Figuring out the big question, ‘Who am I?’

Design and branding; graphic design. These are my things, here at Design Kompany. The reason I got into branding was it was a natural next step after working in newspapers, where, for the four years I got to try it as a staff reporter, editor and designer in two quite unique contexts (West Cork, Ireland, and then, after that, Seattle), yeah. It made sense to bring the ‘asking questions to unravel the difficult big questions of Who am I’ way of discovering through dialogue what it is one wanted to express to the place where I could help people do that, through the creative process.

This is how I got started in brand identity design.


A high-quality design process is the bulk of the work of the designer, according to DK

We made mood boards. We came up with keyword lists. We worked together for the ‘onliness’ statements, borrowed from the book Zag.

In the days when DK was in Seattle, we got to know different architects and software engineers who would find this blog and get in touch. From there, sometimes, things would go into the wonderful space of discovery dialogue that became, soon enough, our signature offer. Branding, brand identity design, and the center of that, which is, of course, brand message design.

What is messaging?, you ask. Subjective, but here is my take. I define it as clarity.

Clarity in the knowing what it is you want to say.

To whom. And how.

This starts with the classic adage ‘Know thyself.’


‘Okay but how do I figure out who I am?’

There was this great zoom dialogue that was recorded and posted on YouTube about how coaching is tough because coaches love tools, but when someone is asking you about how to build a house, they don’t care about the tools. We get so attached to them. I really loved hearing this so I’ll qualify what I want to say with this paragraph, ahead of it, in case you’re not into tools.

The best tool I’ve found for how to figure out who you are is this one small exercise you can do that will illustrate it out for you. You know yourself better than anyone, so here’s the thing to do. Write your obituary.

Sometimes, I used this tool when a client was particularly good with words, but maybe more introverted, or not comfortable talking about themselves out loud with me. This simple exercise might reveal something in that instance. I used to recommend it to people. ‘Cool,’ I’d say. ‘ I have some homework for you…’

Some chose to do it, some did not, but I did it, personally, and wow. It was so, so good to do. I recommend doing this regularly and seeing how you’ve changed, as you go. There’s also a book title that pops to mind, here. A relative of mine had recommended it to me; she said the title was ‘Who will cry when I die?’ I didn’t read it, being someone who was so not into self-help (in those days, I’m more open to it now, if the person really actually knows what they’re talking about and isn’t a 22 year old ‘self-help guru’, haha) but I found snippets many years later online that tied in with the things I’m saying above.

Figuring out who you are takes setting the intention to do that and recognizing we change many times in a lifetime, too. It’s okay not to know sometimes. It’s okay to use tools to help you find clarity and sort things out. The book title helped me remember my own key message.

Who are you interested in becoming? What kind of legacy do you want to leave?

Famous quote, now. People won’t remember what you said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.


A high-quality design process is the bulk of the work of the designer, according to DK

More to say, more to share, more to make, more to discover, and of course much, much more to design. I will move my philosophizing over to the other places where I write., and

Here, I’ll share more about design. Some scrapped post ideas today were: what to put in your design portfolio if you want to get noticed (I realized I don’t actually know, anymore, owing to the fact that my way of doing things isn’t trendy at all, but rooted firmly instead in something more akin to quality conversation spacemaking.


Rooftop Philosophy, Phnom Penh 2016-7


That is my product, and it’s not possible to put into a picture, after all), the other one was about a song I liked and then there was one about what I’ve learned about making podcasts that I didn’t realize was a thing, but I don’t think that it’s jaw-dropping to say, haha, ‘I didn’t know it would be so hard to ask people to listen to the podcast.’ Lol. My friend who is in music said you have to market that stuff, and I was like, Oh. 

Here’s my podcast, crowdfunded, that aims to do the same, 1:1 with a handful of friends and strangers, across the distances, linking us, and, I hope, making us feel somehow a tiny bit less isolated in this digital age.

DK: Making a podcast

Dipika Kohli · S P A C E