Jo's Web Wizardry

Jo Atherton

As artists, it’s hard to think ourselves as a brand, as it sounds so corporate, but a few days spent thinking about your work, your inspirations and what makes you unique can pay dividends. This month I offer a few pointers to start thinking of your talents in this way, and provide you with a list of great resources online to get you started.

I’m sure we have all enjoyed seeing our work displayed in local art shows at some point, proudly sharing our work with the community. You may feel that you can’t compete on a larger scale, but don’t overlook the power of the internet to bring your work to an international market.

We may not have a marketing, accounts and manufacturing department, like many large scale companies, but working as a creative does mean you can offer many things these impersonal companies cannot.

In our favour, we are independent. We can be quick to respond. Those larger brands are faceless and their products are detached from the creative process. Reacting to trends can be like trying to turn an oil tanker for those massive companies and organisations, but for the creative, it is no more than an exciting challenge!

Often people are attracted to handmade crafts or original artwork because they want to own something unique and buy into some pottery or a painting which has a personal story attached to it. This is where you can start exploring your unique selling point.

Grab a sheet of paper and start thinking about the following to tell a story about your work:

    What makes you stand out from the crowd?

    How do your techniques make your work special?

    What materials do you use?

    What inspires you?

    What is it you do that you are most most proud of? How
    might you begin to sell yourself around this achievement?

    Do you have a special routine or location to make
    your work possible?

Once you start to have a few ideas about your brand, you can start to build this into other areas of your work. Soon you will be able to drive your creativity like a business. By offering insights, either via your website, Facebook or Twitter, you will be sharing your love for your work directly with your potential customers, which they should find infectious!

Another angle to explore is how you can show you care via your presentation and small details. Investing in decent business cards and packaging really will allow you to compete with larger corporate brands. There are some great companies out there offering some fabulous products at a reasonable price. and are well worth a look for ideas on how you can think about your brand, and see how other creatives are using their service.

In this difficult economic climate, there are so many creatives trying to support themselves that a clearly defined brand really will help you stand out from the crowd.

People are attracted to handmade crafts or original works of art because they offer something that generic, mass produced products or prints cannot. Share your creative journey, your routine, your inspirations and I’m certain it will add significant value to your work. The internet gives us all a voice, so with a bit of creativity and planning, your story can be heard alongside the larger producers, so go for it!

To explore the idea of branding for artists further, here are some great websites I’ve found which offer good advice to get started:

21 ways to add magic to your brand and stand out as a creative

Branding 101 for artists

How to create an artist’s brand

Branding for artists - creating a niche market