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.
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.
This post was written many moons ago, but I wanted to keep it as raw and at the moment as possible, for which I decided not to edit anything regarding the time at which this was written.
I’m writing live from work at the moment and I can’t wait to get home and play some StarCraft (this is my life now…).
I’ve been sneaking in some writing time between classes to work on this blog and make this all the more exciting, rich and worthy of your time.
I have to say that right now, life’s pretty great and I believe that after so many delays, issues and “To Do’s”, I finally feel like the train is back on track and marching as smoothly as ever. Which also means I’ve been able to give the whole GrizzlyGaming endeavour some more love.
Although everything in life is moving forward and towards our goals, I have to admit I’ve had some difficult times as well. Times at which I have doubted myself and the relevance of my own existence. It’s a dark place to walk through and slowly but surely, I’m making my way out of that tunnel.
In a way, the experience was very similar to what I was currently dealing with in StarCraft. Like an endless fight in the dark.
Lately, I’ve been working harder than ever before. Feeling the dream of Blizzcon so close has given me a strength and will that I wish I’d had much earlier in life to pursue this dream. But, better late than never.
Despite the struggle, I’m feeling stronger day by day and the setbacks are becoming more scarce.
Also, I’ve been making some important decisions regarding my life goals and where I want my passion for StarCraft to take me. But, that is a subject for another journal entry.
In the meantime, I wish you all a fantastic day and I take this opportunity to let you guys know that, if you ever need someone to talk to, I’ll do my best to share some of my time with you. Also, there are some amazing people in the GrizzlyGaming community, so feel safe to hop on our Discord and share a bit of yourself with us.