Have you ever been asked about "your" brand? How about turning "you" into a logo?
Let's face it, our world is already asking.
An "Age of You": Artificial Intelligence, brand hacking of our own bodies, personal avatars on social media and the proliferation of our data. The list grows, the noise gets louder around us, telling us to identify ourselves lest we compete with robots. Brands and consumers merge. While I can't be sure I buy into every piece of this - it's a lot to bite off? - I can subscribe to the fact that we have to break from this noise and consider our narratives for ourselves. Doing so saves us from falling into the trap of searching for purpose without intention, or worse, letting the world define it for us.
As this site launched, I was asked to hurry up and get my logo out there. I thought, "my logo"? You mean I am going to officially "brand" myself to the world?...I struggled with this thought. It seemed so fake and trendy. And what if I did craft something? I am a visualist after all, right? It would likely go out of style. Wait, why do I care? Oh no! Insecurity? Fear of commitment? And the internal dialogue just kept on...
Breathe. Reset. We all have a story, don't we? Our narrative is worth our time vice this world just press something on us, right?
...Why not consider that story? Why not visualize it? Even if that image changes and evolves, why not let it bloom? Timeless transformation? Perennial Metamorphosis. There is something attractive about the potential in such paradox.
Our brand is our story, our experience.
Interested in working through your own brand, your logo? Try this:
Story time. take inventory of your backstories. Draw each as a picture and see what common visuals arise.
Visioning. create a vision board and look across all the thoughts, ideas, words and pictures to find the themes that emerge for you.
History mapping + future "casting". imagine your own history, your own life's timeline. Draw it out in 5 year increments and plot the major events (recommend adding icons along the way & here's a tip: your birth = a stork). Now forecast at least 20 years out. What do you see? Contemplate, envision the future...call it what you want, just be sure to ask yourself what you want to see on that line and be authentic with your answers. Look at the summation across that line of your life and see what image or amalgamation of icons unfolds.
Experience. get others involved that know you "well enough" to ask a series of questions involving stories from various times in your life. Give permission for this interview in testimony-like format to uncover your story aloud. See what metaphors come up that can be drawn out, then sketch them afterwards.
For all those still curious about the titling, I'd encourage you to read my story and resultant logo below. No time, me either. So for the purposes of this narrative, let's break down these terms as such: Perennial: enduring, everlasting. Metamorphosis: transformation (from one state to a completely different state).
We are all seeking something to hold onto in our lives as we confront constant change.
Consider this: Change starts with you. Transformation begins with others. The state of a balloon alone is constant, and relatively lifeless. Yet when someone else breathes life into it, what happens? It is transformed. It takes its true shape. It floats. It brings JOY. Watch a room light up when someone brings in balloons.
Let not what you do be the emphasis, but who be your focus. Hold onto WHO.
For all my Facilitators, Organizational Development practitioners or Change Management consultants, consider using a balloon to represent thoughts around change and transformation. Visualize change and making it an experience for greater impact.
MY LOGO: a black and white, hand-drawn balloon with my initials (also written by hand in lower case). How did that shake out? Thanks for asking!
Initials. at the ripe age of a second grader, I began drawing and painting in a way that I guess took the interest of adults? So much so that I started doing enough work to beg a signature. My brother, 14 years my senior, gave me a lift and offered that I use my initials with a circle around it (common sense with the tale on the lower case "g" I guess?). I immediately resisted it for the simplicity and more-so connection to 'engineering' as both my brother and mom are both "black and white" thinking engineers. On the other end of the spectrum is where I sit: a million shades of grey with complexity.
But let's face it...I had nothing better so it stuck.
I've toyed with other signatures over the years, up until the point when I put down my paintbrush and was honestly glad I didn't have to deal with that burden anymore. Chapter written, 'artist' life ended.
Not so much.
Creativity in consulting thrived. Why? God's fingerprints are not erasable. His creativity in making each of us unique and ultra-relevant souls is perennial.
So when the time came to ponder in adulthood what those old initials meant to me now, I almost stuck with it. Then, I decided to take a quick inventory of my backstories (as I suggested to you above). Those stories drew a balloon. How?
Balloon: I've always looked up to find stillness, find peace, find Him. I've always contemplated what looking UP means, and why I even did this. Truth is I don't know but it's how I'm wired. And what if we take that thought and rope it into our perspective? Uplifting, floating, heaven-bound.
Over the past 10 years or so, I also learned my mom has an infatuation with balloons (and the irony of our relationship is worth its own script + implications to my logo). While I am a flower fan, why not consider the use of balloons. So for the last few years I have been gifting her with balloons and even used them as symbol on my wedding day. The stories with balloons go on, but you get the idea.
Last month, it hit me that the blend of my circled initials and a tail = balloon. I thought, nah, that's too easy. It was Sunday and I was late (per usual) to @theaterchurch. As I walked into the PY campus of @NCC, a pastor was on the big screen with, yep, a balloon. I fell into a chair and went on to listen to this affirming message. Got it, God, got it. And so there you have it.
For everyone who doesn't check into that message, the bottom line is that you must breathe life into a balloon. When you do, it transforms and takes the shape of what it was meant to become. God did this for each of us. Try that on and see where you land (hopefully in Genesis and realizing it's not about "DO" but "WHO").
Black and White, lower case, hand-written: it's a draft, it's a practice, scripted by His hand, not mine.
Perennial metamorphosis. Embrace life as iterative. Be gentle with yourself and your image.