Last spring, there was some dis­cus­sion over at DxF regard­ing per­son­al ding­bats. I found the dis­cus­sion enlight­en­ing and inspir­ing. As a result, it made me real­ize that I want­ed to estab­lish some sort of strong iden­ti­ty for myself on the Inter­net.

The first step I want­ed to take was to devel­op a per­son­al ding­bat. I want­ed some­thing that rep­re­sent­ed me, that was wide­ly rec­og­niz­able, and that would work well at var­i­ous sizes. I end­ed up decid­ing on using a hot pep­per as the basis for this. Hot pep­pers are found in numer­ous cul­tures through­out the world and are instant­ly famil­iar to those who see them. I won a jalapeño eat­ing con­test about 11 years ago and love spicy foods. These were all indi­ca­tors that a hot pep­per was a good choice for a per­son­al ding­bat. Besides, I am hot stuff and a hot pep­per rep­re­sent­ed that well.

After the ding­bat was designed, I added it to the foot­er on all my web projects. This allowed me to set up a pre­lim­i­nary brand­ing solu­tion that was sub­tle and would set things up for a future stage.

The sec­ond step was to buy a domain name. Nat­u­ral­ly I want­ed some­thing relat­ed to a hot pep­per. Unsur­pris­ing­ly, hot​pep​per​.com was already tak­en. I was some­what dis­ap­point­ed in this because I knew peo­ple would auto­mat­i­cal­ly try that URL to find me in the future. How­ev­er, as I start­ed con­tem­plat­ing it more, I real­ized a hot​pep​per​.ca domain would work well for me. It was just as sim­ple as hot​pep​per​.com, but it also defined me as a Cana­di­an.

The begin­ning of this month marked six months since I pur­chased the domain. I felt it was time to move the brand­ing to a new stage. I want­ed this stage to be focused more on pro­mot­ing the web­site. To accom­plish this, I moved all of my var­i­ous web projects over to the hot​pep​per​.ca domain and used .htac­cess files to auto­mat­i­cal­ly for­ward vis­i­tors over.

Once this was accom­plished, I knew I want­ed to cre­ate a design that could be stan­dard­ized across all of my projects. I did not want it to be too elab­o­rate for the first time. I want­ed it to be a min­i­mal­ist approach that would focus more on brand­ing. I also want­ed some­thing that could indi­cate the dif­fer­ent projects I had.

One thing I liked was the way that FedEx, Google, Yahoo and oth­ers main­tained a con­sis­tent glob­al brand while still pro­vid­ing a pseu­do iden­ti­ty for dif­fer­ent products/services. I want­ed to incor­po­rate some­thing like that. As a result, I cre­at­ed a brand­ing solu­tion that includ­ed the ding­bat, a styl­ized URL, and a project label.

As well, I incor­po­rat­ed the colours of the logo into the head­ings of the pages, and used the pep­per itself in var­i­ous page ele­ments (menu head­ers, list bul­lets, etc).

I think the design I have cho­sen works well for the goals I had, and will be effec­tive at strength­en­ing my iden­ti­ty as I pre­pare the final stage for the future.

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

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