Gabriela (Gaby) Kozlowska
Graphics Branding & Identity
Flash back: November 2018, I’m sitting in one of the professional practices session, starting into the far distance, totally zoned out, thinking of every reason why and how DPS will be the best thing for me to do. Fast forward exactly a year, I’m on DPS, totally zoned out thinking how everything I’m doing its not how it’s supposed to be, nothing is working out and everything I am doing is just ‘not enough’. But it’’s all a learning process and it’s ok. There is no set way to go through this year, and we all going to go through it in our own way, and that’s what I have to accept and learn. Now here is how the year has been so far.
Starting DPS as a freelance designer, I have learned a valuable lesson, that it’s way harder than it looks, because you will never have 100% guarantee that what you working on will be successful or when the next project is going to come through. The main thing with freelance is that you are your own boss, and you set your goals, deadlines and have to make yourself go to work, which can be hard when you physically or mentally can’t push yourself to do it. The journey has started very much on an uphill, beginning with a very exciting freelance job, which was to design an app for a new brand and I would have been part of the design team full time. However, the brand has decided to pull out, and therefore my job was terminated. Followed by further failed freelance jobs, I have became very much discouraged by the idea of freelance and it started to feel like a waste of time. As an individual who likes having a lot to do, I need a 9-5 or some sort of structure, so I’m not 100% sure freelance is for me for the long run. I’m glad I gave it a shot, and I’m more then happy to do it on the side, but I’m definitely an agency/office kind of person. Maybe one day I will be able to what ever I want, but for now, I need someone to look over my shoulder.
Feeling like I’ve waisted so much time basically doing nothing, I started to thinking ahead to my thesis. I have started to look into the books and other resources which can help with my final question. The main topic of the paper will be branding (shocking, I know) but it is truly what I am mostly involved with but also what I find so complex and worth writing about. Because I have send so much time studying it, I feel like there’s so much that can be talked about, like the process of branding, what we classify as a brand these days, rebranding, self branding and many other things.
Having touched on the topic in many, if not all of my previous essay on the different elements and areas of branding, for the thesis i’d like to combine it all and together into one big reflection, on what branding is, was and how it has changed with time. It might sound a little vague, but the one main interest of mine, is the current perception of what ‘branding’ really has become. The idea that we no longer buy products, but services, life styles and we are afraid of betraying the brand we are ‘loyal’ to. The fact that we can self brand and rebrand but also how important the customer relation is to branding.
At the end of year 2, I have written my thesis proposal, in which I stated that the focus of my question will be the way branding in relation to youtube and how they have became the same thing. My focus has changed slightly, considering that there’s so much I’d like to cover, from the beginning of braiding through to what we know it to be and now the rebranding or branding. The starting point for me are the two books called ‘Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits’ by Debbie Millman as well as ‘On Brand’ by Wally Olins. They are very much staples for my paper and I believe will also influence the final question that my paper will have.
Currently I have started to work on a self initiated project with a fellow DPS friend, and we are working on a rebranding of a magazine/platform Vagina-nomics. We are working on both the design work and the new ethos and language, to expand the target audience of the platform and change the narrative of the brand. Besides this, I’m also thinking of another self initiated project, which I would be focusing on more next term, which would be much more on the topic of self branding.
The beginning part of the DPS year has been a learning curve, and I have learned and discovered a lot about myself, my work as well as the way I can and can not work. The whole year for me is a learning experience and I’m glad it isn’t just a given one year internship. A lot of people find it hard to understand what my placement year is, how it works and often say “why don’t they just give it to you”, but that’s not what real life is like. Nobody is going to go around giving you things and this really is a life lesson, with a lot of support and help. We all have a different DPS experiences and we get to share them and learn from one another, and we will return into the 3rd/4th year with much more resilience and much thicker skin. While going through a rough phase, a friend of mine said that this is me stressing and crying ahead of year three so that when it gets to the end, I will be much calmer and less stressed and I feel like if I can do this, I can do anything.