+ A branding test!
If you are someone who…
- Makes art and has a business
- Makes art and doesn’t have a business
…you have a brand. It doesn’t matter if you sell your art or if you don’t, you still have a sweet little package that contains your personality and art. You may never have labeled it. You may never have thought about it. But the word “brand” still applies.
Why? Because the way you define your style makes up your brand.
I want this to be a really practical look at how to figure out your brand, because I’m a little tired of not having a roadmap myself.
In the climate of today’s art world, the people who can move between an art-mind…
…and a business-mind are the artists who succeed.
I want everyone to have the best chance of survival, because I want the best art to shine. So let’s all get up to snuff on branding.
Here are the steps that I find most valuable:
- Define the visual style of your art.
- Define the conceptual style of your art.
- Define your personality.
- Write an artist statement containing two sentences for each of the following topics: What you create, how you create, and why you create.
- If you have multiple ways of creating, do this for each one separately.
- Diversify your content. Figure out how to put your branding keywords into more of the content you produce.
The first four items on the branding to-do list are simple. Writing out lists of words is the most basic level of branding 101. Figure out what words you identify with. Keep them close.
The fifth task is more difficult. After all, if we understood intuitively where to pour our energy, we’d all be wealthy, working artists.
I believe the key to a successful brand is to put passion first. It might sound woo-woo, and a little too on-the-nose for this blog, but it’s the real deal. If everything you create (art and business wise) go back to your passion, you will build a brand that lasts.
Branding gets a bad reputation because it insinuates, at least to me, the idea that we are all acting in order to get attention. Branding makes artists seem like sell-outs. This is a topic I feel very strongly about.
But in effect, all branding does is give a container to a mess of could-bes.
Your art and your personality are messy. Everyone’s is. That’s life. And humans naturally search for containers for the mess. Literally and figuratively. We put toys in bins, we organize our pantries. We compartmentalize trauma and we let joy move to the forefront. We love personality tests because it makes us feel understood, but also because it categorizes us and that feels good.
So branding makes sense to me. I think of it as my own, made-up personality test for my art.
In that spirit, here is a test I want you to take.
Answer with the word you most identify with:
- Are you more spontaneous or structured?
- Is your art visually more dark or light?
- Is your art conceptually more deep or surface?
- Do you enjoy monochrome or color?
- Is your personality more bubbly or subdued?
- Are you more inclined to share or to hide?
- Do you want people to feel hope when they see your work or sorrow?
- Do you produce work fast or slow?
- Are you more about product or process?
- Is your work detailed or big-picture?
- Is your work for the realists or the dreamers?
- Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Here are my answers. Share yours below!!
- Are you more spontaneous or structured? Structured
- Is your art visually more dark or light? Dark
- Is your art conceptually more deep or surface? Deep
- Do you enjoy monochrome or color? Monochrome
- Is your personality more bubbly or subdued? Bubbly
- Are you more inclined to share or to hide? Share
- Do you want people to feel hope when they see your work or sorrow? Both
- Do you produce work fast or slow? Fast
- Are you more about product or process? Process
- Is your work detailed or big-picture? Big-picture
- Is your work for the realists or the dreamers? Dreamers
- Are you an introvert or extrovert? Introvert
By asking either/or questions, you can begin to narrow in on your brand without stressing yourself out. It’s easier to think in terms of yes or no sometimes instead of the wide sweep of WHAT IS MY BRAND.
In fact, do this with a friend. Go through as many questions are you can think of that are yay/nay questions so that you can workshop together some of the finer points of your brands.
Let’s go back to the idea of a passion-based brand.
If you know how you operate naturally, you are already working under a passion-based brand, assuming how you work naturally is how you are working.
A passion-based brand is a brand where all elements and choices relate back to your core passion. For example, every single thing that I put out there, be it behind the scenes content, images, videos, jobs I take, etc., are all conscious choices made because I love to do them. They also all feature things that I love to do.
The goal of a passion-based brand is to make sure your actions (ie: what you put out there, in all forms) aligns with your content (what you create).
Share your test with us in the comments and let me know if you have any questions about branding. I’d love to create a follow-up post about this, and maybe even an online seminar!