Consistency. This is on of the pillars of branding and it’s usually one of the hardest things to achieve. At some point, we’ve all made stylistic choices in our graphics that don’t necessarily fit with the rest of our visual narrative. It happened to us during the process of creating our subscriber badges. In the end, we were able to correct our course and the final product was exactly what the channel needed.
Experimenting is great when you’re starting your project, but when it comes to consolidating our initial set of brand items, it’s important to start laying down a foundation to create your brand’s visual landmarks.
Pro tip: Identify which graphic element has the highest visual hierarchy and says the most about your brand.
In the case of StarCraft streaming, there are two items that set the tone for the entire set of graphics because of how rich they are stylistic elements as well as in information display: the console overlay and the lobby overlay (also known as out game view) and the console or in game overlay. These two pieces tell the whole story of what your brand is all about, both during your broadcast and off of it.
It isn’t just about the logo, it’s also about the streamers and the games that they play. If you specialize in a game, you’ll most likely want some of your graphics to reflect that. Maybe even create something that would fit in the game’s universe. If you stream variety though, this may not be as important and most of your decisions will gravitate towards a more neutral aesthetic.
Regardless of it, identifying and creating these visual landmarks will help you not just for the present interation but for other iterations to come.
Pro tip: Remember nothing is permanent. The first iteration of your brand is meant to be updated and changed as time goes by. New technologies, new games and the growth of your content will play a critical role in making these decisions: When and how those changes will occur.
I assume by now, you’ve been pondering your project long enough. You answered the questions and did your research. You’re probably already browsing through Reddit looking for the best stream setups, configurations, and equipment.
Now, the question is, “should I design something for myself? or should I let someone else do it for me”?
This is an important question to answer. I can say from personal experience that designing for myself back when I started Grizzly Gaming was extremely gratifying. It gave me a sense of ownership that is unique to creation but this is not for everyone to do.
If you choose to design for yourself, chances are the process will happen naturally (especially if you read the first installment of the Content Creation Lab). If it doesn’t, though, there are always some common places that we can search for clues as to what’s going on:
1.- Doodle like you’ve never doodled before.
Before designing the logo for Grizzly Gaming, I went through a myriad of sketches and doodles. There are a couple of reasons for this: 1.- Create different options for yourself to choose from. 2.- Flesh out an idea that’s already very clear in your mind.
Regardless of what your motives may be, going through this process can help you boost your confidence in what you’re creating.
Pro Tip: Always keep your sketches in one place. Doodles of the past can be the great ideas of the future. Personally, I like to use sketchbooks but I sometimes will use loose sheets of paper. Set aside a folder or binder to keep them safe. Revisit your sketches from time to time to find any hidden gems of the past of just for inspiration.
2.- My obsession with perfection gets in the way of me moving forward.
If you’re already starting to sweat, take a deep breath. This happens to a lot of people. Demanding excellence from yourself can be beneficial to the process of developing a strong work ethic. But being too hard on yourself can also lead you to kill your project before it even seeing the light of day.
One of the things that took me the longest about starting my stream, was overcoming my insecurities with regards to the quality of the content I had to offer and the quality of the skills I had at the time.
Once I started though, things began to move forward quite fast. I got my first donation not long after I started streaming, my viewership started to grow and I also made new friends.
“Obsessions make my life worse but my work better”, is one of my favorite quotes of all time. But I don’t take it as a motto, but rather as a warning to keep my obsession with perfection in check in order to be able to move forward with my projects. Allow yourself to make mistakes.
Let’s all make a conscious effort to live a little…
Pro Tip for: For some people, validation from others is very important in order to make decisions and empower their vision. But don’t just go out on the streets asking random strangers. Ask your viewers and community members, as well as mentors and other professionals that you trust and could point you in the right direction. (Hit me up on Discord for input or feedback on your project!)
3.- What if I’m not ready?
Committing to a logo can be nerve-wracking to some. It’s ok to postpone this part of the process. Getting comfortable on camera, learning to speak fluently while you grind through ranked play and testing out your gear are much more important things than having a logo so, take your time! And revisit that idea when the time is right. It will come!
In the next installment, we’ll discuss how to create a consistent brand throughout all of your social media outlets, broadcasting channels and even apparel.
Logos come and go. But a brand, a brand that is loved and cared for, is meant to last. Creating a brand is not only a creative exercise. It’s also an exercise of visualization.
When a new project begins, it’s hard to know exactly where the journey will lead you. This happens to everyone who decides to embark on an entrepreneurial journey. For some, it’s easy to have a sense of direction and to navigate the waters of uncertainty with confidence. For others, it’s much more complicated than that and external validation can play a huge role for them.
Regardless of what side of the spectrum you might be on, one of the first steps entrepreneurs take is creating a logo. Logos give us a sense of identity, something to rally behind and use as our banner when subjecting your project to public scrutiny for the first time, so it’s normal for us to resort to it.
Although this would seem to be the most obvious approach, the fact of the matter is, that before we can go anywhere near a blank page, it’s important to figure out a couple of things:
1.- Why are you starting this project? 2.- Do you have a vision for the project’s future? And if so, describe it briefly.
It’s useful to write your answers in order to organize your ideas and have greater clarity. This isn’t by any means, unchangeable. The passing of time will most likely change your initial expectations.
Your vision is probably the most revealing part of this exercise, as it will help you take the first steps into your project. It’s ok if these questions turn out to have an “I don’t know” for an answer, this will tell us that maybe our project needs a bit more time before we commit to a pretty icon.
I don’t believe a logo can make you or break you as this statement is too simplistic and ignores a lot of factors related to a project’s success. But it is an element of great importance in the process of building a brand.
Let’s take the example of Team Liquid. If there’s a team that has created longevity for their brand, it’s this top tier esports organization. From its early beginning, Team Liquid’s logo hasn’t actually changed much. But the strength of its brand has grown throughout the years. From mere observation we can infer that Team Liquid has great clarity of what their values are. This is something that permiates their branding (web design, apparel) but also their choice of players and esports professionals.
Could you imagine some of their most iconic players like TLO, sporting any other jersey? Probably not. The return of Taeja to StarCraft happened under his former team’s banner. When you see a Team Liquid jersey on a Team Liquid player, a lot of things come to mind. Victory, honor, commitment, work ethic. The elegant lines, the bold color blocking paired with a sober color palette. This is not an accident, these are deliberate choices. And said choices seem deliberate to the spectator because of that clarity of ideas.
This is what we want to communicate from the very beginning. It doesn’t matter if Day 1 is just one or two nerds with a dream. Having a clear sense of identity from the get go will naturally influence your decision making and take you to make better decisions.
Once our vision is clearly stated, individually or as a collective, it’s easier to brainstorm what your logo will look like.
There are many factors to consider beyond aesthetic. Things like personality and character are often overlooked and this is something that well developed brands know very well from the get go. It’s useful to think in terms of adjectives when trying to define what you want your brand to be.
But Grizzly, what if I’m the brand?
In the case of branding for individuals as opposed to organizations, the approach is a little different. When the brand is conceptually linked to an individual, the inspiration will be drawn from his/her personality traits. Careful, though. There’s a difference between who we are and who we wish we were. Our goal here is to make of this project something sustainable in the long run. Being true to one’s identity helps achieve this goal. You brand should reflect you as honestly as possible.
Ready to get started?
In the next post, we’ll discuss the process of creating the right logo for your brand.