"Rebranding" after a long haitus - let's talk about social media!

  • Hey all! Long time no type!

    I'm coming back after a long (functionally about a year now, though there's been some bits of popping back in and out in between) haitus due to jobs/mental health/hospital trips/you name it, life threw it at me this year. I had gotten a YouTube channel launched and gotten a really strong start to getting a social media following going right before I left.

    I had done all of this under "Handdrawnviolist," which is a handle I had been using since, gee... high school maybe? But coming back to it, the name seems like a bit of a mouthful (It's also one character too long for Twitter) and that maybe I should completely rebrand. Some ideas I've tossed around are "Kori Lynne Art" "Kori's Illustration" "Kori Lynne Ilo" or something similar (using my middle instead of my last name because wow I really, really hate my last name).

    I wouldn't really be changing too much content-wise, I feel like my style and projects started a year ago still very much line up with what I'm currently working on/looking to work towards.

    I guess the real question is if the name is worth the hassle of changing it - I know y'all can't answer if it's still reflective of my work, that's a me thing, but is it worth confusing anyone who's still around and following me after a year? Is it worth 'dumping' what was a super unique name at the time and something I've built the foundation of my business around? I realize you guys might not be able to answer any of it! But has anyone else done this kind of thing? What were the challenges. what was easier than you thought it was going to be? What was much harder?

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @handdrawnviolist good question as I think most would say go with something like Kori's Illustration, I like the handdrawnviolist.

  • Pro SVS OG

    I haven’t found your YouTube channel. You don’t have Twitter, right? All I could find is your Instagram account - very nice work!
    Seen objectively, your Instagram is still at the beginning, so I don’t think there would be much harm in changing the name and handle.
    The number one recommendation we got at art school when talking about social media and branding was to always, always use your first and last name. You may not like it, but it´s you and it´s the easiest way for people to associate your work with you. Honestly, any kind of other handle, while looking fun at the beginning, creates a lot of problems down the road and - if you plan to actually seek client work at some point - may look unprofessional. ADs will remember you with your name - the one they put on contracts - not with any other weird handle.
    If you plan to just market your work directly to the audience, that may be a different story - Loish is a prime example of a handle name that has become a brand of its own.
    But here are the risks: there´s an illustrator I follow that has the handle Tomwilltell. His real name is Tom Booth. If I look for tomwilltell, I only find his instagram profile. If I want to see his official portfolio, I need to look for Tom Booth....only I can never remember his name...

  • SVS OG

    Funny, I like my last name so much I even kept it after I got married! My first foray into social media was the handle Copaland like 10 years ago. When I decided to start using social media to promote myself as an illustrator I changed it.

    I think it's nice to see the artists name. Jake Parker, Will Terry, etc, most artists go by their name or nickname (Cyarine, Loish) online now. Handdrawnviolist is just a little too obscure for name recognition I think.

    Kori Lynne sounds really cool, and Kori Lynne Illo has a nice cadence to it.

  • I say go for it. Audra Auclair did it a couple of years ago and she seems to be doing just fine on social media. I think she was previously Jennalee Auclair, but legally changed her name to Audra because she feels it fits her better.


  • @handdrawnviolist I'd say as long as you use your middle name on everything searchable (your IG, FB, Twitter, portfolio,) then it doesn't matter what name it is. Teju is a nickname from my full name and what everyone calls me, so I use that as my 'professional' name instead of my legal name. I only have my full name on legal documents etc, but even when working for a company my nickname was on all official things.

    If you search 'Teju Abiola or Teju Abiola Art' then you'll find art related stuff, but if you search with my full first name, you won't find anything art related. I've made my nickname my brand. Someone I know personally added her middle name to her 'brand' because there is another artist who has the same first and last name in a similar field. Artists like Loish and Iraville are widely known by handles that are not their legal name, and that is what is on all their work. If they were to publish or create anything using their legal name it would be harder for people to find. Just think of J.D. Salinger, J.K. Rowling, or F. Scott Fitzgerald? Or Sade, Seal, Madonna, Cher, or Beyonce? Writers, actors, and musicians have pen names, stage names, and alter egos all the time, why not artists and illustrators? I'm sure you aren't the first to drop a last name in favor of a middle name.

    You just have to be consistent. Your name becomes your brand as an artist. No one cares what your name is as long as they can find you and your work! I suggest googling yourself when you brand yourself; use your full name, your shortened name, then add art to the end, etc. What you want is for when people search for your work, you pop up 🙂

  • @smceccarelli Unfortunately the YouTube Channel is super hard to find - YouTube itself doesn't let you have a custom URL until you hit 100 subs, which to me always felt kinda unfair (how are people supposed to find me then?), but that's a rant/soapbox for another day.

    Seeming unprofessional is definitely at the forefront of my mind - it's amazing what taking a step back can do! I was so attached to handdrawnviolist for the longest time (I thought it was really clever when I came up with it) but coming back to it after a long break it seems so unwieldy and too difficult to spell/say/whatever. I'm definitely excited for the chance to come back and have a sort of "rebirth" and refresh for everything.

  • @carriecopa That's really cool! See, I can't wait to get married, so that I can get rid of mine (another reason for thinking of using my middle, I don't want to have to do this whole name thing again after I marry).

    I think I'm definitely going to go through with this though, it's just a question of which direction to go in - Kori Lynne Illo sounds nice, Kori Lynne Draws, Kori Lynne Art, there's a lot that works (thanks, Mom, for a first/middle name that almost sound like one name!)

  • @tessaw Oh I love her work!! I found her after the name change, so I didn't even know that happened.

  • @teju-abiola Thank you SO MUCH for your perspective, it's really helped a lot! I'll definitely be employing the google to see what comes up, you have a good point. Right now when I'm googling myself my art socials are coming in like halfway down the page, it's definitely something to work on.

  • @handdrawnviolist I found that once I made the accounts and kept them updated, they pop up right away. Granted I have the benefit of a fairly unique name regardless of which version I choose, but if you make sure to use Kori Lynne Illo/Draws/Art on as many socials as you can, then I think you'll be fine! Adding that suffix will make it easier for people to find you. Make sure when you search, you aren't logged in to your google account or anything like that, maybe using an incognito window or something, so that you can see what other people would see when they search for you.

    P.S. Another tidbit, one of my best friend has the same full name as several other artists. Her first name is Samantha, but everyone calls her Sam and either way there are at least 10 other artists that pop up if you try only searching her name. So she has to use her full name and middle initial professionally in order to be searchable and recognizable. She also uses a different format for her online handles (such as if I were to go by 'theartoftejuabiola', instead of 'tejuabiolaart') because the others were taken. When you type her now unique handle in, she is all the search options on the first google page. I'd also check to see if anyone else has the same or a similar name as you just to be careful! Your name falls rather in the middle of these examples, as in not so common that you have to worry about being mistaken for someone else and not too unusual that you'd probably be the only relevant search option that would show up. If you are the only art related thing that shows up, even if there are random other things, you're golden because that leaves a space for you to build!

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