FITYMI: creating your visual identity

If you can't tell from my struggle of creating my own branding, creating a visual brand for yourself or anyone else is HARD but I have a couple of tips from my struggle that can help you when its time to create a visual identity for yourself or a client. Before I start, there are many things to think about when you're creating a brand. I'm actually jumping the gun a little bit in regards of tackling visuals first but guess what? This is my blog and I do what I want lol! But just to know (and this is something that I'll cover in another post) there are a few things to consider before jumping into visuals such as: figuring out your audience and purpose. But like I said... that's a whole different blog post and visuals are fun so lets eat our dessert first. 

STEP #1 A HEAVY CUP OF PINTEREST 

Since I'm a visual person the first thing I did when tackling my visual identity was create a secret Pinterest board. Honesty hour: I've created THREE boards for my branding and the last and most recent is called "forreal forreal" because I was determined that would be the last one, fortunately it was! I suggest making a secret board because more than likely your aesthetic will change over time and plus you don't want the world knowing all of your grand design ideas right? Right. 

After you create the Pinterest board pin any and everything that expresses what you want your brand to look like. This includes anything from logos, posters, architecture, to websites. The more things you pin the better. When working with clients I suggest pinning no less than 100 images, that gives both yourself and the designer (if you're aren't one) more than enough inspiration to move forward. After you pin at least 100 images try to narrow your selection down to 50. I know you're like "well why did I post 100 only to go to 50". Forcing yourself to narrow down the choices boils your selects down to the absolute main images you think will identity with your brand. Once you have your top 50 we're on to the next step which is analyzing what we have in order to figure out what we want. That line is a rip off from a classic movie called "Player's Club" in the words of Ronnie "you gotta use what you got to get what you want".

SNAPSHOT OF MY "FORREAL, FORREAL" PINTEREST BOARD

SNAPSHOT OF MY "FORREAL, FORREAL" PINTEREST BOARD

 

STEP #3 SPRINKLE LOGIC

Once you've identified what you like its time to figure out how to interpret it in your personality. This step can honestly be done before or after the Pinterest board. Realistically you'll already have this step completed if you don't eat your dessert first. Don't feel bad, I did and it was good.

There's two different ways to approach this, when working with a client I start all projects with a client questionnaire and set of branding exercises (that itself is a blog post). When creating my own identity I created a sub version of my client questionnaire and curated a list of words that describe me as well as different things that I like, which is what I recommend for you. Think about the things that reflect who you are. I love music which is something that was on my list. So on my side panel for my portfolio image I have "work work work work work" which is a reference from Rihanna's song "Work". I'm also a huge sneaker lover so I've created icons that represent my favorite shoes. Think about EVERYTHING! What colors do you like? whats something that people know you for? Is your favorite food oranges? then make an orange pattern. why not?

Also think about how you want to appear to the world. Do you want your brand to appear as playful and current? If so keep those words in mind when figuring out your branding. I highly recommend looking at brands/people who brands you admire and figure out what is it about them that makes their product and branding stick. Lets use the beauty brand Glossier, I LOVE their branding. It comes across as playful, modern, and in touch with the type of women using their products (mostly young millennials) which is also my audience.

 

snapshot of my "forreal, forreal" PINTEREST BOARD

snapshot of my "forreal, forreal" PINTEREST BOARD

STEP #2 FIGURE YOU OUT 

Now we have 50 pretty pins of everyone else's work but how do we make it our own? The light bulb moment that helped me create my branding is figuring out how to identify what I like and replicate it in my own way. Easier said than done but here we go.

From looking at the snapshots on my Pinterest board (above and below) I started to identity similar themes between the pins just from analyzing what I have. Let's start with color. From looking at your pins what are the common colors? For me I immediately noticed a similar theme of pastels; usually pinks, teals, yellows, and a tan ish color. Once I noticed the similarities I selected about 10 photos and start pulling out colors (using the eye dropper via illustrator). This helped me figure out immediately the color palette I'm drawn to. 

Use this method to analyze additional similarities. For instance, is there a common shape? or maybe even a layout? Try really hard to figure out what it is about the image that you like. Here's a few more examples of how that worked out for me. I noticed that I love icons that have a ton of personality and also align with the story of the brand. Knowing this forced me to think about icons that represent my life which resulted in my magic ball = black girl magic and yasss = a popular phase I use. Same goes for layouts, most of the layouts on my Pinterest board have a photo in the middle of a colorful page with text/graphics aligned around it. Once I realized what I liked the rest was easy! 

SNAPSHOT OF MY "FORREAL, FORREAL" PINTEREST BOARD

STEP #4 TIE IT TOGETHER 

At this point we've researched the desired aesthetic, pulled inspiration photos, and have figured out how to make what we desire our own by including personality. The final step is putting it all together and designing it! If you aren't a designer and want to create your branding yourself I highly recommend Skillshare. Its a monthly subscription service similar to Lynda (but wayyyy cheaper) where you can learn A MILLION things including the Adobe Suite. If you don't have time for that and need a designer then just call me. duh. 

Hopefully this information helps! The main point is no matter what you do make sure its authentic! For me it has to be something thats really So Laci Like.

