“Better is actually worse. Different is what matters. … Don’t fall into the trap of being indistinguishable.”
— Jasmine Bina, The 16 Rules of Brand Strategy
Yes, I did indeed read the article on brand strategy that this quote comes from and, no, I don’t think you need read it unless you’re into brand building (which I suspect few of my friends are). Anyway, the quoted text is the bit that struck me and made me file it into my “Monday motivator list” (yes, I do have such a list).
Fast forward a few weeks and an artist friend and I are talking about paintings that are heavily reliant on the properties of paint. About creating painting using the knowledge that a particular paint will produce a specific effect if you do certain things with or to it. How as an artist you might differentiate your paintings from other artists also using this, if indeed you can given the degree of serendipity that is all down to the materials and not the hand of the artist.
Maybe it’s colour choices, maybe it’s size, maybe it’s shape. Maybe it’s using it for only part of a painting’s creation not the whole thing. Maybe you don’t mind because most people don’t know and will never see similar. We didn’t get to an answer, but then looking through my motivator list this quote struck me once more.
It led me to thinking: Being better at the same thing won’t differentiate your art. You want to be distinguishable, but also better. Because you could stand out by being terrible — be honest, who hasn’t walked through a craft market or art fair and thought “eek, urm, what” at some point. You don’t want to be memorable for the wrong reasons.
What you think counts as “distinguishable” in art? Leave a comment below and let me know.