Let’s face it, you have times, perhaps between projects, when you’re sat there twiddling your thumbs. You’ve written your blog, made your calls, finished the washing, fed the carpet and vacuumed the cat. What to do, what to do?
First off, don’t worry. It’s too easy to get lost in a worry cloud (that’s a real psychological term, I should know, I’m married to a psychologist. Oh, wait a minute, Sara’s saying something. Right, my apologies, Sara says it’s not a real psychological term and that I just made it up. She adds that I should stop making up pseudo psychological references and attributing them to her. Oh yes, and I should stop dragging her into my articles because, her words, “I’m just trying to fill space”. Well, honestly. Although actually, this little parenthesised adventure has gone on quite long enough. Hmm. She has a point).
Where was I? Oh yes, don’t get lost in a worry cloud*. To fret over the fact that you currently have no work to do right at that very moment is a waste of time. And let’s be honest, there are far better ways to waste your time. Like going for a walk, watching a film or putting massive cardboard tubes on your arms and legs and walking around the studio pretending you’re a robot. Why not do something much more exciting?
Think of something you love and create a brand around it
This is exactly what I did just before Christmas. You see, I love graphic design but I also love science. And technology and engineering and maths. I read New Scientist every week. I love sci-fi. I even own a lab coat (ever since I dressed up as a mad professor for my son’s 5th birthday, he didn’t like it, it freaked him out. Still, I got a white lab coat so swings and roundabouts isn’t it?).
So I thought, ‘I create brands for a living, why not create a brand around my love of science?’. I needed to be a bit more specific so I decided to combine my love of illustration with that of science. And even more specifically, I wanted to create penny drop moments, those moments when your audience suddenly gets the idea (penny drop moments are one of the things I love about being a graphic designer. There are many things I love about being a graphic designer and you can read more about the things I love about being a graphic designer in my article ingeniously titled, ‘What do you love about being a graphic designer?‘).
It could be a visual pun about a microbiologist or or an illustrated article about Schrödinger’s Cat.
The point is (as much as there is a point to anything I witter on about), is that I wanted a brand under which I was free to create illustrations and/or articles that made people think. And sometimes smile.
I decided to call it Mind Rocket, for reasons that are, hopefully, obvious. There’s a case study here or you can visit the website here. But come back because I haven’t finished this article yet. No, don’t groan.
The fantastic thing about this self initiated project was that I had no one to answer to. No client. No friends. No family. Just little old me. I cannot begin to tell you how invigorating it was. I’m telling you, there’s nothing like creating your own brand to rekindle your passion for design and branding.
I even set up a Twitter account, and quickly started building an audience of science experts (even astronauts!), plus I set up a Facebook account and started to build up an audience of science students. The Facebook Page was so successful I gained around 4,500 Likes in about three weeks!
And now, I’ve relaxed the science theme to allow the Mind Rocket space to become simply somewhere I can deposit my illustrative work before sharing it throughout my social media channels to see how popular each illustration is.
Just do it
So, take those massive cardboard tubes off of your arms and legs†, get your sketch book out and start creating a brand around something you’re passionate about.
And if you do, be sure to tell me about what you’re up to in the comments below.
* terms are my own and are in no way endorsed by my wife, who is far too sensible to come up with such clap trap. But who is not quite sensible enough to not get married to me. So I guess I get the last laugh.
† if you are particularly passionate about walking around the studio like a robot then maybe you should just keep them on.