When creating your brand it’s common to reflect on what your brand is and what you want it to represent. In the process, it’s important to also look backward and re-discover those things that have shaped who you are today to tell your story. These may not be moments you ultimately share, but the process helps to clarify your message.
Story is an important part of your brand–always evolving, but key moments are baked in.
I was thinking about things that fully engage me and, mind wandering thought about the path I took to become a user experience and product designer. Having always believed in doing something that holds both pride and purpose, the notion ‘do what you love’ is a mantra; but what were some of the things I had done or experienced that led me to these particular choices?
How Kite-Making Is Pivotal to My Brand
I recalled a story from when I was young, very young, but it perfectly defines me and I believe it was my gateway moment; my Design 1A. It involves a bit of kite-making for a contest. Entry was, to be sure, totally out of character for the shy girl I was. Also there were no helicopter parents then, especially at my house; the only household I was aware of with two professional adults. No, this was a quest.
In the third grade, at age 8, I entered the after-school kite-making contest. There were several categories, but they all shared one common requirement: you would have to demonstrate that your kite could fly. I decided to enter the category for the smallest kite.
I had flown kites but had never made one and wanted to be sure it would fly. I was in it to win. First there was a book on kite-making checked out from the library. After researching kite-making and models, I created a kite from things on hand.
The first model was a box kite. It wouldn’t hold and collapsed before drying fully. After a couple failed attempts I opted instead for the traditional diamond; the support fashioned from toothpicks with a sail and kite tail each made of wrapping tissue. All the joins were done with white Elmer’s Glue. Finally, a spool of thread was used for the kite string. My kite was about the size of a 50 cent piece. ‘Small’ was my primary focus.
I still remember the moment of the contest. It seemed like everyone at school had entered, the line of contestants stretching across the entire play yard. The judges were a teacher and the principle. I do recall a smile when I ‘flew’ my kite; my arm waving and weaving like a roller coaster, the small kite bobbing behind. After a review of each contestant and a big show of note taking, the winners were finally announced. I won! First place for “the smallest kite that flew” went to me.
This entire process was me at my happiest; a problem to solve that required both logic and creativity; and the award (a small hand made certificate) an exciting validation. The same process is part of what I do today: clarify the problem, research options to resolve it and frame a solution. And, yes, I still love what I do, experiencing joy in the process. This contest is definitely one of my ‘baked-in’ moments.
The Value of Reflection
It’s important to ask “How did I get here?” When we take the time to look back we discover moments that put us on the path to all of our tomorrows. The discoveries we make can inspire us or may illuminate the things we want to heal. And while one doesn’t want to hold on too tightly to these memories either way, they are a part of our story, affecting choices we make daily. And even, perhaps, the key to our brand and vision.
Do you remember a pivotal moment from your past that put you on the path you enjoy today? Leave a note in the comments – I would love to hear about it!