Oh hey y’all. (If I knew how to read my analytics report, I could probably refer to all 12 of you by name)
If you follow me on Instagram — and I’m guessing you do because how on earth would you ever find this site otherwise! I’m illiterate in SEO — you’ve probably heard that I’m trying to rebrand Design Squeeze. Or just brand, because let’s face it, I never really got around to that in the first place.
Branding is hard. It’s like really, really hard. It’s so much more than a visual identity. Logo? Nope don’t have one yet. It’s only been 2 years. Brand standards? HA! I said I don’t even have a logo. And then you want me to develop my core values, my mission statement and my WHY?
But, if I ever want to create a life that doesn’t make me dread the day, I am going to have to start defining what this business is and who it’s for. Yes, I am a graphic designer. But do I want Design Squeeze to be a graphic design business? Not really, if I’m being honest.
When I first realized I was not branding myself correctly
I was asked a few weeks ago to design a logo for a karate company and I said no. I’m not a huge fan of designing for the sake of designing. Yes, if I was freelancing full time and needed the income, I’d do it. But part of the reason I’m staying at my day job is so I have the luxury of only taking on the type of freelance work I am passionate about. And sorry, karate doesn’t cut it for me.
But what’s even more important is that someone asked me to design a logo for their karate company. And they really shouldn’t have. They should’ve been able to look at my website, my Instagram, my portfolio and realize that I’m not the person to go to for logo work. That’s not my specialty. It’s not what sets my soul on fire. And if you want a really well-designed logo for your karate company, you should go to a designer that breathes that kind of work. You’ll get a kick ass logo.
You see the problem? My website is currently serving as little more than a blog. I need a landing page that introduces Design Squeeze and my services. I need services! I need a portfolio of work that expresses my style and my scope. I need professional photography of myself and my work. I need to invest in a developer. No more trying to hack it myself with my amateur coding skills. No more settling because I can only work within my WordPress theme that I paid $59 for.
I want whoever comes to the site to know exactly what I do, who I do it for and why I do it differently. I want to start taking myself seriously as a business owner and not just as some unhappy graphic designer with an iPhone and an instagram account who likes to paint after work and occasionally gets paid for it.
So, that’s where I am.
I know what I need to flush out, but I don’t know the answers.
So…What Do I Not Want To Do?
Part of me deperately wants out of the graphic design world. I want to start focusing more on making things with my hands. I’m bored out of my damn mind setting up some law firm’s basic business cards where we go back and forth because they can’t decide if they want to label the number as main or direct. And if I never have to design a trade show booth for some big insurance/medical/financial conference again, I’ll be a happy camper. I don’t want to design your annual impact report unless your company really, really aligns with my aesthetics. I don’t want to go through multiple rounds of revisions with clients that don’t value my input or my expertise, resulting in projects I would never put in my portfolio.
I have NO interest in web design. Like, none. I want as far away from my computer as possible during the creative process. I would like to only come here to blog and to edit my hand painted work digitally. But other than that, I’m tired of this computer-heavy world I’m currently living in.
And Now, What Do I Want To Do?
Part of me wants to only offer design, handlettering and watercolor for the wedding/event industry. Custom bespoke invitations, signage, place cards, etc. I want to get really niche. Really specific. I want to collaborate with wedding planners and photographers for custom features and styled shoots. I want people to see my work and recognize it as Design Squeeze. I want to be a destination that brides think of when planning their weddings. I want people to be excited to work with me.
Part of me wants to offer more illustration and really try to make a name for myself as an illustrator with a colorful, whimsical style. I want to focus on greeting cards and prints. Children’s books and patterns that could be used in product design. Like making fabric out of my illustrations and ending up in the Land of Nod catalog as adorable sheets or pillow shams. Or starting smaller and possibly getting some prints stocked at local boutiques, like Frances.
Part of me wants to only offer customizable design templates online. I’d never have to meet with clients or worry about timelines and deliverables. It would all just be online. Etsy, Creative Market, Minted, etc. Buy it if you like it. Easy peasy. Passive income and all that jazz. I’d spend my days coming up with more content to post online and could even start doing watercolor calligraphy workshops locally and video tutorials.
Part of me wants to quit my job and work part-time at Anthropologie while I figure this shit out. At least I’d be surrounded by beautiful inspiration while sorting through this mess.
Part of me wants to flip a house with Matt and my dad. Document the whole thing on video and make a youtube series just for fun. Get my head away from this for awhile altogether. Maybe I need to step away for a bit and focus on a new project that has nothing to do with any of this but still let’s me be creative. Just take a break from my life as it is. Get out of this rut. Put in some physical labor.
Part of me wants to say to hell with this and go watch Netflix…
I don’t know when I’m going to get where I need to go. I don’t even know where I’m going. But I do know that I am literally the only person who can get me there.
And that’s scary. It’s also kind of incredible.