Brand: Me

I like to consider myself from a brand perspective, in terms of how I represent myself, especially online. For example, the look and content of my Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram all have a considered aesthetic – I like to make sure what I post contributes positively to how I aim to be seen.

From a graphic design aspect, I’ve dabbled in designs for my own personal logo a number of times. Since I am always learning, exploring and broadening my tastes I haven’t locked anything in before (I still have a few part-time years at uni left). Therefore, I answered questions on Logo Tournament to prompt me to think a little more formally about the type of logo I’d like to create for myself.

I would like to use my real name as my business name, so I opt to name it Stephanie Brink Graphic Design. My target audience would be any business or individual requiring good quality graphic design solutions.

What are the top 3 things I’d like to communicate to my audience through my logo?
Simplicity, quality and reliability.

What style of logo?
I’m leaning towards a wordmark (company name in a stylised type which may include abstract or pictorial elements) or letterform mark (very small amount of letters to represent the business).

What colours would I like to use?
Ideally, none. I’d like a neutral design, black and white, possibly grey or a spot of natural colour if necessary.

Do I have any logo ideas or additional information?
Firstly, I am a little obsessed with the Trivia Serif typeface. I love classic, timeless logos like that of Vogue, and Trivia Serif reminds me of it.

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Image credit: My Fonts

I also scoured Pinterest for logos that align with the look I want to achieve and found these: (images are links to original source)
logo3
logo1

logo2

I have utilised the sliders below (courtesy of Logo Tournament) to help describe how I want to communicate my personal brand.

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Finally, the below logo is what I have come up with:
SB logo

I enjoy this design as it is sleek and simple. As they say, simple is hard – and this design actually took me a while to complete! I like the use of lines and negative space to essentially create a puzzle where the viewers mind must complete the picture. I incorporated the Trivia Serif Bold typeface with Lane Narrow. I like the quiet and subtle feel it creates, while the use of serif and sans-serif type together (and the bold/light contrast) proves how well the two can work in harmony. They also reflect two different types of graphic design – print (serif) and web (sans-serif).

As the above design doesn’t display my whole business name, it could also be used in conjunction with the below typography (for my website and business card). Please note: the serif typeface below is actually Baskerville – I only used this in place of Trivia Serif Regular which I haven’t purchased yet (I only purchased the bold version for my logo).

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Below is an example of my logo being used on a template CV I created.
Resume
I opted to keep it formal and optimise the use of white space. I often overcrowd documents with information so this was an ideal opportunity for me to explore a more minimal design. I made use of two typefaces, Baskerville and Univers – ideally though, I would use Trivia Serif Regular with Univers (Univers is more legible than Lane Narrow, which is a more stylised sans-serif type). I like how this CV design combines both a modern and traditional look – much like my logo!

Personality and the professional environment

I took the personality test based on Jung and Briggs Myer typological approach to psychology and received the following personality result:

  • Extravert (11%) I have slight preference of extraversion over introversion.
  • INtuitive (50%) I have moderate preference of intuition over sensing.
  • Thinking (1%) I have marginal or no preference of thinking over feeling.
  • Judging (44%) I have moderate preference of judging over perceiving.

Result: ENTJ

Personality Summary: As summarised by 16 Personalities, ENTJ’s are natural leaders. They are rational thinkers with sharp minds who aim to achieve whatever goals they set. As a result of their extroverted nature, they are confident and charismatic and can effortlessly encourage others to get behind a common goal. They find emotional expression difficult and can often crush the feelings of their more sensitive counterparts. Being powerhouses, in a professional environment ENTJ’s often need to remember their stature comes from having a solid team and therefore, should remember to recognise the contributions of others. ENTJs have no problem adopting a “fake it ’til you make it” mentality.

Famous ENTJs: (Images are links to original image source)

SteveJobs
franklin-d-roosevelt
richard-nixon
Margaret-Thatcher-BW
1556690_Actor_Panel_KDM_
steve martin

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple Inc.

The ENTJ strengths are listed as efficient, strong-willed, strategic thinker, energetic and self-confident. The weaknesses are listed as stubborn, intolerant, impatient, arrogant and cold/ruthless.

In ways I am a little disappointed the results didn’t link to anything specifically creative. Although, I do debate whether creativity needs to arise from a free-spirit personality type – as there can be method in creativity. Creativity can also come in many different forms, in terms of thinking outside the box – consider innovation, evolution and revolution.

In all honesty I can’t argue with this personality assessment, as it mentions quite a few traits that resonate with me. I would describe myself as someone who always strives to do well. I also love nothing more than to absorb the knowledge of others – I like to learn and understand I don’t always have the answers. It may be cliche but there is a Confucius saying I appreciate, “True wisdom is knowing what you don’t know“.

Additionally, on occasion I also recognise the flaws in my personality when I refuse to understand different people’s perspectives. Sometimes when I’ve made my decision I’m hard to sway as I believe my collation of knowledge has led me to a specific path – so can agree with the ENTJ weaknesses and is something I am already conscious of and working on.

