Personal branding is the new black — Atelier Pan

Personal branding is the new black

What makes you you? 

When getting started with your (re)brand it’s important to always keep 2 things in mind. First there’s value. It's what can you do for your fans, friends and society. You talk about how you can help them solve that problem they’ve been struggling with and the benefits they’ll enjoy when they buy your product or hire you to provide your service —it's the value you provide. Read more about the value side of branding in my article: Why is it so hard to sell sustainability.

The market place is getting crowded. New businesses are popping up like mushrooms. This makes it a lot more difficult for you to get noticed. So, if you think about it: Why would someone choose you over someone else? The value you provide is one thing and this used to be enough, but these days a second part is needed: Personal branding. In this article I’d like to tell you a bit more about this fascinating subject.

You’ve probably been hearing about personal branding all around you.  And you're probably thinking:


Well, it’s actually quite simple. The value you provide could probably be provided by someone else as well. It has never been easier to start your own business and all lot of businesses basically provide the same service. Especially now that there’s a whole forest full of mushrooms out there.

So, what else would make you different? What else would make you stand out in the herd?

That’s where personal branding comes in. There’s only one of you:

“Be yourself because everyone else is already taken.”

—Oscar Wilde


In short: “Personal Branding is how you market yourself to others; it’s what you’re known for.” —says Catriona Pollard (author of 'From Unknown To Expert’) in an article on Huffington Post. Your clients are looking to build a relationship with you. And building a relationship start with getting to know each other.


“Go ahead, tell me a bit more about yourself.”

  • Who are you?
  • What do you stand for?
  • What drives you?
  • And what are you trying to accomplish?

—Be genuine and authentic.

​I must admit that I still find this part quite challenging myself. Not the being authentic part, but to get out there and be visible. Personally I tend to stay quiet and fall into the background. It’s nice and safe there. Not much can harm me here. Just let me stay in the office behind my MacBook and work on creative ideas and I’m good. I grew up with a Dutch saying which would literally translate into something like this: “Just act normal, then you're acting crazy enough as it is.”

And ever since I founded Atelier Pan three years ago, this is what’s been holding me back. I’m finally starting to realize that staying in the background isn’t really going to accomplish anything. So, it’s time for me to get out there and be personal as well:

“Hi, I’m Simon Droog. I’m the founder of Atelier Pan and I’m committed to help your brand stand out from the crowd, by developing a visual identity that resonates with your brand or organization, attracts clients that share your values and looks professional. Nice to meet you! Let me tell you a little about myself: Dutch Visual Identity Designer living in Barcelona, Father of Noah, Sustainability fanatic, Friends with nature, Health food-junkie and Aspiring change maker.”

Atelier Pan | Personal branding is the new black

​Image: Out for a walk with Noah in Parc de l’Oreneta, Barcelona.


To get you started on on your personal branding, I’d like to share an exercise from a really interesting and practical guide to build your personal brand, written by Neil Patel and Aaron Agius from Quicksprout. The final chapter of the guide is all about How to be unique and one of the exercises is just perfect for you. It only has three simple steps to help you figure out what makes you unique:


You are unique and your quirks, passion and history are what make you different. Brainstorm and write down all the things that might make you unique.


Then have a look at all the things from your brainstorm and prioritise them. What things do you care about the most? And what do you think are the things that separate you from others? Some things might not be as unique as you think.


Finally think about how you can incorporate your unique traits into your personal brand goals. How can your uniqueness help you make your vision of the future a reality?

Atelier Pan | Personal branding is the new black

Image: What makes you you?

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much to tell about personal branding. If you’re interested in learning more, you can read the whole guide (and I recommend that you do) —especially if you want to develop your personal brand. You can find it here: The complete guide to building your personal brand.


A big part of my work as a visual identity designer consists of the personal side of branding. At Atelier Pan I’m always looking for what makes you you; What makes you unique. How can we use that to differentiate. And how to communicate that with your visual identity.

Atelier Pan | Personal branding is the new black

With pleasure,


Atelier Pan | Visual Identities for Change makers

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