To be very honest with you, at first I had no clue of what I was doing, of what I wanted and how my brand identity would end up looking like.
As I figured that I wanted to start freelancing officially and after giving myself enough time to think about it, I decided to look back on the other companies I built before and what would have I done differently. In fact, when I started my choreography workshop or our tour guide company in Portugal, I first created the name under which we would be offering our services. And although I do not regret any of the names I gave, I always told myself that if there was a next time, I would do it differently.
You might be wondering why, but along my learning curve on how to build a business, I’ve seen many times that some genuine minds start by finding a domain name that would be in correlation with the industry they work in. When the domain name is well thought, it can have a huge impact on your reach and therefore leading to more leads for businesses. Though we all know it’s a long work to be reaching the top on Google, every bits help!
It wasn’t easy to find something relevant that was still available. Obviously in 2022, graphicdesign.com has already been taken since long but luckily and because of internet’s evolution, new domain names are available, defining your industry a little more.
Many tries later, I finally came across a domain name that wasn’t taken, but even better! It wasn’t taken on instagram or any other social media. That’s when I figured that mygraphic.design would be my domain name.
Creating a design for yourself whatever the purpose is, can be very hard, much harder than for a client.
As a lot of people in the beginning of personal project, I have been confronted to the “blank page” syndrome where you stand at your papers for hours hoping to have a vision coming from a parallel universe to show you which direction to take. But nope, nothing happened.
Now that I’m done creating the main rules of my design, I’m able to look back and see why it was hard to put down my first ideas.
As happy as I was with the chosen domain name, I was confronted to the fact that it wasn’t creative enough, or at least, that’s what I first thought.
Funny fact is: the first days after buying mygraphic.design, I would not manage to say it properly, getting stuck on the “dot” in the middle of graphic and design… Impossible! And while I was saying mygraphicdesign-“dot” and figuring out that the dot was on the wrong place, I started to wonder how I could get used to it.
I knew that I wanted to develop a sort of icon logo that would include the three main letters of my domain name: MGD.
I tried to combine them in a way where it would create a character. My first ideas was to develop my communication around this character.
But for some reasons and although I managed to draw a version of the character I had in mind on Illustrator, I wasn’t very excited about the outcome. I mean… I loved and still love “Mister The Cat”, he was cute! He really was, but perhaps too cute and not bold enough to represent my work? As I felt unsatisfied, I didn’t stop myself from scribbling a little more, letting my mind go freely and perform its magic.
And it happened…, the moment that we all wait as designers: THE aha moment was here! Aaaahhhhh ! (Y’all hear the angelic voice sound effect, right?)
One sketch out of all the other ones I made, caught my heart and attention from that moment on, and anything I sketched or attempted after that didn’t make as much sense as this one. That was it and before I knew it, it all made sense.
The “dot” would become my main focus in my design, and this would become an essential part in my graphic communication but in general as well. I would want something very simple but yet very bold.
Being in love with geometrical shapes, highlighting their simplicity really triggers my creativity and imagination. Turning something I had struggle with to something prominent and that would become a primary element in my design is a moment that I’m very proud of. I knew this was the right way, so bye “Mister The Cat”!
When trying to enlighten creativity and the creative aspect of an entity, the circle is usually the shape to go with, which corroborates perfectly with my concept around the circle (aka the “dot”), ensuring me that I was on the right path.
When first asking my friends and family for their opinion of my brand new logo, none of them actually noticed the three letters in the design.
Their refined shapes makes the letters more discreet and almost hidden. But as we say, once you saw it, you won’t be able to pass through it anymore and you will clearly read and see a M, a G and a D.
It is no coincidence that the “dot” stands between the G and the D, emphasizing the location of the dot in the domain name, making sure everyone – including myself – remembers that it’s mygraphic-dot-design!
Another side story regarding the logo: earlier I was mentioning that I was going for a logo that would include some sort of icon into it.
Yet, while you may think that my logo only represents the three main letters of my entity, I invite you to take another look at it.
Don’t you see it? When I take a look at my logo (especially in smaller size) I can’t help but seeing fish’s skeleton created by the three letters: the M being the tale, the G being the body, the dot being its neck and the D being the head! For the people knowing me, it won’t surprise you that I was excited to figure out that I managed to have some sort of skeleton in my design! Yes, skeletons are fascinating me!
So while you really need to know the story to understand how cool my logo is, you have to be able to understand one Portuguese word: “Fixe” pronounced “fish” in Portuguese.
But don’t get mistaken! Fixe does not means fish although you pronounce it the same! Fixe in Portuguese means “Cool”!
So yeah…, having a fish hidden in my design is cool, “fixe”, he?
Yes, this was it! This was my new logo: simple, bold and effective the way I wanted it to be.
Only last problem I had was finding the color I wanted to match with this design, and that led to some debates with my friends and family as much as with myself!
I remember wanting to aim for something that was different than my previous designs, something that would pop and catch people’s attention. Me, liking dark and warm colors would not do it for this project and I challenged myself to go with the total opposite of what I would normally go for, even if I personally don’t like these colors at first. It was now part of my brief, and I wasn’t ready to give up on that challenge.
