Brand YOU: Creating Your Personal Brand Image

Part of my frustration with my job search/career aspirations/daydreaming is that I’ve been struggling with getting my name out there, so that’s I’m not necessarily swimming in the cattle call that is craigslist postings, “career recruiters” and public job boards. So when I saw the School of Visual Concepts offer a class called, “Brand YOU”, I quickly signed up. I figured I’d get some tips on rewriting my resume, how to better position myself online, and a bunch of other tips that would help me find a job. 

Boy, was I off base. But in a fantastically good way.

Led by the energetic and charismatic Lynette Xanders, Brand YOU was less about creating a superficial brand that you show to the public, and more about finding what exactly I wanted out of life to be happy, and how to know when I got there. We talked about the Enemies of Creativity, and how to fight them. She had us write down of our perceptions of Business People and Creative People, then showed us how we should take the best qualities from both. Conceptually, this was worlds beyond learning how to write a resume. I quickly realized this had the potential to be a life-changing exercise. I was all in. 

One of the challenges that really stuck out with me was the process of removing obstacles to your creativity. In my case, the obstacle was quite literal-I kept a sloppy workspace. When it came time to work, I often had to clear a path on my desk so I had room for my keyboard and Wacom tablet. On my desk was a mishmash of hard drives, trinkets, cups of pencils, post-its, and just general clutter. The office itself was filled with Ohio State trinkets, printers, tablets, mice, books, and old Communication Arts magazines from the early 2000s. Looking back, it didn’t make for a particularly productive workspace. 

Since I was moving, I figured I’d take the opportunity to literally and figuratively clean out the clutter from my life. After the class, I went home and consolidated five boxes into two, getting rid of pounds of old magazines that I was keeping for “reference”, and trading bulky software boxes for slim CD books. Anything I hadn’t used in three months got tossed. Most of my beloved Ohio State paraphernalia went into storage. I put my hard drives on the network, the wifi enabled printer went into a shelf in the closet. I even went so far to clean out my email, and soon, I’ll be putting my laptop through its places, and clearing out the junk I’ve accumulated over the last few years. 

My workspace is now a lean, mean, creation machine:

From right to left: a lamp, an angel that my mother gave me, a stack of sticky notes, monitor, keyboard, and laptop. That’s it. Everything else is nearby in a drawer so that it’s easily accessible, and all of the distractions are gone. The only Ohio State representation is a mug that I drink out of. It almost felt like I had *too* much space, but now I can put my keyboard away, pull out my sketchbook, and be creative.

Words can’t express how much I got out of this class-far too much to put into one blog post, so I’ll be sharing some of the other things I learned over the next few weeks. My logo, business cards, and all of that stuff will be rolling out soon, as I make some changes to my website and other things. But that’s the easy stuff. Thanks to Lynette, I’ve defined what success means to me, and I’m excited to begin my journey there. I hope you’ll ride shotgun with me.

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