I have decided to re-launch myself. Regular readers of these postings will not be too surprised by this announcement as I have been heading in this direction for some time now. The old Alan Burnett was very much last-century and as a brand it was getting tired, even perhaps a little stuffy. The product range had also failed to keep up with both modern tastes and modern technology. A radical change was needed - a product re-branding and re-launch. Over the last few days I have - like some latter-day René Descartes - been challenging every belief and value-judgement, every aspect of the social, intellectual and biological super-structure upon which the very concept of Alan Burnett rests.
I gave considerable thought to a name change : after all such things can be achieved relatively easily. Indeed, it can now all be done on-line for just £34. But there were two serious arguments against such a change. First, it is much more difficult to decide on a new name rather than to merely accept the one fate has offered you. One is always in danger of falling under the spell of current fashion or whatever name might be in the news at a particular point of time. Arbuthnot Wilberforce sounds fine now but might be thought of as idiosyncratic in years to come. And anyway, some time ago I had forked out good money to buy alanburnett.co.uk and I have a Yorkshireman's aversion to wasting good money.
Having rejected a name change, the re-branding would have to be more subtle. I immediately activated alanburnett.co.uk from its long cyber-sleep and it now acts as the main portal for the new brand. So far it says "The Personal Website of Alan Burnett" which I think is a very good start. Like all strong brands, I needed a logo and I have spend some considerable time today designing one. I am not absolutely convinced it works. The idea was to be sufficiently blurred and impressionistic to cover up both my imperfections and my collection of double chins. It is supposed to stress the brand essentials : a quizzical questioning - light and heavy, deep and insightful. I felt quite pleased with it until Amy, the dog, pointed out that it makes me look as if I have dropsy. Consequently I am launching an open competition to design an alternative logo. The prize, needless to say, is substantial.
The more observant reader will have noticed another change which has accompanied the re-branding. After a fifty-odd year love affair with Arial (or Helvetica as she used to be known) I have abandoned her for a young, slightly more curvaceous model - Trebuchet. Trebuchet, designed by Vincent Connare in 1996, is a humanist sans serif designed for easy screen readability. According to the blurb, it takes its inspiration from the sans serifs of the 1930s which had large x heights and round features intended to promote readability on signs. The typeface name is credited to a puzzle heard at Microsoft, where the question was asked, "could you build a Trebuchet (a form of medieval catapult) to launch a person from the main campus to the consumer campus, and how?" The Trebuchet fonts are intended to be the vehicle that fires your messages across the Internet. "Launch your message with a Trebuchet page".
So here I stand, at the dawn of a new era. I have a new web-site. I have a new font. I am about to be re-launched. My message can be launched with a Trebuchet page. All I need now is a message.