Re-branding happens. It’s happened to large multinational companies, small businesses, and now it’s happened to me as well! Re-branding can be a scary thing so I thought I’d share my story to help you figure out if re-branding is right for you or guide you along your re-branding journey.
Where I Started:
My brand was originally Parity Designs. I started with the rather vague goals of designing websites for people and small businesses. When I first started I didn’t really have a brand. I chose the name because I valued balance. I believed, and still do believe that websites should both function well and look good. I wanted to give people websites that did just that. The biggest problems I encountered was my lack of brand, my lack of focus, especially in regards to my target audience. Was it small businesses? Was it equine businesses? Was is military spouse owned businesses? Was it bloggers? My answer was yes to all of the above. More recently I started to veer into the blog design sphere. I realized, this is where my heart was. I tried in vain to adapt my existing brand to this new idea forming in my mind, but nothing seemed to work. It always felt off. I joined a week-long course with Kaye Putnam, I read every article I could about branding, and tried several branding kits to help me formulate my brand. The end result always felt off. That’s when I realized, with the help of some of my fellow group members from Kaye’s branding workshop that my old brand wasn’t me.
Where I Went:
So what was I? I knew I wasn’t the “typical” designer stereotype. I abhor Apple products (blasphemy I know), my workspace is far from neat, tidy and minimal, and while I enjoy flat design as much as the next person there’s more to design than that. I’m not bleeding edge modern and minimal. I like designs that are a big more real, a bit more livable, a bit more holistic. So I went to Pinterest in search of some inspiration. That wasn’t quite enough though. Who was I? I’m a girl from Vermont who likes making websites while listing to the Grateful Dead.
That’s exactly who I am.
In one of my branding classes with Kaye another member commented my brand reminded them of a farmer’s market. That really resonated with me. Yes, exactly! I thought to myself. But how to make that work within the sphere of web design? It seems so at odds. I scoured Pinterest and Google for images of farmers markets. Yes, all too literal, not what I’m going for. I expanded my view, who shops at farmers markets? Why people like me of course! So I thought back to the past summer and my time spent with family enjoying August West Fest. Then I found it: boho. Boho with a hint of modern. My logo features a whimsical font, clean and modern Raleway, and an almost tie-dyed looking mountain (any Vermonter will tell you the name of that mountain’s silhouette: Camel’s Hump) that I’ve known since childhood.
Then the colors, I was still in love with my purple #800080. It had to include that. Quality time spent fiddling in Adobe Color lead me to my color palette. Rich jewel tones meant to be set off against a plain, subdued background. Not white, that was too clean. Too sleek, too modern. Something a little warmer. Yes, an off white with a good dose of yellow. Creamy perfection. Now for the name. What should it be? Always the most difficult part of any process is the naming of the new creation. A name I could live with. My name. No more worrying if I changed again, would I have to change my brand name again. No. My name is me, and will always be me. Kara Rajchel Blog Design was born.
I started with my branding mood board, then moved on to the logo.
From there I moved on to the website. I wanted something more along the unique side of things. I wanted a way to display my client work and personal projects in a portfolio. I had to be able to highlight freebies and digital goods I had for sale, while at the same time appeal to bloggers. It couldn’t be too revolutionary in its design, still draw from tried and true conventions while at the same time showcasing my brand’s personality and design aesthetic.
I wanted it to be clean and modern, yet warm, friendly and welcoming. Above is the initial mockup I designed for my site’s home page. The blog page would be a traditional two column blog with the column on the left. The final site closely resembles this mockup, however some of the copy has changed, some elements added and others removed as I have reworked and also refined my services. For the blog page I went back to my preference of the right hand sidebar instead of the left hand side as I had previously chosen.