Branding with Colors and Logo

Jay Coffelt gets the Alert Artist Award (if there were such a thing). He wrote:

Now, I’m not being critical in  the least!  I love your newsletter, blog, classes, etc!  I just have  a question…

Why does your blog have a  different color scheme (purple) than your newsletter and [ArtBizCoach.com] web site (red)?Coffelt_1

Again, just  curious.

Keep up the FABULOUS  work!

Jay is a lifetime member of my Shameless Self-Promotion class (which begins tomorrow, February 6). He also participated in last fall’s artist workshop here in Colorado. He was listening! He knows how important branding and image are when you’re marketing. And the image I was projecting on both sites didn’t match up for him.

In my defense, the color scheme of this blog is the same as that of one of my other sites: Stanfield Art Associates. This site is used primarily for marketing to museums, and galleries (which I have done very little of). But it didn’t lend itself to a logo and needed to be slightly understated. I also use the same tan and purple colors as highlights (or lowlights) on parts of the ArtBizCoach.com site (just look at the home page).

Only recently have I even tried to get a REAL logo. Oh, it was evolving through some of my materials, but it’s so important that it’s on everything. That everything that says "ArtBizCoach.com" looks the same. The colors might very slightly, as on the Art Biz Workshops site (and this blog), but the font is the same every time.

My next step is adding the same logo to the Art Biz Connection site.

The colors may not be the same. I think the individual sites need their own identities and that it’s okay as long as the message and logo are consistent.

The other thing I told Jay is that someone (darn, who was it?) recently reminded me that red/green (the ArtBizCoach.com site colors) are the most challenging for those who are color blind. Mistake?

Keys to branding: same message, delivered the same way, in the same font, and usually the same colors. Are you branding yourself? (You don’t need–and many artists should NOT have–a logo!)

Image: Jay Coffelt, City Market II. "Funked up" photograph.

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9 comments to Branding with Colors and Logo

  • Yikes. I’m getting rid of my logo. Great. First my Chiefs didn’t even make it into the playoffs let alone the Super Bowl, and now I win an award that doesn’t even exist! By the way, I have also purchased and highly recommend the Career Path course, the Visual Artist’s Kit, the Cultivating Collectors book, the Bruce Baker CDs and his wholesaling MP3 done with Alyson. Alyson has good stuff. It’s just unfortunate that she’s a Broncos fan. :-) Now where is that logo…

  • Love the question ! The purple text says feminine to me, the tan (beige) is calming (like a shrink’s office)…Funny, I avoid the newsletter and the website because I think, (actually I have not checked recently) is it the text that is red ? Red drives me crazy…I must be part bull…my Dad too…(angry) Green and red together say to me, Christmas…Which is smart for businesses who make a large portion of their contacts or sales during that time… I paid for a header to be designed for a website I had years ago…What I learned was that I should have done it myself…With logos (if you must), since you are going to be living with it for a long time, I suggest trying to create one yourself, first, before you speak to a printer…then you can proudly show off your creation-instead of someone else’s… In the football arena, did anyone know an Osprey is a Sea Hawk? And that they are slowly rebuilding their population due to the banning of DDT ? (hey my name isn’t grove for nothing…)

  • On the other hand… I’m in the process of creating a logo for myself and my art business as part of an overall branding and marketing project with a professional design firm. I expect my new logo to continue building recognition among clients and, along with common design elements like color scheme, fonts and art images, be the primary component that is common across my marketing materials. Now that I think about it, with my old logo (just my name and simple abstract art image), the art image has been much more recognizable to clients than just my name – immediately evoking a feeling of familiarity with people. I think it is very important for me, and think a logo could help more artists than not (well, at least a GOOD logo). After all, I see an artist and their art as a brand/product. All good brands/products have logos… Alyson – I’m curious about your comment that many artist don’t need and should not even have a logo. Can you expand on your thoughts or reference something that addresses this elsewhere on your site?

  • Okay, here’s why I don’t like logos for artists: because I’m old-fashioned. Picasso didn’t have a logo. Rembrandt didn’t have a logo. They had a signature. And they had signature work. My guess is that you can also go to any of today’s top-selling artists and not find a logo on their marketing materials either. I guess it depends on your final goals. Who is your audience? Why can’t your artwork be a logo? IMHO, the logos I have seen from artists almost always detract from the artwork itself. I definitely think artists should use the same fonts and colors on their materials, but logos usually scream “design” and your design should be your artwork. Okay, David, prove me wrong. I’d love to see you come up with a handsome logo that makes everything I just said moot. I just can’t imagine what it would be. Having said all of this, I know we’re living in a different time than Picasso or Rembrandt and that marketing is so much more critical now. I’m not blind to that. I’ve just seen really bad logo after really bad logo. Show me the work!

