Building Your Brand


View across Horse Barn Hill from the UConn Dairy Bar in Storrs, CT

Choosing a college wasn’t a deep dive for me – it was wading.

I applied to two schools in my home state of Connecticut. UConn and Wesleyan. UConn because they make milk and have a marching band. And Wesleyan, because of the architecture. 

I have been drawn to buildings for as long as I can remember. The house across the street, the town library, and those wonderful Wesleyan buildings along High Street in Middletown. A route our family drove only a couple of times before Route 9 simplified the beach trip.

Even so, those lawns and bricks and columns and ivy made their emotional mark on my 7-year-old self.

Wesleyan University Center for African American Studies, Malcolm X House

I’m not an architect, but I am a designer. I’ve built my career creating brands, developing marketing strategies, and writing and designing marketing materials, both as a sole practitioner and as a partner in a large, New Haven digital agency. 

I’ve created ArcheIntent because I love the built environment and the visionary architects who create it. As a sole practitioner myself, I am challenged with getting to my own marketing to-do list. And, I've noticed that most small architecture firms share that challenge.

I also understand the challenges of standing out, and standing for something in an industry where creativity (and the ongoing education that informs it) are treated as a commodity. 

Where do you start?

If you have not reached the point where new business offers are breaking down your doors, you need to figure out your story and how to communicate it to the world in a memorable way. Figure out your philosophy. Why did you become an architect? What do you want your legacy to be? What is your story?

By defining yourself and what you stand for, you can begin to stand out from the crowd, and build confidence doing it.

A critical skill for professional success is the ability to communicate ideas in an accessible way – to find the emotional connection that inspires those with the power to say yes, delivered in their language, not architect-speak.

Equally important, yet absent from most architecture firms’ online presence, is an identity that breaks through the commodity pack. Most architects think of a website as a portfolio. The result is a plethora of firms with lovely photos of their best work – that are virtually interchangeable.

The final photos don't tell the story of the project journey – how it got built, the problems solved, or the personalities and politics navigated. But that’s the human story that sets you apart, and the one that people remember. 

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing some tools that you can use to help you start answering the questions that will lead you to the way to express your identity. 

Oh! In case you were wondering, I went to UConn, played baritone horn in the marching band and fell in love with the Storrs campus. Like Wesleyan, it has sweeping lawns crowned with their historic 1890s buildings. 

The best feature, though, is that a ten-minute walk can still take you from the bustle of the Student Union mid-campus to nearly silent rolling hills, white fences, and expansive pastures – the home to story-book-perfect animals at the center of the school’s animal science program – some dedicated to providing the dairy bar with raw material.

BrandDarlene SuscoMessage