After almost two years of the Kiley in Kentucky blog, a handful of logos, and a few poor attempts at branding, I finally decided to treat myself like I would treat an actual client. That means: an inspired branding board, professional brand photos, thoughtful consideration of all design elements, and longer than just a weekend to pull it all together.
In the past, I've been guilty of re-branding my business on a whim, in a matter of a few days (not a good idea!), and I'm left 'bored' with the final result after just a few months, when the 'newness' wears off and I discover how unlike ME my branding is. But, recently, my mindset has shifted, and I truly understand that it's now or never for my business. Risks are scary, but taking them is the only way I'm going to move forward and grow.
My first order of business in forward motion and growth: a refreshed brand that speaks to my personal tastes, my personality, and my actual day-to-day surroundings.
First came the logo.
Although both designs are my hand-lettering, the new logo feels a lot more fun and creative and 'me' than my previous one. The one thing I will miss about my previous logo is the brush pen graphic, which speaks to what I do right off the bat. However, the brush pen graphic was somewhat limiting, and I was frustrated by the fact that I had to use two separate versions of the logo (one with the pen, one without), because it wasn't clearly visible unless the logo was quite large. Though my new logo doesn't clue you in to my specific interests right away, it is more eye-catching, inviting, and easier to read.
Next came the branding photos.
Y'all know by now, cause I've said it 600 times, but my mom is my photographer. I am SO lucky to have a professional photographer 'on retainer,' and one that I can be completely honest and nit-picky-beyond-belief with--cause you know, I'm a big-time people pleaser--and say 'yes I like that,' 'no I hate that,' 'can we re-do that whole session one more time?'
I did something differently this time than ever before: I had my brand photos made before I settled on my brand colors, or designed my website. I don't know, maybe lots of people have done this before, but I wanted my brand to reflect ME, therefore I didn't put much planning into my photo session, and I simply let it happen. I wouldn't suggest this for everyone; maybe only if you are BFF's with your photog, LOL.
Let me further explain why this was such a perfect move for me.
I knew, no matter what, that my photos were going to be taken in my office--in my element, where I already have a pretty obvious color scheme going on--and the setting of the photos was going to have a huge bearing on the overall feel of my website, because I wanted to include photos everywhere.
I wore a top that I love and feel comfortable in, and that complemented my surroundings, instead of going out on the hunt for the perfect top in a pre-decided color.
I didn't really plan poses or moments I wanted captured. I simply pulled out all the tools I use on a daily basis, and I used those products in my photos; nothing more, nothing less.
If you're sitting here thinking: Dang it, Kiley, I don't have a photographer, I don't have an office, but I need some brand photos, subscribe to my weekly newsletter below...Next week, I'm sharing how to DIY brand photos for C-H-E-A-P and with a smart phone camera!
Ok, back to it! Once I had my logo and brand photos, I was able to go in and pick out a color palette from my set of photos, and find the perfect palette that complemented my logo. From there, I put together a branding board that reflects all the elements of my website and my brand.
Here is my final branding board:
So, this branding board is super simple in comparison to a lot of branding boards I've seen from other designers. But, my website is about as simple as it gets. And, also, that's just the beauty of being my own designer; I can always go back and add graphic elements, tweak my fonts, etc, as ideas come to me. For now, I'm super happy with the simplicity and the ease of my branding. The colors are so accessible to me in my every day life, as I'm surrounded by them in my office! The stripes and dots as graphic elements are easy-as-pie to whip up and put together in Illustrator, and my secondary logo will be easy-to-read and easy-to-add to any graphics and images I'll need it for.
Overall, I'm extremely pleased with this brand 'refresh' and I can't wait to move forward with this new color palette, logo, and my wonderful new brand photos.
If you are in Central Kentucky and would like a brand photographer, I highly recommend my mom, January June Photography. She is an incredible natural-light photographer, who is easy to work with (not just saying that), and, obviously, takes great photos! And of course, if you'd like to discuss having a logo made, any branding assistance, or further advice, shoot me an email. I'd love to chat with you!
Ok guys, I'll see you later this week with a new blog post! Check back Friday to see what I'm cooking up!
Until then, check out some of my most popular blog posts below!