The separation of church and state: An identity crisis

Just yesterday, I presented a logo to a client for his business. Almost immediately, his facial expression went from one of expectation to WTF!

He felt that the logo did not represent who he is [as a person]. Basically, the logo did not reflect the blood, sweat and tears he had put in to start the business. The personal sacrifices he is making for his business to succeed.

I truly empathised with him as I had heard and witnessed — to a degree — the story of how he got to where he is. However, I felt I had nailed this one according to:

  • The brief he had given me
  • Research done on the industry he is in
  • Observing his business processes and future plans for the business
  • And the results from a focus group (family, friends, other designers and random strangers)

But he wasn’t barging. So I had to deliver a sermon — in a non-preachy way, of course — on the difference between his personal brand and building an identity for his business (the business brand). After a few minutes of back and forth (very spirited — yet constructive), he saw the light. He saw the light!

He saw the light. He saw the light!

Nuggets of wisdom:

For clients: learn to separate yourself from your business or product, unless of course you are the product — for example an actor, professional athlete etc. I know this is not easy because your business becomes an integral part of who you are; especially in its formative stage.

For designers: do not be afraid to educate your clients. In fact, it is your duty to do so. The success of your clients — to some degree — depends on the work you do for them. Otherwise you are short-changing your clients. And you — will have nightmares about it for years to come [I’m okay now].

Do you want to see the light, too? Email me at:


TWT: @gran_daddi

Ayanda Grandaddi Filita

Written by

Digital Strategy. UI Design. Graphic Design. E-Commerce

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