I’m glad to see there are actors that share the ENTJ personality type, as it shows me that creativity can be generated from sharp minds. Though that’s not to say the above listed politicians weren’t innovative, evolutionary or revolutionary – they found solutions to problems and that is something I can relate to (I’m already thinking about design briefs)! They were also strategic thinkers, strong-willed and efficient – something I aim to be while completing full-time work and part-time study.

Unfortunately, I think being an ENTJ also makes me overly critical of my own work – in terms of never thinking it’s good enough and feeling pressured to immediately reach the ‘wonderful’ end result without always respecting the process.

I think this personality type makes me more of a manager than a team member, though I would rather be a team member so I can train myself to be more of a team player – the thought of being inflexible worries me! I’m gathering I would work better in a global agency rather than a small studio as it seems ENTJs may have ambition that cannot be satisfied by working for a small studio – though I haven’t thought about it like that before.

Something that inspires me as a designer

An object that inspires me and continues to ignite my interest in graphic design is a particular art print I was gifted from a good friend. It is by an Australian studio, Three of the Possessed and is a lion’s face made up of a series of geometric shapes, named Wild Neon (available at Society6).

lion

In this design, I like the use of flat shapes (triangles and polygons) and colour to form a three dimensional object. I appreciate the roots of geometry and how shape, size, the relative position of objects and the properties of space can be used in a graphic sense to create depth and bring a flat surface to life. I especially like how a range of colours are incorporated in this piece, from bright to dark to pastel tones, and how contrast is achieved by using different shades of similar colours. I also like the how the essence of the animal is not lost in the abstractness.

My interest in graphic design arose from my interest in art, so it was pretty effortless for vector-based art to appeal to me. I like how geometric art can be used in many forms of design such as textile, architecture and typography as well.

Some more designs from the same studio that I love are shown below respectively: Island at Sea, September 1927 (throw pillow) and Love Will Tear Us Apart. The abstract, modern and prismatic nature of these designs perpetuate my interest.

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Image credit: Society6

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Image credit: Society6

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Image credit: Society6

As a result, this style has influenced my graphic design on a couple of occasions. The first being when I created packaging for a door key, in the form of a 10cm high garden gnome (note: for this particular piece, creativity took precedence over packaging excessiveness).

I focused on an untraditional garden gnome look, opting for triangular and rectangular prisms over cylinders and spheres. It created a more abstract twist and gave the gnome another unexpected dimension.

Gnome 2

Gnome key

Another piece influenced by geometric style was my redesign of the Groovin The Moo (GTM) website (concept only). I wanted to create something that was modern and reflected the essence of the festival. Cattleyard (the event manager) described the GTM name as “nonsensical but unforgettable” and that’s something I wanted to communicate in my design – and I think abstract, geometric art achieves this!

GTM site

I think geometric style reflects the part of my personality that likes to think outside the box. The abstractness, the illusions, the dimensions, all encourage me to look beyond the obvious – it reminds me that things don’t always have to appear as they seem.

How to tell the difference between a real and fake Benefit They’re Real mascara

If you’re like me and have a thing for some of the finer cosmetics in life, you would agree that when you buy high-end makeup you do so for the quality and not to publicly show off the brand (after all, no one sees Benefit stamped on your lashes)! Therefore, it can be disheartening to receive a counterfeit product when you think you’ve made that high-end purchase. The packaging is extremely convincing and similar, and whether you’re a first-time purchaser or questioning whether your favourite mascara has perhaps changed, here are some sure signs showing the differences between an authentic Benefit They’re Real mascara and a fake.

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Image credit: Benefit Cosmetics

The first sign is the colour of the mascara tube. The authentic product utilises a bright, silver-coloured coating on both the body and cap of the tube (it is not metal, but looks it), whereas the fake tube is two-toned, the body appearing more of a purple/grey-coloured silver and the lid appearing more of an oyster-coloured silver. The signature, radiant orange of the lettering ‘Real!’ is also extremely underwhelming, appearing more of a dull-peach tone. Can you already pick the differences in the pictures below?

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The base of the tube displays different labels, and the fake tube contains an obvious indented line through the plastic.

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Upon unscrewing the mascara there is a key difference in the screw-top mechanism and look. The real mascara has a black screw-top, only containing one, raised ridge the entire way round. Whereas the fake mascara utilises the same colour as the body of the tube, and has the raised ridge wrap-around approximately 2-3 times.

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There is also a significant variance in weight. As soon as I picked up the fake mascara it felt unusually light for a brand new product. The real mascara weighed in at approximately 26 grams, whereas the fake mascara weighed in at approximately 17 grams, both unused.

The weight variance also made me wonder what products were actually used in the fake mascara. Benefit Cosmetics displays the ingredient list on the mascara box, yet doesn’t display quantities (ie the mascara recipe). Therefore, did the manufacturer of the fake mascara use exactly the same ingredients, and if so in what quantities? If not, what ingredients make up this fake mascara?! I was definitely wary about putting it anywhere near my eyes, especially when the product came out like pictured below.

