ELEVATING MY BRAND (PART 2)

How I Styled My Brand

In Friday’s article, I explained the strategic thinking behind my brand makeover. You’ll have noticed that the seven factors I considered are all key elements of any good business plan.

ELEVATING MY BRAND (PART 2): How I Elevated My Brand

These are also the factors that any good graphic designer will take into consideration when helping you create a new brand identity. Leaping into selecting a new colour palette and fonts, designing a new logo, or commissioning a website may sound like fun. But starting there, without thinking through your strategic intent, is a fast track to frustration, wasting money and having to go through an entire re-branding process. 

That’s why it was only when I’d thought through my own strategic intent that I started to research graphic designers, photographers and web developers who could help me bring my rebrand to life. And to collate images on a Pinterest board that spoke to what I was trying to achieve.

As part of my own ‘thinking bigger’ journey I was looking for a stylish and sophisticated identity that would reflect what it feels like to work with me. I wanted my brand to feel expert, approachable and attractive to high achievers. But I also wanted something that would feel practical and grounded as well as creative.

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Once I’d determined how I wanted my brand to look and feel, I also identified what it wasn’t. This exercise was as instructive as determining what it was. Expert but not cold; confident but not brash; inspiring but not trite; and so on. The more I dug into the process, the more I realised that I’d need to ‘own my former CEO corporate persona’ if I’m to achieve the polished, professional and serious look I wanted.

With this strategic clarity, I set to work to put together a concise brief to refer back to during the design process. I also hit upon a secret weapon to help guide my choices when it came to selecting the different visual effects – logo, colour palette, fonts, images etc. “Colour psychology.”

Colour Psychology, My Secret Weapon

Drawing on the four seasons, colour psychology offers a framework to be able to pull together colours, fonts, textures, patterns and photographic or illustrative styles that work perfectly together. It works on the premise that we all feel and react to colour at a subconscious level; this subconscious reaction is why we’re more drawn to some brands than others.

In colour psychology there are four main seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and each season has its own distinct characteristics and personality. Once you understand which seasonal personality best represents the message you’re trying to communicate, it makes it much easier to choose the brand elements that best represent your business, communicate your values and are appealing to current and prospective customers.

The season that best reflects my own brand is Summer, with Winter as the subordinate season. The Summer personality is calm, dependable, efficient, logical, nurturing, perceptive, professional, timeless and understated. While the Winter personality is driven, expert, focused, a high achiever, serious and single minded. The perfect manifestation of my Sage brand archetype, with a side of Warrior.

Creating My Mood Board

My Pinterest mood board helped me get focused and encapsulate how I wanted my brand to look and feel. Quality, grace, elegance and style are all key to the Summer personality, so I gathered together images, fonts, colours and patterns that I felt brought these elements to life. Once I’d collected a sizeable selection of images, I then edited them down to just a few that I absolutely loved and felt best represented the look and feel I wanted to create.

The Colour Palette

The inspiration for my colour palette came from a mood board I discovered on The White Company’s Instagram feed. (See above). And we all know how much I LOVE The White Company! The colour blue is associated with intelligence, logic, order, calm, efficiency, clarity of thinking and trustworthiness, all attributes I want associated with my brand. It also reminds me of coastal living, and I was keen to bring a touch of the seaside to my brand. The blues and greys are offset by a burnt orange to signal creativity, abundance, strength and determination.

Typography

Typefaces can make a dramatic difference to the impact of your brand identity. I chose a quintessentially British font, Gill Sans, which is known for its “classic simplicity and real beauty” as my primary font family. Created in 1926, it was intended as a display typeface to be used for posters and advertisements, as well as for the text of documents that need to be clearly legible at small sizes or from a distance, such as book blurbs, timetables and price lists. I didn’t know when I selected this font that it had been used by Penguin Books and the BBC. But what a perfect font choice for a Sage brand personality like mine!

For my accent font, I opted for Freight. Its elegant simplicity is just perfect for a Summer brand personality. I intend to use Freight quite sparingly – mostly for quotes and client testimonials – to add contrast and personality. I’ve chosen Saturday for my second accent font, a care-free, handwritten script with authentic, dry brush imperfections. I was desperate for a handwritten font, much to my graphic designer’s chagrin!

Photography

Photography is a huge part of how we communicate these days, and can ‘make or break’ a brand. I thought very carefully about the shots I’d need for my website and other promotional materials, and came up with a list of ‘must haves.’ I wanted to my story to be at the heart of every shot, and to show my lifestyle. That’s why the shoot was conducted at some of my favourite locations in London and Brighton.

I also wanted the images to be cool, calm and relaxed, in keeping with my Summer brand personality. When I saw the softness that photographer Amanda Clarke brought to her photoshoot with my friend Catherine Watkin, I knew she was the perfect person to capture the essence of my brand.

This re-brand was an incredible learning experience and tremendous fun too. Although I must say that posing for photographs was more exhausting than a TRX class! I hope you like the results because it’s been a labour of love.

A Very Big Thank You

I’m so happy with how this has all come together and need to say an enormous thank you to those who have been as committed to getting this looking right as I was.

And to my lovely business buddy and friend, Hilary Robinson of Polished Professionals  who helped so much behind the scenes, looking through photos and design concepts, and giving me such valuable feedback.

Thank you so much for the time and care you took to bring my vision to life.

Join The Conversation

Question: What’s your take on my re-brand? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to share let me know in the comments box below.

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I’m Denyse Whillier, a Sussex and London based business coach and consultant. I work with responsible business leaders to build profitable and successful brands that do good, make money and help to change the world. I draw on Built To Succeed™, my proven success system, developed during my 8 years in the trenches as a CEO, to help my clients to achieve their goals.

I’d love to start a conversation about whether we’re a good fit to work together. Simply use this link to arrange an informal Skype coffee chat. There’s no hard sell. Just solid advice and a straightforward, honest assessment of whether 1:1 business coaching (or business consultancy) would be right for you.

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