Samuel Lee Miller Rebrand

I don't take branding lightly. While I've always handled my clients' brands with care, I haven't always treated my personal brand with as much thought. I unknowingly disregarded the very principles I was telling my clients to implement. Things like: understanding who you are as a brand (going through a brand discovery process), positioning your business for success (through brand strategy), a brand is more than a logo (through creating a visual system with guidelines), etc. etc.

Without further ado, I give you the new and improved Samuel Lee Miller brand.

Brand Strategy

Who I Am Is Not What I Create

"What? How can that be?" you may ask yourself. It took me a while to understand this concept, but once I did, it was liberating. Who I am is separate from what I do. I'm Sam. I just happen to design for a living. Design doesn't define me. Sure, I love creating just as much as any designer. When it comes down to it, I'm a person first and foremost. For years, I tricked myself into believing that my identity and worth came from what I created. The truth is, I'm loved and cared for beyond my work.

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Brand Discovery

Loyalty, Loyalty, Loyalty

A typical interview question I've heard is, "If your friends or family were to describe you, what word(s) would they use?" While I've been able to come up with honest answers to this question in the past, my answer to that question nowadays would be different.

If I were asked that question today, I'd say "At my core, I'm loyal." Throughout my life, I've always stuck by people's side. When I'm committed to something, I'm all in. There's no middle ground for Sam Miller.

Treating Myself As A Client

Designers are tasked with designing identities all the time. I've created a handful of brand identities myself. But I've never treated myself as a client. This simple shift in mindset has been monumental for me as I reposition my brand. I started like I would with any client—brainstorming words and narrowing them down to the core few that truly represented me.

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Visual Identity

Staying True to Sam

After rediscovering my brand, I began to explore the visual components. Instead of researching current design trends, I referred back to my list of words. "What best represents loyalty? How can I convey a welcoming demeanor? What does a refined identity look like?" are some of the questions I asked.

Finding Type and Colors

Since typography and colors are integral in a visual identity, I started there. After exploring various type options, I landed with Brandon Grotesque and Canela. Additionally, I selected colors that made me feel something—the things I wrote down in my brand discovery phase.

Defining the Color Palette

I've been evaluating my design process over the last year. Why do I do what I do? Not in the sense of why am I designing, but in the sense of why do I sketch first, why do I create visual inspiration boards, etc.

I do these things not only because many of them are widely accepted as "industry-standard" but because they work for me. This is not to say that other processes can't or won't work. Find what process works for you and stick to it. Trust yourself.

In the past, selecting a color palette for a brand was one of my least favorite parts of the process. I let my inner voice tell that the colors I selected weren't "good" enough. Disclaimer: colors are subjective and therefore aren't good or bad in and of themselves. They can reflect parts of a brand's personality, but it's a process to get there.

As I reviewed my brand discovery words, I gravitated towards blue. For context, I've never branded myself with this color. For me, the color blue embodied loyalty, being principled, and security. Using blue as a foundation for my brand, I built out the rest of the color palette.

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My Rationale

The reasons I picked these combinations of color and type is simple: they reflect who I am right now. I'm not naive enough to think that it couldn't change again, as people and brands do, but I know that right now I can confidently identify with these.

Behind the Type

Brandon Grotesque is structurally-sound and soft around the edges, while Canela on the other hand, compliments it because it's beautifully imperfect. I'll expound: if you were to zoom in on Canela's letterforms, you'd find that not all its lines are straight, not everything lines up, etc. etc. Yet, when you look at it, you (or I) can't help but marvel at its beauty.

While I am a perfectionist, I'm learning to appreciate imperfection. I think that these typefaces accurately reflect my personality.

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I'm Still Sam

While I've "rebranded" myself, I'm still the same person. I'm still a designer, but in a way, I feel refreshed. That in itself is validation for rebranding. I'd love to do the same for your business.

BrandingSam Miller