There's nothing like looking back at the past to see just how far you've really come. And looking back at the past 4 years of branding made me even MORE in love with my current logo and brand. Having been through many brand changes since I started this company, I understand what it's like to change your mind while trying to decide who you want to be. This is why it's SO important to do your branding right the first time around.
Today I'm going to share some history of this little company, and what has happened in the past 4 years.
In January 2010, I started doing freelance work while I was looking for a job. Pretty fresh out of college, 75% of the work I started off doing was for my parents. At first, I didn't really see the importance of a logo or brand as I was just doing all of this until I could find another job. But as I continued to meet people and expand a little bit more and more, I knew I needed to create some kind of business or structure that people could visit online.
When you meet vendors, clients or businesses for the first time, what's the first thing you do?
Check out their website. Then you find them on Facebook.
These are super important aspects of a business in today's world. When I first started my company, my dad suggested naming it 'Artketing' as a play on 'Art' and 'Marketing.' So I created a logo, threw together a website and some business cards, and Voila! My first brand was born.
My original brand is a direct reflection of who I was and what my style was in 2010. Like fashion, branding with certain trendy fonts, colors or patterns can definitely create a dated look after only a year or two. And I definitely dated myself here.
After two years of using the original logo, I decided to try again. This time I wanted to incorporate way more colors and new fonts. I also altered the name a bit to try to explain a little more of what 'Artketing' was because more often then not, people had no idea.
This colorful logo barely last 6 months. I used super trendy ideas and hard-to-read fonts which made the logo tough to read. I wish I could have found a photo of my website at this time because it was a sight.
Onto my 3rd round (yes, third logos in three years).
I actually did like this one, and still do today. It's simple, easy to read and has a little something about it. When I first went full-time a year ago, this is the logo I was using. My continued headache was the name. No one could read it, no one could pronounce it, and it didn't encompass everything we offered anymore.
So last summer after Jeri joined the team with event planning, it really became clear that we needed not just a new brand/logo, but a new name. We needed something easier to read, and that either had nothing to do with design or could encompass EVERYTHING.
After a lot of thinking and consideration, I decided to name is Twila because I had already used it for our online magazine and it was a family name that I thought was really beautiful.
I chose black and white as my basic colors and then added in an accent color because the accent color can be easily changed or altered. The font was easy to read, but the ampersand adds a really great design element. Using only text in our logo also makes it easy to rearrange a little bit for items like our business card and koozies.
I am still in love with the logo and brand today and love working with it as often as I can. I love making new collateral and pieces to use for my clients because I just love showing it off!
Going through all of this through the past 4 years, I now know the significance of taking your time to do it right the first time. So, if you're a new business owner or are thinking about rebranding yourself, here are a few tips I learned along the way.
1. Your business is you. In many other industries or corporations, we try so hard to differentiate between business and personal life. But as a small business, that is nearly impossible. People know you for what you do and your clients become your friends. Personally, I LOVE this aspect of it. I love knowing my clients. But it's important for your brand to reflect both YOU and YOUR BUSINESS.
2. Don't rush it. I definitely understand the importance of timeliness and wanting to get you what you want quickly, but don't underestimate the power of taking your time. Really think about every decision. I suggest sleeping on it or waiting 24 hours before truly responding with feedback because it will help you organize your thoughts.
3. USE PINTEREST. I know it's a black hole, trust me. I get lost ALL THE TIME. But it can be SO helpful. Start a board that is for your brand and pin things that you like, whether it's colors, styles, fonts, etc. After a while, you will start to see a pattern of your interests and styles. This is a GREAT place to start on deciding where to take your brand because it starts organically.
4. Remember who your audience is. While your business should directly reflect who you and your business are, make sure it also appeals to your clientele. A logo is typically the first thing people see whether it be on a website, facebook or business card. Your clients should be able to get a good feel about who you are from seeing your logo.
5. Lastly, hire a professional. I'm not just saying this because this is what I do, but because it's true. I'll be honest, anyone could throw some text together and add a little color, but will it reflect who you are? As we develop our businesses, we can get so stuck inside of what we are doing we forget to step outside and look at the big picture. It's important to work with someone who can help you do this by connecting and communicating with. Be honest and real throughout the process so that you can get exactly what you are looking for.
If you are on the same page as your designer, your outcome will be everything you thought it would be.
P.S. I can't forget a huge thank you to Minh Hussey of Instant de vie Photography for her amazing photos of our collateral.