As an artist I always find it difficult describing to people what it is I do. Do I tell them I’m a graphic artist or a graphic designer? An illustrator perhaps? I do create things that go on web pages, so does that make me a web designer, too?
In my time online I’ve noticed there is an almost obsessive need to find the right word to describe who you are and what you do. In the design community I’ve seen the term “creative” thrown around a lot. This doesn’t tell me anything. Creative…what? What do you create? Shoes? Handbags?
I’m not the only one who thinks this term is somewhat lacking. In his article Death to Creatives! Adam Law of GoMedia said, “I am not a creative. You are not a creative. No one could ever or will ever be a creative. The word creative is not a noun. It is an adjective used to describe a noun. i.e. That is a very creative story you have there, Jimmy.”
Again, I think this is ridiculous, but like social media and networking it seems to be a growing trend. I’m old school so I’m not too hip on new trends and terminology. The first time I saw someone type ‘ROFL’ I thought they’d had a heart attack and flopped over on their keyboard. I regard ‘titles’ to be equally silly, like saying to someone “Hi, my name is TTFN!” It doesn’t really tell you anything.
So then who am I? I mean, really? When I started my web site people were telling me, “Now, Doug, what are you going to call yourself?” I thought they meant my name so naturally I just replied, “Doug.”
A more appropriate question would have been, “What title are you going to choose for yourself?”
Personally, I don’t think it matters all that much what you call yourself. What I believe matters more is how you represent yourself. How do you get the message across to people about who you are? What you do? What are your particular talents and abilities? These are the real questions. People will relate more to you than to some creative label.
Upon sitting down one night to contemplate a name for my web site I grabbed a pad of paper and pencil and just started doodling. I began by writing my own name on the paper and then looking at that for a while. When nothing came to me I started drawing again. That’s when it hit me…I’m Doug, and I draw. I wrote that on the page—Doug Draws. I sat and looked at it for a while. I thought it was too silly at first, but the more I stared at it the more it made perfect sense. I checked GoDaddy to see if “dougdraws.com” was available, and it was. I purchased it immediately.
Now that I had a title for my site I needed a title for myself.
Upon sitting down one night to contemplate a name for my website I grabbed a pad of paper and pencil and just started doodling. I began by writing my own name on the paper and then looking at that for a while. When nothing came to me I started drawing again. That’s when it hit me…I’m Doug, and I draw. I wrote that on the page—Doug Draws. I looked at it and frowned. I thought it was too silly at first, but the more I stared at it the more I realized it made perfect sense. I checked GoDaddy to see if “dougdraws.com” was available, and it was. I purchased it immediately. Now that I had a title for my site I needed a title for myself.
These days with the social media craze and all the sites that offer interaction (both business and personal) it is vital to have your own unique brand. People are visually-driven creatures. The success of Apple is mainly due to all the fluid eye-pleasing images they use on all their products. People eat this stuff up. So it only figured that I should use the same methodology when it came to branding myself.
I sketched out a bunch of ideas, focusing on the title of my site, Doug Draws. Finally I came up with the concept of the letter “D” with a pencil point at one end. I thought this was pretty good, but it still needed something. After sketching some more it came to me to turn the pencil point into a hand and viola!
See? Simple. Neat. Effective. It describes who I am and what I do. If you are wondering who you are in the world wide web or just in your own particular niche then just remember to keep the focus on you—the person. Not some blank face with a fancy moniker.
So who are you? Do you know? The easiest way to find out is to get out that sketchpad and pencil and start writing down some ideas. Yeah, I know, paper and pencil is so old fashioned, but the greatest works of our time began as a few scribbles on a page.
header image by Horia Varlan