Developing a Personal Brand

I've spent the last year in classes at AiO, and they have really brought me a better understanding on the importance of things like branding. It provides a consistent feeling across your site and other products, such as business cards, resumes, and invoices. It offers people who interact with you assurance that they're dealing with the same person as before through the use of visual touchstones. A lot of people get the concept of branding wrong, though. Branding isn't about putting your logo on everything you own. That's called making something garish. Branding is just using a consistent style across everything: the same font, the same colors, even something as intangible as the same sense of humor in your writing. It all plays a part in your brand.

"Sure, but I'm not a designer", you might say, "I don't need a personal brand". I have to respectfully disagree. Branding is useful for anyone who lives a portion of their professional life online. With so many websites out there, its hard to remember who is who. A person's brand is a way to put a name with a face, as it were.

There are a few people out there who have exemplary brands, such as Wilson Miner. Wilson is one of the best designers around. He just does ridiculously clean looking stuff. He keeps his brand consistent through the use of color, specifically green. Even other designers have commented on his "trademark green". You can see that he's pulled out his logo from his website and used it for his twitter icon.

So how can you get a "personal brand"? Well the good news is that you likely already have one. Granted, it may not be the strongest brand, but your website likely already has a feel to it. Professional and clean or grungy and dark.. it all works. The biggest benefit of your existing personal brand is it has history with it. People already associate your site with you. For instance, I already associate Will Larson's site, with awesome tutorials and howtos. While its not the most esthetically pleasing, it definitely has a style to it that is unique to Will. The biggest step to perpetuating your brand is really to spread it out to all of your other "properties". Resumes, business cards, avatars, etc.