Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Branding and Growth

Newly-designed logo by Karrie Pyke Designs

Hey Everyone! Wow, cannot believe it's a long weekend and we have no wedding--sooo looking forward to a much needed breather. So although I have a lot of blog goodness stored up in my head, one of the things I wanted to talk was branding. Now that I've been delving into this process/journey head on, I'd thought I would share some helpful tips that I've uncovered along the way. **Note to self: not an expert here! ;)

1. Be Yourself: Chic Sweets has come such a long way from when we started. I look at myself back then and can only smile--I thought I had it figured out. Who we were, what Chic Sweets was about, the image I wanted out there. I would spend hours scouring the internet ohhing and ahhing over where I could be. However, one of the biggest pieces I was missing in all of this, was myself. Being myself through my work, blog, social media intercation, color palette and anything that I put out there. When I started, I found myself working off the inspirations of other's and realized at one is not me. I hardly caught myself doing it. Who am I? I love classic looks, no fuss, clean lines. I'm all on board for simple color palettes with a splash of a bold color.  I'm a perfectionist for the details and aim to always bring myself out through my work. I'm also a wife and mother, love doing both, always challenged by finding a common balance in all of it. So in taking the time to redefine my brand, I was somewhat challenged in bringing everything together. Until (light bulb moment) I thought wouldn't it be great to bring both aspects of my life together and that is what culminates into my brand?

Finding "The One": So if you've decided you want to take your brand to another level, next step will be to work with someone that can take your feedback/inspirational boards that will bring everything all together. This, of course, can be free or costly. Check out Proof Branding; Making Brands Happen; Studio Snyder; or my own designer (shameless plug) Karrie at Karrie Pyke Designs, for a professionally designed logo, blog or site.  I spent a lot of time going through portfolios from various designers, getting references, until I found one that I felt was the best match from an artistic and of course, financial standpoint. I'm all about the baby steps so instead of doing everything all at once with Karrie, we first worked on our Logo and took things from there. This was great because I didn't feel the anxiety of being contractually held to a designer if things didn't quite get off to the right start.

***Let me add this as a final thought: Don't rush the process! As you can see I'm still using a Blogger template and my site was designed by my amazing brother just to help me get the ball rolling. Both have definitely filled my need up to this point. Starting a business is not easy and three years ago I wouldn't have been able to define Chic Sweets the way it has evolved now. It wasn't intentional at the time, but now I'm more than happy I took my sweet time before jumping into all of this.

The Design Process: This is where you need to really look into yourself and where you want to be. I literally took a half day, went to a quiet place, grabbed a large cup of coffee and just put various inspirational boards together. Whether it be just various fonts, pictures, colors. The more I felt like I could share with Karrie, the better she could see where I was coming from. When we finally put my final brand together, it came from a constant inspiration board that I was continually updating and changing. Cool colors, clean, modern, designer, mom of 3, family, etc.  And so my amazingly, patient designer took those concepts and turned them into something I felt comfortable (happy) with. Yeah, I know, not easy. Be prepared, this is not going to happen overnight. Your designer will need time and you'll also take some time out of your schedule to review the changes, mock ups, drafts, etc.

So, again, this is my journey as it evolves and grows and I wanted to share with all of you a bit of where I was coming from. Super excited to see my redesigned blog and site launch and nothing feels better than keeping the momentum going. Hey, I'm making things happen here :)


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