Artist Branding

Artist Branding - student project

Service vs. Product

My project is to design branding for myself. I design both hand lettering and type. I realize this is not a product label in the sense that the workshop is designed for, but it's what I do.

Although I want to promote both my type design and hand lettering, I find lettering is the most difficult area to market my work. Most of my lettering has been specific to the greeting card industry which has its own aesthetic. In contrast, the bulk of hand lettering seen on products currently is lettering marketed as Illustration rather than lettering as a separate entity or as a substitute for typography. This leaves me with a dilemma. I need to expand my role to include more current styles, but I also don't want to brand my work to a limited palette of styles. 


Q: What type of material promos are most effective in our current markets considering so much is done online?

Business Cards seem a must. Since I teach some and go to Type events it would make sense to have something to hand out. What about other materials like postcard mailers or some sort of novelty item with my branding?

Q: Branding; I've always just used my own name which I think is just fine. Beyond my name as a branding tool I should have some other sort of imagery that helps define my brand. So how does an artist brand their work without narrowing what is perceived as their style?

Board 1 showing some of my work:

Artist Branding - image 1 - student project


Board 2 showing my type design from start to product placement:

Artist Branding - image 2 - student project

Inspiration Board:

Artist Branding - image 3 - student project


Most of these were drawn at scale, not an ideal sketch size. Overall, I think I'm having a tendency to work way too tight from the get go which I think is a bit inhibiting.

I would likely NOT draw all the type by hand.  My lettering and script type styles tend to be more refined as opposed to being more rigorous and illustrative in nature. So it seems to make more since to use a sans serif for the small stuff and as a foil so to speak for the lettering. 

Beyond a card I need to have some other sort of promo. What that should be I have not yet decided. Maybe a post card art piece with my info stamped on back. As far as printing is concerned I'm still a bit up in the air. If I have them printed professionally I might be inclined to go for letterpress. If I print and cut them from home I need to come up with a way to emphasize the DIY method. Maybe have a rubber stamp made for the lettering portion and using a cornering tool for a warmer feel.

1. Someone said I should still consider a design from My samples as an idea. This is a take-off on that. The bottom section indicates my name and contact info would get dropped out from a color background.

2. This idea is to just promote lettering with this card and perhaps design a second one in a similar vein (or perhaps printing to the back) for type design. I wonder if a more pronounced slat for "Lettering" might improve this.

3. Everything on a slant here with "Lettering &" treated differently than "Type Design". Maybe a band of a light color might help set off the Title better.

4.Portrait format. I don't think I played out the bottom half of the card enough.

5a & 5b. The "R" for Rapp is from a font I designed about 5 years ago. Since it was for American Greetings I don't really have any commercial rights to this, but for self promo it should be OK since I am the designer making it part of my portfolio. Beyond that I had a few ideas that aren't really represented in the sketches. 

One thought was to have the card printed with the outline version, nodes and all. Then attach a printed version on top on semi-transparent vellum. If the attachment point is top left and I do corner round cuts on the card stock below for the non_attaching corners; that would make it easy to lift the vellum and see outlines below. Or… I could just simply print the thing and forget about the outline version.

Artist Branding - image 4 - student project

Stephen Rapp
Stephen Rapp