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Thursday, August 26, 2010

When (and when not) to incorporate an angry bat into your identity package

Fourteen years ago, I stepped of a boat from England (figuratively speaking, it was actually a plane) and found myself thrust into the design industry with no more than a good telephone voice and willing disposition. I soon learned that when it came to design, consistency and attention to every detail was paramount. At the time, this obsessive attention to detail was beyond me, but 14 years on, I’ve become one of those people.

So now you have a little background, I’d like to share a little anecdote - part funny story, part cautionary tale - about my upcoming nuptials.

After the dress and shoes (I am a girl after all), having a beautifully designed invitations was a high on my list of priorities. My dear friend and talented designer Merideth (of design firm 3 & Co.) designed invitations that fit the bill perfectly. They communicated our sensibility and stood out from the usual wedding fare….in short, we were thrilled.

For reasons not interesting enough to go into, I Fedexed my invitations to the UK so they could be mailed from there. My Mum was out of town when they arrived, so Dad agreed to take them to the post office. When I told him to pick nice stamps his response was (in true British style) “what do you mean? I’ll take what I’m given”. I probably should have been worried, but he’s an artist with a great eye for color, so I ignored the red flag. What ended up going out on my beautiful invitations were stamps that “highlight the 10 declining UK mammals”. The lucky guests got a hedgehog or sperm whale while the unlucky few got the bats - the long eared, the short eared and, wait for it…. the angry bat. Nothing says “wedding” like an angry bat!

I must admit, I laughed till I cried when I read Dad’s confessional email, but I urge you to learn from this tale when it comes to your own personal brand. Whether it’s your brand identity or brand voice, people notice the details and any inconsistencies. A good rule of thumb might be: if you don’t actually work for the British Wildlife Fund, perhaps you should leave the bats out of it.

P.S. If you ever need gorgeous invitations (or anything else), I’d highly recommend Merideth

1 comment:

  1. HILARIOUS--but I actually love the bats! AND the sperm whales!!