Self-promotion isn’t easy. In fact, it’ll likely be the single hardest thing you do as a designer and/or marketer. Why, you ask? You know what you need. More importantly, you know what you want. It should be a dream job because, after all, you’re the client calling the shots. Who knows the face you want shown to the world better than…you? Right?
Forget the overnight logos and rush job marketing plans for the client who can’t make decisions. Forget the endless blue sky sessions and strategy meetings that make you want to pull your teeth out one by one just to have something to do. Forget even the razor burn retouching on that ridiculously beautiful model (hate her) you’ve got ahead of you all afternoon. That is nothing. That is cake compared to:
1. Determining your business name, or more pertinently finding an open URL. Unless you’re chacochikas.com, the name you spent hours coming up with is probably already taken. You’re probably even out of luck with chacochikas.com. All I can say is, good luck.
2. Coming up with a logo. This is harder than it seems. 1 color? 3 color? Illustrated or type-only? How’s it going to fit on a business card? Letterhead? The side of a hot air balloon? Does it make sense in a moment’s glance? Does it have to make sense? If I steal Coke’s typeface, how long will it take their lawyers to track me down? You can waste weeks and gain countless pounds discussing it over beefy cheesy burritos at Taco Bell. Your sketches will fill endless post-it notepads and pretty much drive you crazy because there’s something…not quite right. You’ll bang your head on the wall and wonder how you’ve made it this far as a design professional because you can’t even get your own damn logo right.
Eventually you’ll get out of your own way, and you’ll get the job done. Then it’s time to….
3. Get serious about your business card. It’s just a business card, right? A small little scrap of paper that represents all that you are and all that you offer. It’s just a display of your skills, professionalism, and ingenuity. No pressure. Do this: google ‘great business cards’. Spend some time with those image results. If you don’t get overwhelmed and throw all your once-mindblowing/now-crap ideas for your own card out the window in the first 6 minutes, you’ve got an ego the size of Manhattan and you have no place in this business. Unless, of course, some of those cards are your own design. Pass go and get your 200 bucks.
Most design firms will never admit to this dark truth. But most design firms—if they’re honest—probably couldn’t tell you who concepted their brand name nor their identity. Roll back the clock and sit in on some of history’s great creative firms original naming sessions and you’d witness an embarrassing barrage of teeth gnashing, shin kicking and alcohol self-medication. Self-promotion just ain’t easy.
Until recently, our group operated day-to-day for a years without being an actual Group. We designed, marketed, strategized, thought, re-thought and CREATED until the rafters shook. We work extraordinarily hard, and we play extraordinarily well together. We work together so well, as a matter of fact, we thought we should make it official.
It took endless hours to get just to ExoCreative. Any other company (i.e., not our own) and we would’ve knocked it out of the park in an afternoon.
After the whole naming crisis was solved, we knew needed some serious downtime if we were going to make it through the logo and eminent business card challenge. It was time to go to Disney World.
Exo checks in to the Animal Kingdom Lodge as perhaps the only adults on-property without children, and immediately proceeds to the pool area where we order frosty drinks. Many frosty drinks.
But we can only dip our toes into the gorgeous pool and laze in the warm spring sun for so long. By the time the his-n-hers DJ team plugs in cabana-side (God help us) and everybody’s out of the pool and hula-hooping, we’re barside with our laptops open and on our way to solid solutions to our self-promotion questions, a 3″ round business card in particular. By the way, thanks Disney for adhering to that old-timey custom of providing stationery in your rooms. Who does that anymore? Great design, you animation crackpots, you. Your stationery came in very handy as sketch paper for our concepts and thumbnails.
It’s been a long, foot-dragging road to officially becoming ExoCreative. Months of planning and brainstorming, and one 24 hour stint crunching poolside at the Animal Kingdom Lodge to take our new brand identity across the finish line. We’re very proud to be here.
Next up, squeezing the creation of ExoCreative’s website into our daily (packed) schedules…frosty drink, anyone?