When I began the process of rebranding (ie : defining my voice, communicating clearly, creating a cohesive message), I knew that it was going to require commitment, focus and dedication. I'll be honest, trying to define who you are (or what your business stands for) in colors, text and design is incredibly difficult. Am I making the right choices? Am I clearly communicating what I want to say? Does this help further our message? There can be a lot of doubt through the process so it is incredibly important to have someone who can help guide you, make suggestions, offer advice and give you the feedback you need to hear.
Working with Kathryn of Creme Brands was a no brainer. She took my jumbled mess of thoughts, images, ideas and dreams and pulled together a look and feel for Deborah Zoe Photography that far surpasses anything I could have imagined. She helped bring a voice to my business that feels authentic, personal and entirely me.
Even the smallest of details, down to the shade of pink we used and the type font, were used with intention. From that attention to detail came my favorite piece of the new branding : the icon.
Early in this process Kathryn had asked me to share with her a little bit more of my self. What are the things that are important to me? What are some of my favorite things in our home? What are some of my influencers and favorite childhood memories? From those things she created a logo and identity for my business that feels incredibly connected to my own history and the things that have influenced me throughout my life.
First Kathryn pulled together images that communicated romance, connection, elegance and history. She used images from the Sound of Music, pops of feminine pink, hints of my German heritage, images that deeply meaningful to me.
Next Kathryn refined this even more and from this pulled together a preliminary design for my new logo.
What resulted was a logo that was beautiful and deeply meaningful. Not only does the logo represent my grandparents cuckoo clock (a nod to my German heritage and a favorite childhood memory) but it also represents all that Deborah Zoe Photography stands for : connection, family, marriage. To know that a piece of my family heritage will live in the new branding brought me to tears, it is something that means a great deal to me!! It always amazes me still that design can not only be functional in it's look but also be incredibly meaningful and filled with purpose as well!!
Throughout this process Kathryn has taught me so much about creating a brand message that clearly communicates to an audience. I've received so many messages following our brand launch saying how much the new brand is not only beautiful but feels like "Deb" and I just love hearing that!! If you're going through this process in your own business, I'd love to share 5 tips that I have learned these past four months in hopes that you can make the most of your own branding and design experience!!
1. Work with A Professional
What do I mean by that? You want to work with someone who is not only a talented designer but who also knows how to take design and brand it to your business allowing you to clearly communicate to your audience. It's not enough to just have a pretty logo. Your brand is so much more than that!! Working with someone who will dig deep and understand the heart of your business will help you transform your brand into something much more than pretty design. I cannot thank Kathryn of Creme Brands enough for getting to the heart of who I am and helping me to find a voice through design!! Functional and Purposeful is where it's at!!
2. Don't Follow The Crowd
It can be to tempting to look around at what others are doing as you begin a branding project. Naturally we want our new look to seem fresh and modern, so we will look to others to form a base point from which to jump from. This sort of research requires focus and purpose. While it there are benefits to seeing what's new in web design, branding etc, it should never replace authenticity. This is where having a strong mission statement and value system becomes invaluable.
3. Create A Mission Statement
One of the first things I did with Kathryn was to create a mission statement. Kathryn helped me walk through the process of creating a mission statement that felt authentic and true to the values I wanted my business to stand for. By creating a strong mission statement at the beginning of our design process we had a strong foundation to base everything around. It was our compass (and continues to be!) for design or branding decisions, color choices, use of specific words and more. A strong mission statement will allow you to create something that is uniquely yours and give your business a purpose.
4. Think Outside The Box
When it came down to actually designing the new site I was nervous...It was hard for me to hand over my business to someone else even when I KNEW that I was in such good care with Kathryn. While Kathryn did not choose anything that was over the top or incredibly trendy, she did encourage me to think outside my comfort zones when it came to design. Things like a scrolling site (I wasn't a fan before, I am now!), were hard for me to commit too. But Kathryn helped me to see the big picture and encouraged me to stretch my comfort zone, all in the name of solid design and brand message. I'm so glad we chose to think outside the box and I'm so happy I stretched myself because now I have a site I am so in love with!!
5. Commit To A Deadline
When I shared with close friends that I was rebranding they asked how long we had been working on the project. And most were shocked when I told them that the entire process only took about three months. Kathryn created a series of deadlines for our project that we stuck to religiously. These deadlines helped me immensely as I worked through my site text and image selection. I knew exactly when things were due and it kept me from avoiding tough projects (ahem writing a bio!). If you don't have a deadline for your project, create one now. Use it as motivation to complete tasks and finish your project. Your future self will thank you!!
If you have any questions about the rebrand process (should you even rebrand?) please feel free to leave a comment here!! I'm happy to share more about my experience working with Amazing Kathryn (like my nickname K? ;)) here on the blog!!