Saturday, July 26, 2008
Accept No Imitations
When I started my photography business back in 1999, I searched for a name that was simple to say and easy to spell. Most of my fellow photographers use their own names like "Joe Smith Studio," and this being a very personal business, it makes sense for the craftsman to have his name on the door.
But, my name is "Weiner," a name I hate to hear, spell or speak. So, my business name was to be my departure from my ancestors who came from Austrian Galicia in the 1880s. Maybe Weiner was a wonderful-sounding name back then but today, it's either pronounced "whiner" (a complainer) or "wiener" (a hotdog...or worse).
One day, my wife just said, "How about Red Square?"
Without any thought, I filed for the S-corp "Red Square, Inc." (d/b/a Red Square Photography) and designed a logo with, you guessed it, a four-sided shape in the color of red. At the time, I knew there was a very famous Red Square in Moscow and a Red Square nightclub in Miami Beach. I knew the nightclub wouldn't last and I figured the one in Moscow was too far away to be a factor.
What I didn't realize is how many other people loved the red square idea and how the internet would soon make any physical distance irrelevant. Hundreds of companies from all over the world in all different industries use a red square in their identity. It must be a trend because Wikipedia shows nine different "red squares." Even a fellow Florida photographer offered the sincerest form of flatulence.
The best example is another company actually named Red Square Photography in Derbyshire, England. They started about five years after me (which makes me wonder why they didn't just choose some other name) and they shoot weddings, kids and animals. Not exactly competition, except maybe at domain registration time.
So, here I am in an industry that lives by serving the newest, freshest and most creative ideas. We're supposed to help clients stand out from the crowd, build unique identities and other things like that. I'm going to stop whining and design a new logo.