it shouldn't be a slog — tincan #005

it shouldn't be a slog — tincan #005

A big project like building a brand needs a beginning, middle, and end.

Lifelong projects shouldn’t be a thing.

When people hear that Alyssa and I are renovating our house they often wistfully remark that a home is a lifelong project. And yes, it’s technically true…there will always be things to fix and new ideas to enact, and so we will always be working on the house in one way or another. But our current reality of renovating — of plaster-filled, back-breaking, sometimes-joyless renovating — is temporary. We would go nuts if we allowed the renovation to become our ever-present reality. By calling something a “lifelong project,” you’re really just calling it endless, and a never-ending project isn’t a project at all, it’s a lifesuck. 

A project needs a beginning, middle, and end: a problem to solve, a period where you work to solve it, and — most crucially — a tangible finish line to look forward to. For Alyssa and me, it’s our awareness of the seasonality of our current dust-filled, chaotic reality that makes it so much more doable for us to commit to doing any of it in the first place. 

When she’s not renovating our house, Alyssa also works for the non-profit, KABOOM! and the nature of their work (building playspaces) means that they divvy up their year into two chunks: the building season (warm weather months) and the non-building season. The non-building season contains lots of meetings, strategy sessions, etc to support the work of the building season. You can’t have one without the other.

Evidence of people entering and exiting their building season is everywhere.

Beyoncé, for one, just buttoned up her own version of a building season with a beautiful, genre-bending album to show for it. She’ll probably go on tour before she retreats, recalibrates, and prepares to dazzle us again with something else. 

Two Locals Brewing Co just opened a new taproom in West Philly and they’ve been actively building out their brand as a result. You can see the fruits of their labor through their logo, can designs, merch, the physicality and atmosphere of their new space, and on their new website. 

Val’s Lesbian Bar is in the first legs of their building phase. They’re still in the foundational, fundraising/development period, but they’re already creating such spirited materials. I can’t wait for more.

Impressively, The Boozy Mutt was able to button up their brand’s building phase before they even opened their doors to the public. Having their brand identity figured out ahead of time then gave them the freedom to focus their attention on their burgeoning membership community — a project in and of itself.

And this very brand, Tincan, is still in the building stages too. Everything on the backend still feels very scrambly, but I’m planning for smoother days ahead. I’m also imagining a future that’s much more reader-driven and interactive, so if you’ve enjoyed reading Tincan so far, please take a moment to share it with the other diy marketer-designers-do-it-all-ers in your life so that we can get a lively conversation going. They don’t have to live in Philly, either. I’d love to be able to hear from and share stories from non-Philly folks too.


In case you missed it

So far in Tincan, we’ve covered what you need to get the party started (a font, color, and logo), how to tackle the messaging (the hardest part), and how to not sound like a bland bar of soap (be human).

Coming up, we’ll cover what else you’ll need to write your own brand guidebook, what really needs to go on a website, and how to wrap up the building phase and put all of these shiny new elements to work. 

The best way to keep up is to subscribe.

about anne marie 

Anne Marie is a designer and diy-er who lives in Philadelphia with her partner, Alyssa, and two cats and a dog. You can find her on Instagram and LinkedIn and at Reach her directly at: annemarie [at] amlindemann [dot] com.