Blog No. 2 / Packaging Yourself / by steve joseph

Coming from an advertising and graphic design background has allowed me to learn some "tricks of the trade" to have a memorable and consistent product... be it the look of a magazine, ad campaign, even down to the color pallet, fonts and selection of photos. I worked at People magazine and was part of the staff who chose the "Best and Worst Dressed" as well as the "Sexiest Man Alive" photos. I have lots of fun stories from this time, but the one rule was to ask 'who is our client?', and how they relate to what you are showing. If they related strongly to the visuals and the story they will buy the issue.

While at Good Housekeeping Magazine we had results of many consumer studies which created a portrait of who was reading our issues. We found out the average reader was in her 40's, married, had one and a half children, and was involved in the PTA. We named this fictitious character "Carol" and when we showed layouts we could ask "does Carol understand this?" Sometime she did and other times it was way over her head.

I see being an artist as being a product for a market. The product is not only your art, but all other connections to your work including your logo, website, business card, any and all promotions, signage at exhibits, the look of your studio, the way you dress and even how
you do you hair. These all reflect on you as a packaged product.

Why do you need to be consistent? Think about your client. They see so much other stimulus during the day. If they are a curator they get loads of promotions. For them to remember you and your art is difficult because of the competition. If you have one look it will be easier for them to remember you.

A fine example is Target. They have a simple red bullseye. It has taken a few years of marketing and exposure, but now when you see this you immediately know it is Target. Here are some quick tips to having conformity in your overall look.

- DEVELOP A LOGO  Create a simple symbol that you use on all of you promotions. I came up with "cava" which I use on my web site, business card, and more recently on my work. Don't make this overly designed, keep it simple, in black and white, so it looks good with any series you are working on.

- IMAGE SEARCH  This is very important! ALWAYS name your images to include your name. This way when a google search is done for your name, your images will be shown in the search results.

- SHOW YOUR FACE  On your contact page and mailers it's always good to include a photo of yourself. I know I meet lots of artists and totally forget what they look like.

- GET OUT THERE  I have one rule for any opening or event I attend. I MUST meet at least 3 new people before I leave. Chat, tell them you are an artist, and have fun. Who knows where it will lead...

... and of course you need a great leave behind promotion with your logo to give them.