The concept of personal branding came to me when I first discovered the Feltron Report. I remember hearing buzz about it in 2006. Designer Nicholas Felton made an annual report for himself. And every year since he has come out with a new report that is chock full of sweet infographic candy that I just want to keep unwrapping.
His reports, and later his site Daytum, speak to the evolution of personal branding. Looking back at photos, we've all always had a personal brand - a favorite color to wear, a series of hobbies, and an arsenal of stories. But now our entire lives are online. In a lot of ways we're creating personal brands without even realizing it. And I'm not sure about you, but the Facebook me is way cooler than actual me. Especially thanks to apps like Instagram, and before that Hipstamatic.
One thing that has always been missing from Facebook is allowing users to make more of a visual statement. MySpace was on to something - you could change your entire background. It led to some legibility issues, but it gave the users a chance to create a look and feel that touched their entire page. And, more recently, Pinterest is so visual it makes the user never want to leave the page.
Enter Facebook Timeline. Be still my little designery beating heart. Overall, the layout is much more visual. You can also establish a sense of visual hierarchy by highlighting some posts over others. And my favorite new addition: The Cover Photo.
Bottom line - with Timeline there's more to look at, a better sense of evolution, and more design control. So it should come as no surprise that the designer behind it is Nicholas Felton. He's been organizing personal information beautifully for years. Brilliant move Facebook. I can't wait to see what's next.
If you'd like to learn more about Felton and Facebook check out this article at Fast Co. Design.