3 LESSONS LEARNED WHILE BUILDING MY BRAND

by Rich Akullian – President & Creative Director

What name? What icon? What font? What copy? What color(s)? Do it yourself? Outsource it?

The unlimited possibilities to these questions nearly drove me crazy.

Here’s 3 key things I learned while developing the Akullian Creative brand:  

  1. Set stakes in the ground or you’ll never get anywhere. 

For a person who suffers from severe (self-diagnosed) ADHD, setting stakes in the ground is often the most difficult part of any project. Once there are established parameters I’m much more adept at focusing my creativity and ideas, but when the possibilities are nearly unlimited my brain can go on overload.

Thankfully I worked with the right partner on developing the new branding and he helped me set the early stakes in the ground to get us moving towards a final product.

Early on my goals/stakes for the branding were that it contains the following elements:

  • Text

-Akullian Creative (required)

-Enterprises or Ent. (optional)

  • Design Themes/Looks

-Creativity, Premium, Dynamic, Unique

-The letters A/C/E should be identifiable in the icon to represent “Akullian Creative Enterprises” and my life-long nickname “Ace.”

Growing up I used to draw the icon below on many of my book covers so I sent it along to the design team for a reference.

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  • Colors

-Black/White/Blood Red

I sent over these ideas and just a few days later received the following initial set of designs developed by deevoted:

1-236x300-236x3003-236x300-236x300 2-236x300-236x300

This was when it started to get really exciting because it was becoming “real.”  Upon first glance I was almost immediately locked into #1 and nearly made a snap decision.  However after staring at these options for a few hours I found qualities in each that I liked.  This led me to change my mind every ten minutes on which direction to go and at this point I started asking friends, family & strangers for feedback…which leads to the 2nd key lesson I learned in this process.


  1. Listen to as much feedback as possible, but don’t react to all of it.

After a few more rounds of internal revisions I reached out to my social networks looking for feedback and the responses came in fast.

I could never have expected the amount of quality feedback I would receive and though it was all helpful, it left me even more confused.  The results of the vote were so close and the feedback I received kept pushing me in different directions.  Many people commented that #1 & #3 showed off more creativity, while many were firmly set on #2.  This can be seen in the voting results below.

thevote-576x1024-169x300

After reviewing all of the feedback, I once again had reached a point where my decision was nearly made.  I was leaning leaning towards #1…but I wasn’t firmly “in-love” with any of the options and knew there was still work to be done.


  1. Don’t settle. 

While trying to make a final decision I couldn’t help but have two pieces of advice I received replay themselves over and over in my head.

“At the end of the day it’s something that YOU have to connect with and be passionate about.”  

“The best logos are the simplest ones.” 

These words of wisdom caused me to start re-evaluating each of the stakes I had put in the ground from the beginning.  After some serious thought I made some pretty substantial late revision requests to the design team which I’m sure threw them for a loop at this point in the process.

  • Color scheme changes…Completely forget the red/black/white and utilize a new color scheme.  The new colors would be chosen based on their individual meanings as well as the fact that they were the colors of the Armenian flag.  Red represents “passion,” orange represents “creativity,” and blue represents “wisdom/intelligence” which all are intended to help communicate the story I want my brand to tell.   I quickly made the mock-ups below as potential icons and again thought I was pretty close to making a final decision.

akullian-ace-tests-768x432-1-300x169

  • Complete design changes… On top of color changes I then went a bit crazy and tossed out all of the previous designs at the last minute.  I made a new mock-up of my own (below) utilizing pieces of all of the previous versions and added my newly chosen color scheme, the A/C/E in the icon, and the Armenian flag…Finally I could see the finish line.  I sent the mock-up over to the design team (with my sincere apologies for the last minute changes) and requested that they give me a set of options based on the new elements.

new-mock-up-300x218

A few days later I got back the following three options:

akullian-creative-3-768x372-300x145 akullian-creative-2-768x372-300x145 akullian-creative-1-768x372-300x145

With these new options in hand I created one last revised mock-up of my own and a few days later the design team gave back a version that I’ve fallen in love with.

akullian-creative-300x102

*Special thanks to Adam from deevoted, Akullian Creative Employee #1 Sofia, my current Ace’s & to all of those who took the time to give me their feedback and help along the way!

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