I gave podcasting about design stuff a shot back in 2008. Then again in 2011 before hanging up the microphone, seemingly for good. I’m gonna take a shot at it again. I think. Maybe.
I was an early adopter of podcasts, releasing my first back in 2008. Setting up for that enterprise took the better part of three months – rather than concentrating on recording good content about design and what-not, I instead focused on having it sound, and look, professional. I built my own recording studio full of mixer boards, microphones, noise-cancelling headsets, pop screens, the works. Then I wanted some bumper music, but rather than purchasing some clip for a couple of dollars from a site dedicated to exactly this, I decided to write and record my own music. That required purchasing Reason and Live, two professional music production applications (very expensive and steep learning curve), a whole bunch of keyboards, midi cables, Firewire patch boxes and sequencers. Then that music needed a brand, a name and a logo.Before I had recorded a second of dialogue, my enthusiasm had already waned (or I was deliberately avoiding the exercise because I hate the sound of my own voice.) I managed to get one out the door before my life got really complicated shortly thereafter, and it wouldn’t become less uncomplicated for years. I wouldn’t attempt podcasting again until 2011, when I released another two. I still have a page on Apple iTunes for heaven’s sake.
Before I did though, I went down the rabbit hole again, revamping the music, redesigning the podcast logo and cover, etc, etc. Sue and I have had many discussions about returning to podcasts and she always told me the same thing – “lots of podcasts I find interesting are just people blathering into a mic. I highly doubt they go to the lengths you do to make it sound professional or look like it’s done by a major studio.” Of course she was right (she always is) but I refused to listen, wasting so much time on the bells and whistles, by the time it came to stuff that wasn’t bells and whistles, I had forgotten what the point of the exercise was – to tell people design stuff they either wanted to hear about or might find interesting. Not intro music (though I have lots), not logos for the cover (hell, I couldn’t even figure out what to call the damn thing, let alone brand it with any consistency) and then there was the point of authorship. Who was actually doing the podcasting? Was it as Steve Douglas (very few people know that guy) or was it under The Logo Factory banner (way more people knew about that enterprise to be sure.) While one would allow me to be less formal and get into things that I might not want associated with my day gig, the other had a built in recognition factor (get it?) but came with a built in “do you really think you should be saying this” filter. Needless to say any get up and go, got up, went, and podcasting was relegated to the really large pile of “stuff to revisit at a later date.” That’s a very, very big list. We may get around to revisiting it real soon. Or we might not. But for a second, let’s pretend it’s a go.
Branding of a design podcast.
If I’m gonna relaunch this puppy, I’m going to have to standardize its branding once and for all (no, not “here we go again,” more like “let’s work with what we already have, again” kinda thing.) See, I always had this name, The Logo Factor, that I wanted to use as a sub brand of The Logo Factory proper (I bought the domain a long time ago, partially to stop squatters from poaching our name by simply removing a “Y”, because people might misspell our URL proper, and maybe as a knock on Fox News‘ Bill O’Reilly and his Factor.) I have the related domains, I even have a nifty logo – one of my favorites believe it or not – that I had designed many years ago and would work really nice for this new go round. Here she be:The original concept here was that a logo was the spark plug that “drove” a startup’s branding efforts, were always decent logos albeit without a home. Maybe they can finally be put to use. Let’s dial ’em back a bit and tailor them for this rebrand:Simple. To the point. Okay, after 8 years of futzing about with this, we finally have a name and a logo that we can live with. What about the authorship thing? If you know designers, you’ll know that they tend to get a little catty (I do it too) about people they view as competition – outfits like my studio – where they tend to view other designers as “community.” Brand this as The Logo Factory’s gig and our support in that community might be be limited. On the other hand, The Logo Factory has a built in recognition factor (get it?) with the people I’m ultimately dealing with day-to-day in terms of selling design services. I could be popular. Or I could monetize something that is going to require some effort to produce with anything approaching regularity. Turns out the decision isn’t a difficult one at all. This:That would be the cover of my new (maybe) podcast. The authorship of future podcasts would be attributed to The Logo Factory. Keeping in mind that if you’re on Apple’s store, your podcast (or album) cover gets coughed up in a lot of sizes depending on where you’re looking at it from, let’s take a look at the adaptability of this cover across the iTunes network:Ya know, that ain’t half bad. Not bad at all. We should probably tinker with how the website might appear, if we ever got around to taking another kick of the cat (with apologies to our cats Dallas, Leeloo and Harley.)Hey yo! That ain’t too hard on the eyes either. Worth pursuing a little further methinks.
Record the damn thing already!
In terms of gear, I’ve ignored my professional recording aspirations and picked up a $70 USB microphone with some noise-cancelling functions. It’s gonna sit next to my laptop so that whenever I think of something to blather about, I simply have to hit the record button. Not going to try my hand at being Jean Michelle Jarre this time – just going use some of the old music I composed way back for intros and outgos.
They’ll be fine.
Not even going to worry if there’s some background noise, a dog bark or the sound of our fish tank burbling in the background (I recorded my original podcasts at 3:00 so there’d be no ambient sound to pick up.) The new version of The Logo Factor podcast be more about substance than style, and in the total, a modest affair from a technical angle. Simple. Intimate. And to the point. I may even do a podcast about this post.