A Well Designed Brand Conveys its Message in an Instant.
The problem for makers who set up as sole traders is knowing what their message is or should be. I think the key question for small businesses is not what, but why? Why do you do what you do and how. The answers to these questions are what makes you different to your competitors and is the reason your customers buy from you and hopefully, love your products. The crucial first step in branding is question and research, research your motives, your market and your competition.
Research is to see what everybody else has seen and to think what nobody else has thought. Albert Szent-Gyorgi (Designing Brand Identity, Fourth Edition, Alina Wheeler, John Wiley and Sons Inc, New Jersey, 2013)
Tracy Hyde owner of Aura. Photo by Mark Liebenberg http://alistphotoshoots.com/
Fresh and Exciting Ideas
When Tracy Hyde first approached me to help her with her branding she was part of a recently disbanded partnership. They were called Karen B but the Karen B part of the team had moved on to new challenges and Tracy had fresh and exciting ideas for the future of her handmade jewellery designs. She had an opportunity to rethink the ethos and therefore the name and look of the brand. It is Tracy’s love of style, fashion and colour that drives her to create stunning jewellery to help women exude confidence ‘perhaps the best accessory anyone can possess’. She explains on her website:
After spending 30 years in the Health Service I needed a total change from nursing. Although I loved my profession, I wanted to spend time creating and developing something exciting requiring my imagination. (http://www.aurajewellerydesign.co.uk/about-us/)
The branding for Karen B Handmade Jewellery
Love and Passion
The first considerations were where did she see the brand sitting in the market and who was the brand aimed at? Tracy, like most sole traders was hesitant to narrow down her potential market but soon realised that once she did it would make everything easier. She could concentrate on designing to her strengths and target only those people who would love her jewellery with the same passion that she did.
A brand becomes stronger when you narrow the focus. Al Ries and Laura Ries, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
We used Pinterest to research the sorts of companies and packaging she loved. They included brands such as Tiffany, Jo Malone, Sabo and Alexis Brittar. We set out to create a luxury brand that would be received or given as a gift to someone special or worn with a glamorous outfit. Timeless elegance to appeal to the mature, professional woman was needed. This customer can afford a personal jeweller who can create a unique piece, for that special occasion.
Pinterest used as a mood board for packaging inspiration.
Luxury and Glamour
Once we had an idea about the market positioning of the brand we could start to think about names, typefaces and colours. Tracy wanted a luxury image with a promise of feel-good glamour, aimed at ladies who had the cash to spend on something daring but classy. After Tracy decided upon the name Aura, I played with creating a custom typeface based on the bead shape that features so much in her work. I wanted a memorable theme for the imagery. Linked circles to represent a simplified string of beads, echoed the shape of the typeface. Repetition and consistency are important in branding imagery but simplicity allows for variation as the brand grows and evolves.
Logotypes need to be not only distinctive, but durable and sustainable. Legibility at various scales and in a range of media is imperative. (Designing Brand Identity, Fourth Edition, Alina Wheeler, John Wiley and Sons Inc, New Jersey, 2013)
The Aura logotype. Each letter was created from a circular bead shape.
Jewellery is decoration, it lifts the spirits and pink is a happy, optimistic colour. Combining pink with the logotype and bead logo we could create a square suitable for use on social media and as a favicon.
Colour creates emotion, triggers memory, and gives sensation. Geal Towey Creative Director, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
Pink is a warm exciting, fun and feminine colour. It is strongly associated with love and romance….with lower amounts of red it becomes more delicate and mature. Colour, Basics Design 05, Ambrose/Harris, Ava Publishing SA.
The logo with a pink background.
The logo with a white background
To add variety we reversed the pink and white and used Moo to continue the look on business cards. Moo is an online printing company and has lots to offer a start-up company who needs high quality at an affordable price. We made use of their variety with shape, choosing a square card with rounded corners. Their ‘printfinity’ offers multiple designs on the back of the card. The business card is a marketing tool the point of which is to encourage people to contact you so the information should be easy to retrieve and minimal.
A good business card is like a kick-ass tie: it won’t make you a better person, but it’ll get you some respect.
Sean Adams, Partner AdamsMorioka
Consistency is Key
Throughout the whole process Tracy was consulted, she has a great eye for design and it is essential that my client takes ownership of the brand. For a small one person business it is important that the brand reflect their personality, style and ethics so every decision must belong to the client. With the logo and business cards done we needed the packaging to be amazing. The box is not going to be displayed on a shelf so doesn’t need to attract attention. It should reinforce the brand promise, provide protection for the contents and solve the problem of gift wrapping. In this case the packaging is less of a marketing tool and more a part of the product.
Tracy located suitable boxes and I worked on files for block printing.
Specifications for the placement of the logotype on the packaging
Tracy working on her jewellery designs. Photo by Mark Liebenberg http://alistphotoshoots.com/
Delicate earings displayed on a stand. Photo by Mark Liebenberg http://alistphotoshoots.com/
Now Aura Handmade Jewellery is a well dressed company, just like its owner.
The idea of an individual artist building and leveraging a brand has never been more relevant or visible. Jon Bjornson, Jon Bjornson LLC
Chris Taplin at the Shout Joint Networking event at Prestons College, Preston.
I bumped in to Chris Taplin of Rethink recently sporting his new branding. I am proud to have collaborated with Chris to come up with his logo and you can read more about the process on my portfolio page. Rethink are currently building websites for a couple of my clients: Aura Jewellery and Milo Books so watch this space.