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  • Mottos And Mission Statements: 4 Steps To Branding Your Studio

    - Jamin Smith


    Yeah, the second step is equally as vague and woolly as the first. Sorry. But again, it'll unlock a lot if you can really nail this. Knowing the three values your studio stands for will help you to hire staff who share the same virtues, and thus develop games in accordance with a unified vision. It will help write your studio's signature.  

    It's all too easy to rush this step and fart out a few quaint sounding words - but if they're not reflective of traits you genuinely believe in, they're meaningless. ‘Honesty' might sound like a lovely value on paper, for example, but in an ideal world this would be true of all companies and brands. It's hardly a virtue to shout from the rooftops, is it? "We don't' lie!" Brilliant. Even if this is, in actuality, less common than we know to be true, it's just a bit shit and generic. Dig deeper. 

    In an effort to minimise ambiguous bollocks and show how these values can directly affect your ongoing work, I'll share Superstring's values alongside examples of how these values help in practice. 

    Superstring is:

    • T R A N S P A R E N T
      This might sound similar to ‘honest' on paper, but it's not. It's about being actively open in all facets of development. It's about sharing, and keeping very open channels of communication. 
      In practice: transparency will inform the content we create and share outside of core development - hence this blog! It guides how we interact with other developers, and - hopefully - shapes our games, which will benefit from the outside perspective we otherwise lack as a small team. I think this is really important for small studios where you can easily end up working in a bubble. Transparency is a two way street.
    • G U T S Y 
      There were several words I flirted with here - spirited, daring, adventurous - but they all relate to being bold. As Superstring is a one-man team, and a side project (I have a salary and full time job if things go pear-shaped), I'm happy to take risks. If an idea doesn't pan out, nobody loses their jobs. Nobody goes without food or accommodation.
      In practice: Riskiness as a value means that experimentation is built into the studio's DNA. Our games don't need to be approved by a risk committee. We will actively pursue ideas that are more out there.
    • R E B E L L I O U S  
      This sounds try-hard, but I've always been keen to weave a little attitude into Superstring's persona. I don't want the studio to walk or talk like a traditional developer; I want it more in line with a band's brand, for example. Specifically, I want to tap into the themes and visuals of the synthwave music scene - which I feel embodies this attitude nicely.
      In practice rebellion as a core value gives nice constraints for visuals, tone of voice and language. This value has directly influenced the visual identity work I'll outline later.


    The first two steps involve language that - should you wish - need never be public. They're the invisible tracks your studio will run along. Your motto (or tagline), however, is the slightly more succinct and catchy embodiment of the first two steps. It's the language you'll whack on your website and Twitter bios and whathaveyous. It should succintly convey what you're all about.

    Here's what I landed on for Superstring (after many iterations...):

    "(Superstring is) dedicated to abusing the boundaries of game genre."

    I like this because it a) reinforces my mission statement of experimenting with genre hybrids, and b) introduces a little hint of attitude. It sounds progressive - a little rebellious, even.

    Note: With the motto complete, I'd also recommend building out a long and short description for your studio, too. There's countless uses for these (website about page, press release boiler plates, etc etc) , and having a long and short versions prepared will save you a lot of time.


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