The Evolution of my Personal Brand – Corporate ID or Personal Name

My new homepage is coded and up at www.jekkilekki.com Give it a look and let me know what you think.  So far, it hasn’t been “fixed” for Internet Explorer, so if you use IE for browsing, it won’t look good as all the parts will be out of position.

The Evolution of my Homepage

Recently, I’ve been doing a healthy bit of reading on www.davidairey.com There is a lot of good stuff there for designers and David specializes in Logo design and branding.  I was particularly interested in his post “The 30 month evolution of my online graphic design portfolio” as I’ve also been going through a bit of a similar evolution myself.  You can see my previous attempts at creating an online presence at the following locations:

All of these, with the exception of My Schedule, and New Homepage lack any real focus.  I like My Schedule because it was my first attempt at making a very focused site and using it for only one purpose (and also my first try at actual HTML, Javascript, and CSS myself).  Although hasn’t been updated recently, I’m still partial to it’s style and function.  My New Homepage will focus on my Portfolio and Blog and things I’ve learned along the way.

The Evolution of my Personal Brand

It may seem odd that I’ve labeled my New Homepage with my name: Aaron Snowberger but it’s currently hosted at www.jekkilekki.com The reason for this is that I also, like David Airey, played around for a while with the idea that I should try to create a corporate identity and company name under which I could work (David used “New Dawn Graphics” for about a year and a half).  Jekkilekki is simply a user-name that I came up with years ago in college as a unique Hotmail address.  The name is original and has stuck with me since then.

You can see some of my Photoshop attempts at branding myself in a corporate manner below:

jekkilekkicon

My “JekkiLekki Media” icon uses a Font-type called “Exceed” because it looks rather futuristic and the J and L letters are mirror images of each other.  I sketched an alien head on a napkin where the J was the left eye-part and L was the right-eye part of a helmet.  I liked it, so I drew it up in Photoshop, and this was the result.  I even used this icon on the most recent site I built for PD Martin.  Her site is going through CMS code-work now, but my code and test site (with Jekkilekki logo) are up at this location.

ariongicon

The “Ariong” logo was my second thought for corporate branding, and a cool name I like.  My Japanese friend gave me Kanji “Ah” and “Ron” meaning “Asian” and “Dragon” respectively.  I live in Korea and the Japanese sounds just like my name Aaron -> Ah-ron.  In Korean, the same Kanji are pronounced “Ah” and “Ryong” and I changed the Y to an I in this logo.  The top two characters in the blue box are the Kanji, and the bottom two are the Korean.  That shape is very much like a traditional stamp pen that everyone used for signing documents and as identification, so I like that look a lot.  I chose a Korean font (from my Korean computer at work) for the English because I liked that  greater than and less than symbols (<, >) looked narrower than other fonts.

I recently created a new email address that used my own name rather than “Jekkilekki.”  I created this to present myself in a more professional light to grad schools I applied to and potential employers I sent my resume to.  “Jekkilekki” while memorable isn’t nearly as professional feeling as my own name -> and when I get on my “named” account, I feel much more professional reading and replying to my mail.

On a side note, I was reading something online about how everyone is literally a walking advertisement of themselves: we are all our own personal brand.  Every time we meet new people, make friends, get a new job, we are selling ourselves to those new people, so we all have a “personal brand” whether or not we know it or admit it.

Therefore, rather than trying to jump through various legal loopholes involved with establishing and registering a business name and corporate identity, I decided I’d just try to stick with my own name and create and establish my own brand based on my own name.  (But I’ve never been really thrilled with my last name -> I think it’s just too long, but maybe I can do something unique with it that would help me out).

Below, you can see my first attempt at using my own name in a logo:

aaronicon

After a number of sketches on paper, I decided I really liked how I signed my name, particularly the “A” and” S”.  However, I’d never sketched them together before, so I started playing with a few variations.  After a while, I ended up with an “AS” that looked like a star that was at an angle.  I decided to go with that because it was unique.

However, I’ve always that that stars were overused (and not done well) in logos, so I tried something different with a purple star above it and to the left (I didn’t want to overplay the star in my letters, but I also didn’t want to totally ignore the fact that it looked like a star).  I added a few other cool things to it and chose the “Eras Light” font because I like the smooth, professional, simple and THIN look of it.  I added some spaces in front of my last name so the “O” on my first and last name line up, almost like a figure-8.

What about you?

What do you think of my initial designs?  And what do you think is better: to create a name under which to do business, or to just use your own name?  Which is more effective for a solo designer, which is better for a company (i.e. Snowberger and Associates or something)?  Let me know what you think.

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