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From the Design Desk: Creating a (Brand) Character

Unlike most comic-book characters, I would make a terrible superhero.  Superman’s mild-mannered alter-ego Clark Kent was a successful, bespectacled reporter.  Bruce Wayne was a shrewd and wealthy businessman by day, dark vigilante of justice by night. But for me, my day job as a designer IS my superhero persona.  My alter-ego is a nerd with a shopping problem who likes to sit at home and write or play video games.

When you talk about a person’s character, real or fictional, you’ll usually end up using a lot of similar words to describe the people you interact with on a daily basis.  Kind, Funny, Smart, Quiet, Angry, Patient, Arrogant, Strong – whether you’re describing personality or physicality, you can give anyone a pretty good idea of a person’s character based on these type of words.

The same thing is true for your business, but character goes beyond just what people say in your Yelp reviews.  There is the character that you want people to see and the character that your customers actually perceive.  When these two halves don’t line up, it might be time to take a look at your brand and figure out how you can change things to make the impression that you want.

If branding were like a video game, you’d have a set number of traits to put into any number of different categories: professional, elegant, unique, caring, etc.  Once you had the mix of keywords you wanted, and picked your “industry class”, the game would generate a logo and brand look that would tell the rest of the players exactly who and what you were.  Unfortunately, that’s not exactly how branding works, although it’s an entertaining thought.

But there is something to be taken from that approach – the idea of giving your brand a personality based on keywords or traits that you want other to perceive.  If you want your business to be seen as elegant or sophisticated but your business cards and letterhead are boring and basic, then you aren’t matching your branding to your business.

So is it time for a brand update?  Let AlphaGraphics help!

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