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The mascara looks thick and gluggy, actually a lot like tar. It is stringy and clings to the brush bristles. It also smells sickeningly, sweet and peachy. The fake mascara has been opened a few days now, and the sickeningly sweet smell is changing to more of a paint-like smell – also a concerning indicator of the ingredients used. The genuine They’re Real mascara does not have a sickly sweet smell, it has a usual mascara smell. I would describe it as more of a marker smell, though only at about 10% of the pungency of that – it is not unpleasant nor concerning.

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That’s a summary of the key differences I found between the fake They’re Real mascara and the authentic They’re Real mascara. As Benefit’s retail price of the They’re Real mascara is USD $23.00, if you’re purchasing off a website such as eBay for a price less than that, chances are the deal may in fact be too good to be true. Benefit They’re Real retails in Australia for AUD $38.00, so it is quite pricey. The safest place to purchase a genuine They’re Real mascara is from www.benefitcosmetics.com, they have free postage to Australia for purchases over $125 (which they sometimes lower for limited periods), or from www.myer.com.au.




How have digital platforms changed PR strategies and how do they interact with non-digital platforms?

Public relations (PR) as defined by Pembroke (2013), is vital to effective communication, being the “deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain a mutual understanding between an organisation or individual and its publics”.

Digital platforms have changed PR strategies as they give organisations further tools to engage with their audience. They grant self-publishing rights and give organisations the opportunity to ‘own’ their media channels. Organisations no longer have to rely on traditional media coverage through media entities to reach their audience (Pembroke 2013), which signifies a great cost reduction too. There are minimal distribution limits to digital platforms: information can spread rapidly and interaction can be achieved instantly.

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Image credit: Pop Results
Information can be shared and interaction can be achieved at the click of a button.

Digital platforms facilitate digital storytelling, where an organisation can be an observer, participator, researcher, facilitator, curator and storyteller (Burgess & Vivienne 2013). Digital storytelling is the fastest way to achieve mass communication, as organisations are able to observe the interplay, agreements and disagreements of their audience. It allows for active and passive research, as organisations are able to both ask and learn about their audience (Blank 2010). This is also similar to the way journalism has evolved in the digital world. Journalists are no longer reporting to a passive audience, as readers are able to engage with the content to become a participator, researcher and curator, not only an observer.

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Brisbane-based online clothing store, Black Milk Clothing, encourages customers to post photos on Instagram, wearing their clothing purchase and utilising a corresponding hashtag. Black Milk then links (and curates) these posts to their website, so potential buyers can readily see what their pieces look like on other customers.

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British makeup brand, Illamasqua, utilises a YouTube account to publish video tutorials using their makeup. This shows their customers practical and creative uses for their products and gives Illamasqua the opportunity to listen to feedback and interact with their audience.

Digital is different as the interaction happens extremely quickly and publicly. Any delay in communication can have a negative impact on the audience, and as Norton (2013) suggests, an internal approval system for digital correspondence is ill-fitted to the speed at which digital operates. Organisations, therefore, need to be properly equipped and responsive concerning their digital presence.

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Hertz have social media staff employed 24/7 to focus on customer enquiries, compliments and complaints received via Twitter.

Digital is also different as the reach and level of engagement can be measured via data in terms of effectiveness. Pembroke (2013) states “analytics on websites show how long people stayed on the page, where they visited from, if comments were left and what other pages they visited”. Therefore, the success of an organisation’s digital engagement aims, objectives and outcomes can be evaluated through the: reach – the number of people who saw the message; interest – the number of people interested enough to engage in some way (share, like, comment); and influence ­– the number of people driven to take secondary action (e.g. sign a petition or enter a competition) (Norton 2013).

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Birdsong, a social media reconnaissance tool, displays an insight into the success of Redbull’s Facebook engagement.

Digital platforms can interact with non-digital platforms where the audience is driven from the non-digital, to the digital, via a call to action. A good example is through a QR (quick reference) code – a two-dimensional barcode that is a visual representation of a web address. Organisations can utilise non-digital platforms such as product packaging to drive customers to engage with the brand online – continuing the storytelling.

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Coca-Cola (Coke) German cans were printed with a QR code that referred customers to their Spring campaign webpage, where Coke planned to release details of exclusive, one-time only, music shows in German cities.

Digital newspapers are also a different example of digital interacting with the non-digital. Online versions of newspapers and entirely digital newspapers are becoming more common. For example, Guardian Australia is a solely digital newspaper.

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Guardian Australia puts their readers at the “heart of what they do” and encourages suggestions, corrections, clarification, engagement and debate.

Overall, digital platforms drive organisations to reconsider how they communicate. Digital has evolved PR strategies through granting organisations effective avenues to market their content, measure their success and adjust their approach to remain relevant to the audience.

References