One of the most lucrative careers in which a graphic designer can engage is branding/identity. We are the ones who create logos, choose company colors, and design any company promotion (brochures, websites, annual reports, etc). If done effectively all of these pieces come together into a cohesive whole to communicate the brand’s message. If done poorly the consumer experiences a disconnect between the company and its message.
The most skillful branding designers are those with a deep understanding of semiotics. They also do their homework. Behind every logo is hours, often hundreds of hours of meetings, research, brainstorming, and sketches. Why so many hours? Like my college professor taught, “You cannot not communicate.” If it doesn’t communicate the brand’s message it’s communicating something else, oftentimes a message you don’t want to send. These designers work hard to truly understand what the company is about, and translate it visually by distilling it down into a single mark. It’s easy to say one thing with a hundred words, it’s another to say a hundred things with one word.
It’s not just companies that have identities (thank goodness). Neighborhoods, furniture, architecture, the earth, stories, fashion, countries, cheese, everything that God creates (and many that we create) has an identity. When I think about identity the phrase “to fill the measure of its creation” often comes to mind. Everything God creates has a purpose to fulfill (its “measure”). This purpose is it’s true identity.
A couple years ago I went on a trip to the Deseret Ranch on the border of Wyoming/Utah. It’s a Church-owned ranch that utillizes sustainable principles to improve the land and wildlife (while making a profit). Rather than being prodded around from one nasty gated pen to another, the cattle are set free to wander the 220,000 acres of the ranch. They feed off the wildlife interacting in a natural habitat. The man in charge of the ranch suggests that these cattle are filling the measure of their creation and are receiving joy therein. There is nothing more a cow can do to make it more cow-ish than that.
My neighborhood is a very liberal, very tight-knit community determined to support small local businesses. For this reason it thrives. Also for this reason we don’t have a WalMart, an Olive Garden, or a Foot Locker. It’s not that they are inherently bad, just that those businesses wouldn’t succeed here because they would not be supported. The neighborhood couldn’t get more Park Slope-ish by doing so.
Man is God’s greatest creation. Our identity is Child of God. God Embryo. Potential God. Whatever you want to call it, the measure of our creation is to be like God. Contrary to what millions of people think, we don’t determine our identity (this is not to be confused with personality). The most important thing we can know in this life is who we are and what we can become. Me filling the measure of my creation isn’t so much having children as it is becoming like my Father in Heaven.