Most of us get the idea of personal brand when it comes to dressing. But think broader for a moment. We’re telling the world who we are in a host of other ways – our business card and stationery and even our email auto-signature. In the first blog of the Personal Brand series, I interview Esin Nalbantaglu, my designer. She runs Atelo, a design agency, in Istanbul, Turkey.
Can your digital presence be a reflection of your style?
“How you look says a lot about you. But style doesn’t just apply to your appearance. It’s also the world that you create around you – which includes your digital presence.”
“Every visual tool is an opportunity to convince people about you and the services you offer, if you’re an entrepreneur. Creating an identity system is as important as the quality of your services. The visuals that encapsulate your personal brand will be your ambassadors, even when you’re not around. Figure out what your message is, and then use your platforms of choice to convey it.”
Do we still need business cards?
“Definitely! The digital era is here to stay, but don’t underestimate the power of a great business card. It’s one of the most important physical touch points. It shows people what you’re about when they first meet you.”
“Your business card should be a talking point, something that captures the receiver’s attention. That might be done through paper quality, shape, or simply through the visuals – or a combination of these things. A good printer is a must. When offset printing is out of your budget, try a remote printer like Moo.
Also, try changing the way you think about business cards. They’re not only for providing information, especially if you’re self-employed. Business cards (and any stationery you use) say something about you and what it would be like to work with you. A great business card gives people a feeling, a mood. Bear in mind that your card doesn’t have to be complicated to attract attention. Sometimes the subtlest touches can have the greatest impact.”
That’s what we did with my business cards – can you explain for our readers?
“Because your company motto is about being amazing, and standing out, I chose 50 different visuals where one object was different than the rest: one red tulip growing in a field of yellow ones, for example; or a sea of cardboard boxes, all closed, and one is open. I’m sure your clients have fun choosing one – it becomes a talking point.”
Any websites you can recommend to stoke our business card creativity?
“Try Lovely Stationery for some cool ideas. I didn’t design these ones, but here’s a few samples of ones I really like.”
What about email auto-signatures?
“People often miss this trick, or underutilize it. Your email signature is a digital business card. It should reflect the same visual language (logo, font, colour, tone) as your website and other visuals, while tools such as presentations and direct mail pieces can branch out a bit.
An email signature can add humour, wit and sass to your communications. You can change it as often as you like, so it’s an opportunity to add quotes, phrases or visuals that convey any message you want to send.”
I love your title on your email auto-signature. It makes me smile.
“Thank you. My title is Creative Person.”
Why should we entrepreneurs hire a design professional?
“Depending on the services you offer, you should select the correct media to apply your design concept. Hiring a professional designer will help you to homogenize your identity system throughout all the correct media, so that your brand is not just a logo, but a complete identity system. Every touch point is an opportunity to speak your message and to carve out an overall image that will make a lasting impression.”
Finally, could we see some samples of YOUR business card, stationery and other visuals?