With every client branding project, I make it my mission to not only create a distinct visual identity for each business but to develop a system for how all of the design elements work together.
Not only does it make for a more polished, professional brand in the long-run, but it makes it much easier to implement a brand into my client's website and collateral items like business cards, social media images, product packaging, etc.
Jessica Scott's new brand goes down as one of my favorite design projects because of the system we created with her incredible calligraphy logo, strong black and white color palette, and bespoke typography. The overall look and feel is a confident, authentic representation of Jessica and her work. I'm excited to share the design process with you and offer a behind-the-scenes look at how I strategically incorporated each design element into her brand!
Step 1 // research
I start each design project with a kick-off call with the client. We have an in-depth conversation about their business, their mission, and their goals for rebranding. We talk about their workflow and their website, and discuss what's working and not working currently for them. I also ask them to do a little homework by putting together visual inspiration in a Pinterest board. I'm always interested to see which colors and styles my clients are drawn to and determine if they would be a good fit for attracting their ideal audience. Sometimes it's spot on, other times it needs a few tweaks and adjustments.
Jess's was spot on.
She identified her business as primarily wedding photography, but seen with a lifestyle photographer's eye. Jess has a passion for capturing the essence of a person in her photos, and has begun doing a lot more lifestyle and brand photography. Her work is moody, elegant, and slightly edgy – much like Jess herself.
We had so much fun coming up with words to describe her brand: Austin mid-century, effortlessly elegant, a blend of masculinity and femininity, artistic, with a music industry undertone (she is married to a handsome bearded musician, after all).
The second I landed on her Pinterest board, I saw some really great potential. These look was a perfect balance of what Jess was looking for.
I combed through her Pinterest board looking for similarities, saved the strongest images that aligned with her brand description, and filed them away to add to her Brand Elements sheet.
Usually at this point in the process, I create a Mood Board using 10 images from the Pinterest board and include a suggested color palette. Jess and I are close friends, so we skipped that step and moved right into her logo design.
Step 2 // logo concepts
During our kick-off meeting, Jess told me that she was interested in hiring a calligrapher to create a logo for her. I was over the moon when she told me she had in mind Samantha of Wondrous Whimsy – a perfect fit for Jess's look. Samantha brought a gorgeous logo to the table that was just as elegantly edgy and artistic as Jess and her work.
After the primary logo was finalized, I came up with a secondary logo to give Jess a little more versatility. While the original horizontal format works great for things like website headers, stationery, and cover photos, it doesn't work quite as well inside of a perfect square or circle. This secondary logo is a much better alternative for profile photos and icons.
By setting standards for the logo formats and how each one will be used, we already started to develop a "system" that was going to work well for Jess's brand.
Step 4 // Brand Elements
Once we decided on the form and composition of the logos, I came up with a few different color options for them, and added in the color palette, fonts, and additional design elements in Jess's Brand Elements sheet.
With the color palette, fonts, and custom patterns established, we were ready to move forward implementing the "system" we've created into Jess' collateral pieces.
Step 5 // collateral items
While I try to lay out as much of the brand as I can before I get started on the collateral items, sometimes it's helpful to jump in and add to the system as I go.
Before I got started on Jess's website, I designed her business cards, thank you card, New Year's postcard, wedding pricing guide, and senior pricing guide.
I used simple, clean lines throughout to maintain the effortless elegant look we were going for. We used a serif font in uniquely bold ways to nod towards Jess's classy tomboyishness. Open white space with stark black lettering feels just edgy enough to make an impression.
Because I wanted the collateral items to feel collected, I didn't use all of Jess's brand colors on each item. Instead, I used that simple color system to stick primarily to black, white, and the soft grey and popped the green as a surprise in her envelope liners. The green and pink brand colors are also well-represented in Jess's work – the green foliage that she often includes and the warm blush of the skin tones in her portraits. All of the items are still cohesive, but they aren't over the top matching.
I'm a little biased, but I love how these turned out – especially those business cards! We worked with a local letterpress printer to print her secondary logo as a blind emboss. It turned out delicious.
Step 6 // website
But nothing was quite as fun as seeing all of the colors, fonts, and design elements come together in Jen's new website.
During our kick-off meeting, I asked Jen about the purpose of her website and what she wanted to emphasize most. Before the re-brand, Jess had divided her work into two separate websites – one for weddings and one for senior photography – and she was missing a place for her lifestyle photography. Because many potential clients find her through her website, she wanted to place the most emphasis on her photos so clients would see her variety of work and book her services.
So that's what I focused on. I came up with a layout that featured Jen's photos front and center and I also categorized them in the top navigation so users would easily be able to access the other pages on her site, view her work, and book a session.
The typographic buttons throughout the site incorporate some of that classy nod to masculinity that's seen in other elements of the brand and the subtle two-tone background establishes the effortlessly elegant style of Jess and her work. I love the way the modern clean lines contrast Jess's stark, stylish logo and the classic, old-world typography.
And you know what I love even more? This site was designed in Squarespace without a single bit of code. Click here to see it for yourself!
By determining the fonts, colors, logo variations, and patterns, we created a system for Jess and maintained consistency across every aspect of her brand.
What do you think about this new brand and website for Jessica Scott Photography?