I’m a pretty intuitive person. For whatever reason, I “get it” when I’m talking to agents about branding. It’s easy for me to quickly pick up on their strengths, their challenges, and the visual style that makes the most of their positive traits.
But I’ve learned over the years that not everyone is intuitive. And when it comes to your own design style, you might feel as though you have blinders on.
When working with our clients, we find it helpful to place them in one or more “design style categories” we’ve developed. Most agents have a strong primary style, which is supplemented by one (or sometimes more) secondary styles.
Understanding an agent’s underlying style (or styles) helps us to create the most effective brand possible for them. Curious about your design style? Read on!
Artistics often stand out in a crowd! Driven by aesthetics and drawn to unusual designs, Artistics believe that form is often more important than function. By nature, most Artistics think outside the box, and are willing to consider unusual ideas for their brand. Creativity and imagination fuel the Artistic’s fire.
YOU ARE: interested in the creative process.
YOU ARE DRAWN TO: the unique, in all walks of your life.
ARTISTIC DESIGN ELEMENTS:
- A varied palette of colors.
- The use of designs or patterns rather than photographs.
- If photography is used, it is done so in an unusual way.
- Fonts have a “designer” feeling. Brush stroke styles are common, although classic fonts may be used if the background is particularly “busy”.
- An agent photo that is unique, featuring more than just the agent’s head and neck.
YOUR PERSONALITY STYLE: An Artistic Analytical would be a rarity, but you’ll find Artistics among the other personality styles.
ARTISTIC ICONS: Michael Jackson, Johnny Depp, Barbra Streisand, Betsey Johnson, Bernadette Peters, Brad Pitt
Strong-spirited individuals, Bolds believe in “going big or going home”. Questioners of “the rules”, they are interested in stepping outside the box when it comes to branding. Bolds can be incredibly imaginative and creative thinkers, always willing to try something new. Bolds are always noticed – and they like that!
YOU ARE: often considered daring.
YOU ARE DRAWN TO: a strong look with a unique and distinctive element.
BOLD DESIGN ELEMENTS:
- Unusual use of color, often with high contrasts or colors which are very dark and/or dramatic in nature.
- Photography used in an unexpected way.
- An eye-catching font. Fonts featuring scripts and brush strokes are popular choices.
- Agent photo which is “out of the box”.
- Texture which plays a strong role in a dramatic design.
YOUR PERSONALITY STYLE: Bold design styles are most often embraced by Promoters and Controllers.
BOLD ICONS: Superman, Cher, Dolly Parton, Janet Jackson, Gwen Stefani, Robin Williams, Bernadette Peters
Classics are drawn to a blend of style and substance, and want to project an image of enduring quality. Known and appreciated for being cordial, refined, and somewhat formal, classics often appreciate and respect tradition. This is often reflected in a design that leans toward “safe” or conventional. Marketing which is simple, harmonious, and restrained feels most comfortable for Classics.
YOU ARE: a blend of style and substance.
YOU ARE DRAWN TO: quality and grace.
- A color palette that is rich or traditional in nature … or black and white, paired with a single additional color.
- Sparing or subtle use of photography and design elements.
- Fonts with a traditional feel.
- An agent photo that is either “in” or “outside of the box”, often including more than a headshot. Agent photos never compete with the overall design.
YOUR PERSONALITY STYLE: Although Classics can be found among all personality styles, they are rare among Promoters.
CLASSIC ICONS: Michael Jordan, Princess Diana, Tom Hanks, Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Julie Andrews, Rock Hudson
Dynamic and powerful design is important to Dramatics, who always have a strong presence and are committed to making an equally strong style statement. Because they want to be noticed, striking memorable brands – often featuring iconic images and strong color contrasts – are very important to Dramatics.
YOU ARE: not afraid to break “the rules”.
YOU ARE DRAWN TO: strong designs with a “flair” or detail which sets you apart.
- Rich color contrasts such as black and white or a high proportion of black with a splash of vivid color.
- Design elements such as a symbol or decorative element which drawn the eye.
- Fonts are typically strong and decorative in nature. Script and brush fonts are often used.
- High-contrast photography, either black and white or saturated colors used in an unexpected way. Photos are often emotionally based or have a “wow” factor.
- If texture is used, it makes an impact rather than simply being part of the background.
YOUR PERSONALITY STYLE: Dramatics are most often found with Promoter and Controller personality styles.
