The Story of the $
Since 1992, I’ve used the $ sign (single stroke version only) as a default signature/emblem/logo/shortened name. When I was studying law back at UQ, my study partner Nicole and I used to leave notes on t
By the time I’d moved to Griffith University, the internet has spawned USENET, and USENT begat the aus.tv.x-files newsgroup. Although initially just known as $teve, after discovering there were three Steves in the aus.tv.x-files group regular posting squad, I took to calling myself $teve2, which eventually shortened to $2. This led to a wonderful moment where McDonalds had a two dollar meal deal going, and one of the ATXF regulars saw the “$2” in balloons, and demanded to know what I was up to – for once, it wasn’t about me. Still, if the $2 coin ever becomes known as a “Steve”, I’ll be a happy corrupting influence.
Over the last few years, the $ component has been less pronounced because I’ve been existing in more environments where I’m better known by my surname (Dann of Dann and Dann), full username stephendann and, for a while as the Designated Sidekick (DS). That said, I’m still $ to a lot of people (and even my family now use the $ to represent my name in shorthand).
The ($) combination is one part in-joke and one part tribute to my daily life. The in-joke aspect is in relation to my infamy for leaving (bracketed) comments in my writing as I pass editorial judgment on something I just wrote, or make a joke or generally leaving pop culture references around the place. The tribute aspect is that I am a writer who does other things – I described my time as the Semper Editor as “a writer who did layout” and my university life as “a writer who does lectures”.
Having a text based logo appeals to my inner (and outer) writing geek. Plus, Google hates ($) as a search term, which amuses me far far more than it should.
A Personal Brand?
One of the aspects of being a marketing lecturer is the fairly constant sniping of “Oh, you can teach it, but can you do marketing?”. Given that I live marketing in that I’m a trained consumer behaviour researcher, so every aspect of my daily consumption is fodder for self-analysis, I wrote books on e-marketing and run websites, I use consumer behaviour theories in the design of the teaching pedagogy, and I generally can’t switch off the marketing side of my brain, I decided to live the discipline properly. This includes developing my personal brand, assigning a brand mark, and generally doing all the sorts of branding work (such as sponsoring a conference stream) that you’d expected from a corporation.
Plus, I have an ambition to get to the point of branded self sufficiency in my life where I can wear a range of brands that I developed. Some people grow their own food, I develop my own logo products.
Initially, once Livejournal icons became a thing, and I was tinkering with a tattoo design for the ($) mark, I wanted to make use of the circle and dollar sign combination. This eventually evolved into the ($) of the 2007 onwards, but started as a coin motif. If I had better handwriting or could draw circles, I’d have probably kept this for longer.
The 2007 to 2018 Logo
I’ve been variously redesigning my dollar sign logo over the past fifteen years, and finally settled on this design in mid 2007 as the corporate logo to see me through the next decade of ANZMAC. I’ve been through a dozen or more designs, with various colour schematics around red and black, and with a emphasis on drawing inspiration from the Soviet propaganda, and various wartime imagery.
The choice of the colours is reflective of a poster “Victory” by Jadran Boban (The site is flash heavy – go posters, and the victory button, Alternatively, there’s a copy up on Flickr at the moment). Interpretations of the colour and meaning are welcome – I like the heavy tones and solid colours, I wear mostly black clothing these days because I really love the nuances of the different shades and tones of the colour black (and once you can call it gray, it’s not black).
2018 and current
In 2018, I reworked the logo as part of a rebrand, in part inspired by the Saint’s Row franchise, and a few life decisions that resulted in the “Year of the Catte” motif, and the tag line “This Catte, That Damn Good”. Embracing my other nickname (Catte), and bringing that into the ($) fold was part of acknowledging a few life changes. The logo also ended up in two formats – The Catte’s Row, acknowleding Saint’s Row’s colour influence, and the House of Catte, with the heavy gold outline on black backgrounds. Merging the fleur-de-lyse that is one part Saint’s Row, and one part the influence of my sister’s house brand, with my ($) logo also came about as I was experimenting with bringing either a scythe or quarterstaff motif to the $ symbol.
One common question I get asked about spelling my name with a dollar sign is “How do you pronounce it?” The answer is usually “With enthusiasm”, although it is usually simply substituted with an S when pronounced – unless you’re an oldschool programmer geek who says “Stringteve” without realising what you’ve said.