Brand & Feedback

Last semester on my feedback for brand and logo, I was told that:

"You need to think past the obvious and think about how you want to portray your ‘image’ to a commercial world. Instead of thinking the obvious e.g. wearing glasses and wearing a lot of plaid shirts, think about what it is you want to communicate about yourself" - Paul Wilson

My self imposed brief was to update or produce a new logo and brand. It would have to look professional, and display part of my personality as it could be seen by potential clients or employers.

I wanted to start working on bringing my previous logo up to date, and give it more meaning that could better represent me.

Original logo from last semester's social media project.
Brand colours from last semester's social media project.

Development

I tried to take the original design for my logo further, by developing more sketches that represented me better through more accurate physical appearance and stylized type.

Further sketches for development of my original logo.

Eventually, taking the design back to Illustrator to refine the original logo so it looked more like me and less 'random' or 'abstract' while still using the original brand colours.

Updated designs of my original logo.

Expanding Options

After developing my original logo, I concluded that the only way it represented me was how I physically look. Therefore, I decided to go back to the 'drawing board' and start sketching and developing whole new concepts for my logo and brand.

Research

Before I began sketching and developing concepts, I first started researching for personal brands to see how they had gone about the branding process and to inspire me. I started building a Pinterest board of brands that I liked, and I thought achieved a sense of individuality and represented themselves well.

Personal brand Pinterest board I produced while researching. Click the image to visit the board.

One brand that inspired me significantly was DRAP. Agency, which I liked because they had similar colours to my previous brand concept but managed to develop a unique brand that was minimal, neat and creative through the tidy line art illustrations throughout their branding.

DRAP. Agency branding pack on Pinterest.

Another brand that inspired me, was Jake Brandford's personal brand identity which used a simple colour scheme with one bright colour as the focus which makes it stand out from the content. Also, his logo uses his initial 'B' which makes it easier for clients and employers to associate it with his name and remember it.

Jake Brandford's personal brand identity on Pinterest.

Sketching

After researching personal brands and gathering inspiration, I tried to to identify my own unique selling points that could help me develop a brand by asking my peers how they would describe me and and I then took notes from this as aspects to show in my brand.

Notes on ideas of how to represent myself in my brand, and quotes from peers on key aspects of my personality to display.

After gathering this information, I started to develop sketches of concepts for a new logo with a focus on a 'fun and informal' brand. This is why I started creating logo designs of 'Cal' a nickname close friends call me. Therefore, immediately creating a sense of intimacy between me and clients/employers which creates a sense of trust and familiarity.

Initial sketches of logo concepts, developing into using a nickname to create a 'personal' personal brand.

Continuing the concept of developing my nickname as a brand to represent it is as 'informal and fun', I carried on creating sketches for designs of this logo and trying out some different ideas.

Further development of logo concepts.

Illustrator Development

After sketching and developing logo concepts for a 'fun and informal' brand, I began to recreate and further develop my preferred concepts in Illustrator. Initially the developed logos were all variations on the 'Cal' concept, such as using negative space to create the center 'A' or creating my own type by using ovals and the shape builder tool to cut out sections so they each resemble a letter.

Illustrator artboard of my initial concepts.

After creating a concept that I liked, I started to develop multiple versions with different strokes, fills and colours. Using the oval bubble type represented the 'fun and informal' brand concept because it significantly different from a corporate or modern serif or sans serif font. I started to develop new logo concepts, like the oval font of my whole name and a circular emblem logo.

Another Illustrator artboard of more developed concepts in different forms.

Decision

After developing the nickname logo concept in Illustrator, I decided not to further develop it because I received feedback that being known as 'Cal' in my brand may make it hard for clients/employers to find me on social media.Followed by feedback, that working on an emblem that could be accompanied with a typeface may have a more professional look.

Further Sketching

Taking a couple concepts I developed in Illustrator, I started sketching ideas for logos for a renewed brand with a focus on a 'professional' looking logo without making it look corporate. With the feedback I received, I focused on sketching out an emblem that combines my initial as well as other symbols.

Further sketching with logos focused on creating a recognizable emblem that may be more professional.

I continued creating more sketches to give myself more options for ideas to develop, starting with more sketches of icons and emblems and then moving on in trialling type based logos.

Further logo development sketches.

Further Illustrator Development

After concluding the sketches, I decided to start developing the icon I had sketched that was a combination of my initials because the design was simple, and the logo had other shapes that represented my brand, such as an eye for design or a clock for timely work. Also, because it was contained, neat and featured my initials rather than a nickname, it would look more professional.

I created the shape by making an 'X' with the line tool, expanding it and then overlapping that with the stroke of a circle that was expanded. Using this vector and the shape builder tool I created the initial design,

Development of my new logo, from initial shapes to trails of different colours, strokes and layouts.

After developing the logo, I finalized it with a version that had gaps where the letters overlap using the Gestalt Theory concept of proximity to create a 'whole' shape. Using trial colours I decided on the 'M' to be the main colour and focus because my surname is more recognizable and unique.

Experimenting with the logo with different colours and backgrounds.

Colours

After having a final design for my logo, I focused on creating a colour scheme to represent my brand. Firstly, using my original brand as inspiration with red and blue as my main colours to represent 'passion' and 'intelligence.' However, I didn't choose this colour scheme because the red and blue didn't stand out when next to each other or on top of each other.

Recreation of my original red and blue colour scheme.

Following on from this, I changed to having one main colour with the brand to it can be emphasized against black or white. I created a colour scheme with yellow as the focus because it is an 'optimistic' colour that can also represent intelligence. However, I didn't keep it because it was hard to see against white.

Colour scheme with single main colour yellow.

Finally, I decided on the colour red as the main colour. It had significance with being a colour that represents passion, energy and strength which I wanted to be represented in my professional brand. Also, I chose red because I had experimented with it in my Illustrator development I found it was strong and clear but not overpowering or garish.

Final colour scheme of my brand, with red as the main colour.

Fonts

To decide on a font, I laid out examples that I liked with the theme being: bold clear type, easily readable, sans-serif and professional looking. I chose Source Sans Pro Bold because it best matched the criteria I had set.

Illustrator document of typeface comparison for the brand.

Final Touches

Before creating my final outcome for my brand, I created an image that displayed the concepts and ideas that are can be see in my logo which highlight aspects of my brand.

Logo and brand ideas represented within it.

The final outcome can be seen back at the top of the page