This month I’ll be taking on a client that has two new qualities I have yet to cover on Monthly Brand. One, the client is a singular person, not a company. And two, that person is real, not fictional. I briefly explained before that I’m taking on a real client this month for a few reasons, but mostly because I’m attempting to catch up with the blog so I can get back to focusing on single clients per month. Currently, I am polishing off designs to complete Reinhardt (last month’s brand) and beginning a new one. The multitude of projects per month is beginning to affect my work tactics, both for Monthly Brand and my solo professional work. I’m hoping by combining them a bit, I can get back on track by May with one (fictional) client per month.
With that, I give you my next client and friend, Lindsey Warford. Ms. Warford is a harpist. She lives in New York City, and although she has a stable job and a sustainable life here, a lot of her work doesn’t currently involve playing the harp. Her goal is to improve that, with an ideal situation of playing the harp full-time as a hired professional musician. So many people go through stages in places like New York, constantly compromising and adjusting their careers to “move up the ladder” or eventually reach a more ideal situation. That situation usually involves the perfect balance between working for a living and living for your work. In the case of Lindsey, she wants to play harp for a living because she loves playing the harp.
Lindsey has actually accomplished this before. She was a professional musician playing for a multitude of gigs in Florida before moving to New York, and successfully sustaining her life there. New York City has brought her a lot of new opportunities, but living here is a different ball game, and just getting your foot in the door can sometimes be arduous. With the right experience and enough motivation though, it can be done (and I don’t mean anything like The Secret of My Success). Lindsey is talented. She’s educated, she’s energetic, friendly and professional. She’s definitely got what it takes, and it seems right now, she needs the means to communicate that to the market so she can build a client base, and eventually rely on that talent to be her business. She’s already got a great start too, with a website (LindseyWarford.com), some professional photography and a list of new and prospective clients.
This is where I come in. After talking with Lindsey, we decided to work together to develop a look for her business cards. This was a while back, but lately we’ve revisited the project with the goal of taking it further to bring her more than just something to hand out, but an overall brand. Now, we’re not talking about a brand that we expect to sell 500,000 records or exist as heraldry for generations, but there is something to be said about designing a graphic identity for a person rather than a product or company. Lindsey’s aim is to not only have something solid and useable as a means to develop her business, but also come away from this process with a better understanding of what distinguishes her as a musician.
We had a meeting this weekend and laid out some tangible goals for the end of the month. I learned from her that a business like this often has a base in client loyalty and word of mouth, not surprisingly (one doesn’t see a lot of harpists on banner ads). There’s certainly an amount of on-foot advertising (handing out cards, flyers, emails, etc.) to expect in gathering clients, but that’s merely a spark plug for a longer lasting client base that is fueled by testament, loyalty, and a satisfaction with her service. A large part of that satisfaction comes from her professionalism, and some of that professionalism comes from just looking professional. Lindsey is going to be doing the hard work of delivering quality musical performances for a variety of gigs, I’m just here to give her the tools to look the part.
The list of tangibles we drew out were the following:
• An insignia logo to use as a monogram
• A business card to hand out for contact purposes
• A postcard to give a more descriptive rendition of her services
• The retooling of her current website to reflect these designs
• And possibly a blog that is parallel to her home page that may help track and accredit her services
I talked about my process with Lindsey, especially for Monthly Brand, and how a logo can often be the reflection for all pieces that center around a brand, a “Mother Ship” if you will. Also a part of that process is nailing down a handful of words that best describe her as a professional that we can refer back to for inspiration, keeping us on track, and ultimately identifying the goals for her brand.
Here’s the list of 5 words that distinguish and identify Lindsey Warford as a professional harpist:
I’ll dive into those words soon enough, but for now we have a great start with a foundation of values for the business, an understanding with the client, and a general time frame within which to work. Because Lindsey and I started this project some time ago, we already have a head start on expectations and visuals, so our research phase is practically complete, so ahead we go into sketching and development.