In today's competitive art world, it's not just your artwork that sets you apart—it's your personal brand.
Building a strong personal brand as an artist is crucial for gaining recognition, connecting with your audience, and achieving your artistic goals. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the key elements of personal branding for artists and how to use them to stand out in the crowd.
Understanding Personal Branding for Artists
What is it, exactly?!
Your personal brand as an artist is essentially your unique identity. It's the sum of all the elements that make you and your art distinct and memorable. Think of it as your artistic DNA—it encompasses your artistic style, your visual identity (including logos and graphics), your delivery style (how you present your art), and your chosen delivery mechanisms (where you showcase and sell your art).
Why is Personal Branding Important for Artists?
Personal branding is more than just a trendy concept; it's a strategic approach that can help artists in several ways:
1. Brand Recognition: Your artistic style becomes your brand's digital signature.
Whether it's a specific medium, technique, or recurring themes in your work, this is how your followers will identify your pieces as uniquely yours. Your style essentially becomes your digital signature. Can you have more than one style? Yes!! But in order to start getting recognized in the crowd of artists it's usually easiest to only display one, over and over again.
2. Differentiation: what makes your style unique to you? Is it the medium? The technique? Or is it your story? Maybe it's your storytelling style on your posts? In a crowded market filled with talented artists, having a distinct artistic style is what sets you apart. It helps you become memorable.
3. Consistency: A consistent style also helps build a cohesive collection of work, which is not only visually appealing. If your goal is to gain followers on social media, the aesthetic of your feed is really important. Consistent style = an aesthetically pleasing feed.
4. Evolution: Your artistic style will evolve and adapt over time! As you grow as an artist and explore new concepts and techniques, your brand can evolve with you. You aren't married to what you start showcases first! Evolve and take your followers on that journey with you. Think of it as waves that overlap. One comes in, then goes out and they crash into each other in the process.
5. Instant Recognition: Your ultimate goal is to be recognized within seconds of someone scrolling through their social media feed, right? A strong personal brand will help you achieve this instant recognition.
Key Elements of Personal Branding for Artists
1. Your Artistic Style: How Important Is This?
Your artistic style is at the core of your personal brand. It defines your visual language, the techniques you use, the subjects you explore, and the emotions you convey through your art. Here's why it's crucial:
Brand Recognition: Your style becomes your digital signature. When people see artwork with your unique style, they can immediately identify it as yours. This recognition is essential for building a consistent personal brand and attracting a loyal following.
Differentiation: In a crowded art market, having a distinct style sets you apart from other artists. It helps you be memorable among others. It also makes it easier for your audience to remember and recommend your work.
Consistency: An artistic style provides continuity and coherence to your body of work. It helps create a cohesive portfolio that is aesthetically appealing.
Artistic Growth: While having a style is important, it doesn't mean you're locked into one way of creating forever. Your style can evolve and grow as you develop your skills and explore new concepts. Many successful artists have evolved their styles over time while maintaining core elements that make their work uniquely theirs.
Storytelling: Your artistic style can become part of your personal narrative as an artist. It can help you convey your artistic journey, influences, and perspective to your audience, which can be a powerful aspect of your personal brand.
2. Your Actual Brand: Logo, Digital Graphics, Website
Your actual brand encompasses the visual and digital elements that represent you and your art. Here are some key considerations:
Reflect Your Artistic Identity: Your logo, graphics, and website should be a reflection of your artistic identity. They should convey the same emotions and themes that your art explores. Think of them as extensions of your canvas.
Keep It Simple and Clear: Simplicity is often key in design. A cluttered or overly complex logo or website can be confusing and less memorable. Let your art have the spotlight and your brand graphics point to it. Consider using a simple stylistic signature for your logo.
Choose Colors Wisely: Colors play a significant role in branding. Select colors that resonate with your art and convey the right emotions or messages. Artists are often successful using a simple one color black logo. Taking a backseat and letting the art shine.
Versatility Is Key: Ensure that your logo and brand style work across various media and platforms, from social media profiles to business cards and art labels. They should be scalable and easily recognizable in different sizes and ratios.
Use Technology: Embrace technology to create and manage your digital brand. Whether it's using design software to create graphics or employing website builders for your online portfolio, technology can be a valuable tool for artists.
3. Your Delivery Style: How Are You Going to Display Your Artwork?
Your delivery style is how you present yourself and your art to the world. It includes aspects such as your communication style, the tone of your messages, and how you engage with your audience. Here are some considerations:
Be Authentic: Authenticity is key. Don't try to be someone you're not. If you're naturally humorous, let that shine through. If you're more introspective and thoughtful, embrace that. Your authenticity will resonate with your audience.
Video Matters: In the age of digital content, video is a powerful tool for artists. Consider your delivery style in videos. Are you slow and methodical? Are you a storyteller who can engage your audience through narrative? Are you fast and funny? Align your video style with your art style for a cohesive brand.
4. Where Do You Share Your Art?
Your choice of platforms is part of your brand. Here's what to consider:
Start with One Platform: Especially if you're just starting your personal brand journey, focus on one platform that you know best. It could be Instagram, Facebook, or a personal website. As you gain confidence and experience, you can expand to other platforms. Many people will tell you that you need to be everywhere, and you do, eventually. But start with one platform and the one you know the best. Get really good at that before adding others to the mix.
Connect with Collaborators: Collaborations can be powerful for personal branding. Seek out collaborators whose work aligns with yours or whose audience overlaps with yours. Connect with fellow artists, art organizations, and businesses that share your same vibes.
Follow, Engage, and Reach Out: Building a network is essential. I recommend spending 1 day, at least 4 hours, each month searching for and organizing a list of potential collaborators. Don't try to connect with them at that time, just collect.
Then, one time per week attempt to connect with one of them. Be very personal in your email to them, mentioning specific reasons why you chose them to connect with. (ie. your vibe is so fun and playful, it matches what I feel for my style. I know you're way ahead in the process of [personal branding] than me but would it be ok to send you some questions or even connect on a call with you?)
Obviously make sure you follow them everywhere, and engage with their posts. Don't hesitate to reach out to artists and influencers you admire or who you think won't give you the time of day. You'll be surprised who responds to you. Also don't get discouraged. If one of 10 respond that's great! Go into it with zero expectations so you're always pleasantly surprised when you get a reply!
Milestones Sidenote: Building a following takes time. As you grow, you'll hit certain milestones. When you reach around 2,000 followers on any platform, you'll start ranking in the lowest tier of influencer platforms. At 5,000 followers, you'll begin receiving inquiries for non-paid collaborations. With 10,000 or more followers, you can even get paid for your content if that aligns with your goals.
But slow and steady wins the race. Almost always.
The most important success factor for any brand anywhere is: CONSISTENCY.
Your personal brand as an artist is not just about marketing; it's a reflection of your artistic journey. It's about conveying your unique style, visual identity, delivery style and chosen platform all bundled into a package that screams:
'HEY, PEOPLE, THIS IS ME!'
'I HAVE SOMETHING TO SHARE AND IT'S AUTHENTIC AND MAGICAL AND YOU NEED TO BE HERE ON MY JOURNEY WITH ME!' 📣
Good luck! And have fun!
About the author: Angie has worked in marketing and personal branding for over 20 years. She is currently an independent Marketing Consultant and manages an online community of artists practicing art for many reasons such as creating a brand, mental health, improving skills or just for fun.
You can learn more about the art community here.