Fear and uncertainty stop us all the time. What if it’s not good enough? What if people don’t like it? What if it isn’t effective? What if it doesn’t make money?
As a designer, this is something I had to get past pretty quickly - at least to an extent. You research, you create, you put it out there for someone to respond to and you wait. You hold your breath and hope it works. You hope the client likes it and that you didn’t miss the mark.
In the beginning, this fear can stop you from creating at all as you stare at your blank screen waiting for inspiration to strike. Pro tip: that doesn’t happen. You have to start. You have to take action and start to do the work.
I’ve worked as a designer for 15 years. In my professional career, I have had the opportunity to work at several different companies. When I joined this team a few years ago, one line I kept hearing over and over was, “It can only suck once”. This stood out since this was not the mentality I was used to in the workplace. The openness to something potentially not working, and that being okay, gave room to draw outside the lines and think more ambitiously.
So what happens if you do miss the mark? It’s a redirect. You now have more information than you did before. You learn from it, recalibrate and try something else, armed with more knowledge and insight.
I came to understand the flip side was worth the risk: “It can only suck once or it can be the best thing we’ve ever done”. Playing it safe doesn’t get you there. Doing what everyone else is doing, doesn’t get you there. You have to be willing to put yourself out there, take a risk, try something that could be met with resistance and do the work. That’s how you level up.
That’s what led a whole team of us here today. We’ve started our own company and are building our first brand within that. We’ve challenged each other’s ideas and taken on roles outside of what we did previously. We work every day to learn more and make our projects a little better than they were before.
Most recently, our Kenekt logo & brand took a drastic turn from where it began. I couldn’t tell you how many iterations of the logo there have been, but there was one, a couple months back that we were pretty settled on. We added it to the website and our marketing pieces, created our branding around it and it was out there in the world.
As we continued to grow the brand, we realized this logo, the face of our brand, was out of alignment with what we were actually building. It didn’t work. It missed the mark.
In this instance, it wasn’t that a tweak was needed but instead, we needed to completely scrap it. We changed the name. We changed the spelling. We changed the font. We changed the colors. We questioned everything. We changed everything.
In the end, it was worth the fleeting frustration to work towards getting it right and making it feel aligned. It’s 100% better than what it was before. Now, our logo, with it’s phonetic spelling, “Unplug Nosh Imbibe” tagline, and contrasting colors is unique. It makes you do a double take. It tells its own story.
While some of our branding will continue to evolve as we build toward opening our doors, this change to our logo gave clarity. It represents what we are creating. It’s a small piece of the overall vision, but it’s a piece that illustrates that this is the best thing we’ve ever done.
Taking action and taking a chance allowed us to do better work. Even after experiencing a redirect, we learned from it and made it better. Don’t let fear and uncertainty make you hesitate. Seth Godin writes, “You have everything you need to make magic, you always have. Go make a ruckus.”
Off to make our next ruckus...