VIBES PLAYLIST

I'm at huge fan of music, all kinds. Its something that's been apart of my life forever. I've mentioned somewhere on here that I only have older brothers so things like streetwear and music (especially hip hop) were huge topics in my house. Along with that I was in band for most of my life which is one way I expanded my musical palette. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't listen to music. If I'm not listening to music I'm listening to a podcast about music I LOVE MUSIC (in Oprah's I LOVE BREAD voice). Certain songs take me back to certain memories, put me in a mood to do a certain activity, or give me a certain feeling. For instance I have a playlist called "Go Girl" which is a list of curated songs by women I love or the contents of the song have to do with empowering women. It gives me the "we're the shit and ain't nothing you can do about it" feeling. 

I'm a huge fan of positive vibes and I'm learning everyday that you seriously control your own happiness, from the workplace to your personal life. If you choose to sit around and be angry thats on you but I choose positive and chill vibes. Which leads me to this playlist. I work a lot and while I'm working I love to listen to music that just flows, its hard to explain but its a good vibe. Its the kind of music you can work to or cruise in your convertible with the top back on a sunny day. Either way, vibe out. 

The playlist is mostly the same on each platform. For Tidal the song "Platinum Chanel" by Dom Kennedy wasn't available so its been replaced with another Dom song. Kanye added a new song to The life of Pablo that fits right into the vibes of the playlist, its added on the iTunes & Tidal options. Listen away, tell me what you think! 

LISTEN & FOLLOW ON

BRAND NEW

new, new

I recently went to a comedy show where the comedian brought up the fact that black people are the only ones that say the same words back to back but they have different meanings, for instance: If someone asks me if I'm hungry and I can eat but I'm not starving I would say "I'm hungry, but I'm not HUNGRY HUNGRY".  I died laughing because its so true, I do it at least once a day. So welcome to my new but not NEW NEW blog. I've mentioned a million times that I'm working on my branding and finally I actually have something to show for it. 

If you're a blogger or entrepreneur you've probably read a million articles on the things to think about while building a brand. In case you haven't most of them tell you that the voice your brand has is key. It needs to authentic and have a strong message of who you are and what you're selling. 

 

yasss girl

The reason why it took me so long to commit to a new look is because I want it to be as authentic as possible and show my design aesthetic which can be hard for me sometimes. I love a good mix of color, pattern, and modernism that can be difficult to combine all at once. 

I love art that is playful, has a message, and is pleasing to the eye, but I didn't want to make something too playful or too corporate. I also want my blog to have a ton of my personality included which is why you see things like "YASSS" – a common phase I use with friends or the crystal ball which is a representation of the Black Girl Magic movement. Everything has a purpose and meaning behind it. 

fin.

An artist work is never done so I'm still fine tuning the in's and out's of the branding but you'll notice upgrades happening and things moving around here and there.  One thing to point out is that I decided to launch this before its actually done. I did that because normal Laci waits on things to be "perfect" knowing good and damn well that won't happen. So once I got to a spot where I figured it was good to show, I did. Now that I'm finally loving what my space looks like I can create all of this content I've been holding on to. I'll be doing a post soon that gives a deeper dive in how I came up with my visual language and brand icons. Until then let me know what you think. Do you like the new attitude or nah?

Love is Love

loveislove_solacilike

This one will be short and sweet. Unless you've been under a rock, which if you have I can't blame you. You've heard about the mass shooting in Orlando in a popular gay club called Pulse, that left 50 dead and a little over 50 injured, making it the largest mass shooting in US history since 9/11.

Per usual, media outlets try to sugar coat what the situation really is, in this case it's a hate crime and an act of terror, no matter how you try to spin it. People are haters and need to stop shooting up every damn thing. And in regards to being hateful towards someones sexually – love is love, its no one's business who someone else is fucking unless that person is you. Point blank, good day. 

And Stacey Dash shut up and take a nap ma'am we're over you. 

RETAIL THERAPY

99 problems.

First world problem: I've lost so much weight I barely have clothes. As in I only have two pair of jeans that are my correct size. I really wish someone would call and tell me that I've randomly been selected for a whole new closet but it doesn't seem like that shit is going to happen so I'm forced to gradually throw together a wardrobe. And by gradually I mean at a very slow pace... I need more checks.  

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21 forever.

I made a deal with myself to stay away from Forever 21, and not in a "I'm too good for Forever 21 way" but I realized that most of my wardrobe is bullshit – clothes that would not last me over time...essentially wasting my money. The solution: invest my money in more expensive essentials/statement pieces. I don't mean super expensive (I just said I need more checks) I'll still visit Forever 21 here and there, but its time for me to move on. 

 

AINT NO ZARA THOUGH.

I've always shopped at Zara but since I've ended my Forever 21 addiction its become my primary store (along with Cotton On and Urban Outfitters). Long story short, one day I went to Zara and decided to go on a binge (it was a long week). What came out of it? This entire outfit. 

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but girl why.

I have an obsession with patches right now and I've been dying to create a jacket but guess what? I haven't had time so this is the perfect backup. I've noticed that I've been drawn to trench coats and tops with longer silhouettes. and I've also realized that I can dress super basic if I just have a cool jacket. Online shopping has found its way back into my life which is how I found the shoes (thank you ASOS). I feel like my style is finally starting to evolve, now I just those checks to support it.