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Choosing a Tagline Part 1

19 Jun 13
Jerrod Smith
one comments

I’ve been thinking of adding a tagline somewhere to our site. A couple days ago I started working on a design for the section where it would be added, but then I realized I couldn’t settle on a design until I knew exactly what would go there. I came up with one about two weeks ago that I almost committed to, but more ideas kept coming to me as I worked on the design. After I struggled for about half an hour with various ideas, I decided this would be a good blog discussion. Not only does it give me a chance to hear from you, the audience (hopefully), but writing out a discussion also helps me to better come to a decision.

Now that I think about it, I guess you can consider this blog to be a follow up to Who We Are. What We Do. I feel like our tagline should embody most of the concepts from that blog, but I want to keep it as short as possible. Looking back over that entry, I was able to come up with a few key themes to consider: Originality, accessibility, fun, boldness and diversity. Our tagline doesn’t have to include all of these concepts, but I want it to convey as many as it can. The following is a list of what I guess you could call tagline prototypes. We may use one of these as the basis for a tagline, or we may even take two of them and combine them.

  • 1. Comics for the rest of us.
  • 2. Ill comics for the ill-represented
  • 3. Making dope comics and making no apologies
  • 4. Dope artwork. Chaotic Stories. Unapologetic Humor.
  • 5. Dope artwork. Classic characters. ?????
  • 6. Comics for people like us
  • 7. We make the comics WE like

I think choices 1 and 2 express our appeal to a broader audience. I think it’s important that people know we don’t just make comics for comic book people. What I like about the first one is the vague nature of it. There are various meanings you can apply to it, and nearly all would be correct. Some may assume “the rest of us” stands for non-Caucasian readers. Considering our characters are predominantly black, this is partially true. Others may assume the phrase stands for people who want something other than what Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, and IDW offer. That, too, is true. Anyone that feels that they are part of an audience being ignored by the comic book industry can consider themselves part of “the rest of us”.

Choice 2 is very similar to choice 1, with “ill-represented” somewhat replacing “the rest of us”. Where it differs is the use of slang and wordplay. Clever wordplay often makes a tagline memorable, and the word “ill”, when used to describe our comics, is one that speaks our audience’s language. That may sound like a corny attempt to connect with the “hip” people, but I think many will pay attention to the fact that our comics aren’t described as “amazing”, “uncanny” or “incredible”. They’re ill. That’s how WE see them. It brings out a personality that represents the creators behind the comics and, hopefully, the readers too.

For the third option, I used the word “dope” (a word I personally use A LOT) instead of “ill”, but I think either one could work here. The effect is pretty much the same. Also, like the second option, it uses wordplay, but with the word “making” this time. What’s different here is the second half of the statement, “making no apologies”. Will and I don’t look to be controversial for the sake of shock value, but there are some things we choose not to censor. That has served as both an attraction and a turn-off for first time readers of BlackGuard. Altogether, I think this tagline shows we don’t let fear limit our creativity. My problem with this tagline is that MANY indie comics tackle touchy issues. They’ve been doing so for years, way before us. Even mainstream comics have been touching on subjects that weren’t accepted on TV until a few years later. I, personally, think the way we approach controversy is unique, but this tagline doesn’t really show that.

I’ll cover my opinions on the next four on Friday. Until then, any opinions on the first three taglines? Comment if you like any one in particular or have any ideas to add. We need as much help as we can get. Peace.




1 Comment

  1. » Choosing a Tagline Part 2 June 21, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    […] think it’s important to actually put some thought into. If you missed part 1, you can read it here. Here’s the list of tagine ideas […]

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