This month officially marks my eighth year as a full-time freelance graphic designer!
My career has gone through many phases and has evolved immensely, especially these past few years after doing an insane amount of design work.
Thus, I’m ready to turn up the volume on my freelance career.
After rocking the same logo and website for a few years it’s time to tear down and rebuild. I’ve entered into a new era in my career and I’m excited to share with you behind the scenes of this next phase.
Quick shout-out to Conner Jones for creating this killer promo video, helping me reveal the evolution of my new brand moving forward!
Building more than just a logo
I started my freelance journey part-time in 2009 from my parent’s basement. Back then, I worked under the identity of “gallowayWorks”. (I cringe a lot looking back at this.)
My logo at the time was a combination of my initials. A vector version of a signature I doodled below all my sketchbook drawings.
A little over a year later I realized how silly that moniker and logo was, so I wiped the slate clean and started over. 2013 was the year when I starting taking my freelance career very seriously. I rebuilt a new website from the ground up and designed a much more professional looking logo.
Six years and many website iterations later – it's now 2019 and I'm entering into a new era in my career/life. It’s time I redesign my logo to reflect this next phase.
With my new logo, I first tried to reinvent my “B Monogram”. But quickly found myself paying homage to my OG sketch signature – using my “BG” initials. I immediately fell in love with this direction.
Not only does it pay homage to the symbol that started it all for me, it's just a much stronger and more modern logo. It feels timeless. One I could see myself using for the next decade. I spent most of the time making sure everything was perfectly spaced and nailing how the lines interacted with the sharp and rounded corners.
After nailing my new logo, I then moved onto refining all other aspects of my brand:
- Defining my mission, traits, brand tone words, values, and target audience
- Creating a mood board using my tone words
- Developing a brand board – pulling together my new logo, colors, type, and other graphic elements
Each of these elements will play a vital role in developing my brand's unique voice.
Up to this point in my career I've DIY’d my own copy. But this time around, I knew I had to nail it.
Knowing when to get help
Branding is what will ultimately make you stand out from every other person trying to make a living in the same niche as you.
Great branding can be the difference between potential clients seeing you as a novice designer (or not see you at all) and being a killer designer who can help them bring their ideas to life. I'm striving for the latter.
Starting in a Google Document, I filled it with random thoughts and notes about how I wanted to be perceived as a freelance graphic designer: my elevator pitch, brand mission, ideal audience, what makes me different, what I believe in, content strategy, brand values, personal traits, tag-lines, and the story on how I became a freelance graphic designer.
Looking at those six pages of brain dump, I couldn't help but feel completely overwhelmed. I had all the pieces, but didn’t know how to effectively put it all together. So for the first time ever, I delegated this task to someone with more experience and talent.
I hired a copywriter!
I put out a tweet and did some Googling to try and find a great freelance copywriter. Someone who was on a similar path as myself.
That’s where Hollie from Black & White Studios comes in! Hollie has been an active follower of mine for some time, and in the back of my mind I remembered that she specializes in branding. After a quick browsing of her website and saw that she did copywriting, I immediately reached out to see if she was available and interested in helping. Thankfully she was stoked to help!
Hollie took all of my overwhelming brain dump and worked her magic! She presented me with a guideline outlining keywords, brand messaging, my mission, core values, and more.
After she nailed my brand’s messaging, she also helped flesh out all the copy for my new website!
With Hollie’s help, my brand’s voice has never felt more genuine. I now feel like I have all the right things to say, my brand’s core values are clear, and her words will help me better communicate why I’m the right designer for my clients!
Now came the time to put all of these assets to use and build my new website!
Dumping WordPress for Webflow
November 2015 was my last major redesign, and quite honestly, I nailed it. I built a website that was working for me! I had all the necessary pieces in place:
- A simple homepage introducing who I am, what I do, and shows-off my work.
- A curated portfolio, only showing the type of work I wanted to be doing.
- An about page that showed clients the face behind the designs. (If they were going to pay me with their hard-earned money I had to establish transparency and trust.)
- A blog which was my primary way of marketing my freelance business.
- A contact page which makes it easy for anyone to get in touch with me.
I've been using WordPress since day one for my website. The unlimited functionality is nice, but recently I've hated using and maintaining it. It's cumbersome and making the smallest of changes to the design can take an entire day of work. I was ready for a change. That's when I was recommended Webflow!
I’m not a developer, so seeing that I could focus on the design of my website and let Webflow handle the code piqued my interest. After browsing their website, specifically their Webflow vs. WordPress page, I was sold!
Webflow checked all the boxes for me:
- Total control of the design without worrying about the code
- Adding new work would be incredibly easy
- Great SEO settings without the need of plugins
- Did I mention no more plugins?!
With lots of past experience in web design, making the jump to Webflow was incredibly easy. They have a library of video lessons (which are actually entertaining and full of humor), so there was little to no learning curve.
Making this jump to Webflow was incredibly daunting. But like my brand, it was time for my website to evolve into the next phase as well.
My new branding feels strong, unique, and more like my true self than ever before.
My new website has the power to help me stand out and attract even more rad clients.
After nearly six months of working on this rebrand, I finally feel like I have a solid platform to take things to the next level.
Moving forward I hope to use my personal brand to help fuel new content. Here on my blog, I want to take my own experiences as a freelance graphic designer and share them with you. Hoping to help inspire and motivate you to do what you love and build an epic career around it!
It's also insane how large my following is on YouTube. With nearly 17,000 subscribers, I'd be an idiot not to give it the attention it deserves. I no longer want to do simple design tutorials. Rather, I want to try and share lessons learned and real world experiences. With this redesign finally being done and me better understanding my own brand values, I think I can confidently get back into making content again.
Finally, I want to start releasing some of my own merch. Stuff I want to wear. Merch that has a message behind each design.
Creating my own merch is also a way for me to create for myself again. Something I haven't done in years. It's the perfect way for me to creatively challenge my design skills outside of client work. I won't make much if not anything monetarily from this, which is cool with me. I have client work to cover the bills. This is for us to enjoy together.
That's a wrap for this look behind my freelance brand redesign! If you've read this far, thank you!
If you liked this post or happen to spot any issues on the new site, don't hesitate to let me know using one of the two buttons below.
Now, I gotta get back to work and also prepare for the arrival of our baby girl later this month! Life's been hectic and full of exciting changes.