Rebranding | Inspiration + Mood Board
Long time no see!
I have been pretty busy since I wrote my last post almost a MONTH ago (yikes). I went on a camping trip with my family (my parents had never camped before in their lives!), Wes and I celebrated our 4 year anniversary, I released some fun new tees in the Charm & Gumption shop for fall, rearranged my living room (so exciting I know), squeezed in a little crochet, and I've been doing my best to go for walks as much as possible and soak up the perfect weather before the long Ohio winter hits (fall in Ohio just flies by!).
Mostly though, I've been doing a lot of thinking, writing, and planning about next year, career-wise. Since moving back to my hometown back in February, I've really wanted to get more involved in my community and working with small businesses. I feel like there is an opportunity here to help with branding and website design for some of the small and/or creative businesses in the area, and I've always enjoyed brand identity design and putting together a website.
I have done freelance work of this nature for the last few years, just here and there when someone would reach out to me about it. I never had any real structure to it though, and I certainly never advertised it, mostly because I didn't have the time. Thankfully, I have been able to get some systems in place with the shop that have freed up time for me to do this type of work.
Ideally, I would love to do full brand identity + website design for clients so that I can help to create a full cohesive visual identity for a business, rather than just a logo here or a blog layout there.
I realized that the best place to start in terms of building my portfolio would be with my very own brand identity.
Ironically, I never really took the time to focus on creating a strong personal brand. I should have, but I usually was way too busy with the shop and other projects, so the branding part of it was always a bit thrown together. I always liked the look of my logo and such, but my brand wasn't cohesive between my blog, youtube channel, social media, shop, etc., and it wasn't very unique to me and what my brand represents. Creating a strong and unique brand identity takes time, and I just didn't have it. I'm sure this is the case for a lot of small business owners. But since I will be going through this process with clients, I figured that I better have a strong brand myself. Maybe going through this process will be helpful for you business owners and bloggers as well.
- BRAINSTORMING -
The first step of the brand identity process is answering a questionnaire. I didn't need to answer most of the questions on my questionnaire obviously, but I did do some brainstorming about the adjectives that describe my brand (helpful, creative, inspiring) and the adjectives that I wanted to describe my visual identity (fresh, modern, cheerful).
- INSPIRATION -
The next step is to create a mood board. This is the fun part! I think I ran into trouble in the past because I like everything. I would go to a blog that was very light and feminine, and I would think "I love this!", and I would try to create a similar feel for my brand. Then months later I would go to a site that was really stark, minimal, and black and white and I would think "no, I love THIS!" and I would try to create a similar feel for my brand. It's not that I was copying other people, I was just starting with the inspiration rather than taking the time to ask myself what it is that I like apart from all outside influences, and what stands the test of time in terms of my taste.
So, I created a secret Pinterest board and started going through my pins and pinning the ones that I loved; not just the pins that I liked, because let's face it there are thousands, but the pins that excited me in some way or that I felt like were very me. It ended up being super easy to make this distinction, and I was going through my boards and pinning away like a crazy person.
- COLOR PALETTE -
Then I took a look at the Pinterest board as a whole and tried to see if there was a common denominator in terms of colors. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were distinct colors that stood out throughout the board: aqua blue, pink, blush, and peach. I really think that pretty much everyone has a color palette and style that they stick to throughout their home, fashion, and life, whether they realize it or not. Some people love dark, deep colors, some people like all neutrals, some people like jewel tones. For me, I have always loved those four colors. They were the colors of my wedding, I use those colors throughout my home decor, and when I started looking around I found lots of examples of these colors in my life. I also realized that I don't like things to be bathed in these colors. I like mostly white and light gray with pops color throughout.
- PUT IT ALL TOGETHER -
Lastly, I started an Illustrator project, with my favorites from the Pinterest board and my color palette all together. This will be my baseline that I will refer to throughout the rest of the brand identity project, so it needs to be just right.
I can't believe how much I love my completed mood board - looking at it just makes me so happy! There really is no way around taking the time to find a look that is uniquely you. My hope is that I will be able to help busy business owners to do the same with their own brands because it is the only real way to create a strong, unique visual identity.
Next up in the process will be creating logos, which is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle, and one that I am excited to work on in the coming days.
What do you think of my mood board and rebrand so far? Have you ever gone through this process for yourself? I'd love to hear your story in the comments! xo