June 19, 2020

Legacy writer brand journey

jacques de viliers legacy writer logo

My brand journey started about a year or so back when I was coached by the exceptionally gifted personal brand builder Dawn Klatzko.

Her method altered the way I looked at things, my value and my place in the world. It gave me a clear direction of what is acceptable to me and what isn’t. It showed me who I want to work with and who I want to discourage from working with me. It wasn’t an easy journey because before I could fix my brand, I had to work on myself. It was more a journey into self than into my brand. It was a frustrating and challenging journey to get to this point. And, it is only now in this Covid-19 disaster and lockdown that I brought all the elements together.

This is the story so far.

I asked fine artist, Yvette Hess and graphic designer, Jo Petzer to help me visually translate my brand into something worthwhile.

The Brief

I was clear on what I wanted which I think was a great help to both Jo and Yvette.

Hard assets

  • I’ve ghostwritten 12 books and four for my own account
  • I’ve written more than 8 million words
  • I’ve had more than 1000 articles published (more than 300 on real paper)
  • I have a National Diploma in Public Relations
  • I worked in public relations for many years
  • I worked as a copywriter for many years in disparate industries
  • I’ve presented my ideas on more than 1200 stages, both locally and internationally over the last 22 years

Soft Assets

  • Curious
  • Authentic
  • Outspoken
  • Challenging
  • Passionate
  • Fair
  • Articulate
  • Loyal
  • Creative
  • Eccentric
  • Intelligent
  • Philosopher
  • Sufi
  • Connector
  • Connected

I wanted to capture the world of an author which is not an easy one. It’s lonely work and hard work full of angst, doubt and more than a touch of masochism. The old school authors appealed to me … they’re drunk, drugged and depressed.

Despite their brokenness, they managed to create works of pure genius: Ernest Hemingway, Anne Rice, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Bukowski, Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson and William Faulkner, amongst others.

I’m convinced their brokenness caused their genius and some of their best works were written in their worst times.

Jacques de Villiers legacy writer
Sometimes I feel a bit broken and this is reflected in my book, What if Hollywood Doesn’t Call? A Fractured Monk’s Guide To Enlightenment

I also wanted to get across my own views (which is more in the writing than in the visuals):

  • I hang out with people who are smarter than me and who I find more interesting than me
  • I work with people who value my work and who appreciate the craft of writing
  • I don’t dumb down my work for anybody
  • I only work with curious and smart people
  • I only work with people who are proud of their own work
  • I only work with people whose intention is to set their clients up for success. I don’t work with selfish people. I love working with selfless people
  • I work with people who are a bit off-centre, colourful, eccentric and energising
  • I work with people who have values and who have value
  • I work with people who make a difference in their small corner of the world (and don’t brag about it)
  • I work with people who are struggling to find their voice and their power
  • I don’t play well with corporate drones. We don’t get each other
  • I’ll never work with sell-from-the-stage speakers who prey on the desperate
  • I don’t work with sociopathic, egotistical narcissists
  • I don’t want the spotlight. My job is to disappear so that others can appear.

I connected with Jo via Yvette. I had a look at her website. She had me at the authenticity and charm of her deep dark secret biography (I was so enamoured with it that I didn’t even look at her portfolio).

We spoke over the phone and she was as authentic and charming as her brand portrayed.

Jo Petzer’s View

Jo Petzer

This logo was an ‘Express logo’ order that I thoroughly enjoyed working on. The client, @jacquesamauri, is a copywriter specialising in legacy writing. Huh? ?He’ll write your story so that it sounds like you so your kids and grandkids can learn about you and your life and life lessons, and connect with you in a way they might not ordinarily be able to.

Besides that, if you don’t want your story written, Jacques is the bomb at writing your website home page and bio copy so that it sounds like you, and your preferred audience connects with you straight away and understands clearly who you are and what you can do for them.

Jacques is old-school with old-school values and ethics. He’s a huge Hemingway fan and wanted to emulate that aesthetic in his brand to help people connect with and understand him as a writer.

He is also a collector of typewriters. He sent me a photo of his favourite vintage one (a Hermes 3000 manual – like the one used by Jack Kerouac), and I drew it with a simple(ish) outline, duplicated it for an ‘offset’ vintage look and added a splosh of colour to the keys.

My daughter working on the typewriter.

We kept his name as a signature script and used a typewriter font for his designation. The colours are typically vintage teal (the original typewriter colour) and chocolate.

Jo’s Website
Jo’s Instagram Page

Yvette Hess’s View

Yvette Hess

My process started when you first shared your idea. When we spoke, my job, I felt was to try to visualise the words you were using to describe your concept, visualise the style of attitude and voice in the visual expression. 

While you were speaking on the phone, I started drawing what I imagined on my iPad, from the cigar to the typewriter, the elements and drawing style that I felt would resonate. You mentioned Ernest Hemingway. I knew that Jo would be the best person to do the logo and it would be a matter of building on her knowledge and design. So sent you off to work with her while I thought of more ideas, from ideas on what doodles to draw to uses of them.

I also did research as to some ideas for digital paintings later on. 
We only made the decision later to do the doodles, but I knew what I had in mind would suffice. And when you messaged to say we nailed it, I was so happy! For at least one person to affirm that a doodle reminded them of one of the key authors we wanted to associate with your brand, meant a big win in my mind. 

I sent out this photo to my network. 90% got Ernest Hemingway (which was exactly what I wanted). Some got Charles Bukowski which affirmed that the doodle worked. Side note: If it were Charles Bukowski, the cigar would have been in the drink, vomit on the table and a naked woman somewhere in the scene.

I think with this process when I form part of the initial brainstorm of the business idea with the brand voice and personality, and then you going to work with Jo and then back to me, is a process that worked for now. I get the most information and learning from the person, over the phone as part of the process. My process is taking bursts of info and visuals in the beginning and then tying it altogether in the end. 

I believe in your idea, so I was very excited to be part of it in this way! I got to explore possibilities of it, visually, and creating a visual personality that matched what you were imagining and trying to bring to life. 

Yvette’s Website
Yvette’s Instagram Page

That’s it.

My job now is to bring all the brand elements and use them to build a story.

I’ve been playing around on Facebook and Instagram and I’m enchanted by the outcome.

I think the vintage teal and chocolate will soon create and identity that is unique to me and will be recognised as Jacques de Villiers, Legacy Writer.

One Comment on “Legacy writer brand journey

Tony Lydall
June 29, 2020 at 6:35 pm

A fascinating and thought-provoking read! Thanks you.


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