Views and announcements

Filter: Behind every technology is a great story

  • Written by Emily McDaid - An entrepreneur’s journey to DIY’ing a new brand

    I have been a self-employed technology communicator since 2008. I’ve built my business through referrals – mostly working for software companies – but for 12 years I’ve done little in the way of marketing myself.

    I poured my energy into building my clients’ brands and ignored issues with my own (Hatch PR). My clients didn’t really seem to care what logo was on top of their invoice, so I got away with it.

    Those waters were familiar to me, and I swam in them for years. I was successfully self-employed (a goal unto itself) and I was working for organisations ranging in size from Nokia to one-man-bands.

    About three years ago I faced the fact that I needed to rebrand, because PR is a passé term that doesn’t accurately describe my storytelling business.  I met with many brilliant branding experts – some of whom I could not afford, and some who were willing to give tidbits of free advice. And some fabulous colleagues like Alicia Peyrano and Tierna Byrne who spent hours helping me brainstorm.

    RELATED: Tech Craic: Angoka's Tim Harrison - Cybersecurity and start-ups

    In March, the craziness of lockdown inspired me to take some online courses in graphic design, learn Adobe Illustrator and play around with Wix so I could develop my own look and feel, and finally – FINALLY – make some concrete decisions.

    My Mac was littered with documents titled “Brand brainstorm” that I’d created over the previous three years – and my mind was even more cluttered.

    Fed up, I sat outside one sunny Sunday (ignoring my children) and brainstormed for two hours with words and drawings. At the end of it, I was exhausted, but I still didn’t have a brand that felt right. I was closer, but I still felt defeated.

    The next day I was eating lunch, flipping through a magazine, and the word Filter popped off the page as if it had literally jumped up to grab me. I knew – instantly – that it was the perfect name for what I was communicating.


    What I did myself:
    *Learned all about logo design (look for online classes at Coursera or Udemy)
    *Researched whether the name was already in use – use Companies House and check all the socials
    *Grasped the basics of Wix – simply by playing around – to get a website 50 – 60% together
    *Found free, beautiful imagery on Unsplash
    *Drew my logo, first on paper, then in Adobe

    What I hired a pro to do:
    *Polishing / finalising the website, especially to ensure the mobile version looked and functioned well. Web styling by local designer, Tierna Byrne

    Essentials that I purchased:
    *An online design course ($19)
    *A subscription to Adobe Illustrator (£20/month)
    *Wix Premium (£6/month)
    *Domain registration (including an email account) with local NI company, Big Wet Fish (£25 annually plus £5/month)

    RELATED: What is the future of tech and start-ups in NI?

    My clients are technologists and engineers. They are categorically brilliant. But they often haven’t had time to study the English language. It’s easy for them to get caught up in too much noise; externally (from the crowded market) and internally (from too many cooks in the kitchen). They struggle to filter all that noise out to get to their core message.

    Technology communications need to be Simple. Straightforward. Streamlined. 

    I firmly believe that technology can save the world, and it’s vital that we make the stories as amazing as the tech behind it.

    So here we go – let’s see where Filter can lead. I feel energized and excited about the future. I hope this story inspires someone to complete that daunting self-branding task that’s been on the backburner. It’s not a bad thing to take some time for your own career progression, especially during this insane year.

    Check out Filter’s new website at or get in touch with me at

    About the author

    An article that is attributed to Sync NI Team has either involved multiple authors, written by a contributor or the main body of content is from a press release.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

    Sign up now for a FREE weekly newsletter showcasing the latest news, jobs and events in NI’s tech sector.

Share this story