A Personal Brand to be Proud of

One of the most difficult tasks that a designer will face is designing for themselves. Because we are often our own harshest critics, I can honestly say that I've never been 100% satisfied with any of my personal branding attempts. I also often see other designers suffer this same curse and will change their personal website design
every week. This time round, I want to be thoughtful about this process and try to finally get it right.

Real Name vs Alias

This has always been a big struggle because I don't quite believe my real name is that marketable or catchy enough as a brand to stand on its own. Employers, clients and peers are much more attracted to names like 'Roman Mars' or 'Jason Santa Maria'. Ri Liu doesn't quite have the same ring to it. Which means I've always resorted to using pseudonyms, collecting a trove of domains including marshmalloo.com, playfulcreative.com (my last alter ego). The process of finding a suitable pseudonym in itself is not an easy process since it needs to fulfill the following criteria:

  1. Must sound respectful in the industry, but still have elements of fun and geekiness
  2. Must exemplify me as a person, my design philosophy and what I do
  3. Must be witty and memorable
  4. Must be able to acquire the .com or at least be available in one of the trendier tlds like .io

Hardly an easy step in the process. This time, I gave up on that mission and started playing around with my initials:

Which turned out well since I had just discovered that the Australian Government had set up the .id.au namespace explicitly for the purpose of giving its citizens a personal, identifiable online presence. I snagged up ri.id.au, and started embracing my uncatchy, awkwardly short name.

Visual Style

Stylistically, I chose a minimal design because I want my blog and portfolio to be about Content. That's right - with a Big C.

In spirit of it being all about Content, I've used this post in place of lorem ipsum (I know, meta right?) to see how I can best present the content in the clearest, reader-friendly fashion.

I made the decision to go with just one accent colour on pure white. The advantage of which, is that the colour scheme could potentially change later on without too much stress. Instead, I've used the time and effort that I would have put into tweaking colours into fine-tuning the typography.

Museo Sans Rounded 100

Skolar Light, Skolar Light Italic

Skolar Medium

Skolar Semibold Typography choices

Layout for content, not for ipsum

Since the theme has to be optimised for both text readability and to showcase my work without other visual clutter, I've chosen to alternate the width of the content depending on the form.

For images, the blog style guide consists two types:

Centered images within boundaries of text.

Large display images which resize with the width of the browser, but scale appropriately on mobile screens. Also - fuck yeah, puppies!

The advantage of a simple layout is that you can easily go responsive. I felt this approach was also important from a design philosophy perspective. The small amount of work put into responsive-ising(ification?) is worth it for those who happen to pull up one of my blog posts from their phone while on the bus.