Creating a New Personal Brand
With regard to branding applications, as with all facets of design, form follows function. The function of a good brand is to be clear and memorable. When setting out to create a new personal brand for myself, I sought a creative balance of conceptual clarity, stylistic aesthetic and interpretive subjectivity. The challenge lies in the fact that my personal style tends to favor the former two characteristics. Is it worth it to sacrifice conceptual clarity in favor of a good looking conversation piece? Yes, but the reasoning must be thoroughly justified.
Some of my favorite examples of graphic design work tend to bend or outright break certain rules. This is what makes them stirring. But, one must not break rules arbitrarily. Good design is never arbitrary. While objectively clear communication is one of the basic rules of graphic design, in the case of this logo, the clarity of the concept is intentionally subjective. I want viewers to develop their own impressions before inquiring on the meaning behind the design. This discourse would include, along with the aesthetic characteristics, the combination of factors which should make this brand memorable. Design discourse is among my favorite activities, and I would prefer to have the opportunity of drawing potential clients and colleagues into it whenever possible.
A good logo is thoughtfully articulated and rendered to be memorable and to create a unique impression. In this example, the goal is met via the perceptual shifts which occur when viewing and discussing the logo. All of the textual forms require visual completion by the viewer to be interpreted, and if the viewer also arrives upon the concept at that point, all the better. This would indicate that they are just as nerdy as I am! A more favorable outcome would be that the viewer inquires as to the meaning of the design, and I am happy to oblige.
This logo’s concept applies modern design sensibilities, including simple symmetrical geometric typography, to the iconic typographic characters featured in the Microsoft Disc Operating System (MS-DOS) command prompt. This particularly memorable set of glyphs are a visual earmark for one of the earliest forms of agency granted to users of this early digital system architecture. For those who saw the potential of this new interactive medium at an early age, this proprietary textual approach to information management literally involved learning a new language. From the time this new system was within my realm of understanding, computer code has fascinated me. The idea of codifying visual, esoteric, and functional information to improve understanding is the foundation of my life’s work: facilitating effective communication.
The glyphic elements are arranged in a symmetrical fashion, with the ‘c’ creating an initial boundary which is divided and partially broken by the linear elements, which represent the '\' and '>' characters, implied via visual completion along with the ':' character. The end product also has the feel of targeting crosshairs featured in the heads-up displays of combat aircraft, which have always been fascinating from a UI standpoint, as they tend to be just as bare-bones as the DOS prompt while still providing pilots sufficient visual cues within a 3-dimensional environment. The forms with layers of meaning, from aesthetic to interface-oriented, and finally to textual and historical are the perceptual shifts which are intended to make this logo memorable.
I have described the DOS prompt as a tool providing agency to the user. What do I mean by agency? The ability to alter one’s outcomes within a system which governed by familiar rules, and to expand on those outcomes with emergent complexity. Design affords us the opportunity to form something superior by taking into account its desired function, making it easier to use and understand. Beauty may lie in truth, given the right circumstance, and if an object is well designed then it has realized it’s true form. Design gives us that agency over our lives, and my new brand seeks to capture the excitement and intrigue I felt over that new sense of control, fusing it with the aesthetic style I have come to appreciate using the technical acumen I have cultivated since first interacting with these marvelous machines.