Have you been following this series, but thinking it only applies to someone just starting out? Or you’ve been running your business/making art for a long time and think you’ve done it all wrong? Changing direction? Don’t panic! It’s all doing to be okay. It may be time to shake things up a bit.
DO I NEED A REBRAND OR A REFRESH?
First of all, take a step back and ask yourself, Has my vision, direction or style changed dramatically? If so, you may want to go back to Part 1 to think about articulating your new vision, and Part 3 to find tools to brainstorm your brand around that new vision.
If your vision has not changed, perhaps you just need a refresh to add consistency and re-energize your look. A simple overhaul of all your promotional materials – including website, newsletter and social media platforms – could be enough (see Part 4).
TAKE YOUR TIME
Either way, take your time. By rushing, you can easily make more work for yourself down the line by needing to re-do slapdash messaging or sloppy design. Most companies would have a whole team working on this rebrand or refresh, so give yourself a break. You do not need to come up with the new or refreshed brand overnight. And, indeed, you want to sit with your new vision or look and absorb it, make tweaks and fall in love with it.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Look at other brands and artists to see what attracts your attention, what keeps you looking, what you like or don’t. Take notes, make mood boards (see Part 3) or map out plans. Specific things to look for in other brands and think about when refreshing your own:
- Fonts: Easy to read? Is it available in different programs/apps?
- Tagline/Description: Does it give people an accurate (and succinct) idea of what the artist does, makes or offers?
- Background colors/images: Do these make the art pop, or do they distract and detract?
- Profile Photo: Does the artist look approachable, mysterious or deranged – and does this fit with the message they are trying to send? Would you be able recognize them at an event?
Like everything, there are trends in design. With so much imagery out there these days the design trend is for clear fonts, clean lines and white backgrounds. You may want to try and stand out by not following the trends, but always make sure the art shines. And try to be intentional so you don’t have to re-do the design work every 6 months.
Companies often hire an outside consulting firm to come in and do the rebrand for them so they have fresh eyes and can brainstorm new ideas. They even have focus groups to test out their new logos and mottos. Whether you can hire a professional for your rebrand or not, you can always get feedback before you launch.
Choose wisely. Pick people who you trust to give honest opinions, but also be constructive. Think about asking a variety of people – perhaps a friend for a basic response, a collector to find out how they view your brand and if they are onboard with the new version, and an industry peer who can let you know if your work is up to standard in comparison to others in your field. Choose carefully which draft to send – you may be comfortable sending a half-baked idea to a friend, but shouldn’t do that for the collector. Listen to all feedback and thank them for their time and willingness to be your sounding board. But don’t feel like you have to accept or act on all feedback – choose what makes most sense to you.
Be specific when asking for feedback. Asking open-ended questions like, “What do you think?” or “Do you like it?” can lead to heartbreaking, frustrating or meaningless responses. Instead, ask direct, specific questions. For example:
- Do you think this description accurately describes this series? (provide link to visuals)
- Is this font readable (on both printed material and mobile devices)?
- Be sure to ask people of different ages; not everyone has 20/20 vision.
- Does background color add or detract from the art?
- Does my profile picture/logo translate well to mobile devices?
- Sometimes an image that looks great on your website and printed materials is undecipherable in the smaller profile photos of social media platforms (like Instagram).
PROMOTING YOUR (NEW & IMPROVED) BRAND
In Part 2 we talked about how branding is different than marketing. Still true, but your brand is little use to you if you don’t actively promote it – and what a great opportunity to remind people who you are with the launch of your new and improved brand. You can even drop hints leading up to the re-launch that you have an exciting new reveal coming. Be sure to create materials for all platforms so you can announce it big. Maybe publicly thank those you helped you, ask for (general) feedback from your wider audience, or even launch a new series or promotion at the same time. Put your brand to work for you!
This is the sixth and final installment in this series; click here to read the full series.
Christine Rasmussen’s oil paintings explore themes of place, identity, boundaries and belonging. Christine describes herself as a ‘global nomad’ – she was born to American parents in Pakistan, and has lived in 13 cities across Pakistan, Vietnam and the United States. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Art Practice (with Honors) and Peace & Conflict Studies. Her works are in private collections in the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia. Christine is now based in Los Angeles, CA, where she enjoys art, books and blogs.