DRAMATIC ICONS: Elvis Presley, Halle Berry, Jack Nicholson, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, Nathan Lane
Eclectics are not afraid to break “the rules” when it comes to design. In fact, they’re often unaware that design rules exist! Non-traditional in their approach, Eclectics mix elements from multiple sources, and are uncomfortable with a traditional, “inside the box” appearance. Eclectics resist stereotyping. While they’re not interested in being noticed for the sake of being noticed, a highly unique and personal look is very important to them.
YOU ARE: not interested in a “one size fits all” brand.
YOU ARE DRAWN TO: unusual elements and color combinations.
- Photography, if used, will contain bold elements.
- Branding may involve abstract ideas.
- Unconventional shapes, fonts, and lines.
- The agent photo is strong, dramatic, and “outside the box”.
YOUR PERSONALITY STYLE: Most Eclectics are Promoters or Controllers.
ECLECTIC ICONS: Madonna, Lady Gaga, Andy Warhol, Elton John, Sara Jessica Parker, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Folds
The words “class act” perfectly describe Elegants. Poised, gracious, and respectful, they want a brand in which every element has been carefully considered. Details are incredibly important to Elegants, and they are drawn to images which are refined. Sophistication, grace, and refinement are keywords of elegant designs.
YOU ARE: focused on details and quality.
YOU ARE DRAWN TO: images which are refined and composed.
- Subtlety is a key word, and is often represented in lighter backgrounds which incorporate textures or images.
- Design elements can range from the simple to the elaborate, but are often stylized. Typically there is a single focal point.
- The agent photo can be “inside” or “outside of the box”, and is typically traditional in style.
- Fonts are generally classic or “scripty” in nature.
YOUR PERSONALITY STYLE: Analytical Elegants are rare, but Elegants are found among every personality type.
ELEGANT ICONS: Grace Kelly, George Clooney, Cary Grant, Faith Hill, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Josh Groban
Free from artificiality and affectations, Naturals are genuine and without pretense. Often viewed by others as easy-going and straightforward, Naturals hate to be fenced in and struggle with conformity or rules. With a deep reverence for nature, they find themselves attracted to marketing which reflects this core value.
YOU ARE: not pretentious. Somewhat spontaneous, you appreciate beauty, often seeing it where others do not.
YOU ARE DRAWN TO: an organic feeling; scenes or elements from nature resonate with you.
- Organic elements are key components.
- Lines and shapes are fluid, with little geometry.
- Photography is often of nature, or mixed with natural elements.
- Texture may play a large role.
- Earth-toned palettes are common.
- The agent photo can be “inside” or “outside of the box”, and is often secondary to the brand’s other design elements.
YOUR PERSONALITY STYLE: Many “Naturals” have Analytical or Supporter personality styles.
NATURAL ICONS: Julia Roberts, Carole King, Kate Hudson, JFK Jr., Katie Holmes, Joni Mitchell, Sigourney Weaver, Meg Ryan
Understateds have a “less is more” approach to design, finding delight in simplicity and grace. Because Understateds are, by nature, not dominant personalities, their designs often have a feeling of restraint and subtlety. “Simple” and “serene” are words often associated with understated designs.
YOU ARE: quietly powerful, and are able to be effective in a subtle way.
YOU ARE DRAWN TO: a calm, serene appearance.
- Subtlety is a key component.
- Low-key elements may be used in concert with photos.
- Photos are typically a single focal point or in the same color tones as the main design.
- Backgrounds are usually light in hue, and may incorporate a restrained texture or image.
- The agent photo can be “inside” or “outside of the box”, but is not usually a large factor in the design.
- Fonts are “light” in nature. It would be rare to see an understated design with fonts that are dramatic, “scripty”, or bold.
YOUR PERSONALITY STYLE: If your design style is “Understated” you are probably an Analytical or Supporter.
UNDERSTATED ICONS: Jerry Seinfeld, Sandra Bullock, Harrison Ford, Jennifer Aniston, John Wayne, Bill Gates, Callista Flockhart, Sofia Coppola
Want to discover your design style? Download our free Design Style Analysis!
We invite you to download our Branding Portfolio PDF, which highlights each of the eight major design styles, provides samples of each style, and includes the story behind the designs for several of our clients.
Don’t forget: there’s still time left to enter our “Before and After” contest! We will be doing a mini-makeover to the winner of the contest to illustrate what a difference great branding can make. Interested in entering? Send a PDF of your current brand to: [email protected].