  • OK, my two cents on the artist’s logo: Why not have one if it is consistent with the artist’s the message/work? Are we running a business or not? Are we not in the business of visual imagery? Yes, many of the successful artists may not have logos, but the painter Pino, for example, uses his signature in that “signature color” that is branding the image of his work – fairly well, I gather. When is a consistently done signature not a logo? Also, I know a stone carver who carves his “mark” into his work, not his name. Mistake? Maybe. Maybe not. Yes, we are in a different world than the great masters. Perhaps that is why Thomas Kinkade “stole” the name “painter of light” for his own — and does he not have a light house/lamppost or square or something for his logo? Whether or not other artists think of Mr. Kinkade as an “artists’ artist”, no one can claim he does not understand branding, marketing, or selling. For me (and yes, I realize that everyone justifies his own behavior), my logo is a symbol of how my brain processes information. I use triangles to derive curves. The curves in my logo are actually abstracted from on of my sculpture’s silhouette, the small upper curve is a breast and the lower curve is a waist and the beginning of a hip. When I tested various patterns among friends and family, some were reminded of music, one a sailboat, etc. All positive responses and consistent with my brain’s methods and tastes. I like this symbol near my return address on everything I mail. It is my belief that people recognize it or at least it draws attention to my name. I have signed some of my works by adding my logo/mark on the front (with my name on the back) in cases in which the work is small or I do not like the pattern my name would make in the art. Mistake? Who knows? My logo has meaning for me, it is personal, and really, I don’t care if others do not “get it.” I have a painter friend that likes to embed two linked heart outlines in his work. Gimmick? Who knows? He has a charming story about why he is motivated to add that to his work, and his collectors examine every new piece to find it. Sounds like a Nina (I think it was). Is that not a kind of logo? Michelangelo only signed one of his works. The story is that he did it out of vanity/anger to insure that the one who began to get credit for creating the “Pieta” did not continue to do so. One could argue that it was vain NOT to sign his works (“my voice is so clear and strong that anyone can distinguish it from another artist”) and to segue into your confidence topic, in M’s case, this is not bragging since he can back it up! Finally, are artists supposed to break rules or stick to tried-and-true business practices? Sometimes only hindsight can tell us what worked and what did not.

  • Alyson – You’re on! I’ll have my final branding images done this month and will send them off to you to see what you think!

  • Interesting thread! To logo or not to logo seems to be the question. I guess I would fall on the old fashioned side that says your work should be your main focus. There are enough business items that NEED to be done, taking time away from the passion of my work, that I can’t see spending time doing anything that I don’t have to do. On the other hand, a simple mark next to your name that helps identify you probably can’t hurt. As Kelly said, “Only hindsight will tell us what worked and what didn’t.” I hope more artists post to this thread.

  • Great thread Alyson. I’ve wondered why you use different colors also. Currently my blog and website have a completely different “look and feel” and it’s driving me nuts. I just need more time to fix it. I agree that consistency is of vital importance. And definitely for websites. Every single page of a website should have the same “look and feel” as all the other pages. It’s one way that users know they haven’t gotten lost. I’ve seen a lot of artist websites where background colors, fonts, menu layout, etc etc changes from page to page. It’s confusing at best. Simple and consistent are my goals. As to a logo – I selected one of my works of art that I really love and am working on using it consistently in my marketing materials. I even pulled my font/background colors for my blog from the quilt (via sampling in photoshop) so everything is consistent. Not exactly a logo but a consistent identifying image. From my blog header, to my business cards, to my avitar for blog & forum posts, and soon on some of my marketing materials and my main website.

  • Wow! Great comments! Two things I think have been deduced from this conversation upon which we can all agree – (1) that whatever we do, it needs to be consistent (2) to logo or not to logo really depends on the nature of your business. Take for example, Mary Engelbreit. Her “ME” mark/signature IS now a logo. Even her lettering style has become a font, trademarked by her company. She started out an illustrator, and now runs a billion-dollar enterprise. So what started with one intent grew into something more. Give the lady her dues – she understood marketing and branding, even when she was a ‘struggling artist’. I’ve been a graphic designer for 20 years, and here’s one thing I can confirm to you: People and businesses tend to put a LOT of emphasis on their logo, without giving much thought to their brand identity. Huh? Yeah. The logo is not the brand. It’s simply a visual “cue” to support the brand identity of a corporation, and reinforce a branded image in the mind of a consumer. A particular “swoosh” on a black ball cap… Tiger Woods… “best of the best”… golf apparel… yes, that’s the brand I want to ‘brandish” (from whence do you think the term evolved) when I’m on the back nine with that new prospect so he/she thinks that I too am “the best of the best”… An entire thought process of “quality by association”, triggered by a ‘swoosh’. So, like “ME”, your signature can be your logo. Or consistent application of a well-known and popular piece of art can be your identifier. Whatever you choose, apply the message of who you are and what you do best. Think beyond the mark to the entire package you have to offer, and make that consistent and memorable.