I would start this article by saying that I am a professional too.
There is a noticeable rise in freelancing and individuals promoting themselves as professionals. If you doubt this – have a look at Linkedin. Or even Facebook. Even though lots of people work in one organization or are employed by someone, still the positioning goes as they are on their own. Professionals.
To be hired, you must be out there. And being out there – isn`t that sort of marketing? Right? And marketing includes the communication part as well. And consequently – that includes proper personal branding with visuals, voice, colors, style etc.
Those who have made the jump from corporate to freelance will understand the struggle. Suddenly you have to know how to get new clients, position yourself in the market, set pricing levels etc.
Visual communication can help to achieve better results. It can be done by communicating the audience the right kind of message on who you are and what are your values, or designing excellent presentations, reports, or any other visual collateral. If you do not know why should you care, I have a post explaining that.
What is Professional?
To be frank, I try to avoid using the word professional. It does not matter if it applies to myself or others, I strongly advise not to use this word.
Why – you ask?
Well, mostly because to my mind, this is one of those words that fail to have concrete and unmistakable meaning. It is similar to the word quality. We absolutely overuse it and define wildly differently depending on whom you ask.
Usually, when I dig deeper, I notice that there are other, more defined values. The values that far better explain the meaning of the word professional.
By saying someone is professional, most of the time we think of someone as trustful, knowledgeable, competent, accountable and dependable.
As the matter of fact, these values are the ones to use as better characteristics to define the professionalism.
I like to go even further and simplify it to this equation:
Professional = Trustful
You hire professionals because we lack a certain level of knowledge or competencies to achieve something. And you want to do things in the best way and shortest amount of time. This requires a high level of trust between the individual, organization and the professional.
So how do you do it? How can you present yourself as professional through visual content?
Let`s dive in!
The 100% Confident Way to Brand Yourself as the Professional.
Colors – Navy and a Shade of Black.
Have you ever thought why security personnel and law enforcement authorities usually dress in black and dark blue?
Because it is the color set that makes us feel safer. They evoke the feeling of trust and dependability. Of course, there is also the practical application as well (easier to clean and less hassle with the dirt 🙂 ). But apart from that – darkish blue paired with black or gray gives the brand trustable, dependable and competent feel.
Choose dark blue (navy) and shade of black as the main and secondary color. And for the accent color – choose something that best represent your professional field or personality. If you take overall darker colors, you will achieve more serious and higher value impression. If you introduce some light gray shades, you will get a more accessible look.
Shapes – Rectangles.
The rectangle would be the failproof choice. Rectangles express stability, predictability, integrity and clarity. Additionally, rectangles do not have any movement, they give a comforting stress-free feel. Also, you should remember that rectangles are the shape that attracts a bit of attention as it is not natural and feels engineered. But then – professionalism includes knowledge, that can be attributed to science. So this artificial, engineered look is appropriate.
Use rectangular images and frames to achieve a professional look in your presentations etc.
Sans-serif and Bold Fonts.
Being a professional would also mean being state-of-the-art. Modern. Up to date. Also a bit of authoritative and bold. Why would someone hire you? Because YOU KNOW THE STUFF without any questions asked. 🙂
Bolder sans-serif style fonts will do the best job representing these values.
Remember About the Basics.
When you design any visual, remember to start with the basics. Here is a good article how to make good looking visuals from scratch.
Little disclaimer. These branding ideas, in fact, will fit every professional for sure. If you are someone that comes from the more creative field, you might be open for the decent amount of experiments. But in that case, you should be careful on what different elements, colors and font types mean.
Are you a professional looking to get yourself out there? Do you find these ideas useful?