What I learned while rebranding my small business
A tale of 2,000 fonts
I’ve been working on updating my branding for the past few months. And it's finally finished! Here's the new Gems by Kelley branding board.
In 2014, I worked with an Etsy graphic designer on the branding for my Etsy shop. After living with my old branding for a while, I liked it, but I didn’t love it. The colors began to look kind of Easter Egg-y to me. This is my old color palette.
I’ve been thinking about rebranding for a while, but I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do. When I was talking it over with my sister Theresa, she wisely pointed out that when I branded my business, my business was about ten months old. I barely knew my business then, so it makes sense that I couldn’t nail the branding. I’m more clear on the vision now. I’m focusing on colorful, simple gemstone jewelry designs. I wanted the branding to be vibrant, elegant and simple. I just needed to find the right graphic designer.
Choosing a Graphic Designer
Every year Etsy hosts Home for the Holidays events in various cities around the U.S. People who work at Etsy meet with local Etsy sellers. I went to the Minneapolis Home for the Holidays last December at Brit’s Pub. I met a Minneapolis designer, Julie Chaet from Champagne Press. Her business card was gorgeous. I immediately wanted a business card as beautiful as hers. I learned that Julie has a successful custom stationery business. She also loves branding work. She moonlights on branding projects as time permits. I emailed her after the holidays, and she agreed to work on my branding. YAY!
It's important to work with a graphic designer that you connect with. Branding is not a quick and simple process. At least it's not for me. I really want branding that I love, so I wanted to get it right this time. Julie and I have exchanged 70 emails so far about branding. She is lovely to work. She was creative, patient and intuitive.
I gave Julie a few ideas to start with. I loved her logo and business card. I wanted a script font for at least part of my logo. I wanted more vibrant and elegant colors. I also wanted to choose a background image to use in some graphic design pieces like announcements and banners.
This is what she came up with as a starting point.
My favorite part was the sale announcement with the geode background. I wasn't sure about the script logo font, but I liked the other two fonts that she chose. Overall, it was an excellent start.
Next, I started looking for a photograph of a geode slice with more blue in it. Blue is my favorite color, and a lot of my jewelry designs are blue. Julie suggested that I use a photography website called Shutterstock. After looking through lots of images on Shutterstock for inspiration, I found a photograph with colors that I loved.
What I learned about choosing brand colors
At this point, I felt stuck about choosing a color palette. I turned to Google, as I do in times of uncertainty. While I was researching colors, I discovered an app called the Mac Color Picker. When you hover over an area of color on a photograph or web page, the Color Picker will tell you which numbers will recreate that color. With graphic design, each color has specific numbers associated with it. There are different systems, including Hex, RGB and CYMK. I used the Mac Color Picker to pull colors out of my geode slice photo, as well as some other photos.
I played with color for about a week. I plugged various colors into my website to see how they would look there. I also pulled the color options together in a palette so I could see them side by side. I used a photo editing website called PicMonkey to create the palettes.
The colors came down to these two palettes. I chose the first one.
What I learned about choosing fonts
For me, one of the biggest decisions was finding a script font for my logo. I looked at, oh, about 2,000 fonts. Most of those fonts were on Creative Market, a graphic design website.
I loved a font called Faith and Glory. When I asked for feedback on Facebook, a few people pointed out that some of the letters were hard to read. They were right.
At this point in time, I was totally font obsessed. I’m not pleasant company at times like this. I can be quite focused and single minded. We had a lot of font talks at my house. My husband isn’t as fascinated by fonts as I am. He got a little weary of the topic, so he began to pretend that I was saying “Fonz”. He would reply to my font chats by talking about Richie and Potsie and the rest of the Happy Days gang.
But I was determined to find the perfect font, so I started Font Browsing Part 2. I found a pretty font called Hello Beautiful. I loved the font’s name, too! Hello Beautiful came with an alternate script font, as well as a Marker font.
I asked my Facebook and Instagram friends to weigh in again.
Most people preferred choice A, which was the regular Hello Beautiful font. One person pointed out that most of the individual letters were better on the Hello Beautiful regular font. When I looked at the fonts that way, I liked all of the Hello Beautiful regular letters better, except for the L’s. I liked the alternate open loop L’s. Next I tried using the regular Hello Beautiful font with the alternate font's L’s. TA DA! We have a winner!
While I was writing this blog, I thought about how my vision of the branding changed during the process. Originally I wanted my branding to be vibrant, simple, and elegant. I do think it's simple and elegant. It's a bit more casual than I was originally thinking, but that feels right to me. I think the overall effect is more zen than vibrant. At least that’s how it makes me feel. And I’m happy with that!
If you have any questions about the branding process, please leave me a comment. And if you want to talk fonts, I'm here for you.
Share this post