Update: 6/14/2010 Frankly this is one of those things I will probably continue to evolve over time.
For those that follow me and are familiar with the little icon I use as my personal branding for my design services (hello honey, I’ll be making dinner this evening), I’ve decided to make a little change. But not because I was unhappy with the little guy; I mostly made this decision because I felt it didn’t represent what I was about any longer. This is one of the most difficult processes in freelance design: branding yourself.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m used to that icon, but that is pretty much the only brand equity it had, and so to keep it around just because I was used to it seemed like a bit of a mistake. The icon works very well as a personal brand in some circumstances. It has great proportions for many of my purposes, looks decent at different sizes in any color, and is pretty simple. But, the direction I’ve been heading in as a web designer has been a little more angular and clean, and the icon has become difficult to integrate into any other branding elements. I always had a tough time pairing typefaces with it or putting together a business card I was happy with.
Additionally, I’ve always felt it lacked a little substance. It seemed thin, and my attention to detail was not there when I first designed the icon. Basically, it’s time for me and my icon to move on. We’ve grown apart.
Developing a new icon for yourself is no small task, though. In some ways you get stuck in a rut with the old design. I certainly did. Many of my choices during the design process were based on the old design, or were an attempt to update without deviating too much from the established icon. It got downright frustrating. But then I had a breakthrough.
The old icon/logo, designed circa 2006.
I went through many, many iterations before I settled on this particular icon. It was very angular, maintaining the look of the double M only slightly, and used a custom M developed from the Univers typeface. It looked kind of cool, and was exactly what I was after, but looked a little weak at smaller sizes. It’s a damn shame, because it really was a nice little icon.
Since I needed something that worked better at smaller sizes, something that looked stronger overall, and still represented what I was after, I decided to choose a little beefier face to develop the icon from. Univers 75 Black was the ticket.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
The icon that finally made the cut is, in a lot of ways, exactly what I was picturing in my head when I decided to make the change. And it meets all the requirements I set for myself when I started designing it: it is crisp, simple, looks good in many different colors, and is very sharp at small sizes. Plus I feel like it is a better representation of me as a designer right now, and hopefully into the foreseeable future.
Since the previous icon lasted for as long as it did, I was a little reticent to make the change and go live; however, in time I think it will stand as a stronger icon overall. I also apologize for the post being longer than it was short.