I do not normally mix work and pleasure. That’s a bit of an ironic statement coming from someone who did not have enough branding to do so he built an entire blog…to do more branding. Monthly Brand is now half a year old and it has kicked my posterior. In a lot of ways I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. But in some respects, I’ve allowed the projects to be more monumental than they maybe need to be.
I’m an invested person, I feel. I want to eat and breathe a project, and I often need my satisfaction and sense of success to be measured by investment. There’s really nothing wrong with being immersive and dedicated, but those qualities must be tempered with practicality and diligence. Fundamentally, Monthly Brand isn’t so far off base in terms of attainable goals; shouldn’t a reasonably small and young company expect to have a logo and brand identity produced in the course of one month? Hell, you can have logos designed for you in two hours on the internet. Certainly there’s more than a fine line between slapping a graphic on your power point by COB today and developing a rich, dependable, timeless brand identity. So somewhere in between has got to be a method for successful design over the course of four weeks. It’s certainly possible…if all outside factors remain stable that is.
It’s difficult to keep a boat on track. There are many possible derailments, and I happen to know Murphy well enough to know that those derailments will happen no matter how hard you try to avoid them. The good news is that there are solutions. Ways to get back on track without sacrificing too much. In the six months that I’ve been doing Monthly Brand I’m happy there haven’t been too many setbacks. One in particular was not adequately anticipating how much the winter holidays would eat into my process. I’ve never worked on a subscription target like this, a project that claims to occur at a certain time, every time. Now I feel terrible for journalists. The holidays backed up my schedule and instead of working on clients one at a time, I chose to attempt handling more than one at a time in the hopes of catching up. That took longer than I had hoped, but finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
But I’m not out of the woods yet, and that’s why for this month I am going to bend my guidelines a bit in order to help get back to a level playing ground. I did learn some things in the past few months, struggling with multiple brands at a time, but I greatly enjoyed the time I could invest, the earnest deep diving into the idea of a new client that I originally proposed. As I come close to the end of the current client, Reinhardt, I’m going to, once again, make sure that I’ve begun the next, though this time I’ll be taking on a client that is real. The real client is someone I’ve wished to work with for some time now, but have found my time strapped. After she agreed to go “public” (in as much as this blog is public), I felt this might actually be an interesting experiment—to reveal the design process with a bit more realism.
But I’m cheating a little. I know this client well now, and we are friends. There is no payment for the project as I agreed to work pro bono, and I’ve even already somewhat begun to develop her brand. But that is why I am mixing this “work” with “pleasure,” so that I have a bit of a head start to get back to the original track of Monthly Brand. I realize however, that there may be several challenges that I am not anticipating (MURPHY). We’re just going to have to wait and see on that. Fun right? But truthfully, I hope this does offer some experience, some relief on the blog, some openess to the process, and that we still come away with relevant and attractive design work. That is, after all, the goal of Monthly Brand.