“Style is a magic wand, and turns everything to gold that it touches.” – Logan Pearsall Smith, author, essayist and critic
If you have attended a class at McBride’s Magic & Mystery School, you have likely heard Jeff break down the word “image” as “I, Mage,” meaning “I, the Magician.” As performers, our image is crucial. And whether you are doing it consciously or unconsciously, you are presenting an image to the world.
There are already icons and imagery associated with magic: Top hats, rabbits and wands come immediately to mind. How can you make yourself stand out? What is unique about your magic? What is the image that you convey to your potential clients? What do your marketing materials (or lack thereof) say about you? At the risk of offending some of you, does your business card feature a photo of you in a tuxedo, displaying a card fan? Who are you beyond the generic concept of a magician?
There are many examples of successful branding in magic. It is difficult to hear the name Jeff McBride without thinking of a mask, or imagine Mac King wearing anything but a plaid suit. Dan Sperry has branded himself as the “anti-conjurer.” One look at his website and you know what you’re in for! These performers have created and established a unique, recognizable image that clearly expresses their stage persona.
Who is your target audience, and what are you trying to say to them? Do your business card, website and other marketing materials reflect your skill, quality and style? Are you trying to sell a $10,000 illusion show with your MySpace page? Quality marketing materials give your clients the message that you are serious about your business and your art. Consider how much you have spent on magic props, illusions, conventions and lectures. Reflect on how much time and effort you have put into practicing and perfecting your act. Now, how much money and energy have you spent on marketing yourself? Quality marketing materials do not have to break your budget, but they are important. A professional designer can work with you and your budget.
My goal is to provide each of my clients with an image that is both professional and unique, and to integrate this image throughout their marketing materials in a creative way. Each performer’s style and personality serves as inspiration for their corporate image. A logo, for example, is not just a pretty picture, but an iconic representation of you. I enjoy conversing with my clients to find out who they are and what they bring to their audiences, and translating that into something tangible that helps them succeed in their business and art.
I created Jordan Wright’s logo in 2007, and to this day it remains one of my favorite projects. Jordan is an artistic performer, and he needed a logo that reflected his unique style and distinguished him from more traditional magicians. I created eleven versions of his logo before we settled on the final version. You can see the case study of the logo as it developed online. The final logo was the result of our continuing discussions, and became the cornerstone of Jordan’s branding, tying together all of his marketing materials. Jordan takes his branding a step further by incorporating his physical appearance into his brand; he literally matches his logo.
I have the benefit of being a performer as well as a designer. Although I do work for clients in many different industries, I particularly enjoy working for magicians and other entertainers because I have a strong connection to and understanding of other performers.
From my own participation in classes at the Magic & Mystery School, I have noticed that many students, upon completing a course, embark on inventing or reinventing their public image. If you feel so inspired, please email me. I look forward to working with you on your I, Mage!