Last week, I launched my new website and shop along with my refreshed brand. This week, I'll be giving y'all an inside look as to why I made these changes! Today, I'll be talking all about the meaning behind my brand refresh.
My desire (honestly, my need) for a refresh really started when I was at Creative at Heart in March. I was listening to speakers talk about the mission behind their brands, providing above-the-top amazing client experiences, and creating an authentic brand. If I'm being completely honest and transparent, the Simply Jessica Marie brand in March was not feeling authentic to me, and I was left a little confused about what to do.
At that same conference, I spoke about finding your niche in the creative industry. I whole-heartedly believed in what I was telling the attendees, but it's funny because it seems as though I needed to hear it just as much myself. The SJM brand at that point in time was accepting clients for almost everything and anything under the sun. I was designing everything from logos to third birthday invitations to graduation invitations to wedding invitations and more. I didn't have a refined focus! More than anyone, I needed to hear these words over and over again: just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
So, on the plane ride back home, I took out my journal and began writing. I began thinking of the things that set my heart on fire, and what I knew I could do well to serve others. I began to write, refine, and repeat. Everything always came down to three general categories: weddings, building a beautiful and meaningful life in love, and teaching others. It excited me more than anything to finally feel as though my brand had a direction to move toward.
What did I do first? The first thing was not to get out my sketchbook and start designing a new logo. It was to sit down with that journal again and start brainstorming the values and ideals behind the SJM brand. It was to really take a look at who my ideal client is, and what she needs. It was then to determine which products and services I should be offering, based on my values and my ideal client's needs. Then, it came time to begin designing my refreshed brand. I'll be sharing blog posts about all of the topics above this week and next, but today I am going to tell you about my design process for my brand refresh!
The first thing I did was create a brand inspiration board. My friend Lauren of Elle & Company has a wonderful tutorial about how to create an inspiration board if you're interested in creating one for your brand!
Some of you might be wondering why I keep saying "brand refresh" instead of a "rebrand" and that is a valid question! While, yes, I did design a new logo and new brand collateral, I didn't want to stray far from the original design elements of SJM, I wanted to enhance and refine them. That is where this inspiration board helped me to portray a cohesive look for my brand that kept it on point with the SJM that y'all knew and loved.
So, what was I looking for as I selected images for my inspiration board? I was looking for images that evoked a feeling of sweet femininity mixed with bold enthusiasm. I was also looking for images that were on point with my color palette: blush, blossom, fuchsia and gold.
After multiple sketches and rounds of revisions, I came to a final decision on my logo and brand elements, and I could not be happier with the results! This branding is one that I feel confident about, and know that I will keep for years to come. Here is a breakdown of what each element of my logo stands for:
When I think of a crest, I immediately think of family crests and the heraldry they represent. Since weddings are the start of a new family, I knew I wanted the crest to be a key element in my logo. Each crest is unique and has a story to tell, which is what I always strive for with my invitation designs and paintings.
To me, flowers are a symbol of life. They are a way to find beauty in the world and in the little things in every day. They are an inspiration to grow and flourish, which I always strive for in my personal and professional life.
THE TRIPLE PINK PALETTE
Pink has been my favorite color for years, but it is more than that to me. The soft blush pink represents sweet femininity, and the darker pinks represent bold playfulness. Those words perfectly describe my clients.
I'm a paper person, so of course I had to design beautiful brand collateral that perfectly reflects the elements of my brand design. Since watercolor is such a huge part of my business, I knew I wanted each collateral piece to showcase my design abilities, using the two hand-painted watercolor patterns I created during my brand refresh. Now when I meet a new bride or wedding vendor, I can enthusiastically hand them a business card that I know will capture their attention and make them want to view more of my work on my website and social media platforms!
My SJM brand refresh was a labor of love. It took a lot of soul searching and careful consideration. Although I know and respect many talented brand designers who I would have loved to work with, I knew that I had to be the one to bring my vision to life, especially since it included so many hand painted details by me. I know that many designers find it hard to create for themselves, so if you are personally considering going through a brand refresh or a rebrand, I would strongly suggest working with a professional who will be able to give you an outside opinion. Feel free to contact me for my list of favorite brand designers!
I'm so thankful that you took a moment to read through my brand refresh process, and hope that it was helpful and insightful! I will be sharing more blog posts this week about how I determined my brand values and how I discovered my ideal client, so make sure to come back to read those!