When it comes to represent a brand, it has to be smartly thought through. As much as the final outlook of the logo will impact your brand, you can have a great design but if the colors aren’t relevant to your industry or directly linked to your entity, it might be a total miss.
Although I like a lot of colors, I quickly noticed that it wouldn’t be a piece of cake! Honestly, on the level of preference in colors, green and pink are probably at the bottom of my personal list, but as much as the struggle with the dot made my project more interesting, my eye continuously kept being attracted by the combination of the two colors.
It is surely dared and bold! the more time passes by, I would not change any of these two colors. I learned to love them. As much as it was challenging, the project took a very unexpected and interesting turn, which made it much more fun that I could have hoped for.
These are very bright and vibrant colors that really represents who I am as a person and most importantly, as a designer.
It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here! Although it can always get better, I do believe that I finally reached a good level of satisfaction when it comes to the design of my website.
The chosen colors could be hard to work with, but by adding the use of the pink “dot” in a very simple and effective way it added a little twist to the layout. As I mentioned earlier, the circle often represents creativity, it is often referring to femininity as well. This is why I played with the very contrasting green columns in the design. This adds dynamism and life.
I have to admit that, because of the outspoken colors, I really had to play smartly with it. I really pushed the boundaries of the use of the circle shape as much as the pink color. It was daring to put such a bright pink as a full background in a section, and often I had to step back and every time when adding a new element to the page, I wondered if THAT was the step too far to make it look “too much”.
Menus on a website can be boring to design, but I allowed myself to think different and original creating a lateral menu that completes the dynamic of the columns in the layout. While being discreet when not activated, when it opens, the menu takes a complete different aspect. In fact the it appears in fullscreen with big sized letters for the menu items. This contrasts drastically with the closed version of the menu and keeps this idea of bold contrast in the design.
For the blog, I developed a template system using Dynamic Content from Dynamic.ooo. It helped me for the visibility of the advanced custom fields created. The blog is aimed for anyone, including graphic/web designers that are just starting their journey in the industry.
I used a lot of popups which I’m not usually a fan of. However, I tried to use them in a way where it would not interrupt the visit of the user. This really helped me figure out that popup can be so much more than being annoying! 😉
Special Shoutouts: There was no possibility for me to not mention two people that have actively been helping me in the build of my website. Thank you Imran and George for thinking along with me, and helping me achieve the things I had in mind. A lot of things would not have been possible without you.
After developing the idea of this dot, and seeing how I applied it to my website’s layout, it was time to see how much further could I push the concept.
Starting with the business cards. We all know the traditional rectangular shaped business cards, but don’t they seem a bit boring to you?
The logo in front and the details on the back and here we go! Well, yes but not for me! As my new vocabulary relates on two words: circle and dot, I could not stop myself to create a circle shaped business card.
Fun fact is: Just after passing the order to print them, I really was doubting about my choice. Was the circle shaped business cards a good idea after all? Would it look as I expected it to be?
I was very excited to receive them and after opening the package I was even more satisfied, as once again it all made sense. I cannot tell you how happy I was for my bold decision to go for a different style, but mostly for following my feelings.
The idea continued with some promotional items that I wanted to give to people while meeting with them. It’s naturally that I went for a little 2,5 cm diameter badge! It ended up being a very effective and eye catching to the people who already got one, way more than I thought! Seems like the trend of these little badge will never end!
The benefits of using simple shapes is that the possibilities are almost endless when it comes to marketing materials and can easily be adapted to any type of items, especially if this one happens to be the same shape as your design.
As much as I’d like to admit that the job is done, it isn’t really… In fact, I do believe that a brand always has room for growth, new ideas and new concepts and therefore never ends.
With that being said, while we can say that certain parts are done, it is usually temporary. Soon enough you will have to think further to keep up with the trends and let your business to outshine among others.
Regarding mygraphic.design, I already have ideas on how to develop it further, and I’m quite excited about it!
While I keep looking at “Mister The Cat” with a bit of nostalgia, I’m not sure if I’ll bring him to life one day. I know how I would connect him to my branding if I ever think of doing it, but I have another idea that I’m exploring at the moment and which I will remain secret until I’m sure of it.
What a ride! But what an amazing one!
This has been by far one of the best projects I worked on, and not only because it was for myself, but because I managed to turn a small anecdote and a problem into a full branding! Remember that the “dot” idea came along because I could not say my domain name properly!
Setting myself boundaries and a basic brief to start, definitely helped me to keep track on the idea. Furthermore, it developed my creativity a lot. Because I was tighten to my brief, I had to find solutions to problems, pushing my thoughts further to make it work.
Yes, it took time, and I wish I could have been done earlier. I tried to treat myself as a client as much as possible. But I stayed conscious about the way I felt, maximizing my mindset to prevent blanking out on ideas.
There were some steps back, and I’ve learned from them when it was directly linked to the project. I had to learn to be patient and more focused on what needed to be done. More importantly it confirmed that it’s not about perfection, but progression and that a “dot” can make a full difference.
To be continued – dot – dot – dot.