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IXD103 – Personal Brand Development and Research

I started with the core values I want to represent with my personal brand and these should come from the best values I have. I want the main core value to be passionate as that is biggest quality I feel towards art and design and making it my career. From the list I generated I chose 5 things as the core values of my brand:

  • Passionate
  • Friendly
  • Simple
  • Honest
  • Professional

I researched existing personal brands without any idea of what I wanted to create other than using my initials in some way. I found some inspiration on dribbble of letterforms and an interesting image of how a kettlebell logo was made.

Logo Ideas

Normally the sketching stage I can generate lots of useful ideas before taking it to the digital step. This time round I found it really hard and after just a few ideas I began experimenting on Illustrator and found it much easier to bounce off different ideas.

The first ideas I came up with were made up of the initials of my full name Alanna Lee McKenna. The three triangles form a sort of M but also have an A present in the absent space between the element. I thought this one worked quite well. However, growing up I have always taken my mums name instead of my legal name which is something I have always disliked and after a while trying out different things I wanted to create something that had meaning to me.

This is when I explored creating a logo of a cat for my personal brand. Recently I lost my childhood pet and creating my brand based around a black cat is something that would give meaning to the visual identity that I will create. More than if my brand consisted of my name. I got back to researching logos and illustrations based around a cat.

Inspiration/Mood Board

Designing A Logo

I first created some linework of the silhouette of a cat based from inspiration from my research.

I built on the second idea and drew the rest of the outline leaving the bottom empty to add the wordmark of my brand which I decided to name Black Cat. I tried a number of different fonts and felt that Matura MT Script worked best as the top part of the B blended well into the line.

The word mark also fits well stacked onto of each other which keeps everything centred for the logo with the icon. I think I can use both the horizontal wordmark and the stacked wordmark . Although I had fallen on the logo that I wanted pretty early on in idea generation, I still wanted to try out a few more ideas and play around with the idea of a geometric style cat for the logo. I added a gradient to the shapes in order to give it a metallic gold feel.

Below, I combined the idea if getting my initials into the cat logo.

Going back to the line drawing, I took the head and wondered if they joined together. I used join points on Illustrator and took the form it made and created a a repeating pattern from it, experimenting with different stroke weights. I like how the pattern that isnt contained within the black background looks like its almost melting at an angle.

Now that I had my logo, wordmark and pattern, I started experimenting with this metallic gradient. I like how it looks but I prefer the solid yellow colour, with the intention of it looking gold for a professional and luxurious feel to the branding. For smaller versions of the word mark I used the initials of black cat together that may work well in places like the bottom of a leaflet, or as a signature on some artwork.

Some other elements I had on my artboard. I liked these flower Icon for a potential logo idea and I tried it in the same colour scheme as Black Cat as a potential additional graphic for the brand but it doesnt really apply.

This was another idea I had when trying out something to do  with a cat. It had potential but I would’ve had to expand further on this.

Brand Guidelines

Unlike my commercial brand guidelines, I wanted to create a simple set of guidelines especially since I used way less colours this time round. I really like the final version of all the brand elements when pulled together on a set of screens like this. I’m happy with the hierarchy on many of the pages and I don’t feel like there is too many things on one page, which is inline of my values of being simple and professional. I often finding myself doing way too much in terms of graphics to try and make something look good but this time round I tried to refine it down to the basics and necessary  elements, which I think worked out well.


For main headings and titles I chose to go with a condensed font as I like how slick it looks and is thick in weight without taking up too much space. For body’s of text, I went with Century Gothic which is wider, which creates a nice contrast between the typography. I also choose it because I  like the roundedness of the font and how easily readable it is.

Brand Rollout

Some of the mockups I made may not necessarily be touchpoints that my brand will have, like the record, but it was still fun to apply my branding. The touchpoints of my brand will be the likes of a notebook, hoodie, stickers and stationary.

link to personal brand guidelines pdf: Alanna Lee- Personal Brand


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