Now that you have a brand, how do you go about creating brand recognition? Simple – consistency is key. This sounds obvious, but you may be surprised how often artists fail at it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been handed business cards that have the artist’s name, an unrelated website address and a random email address. It’s very confusing and confusion does not make you memorable. So, here are three simple steps to input consistency into your brand:
STEP ONE – NAME
Look at all of your platforms – website, email, social media – and make sure that your chosen brand name is used consistently across all platforms. You may feel like you are constantly repeating yourself, but guess what? Repetition keeps you top of mind, which is, after all, the whole point.
What happens if the domain name or social media handle for your brand name is already taken? Consider adding a descriptive word like “art” or “studio,” or a phrase like “art by.” For example: janedoeART, janedoeSTUDIO or ARTBYjanedoe. If you are just starting out and have come up with a seemingly original name, do a quick search to see if this name is available across all the platforms; if so, go for it. If not, tweak the name with an addition, or come up with something else.
STEP TWO – IMAGES
A successful brand has superb design – that is, a combination of images and text. Every day we are inundated with images, and it can be overwhelming to imagine trying to stand out. Again, good old-fashioned repetition is your friend. Having a consistent profile photo will help people recognize you online and off. This could be a photo of you, a logo you created, or even an image of your artwork – as long as it reflects your primary, recognizable style. You are welcome to change it up from time to time – perhaps quarterly, not every month as that can get tiresome or confusing – but just be sure that you change it across all platforms.
“Luck is the residue of design” implies intention – your commitment to consistency and attention to detail will make seemingly “lucky” situations occur. For example, you may be approached in the line at the grocery store because some fan recognized you from your Instagram feed – what a win! Take credit; you planted that seed. Conversely, you may want more anonymity in public. Note how Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter, Adele, can go out in her London suburb relatively incognito if she simply doesn’t wear her signature make-up. One may say she’s just lucky, but no – what makes her image memorable is her heavy eyeliner and thick black lashes, so without them, she’s just another redhead. This is all by design.
Not a designer or well-versed in Photoshop and InDesign? No problem. There are tools out there to help you out! My personal favorite is Canva.com – a free, online design tool with templates for everything from social media posts to eBooks. Their simple drag-and-drop tools allow you to create beautiful, correctly-sized images with text. You can use their templates and stock images, or upload your own photos, like the ones used in this article.
STEP THREE – DESCRIPTION
K.I.S.S. – keep it simple, stupid. You don’t need to share everything, and you don’t need to be everything to everyone. Consider what kind of artist you are, what makes you unique, and which parts of your personal life are important for your audience to know, or not. Set expectations by using the description field on each platform to let people know what kinds of things you post, and why.
A great example is Cynthia Morris of Original Impulse who states on her website: “My favorite subjects include Paris, travel, food, yoga, books.” So it makes sense when she posts photos of her trip to Paris or her morning croissant that inspire her illustrations. On the other end of the spectrum is musician and performance artist Amanda Palmer, who may be considered an “over sharer.” But since her art form finds inspiration from life and fosters community building through open, and constant, communication with fans that is exactly what people expect – from her.
Find what works for you. For example, if you are inspired by your dog to do pet portraits, say so in your description and then go ahead and share photos of Fifi. Likewise, if you make food art, yes, it may be relevant to share photos of your breakfast. If not, don’t. (See, it really is simple). If you can’t resist the urge to share photos of your fancy coffee, but don’t want to be known as Coffee Boy, create a separate account under a different name (like, say, “@Coffeeboy”).
Just remember – consistency is key.
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.