Design a youthful, vibrant brand identity that better reflects Alicia’s refined style.
Full branding process, from foundations to launch.
An extensive identity system, responsive website, graphics, and brand collateral.
Alicia came to me with exciting news; she was able to finally pursue her dreams of becoming a full time artist. She was financially secure to move on from taking part-time commissions to working solely on original collections. However, her brand needed a total overhaul to match the mature, professional studio she was envisioning.
Alicia’s former branding was the remnants of an old art school project. While it served honorably in its two years of active duty; it was time to level up. Before we began any work, we sat down to diagnose what exactly was holding her back :
Alicia’s original website served more as a portfolio rather than a selling platform. Alicia’s main business model was accepting commissions from her Instagram DM’s, typically painting celebrities. She’d then upload the completed works onto her website to attract prospective clients. However, she wanted to move away from commissions and start producing more original work. What she needed was a new website that would function as an online gallery and e-commerce site.
Alicia had a charming but immature brand identity. As a creative, Alicia did have an eye for incorporating her painterly strengths into a digital brand. Her signature turned logo is a great example of this. Known as ‘Alsh’ to her close friends and family, this is Alicia’s moniker on her completed works. However, while beautiful on a painting. We feared ‘ALSH’ was not strong enough to stand on it’s own. As a small artist looking to establish brand recognition, we didn’t want to cause confusion with a nickname that only her closest acquaintances know her by. Moving forward, we knew we needed to start fresh.
Prior to contacting me, Alicia had been hard at work creating her first completed collection. Alicia had a very close launch date in mind and wanted to start selling ASAP (about 15 days to be exact). Obviously not a ton of time to flush out a full brand and create hype. I didn’t want to convince Alicia to push back her launch and prolong her ability to make money. The girl did need to eat after all. But I also didn’t want to throw up rushed, unrealized designs either. So I came up with a solution.
Instead of the collection living within Alicia’s upcoming branding, it would have its own. This would give us the opportunity to focus on the more technical aspects of the launch. As we needed to move Alicia’s existing Squarespace domain to a more customizable site. Plus set up her billing and payment systems, all of which takes time to process. We needed to create a buying experience that was secure and reflected a professional transaction. No more Venmo payments! What I came up with was a simple , impactful design that showed her audience that a new Alicia had arrived.
We strategically posted a few paintings on Instagram and Facebook each day. This allowed us to promote everyday and increase traffic to the new site. It also created a period of transition as Alicia’s feed was able to change from her usual commission style to her desired impressionist style. With interchanging photos to create a professional and cohesive feed.Launch day was a huge hit, with most of the paintings selling within the first few hours. The last remaining were quickly sold later in the day. We exceeded our initial goal of selling out in 7 days. Instead, all 30 paintings sold in 18 hours. A major success!
Shortly after Alicia’s sell out, I closed the Nudie’s campaign and installed a makeshift landing page. I implemented the basics of her new branding as I had established the essential color palette and typography choices during the Nudie countdown. The placeholder marked the construction in a playful tone that kept people on their toes. It also featured an email field to gather interest and start building Alicia’s mailing list. We gathered 43 emails in the span of 30 days. Well beyond our initial goal.
Like I mentioned, I had started building Alicia’s brand during the ‘Nudies’ campaign. But before I established the basics I had to consider some important aspects :
During this time, I asked Alicia to gather some photos of inspiration to help me better understand her brand vision. From there, I was able to develop a mood board with the content she provided me. Giving me a point of reference I could consult throughout the project. The board gave me a clear direction to work with.
Based on our ALSH discussion, I knew the main lock-up needed to be a logotype to establish brand recognition. However, I wanted to come up with a secondary mark that could be used in smaller areas. This was in the back of my mind constantly as I wanted to make sure the logotype and the mark worked together.
I started sorting through typography options. Lots of choices that just weren’t meeting the mark. I played with trendier type that featured 70’s swashes and serifs, as many brands have adopted this look recently. And while this trend is really cool, it felt forced and already dated with Alicia’s stuff. Serif felt too stuffy but sans-serif felt too boring and safe. I had to find a compromise.
After a few rounds or presentations, I threw in a typeface that I thought Alicia wouldn’t like. Surprisingly enough, she loved it and I was thrilled!
Next, I started developing the secondary and tertiary marks for the main identity system. I knew I wanted something that would fit nicely within social media avatars, stationery, packaging, and potentially within a pattern. Originally I drummed up a typical circle stamp/badge lock up. But it felt uninspired and boring. I played with the style of Alicia’s original branding, using painterly splatters. But that felt too literal and cheesy. So instead, I combined the idea of the two and came up with the “blob”.
The blob is a representation of a paint swatch. It has uneven edges that pay homage to Alicia’s style of loose strokes and bold color. What I thought was going to be a small supporting element, has become the cornerstone of Alicia’s brand. It’s become an identifier and decorative element that can be used in numerous situations. I even built it into the main logo, as it takes the place of the ‘O’ in Hobbs. I felt it was a good way of marrying the two together while giving the logotype a bit more personality.
Where better to gather color than from Alicia herself? Knowing the foundations of the brand would be the implementation of bold color, I knew right off the bat I would be sampling the hues found in Alicia’s paintings. I gathered a few of her original pieces and picked her most reoccurring colors. From there I was able to build a palette of main shades, then found complimentary hues to complete a larger identity.
To fully realize Alicia’s brand or any brand for that matter, I needed to complete a Style Guide. A guide is necessary to keep a brand as cohesive and consistent as possible during and after a project.
While I would most likely be the only one consulting this guide, it still doesn’t hurt to record the rules you’ve set for yourself. To dig deeper with Alicia and the details of her brand. Check out the full PDF here.
Alicia required standard brand assets like business cards, stickers, and stationery. However, a major step was developing her packaging, We had a lot of fun being creative and pushing the envelope (ha) with cool extras that would enhance her brand. However, it’s been a challenge sacrificing some of those cool ideas to match her budget. Instead, we’ve come up with a few compromises until she is able to afford those special luxuries.
Every painting comes with a handwritten note on custom stationery. Which has been a huge hit with her patrons. Many have reached out to tell her how much they’ve appreciated this personal touch. It’s a relatively inexpensive effort that has proven to be the most favored out of all her branding efforts.
For her packaging, we’ve opted to abide by her colorful palette with pink bubble wrap and custom foam. We wanted to ensure the upmost protection for all her paintings. Sealed with tongue and cheek packing tape.
Once I established Alicia’s main system, I was able to start on the extra flourishes. Like how these things would all work together. I consulted the moodboard a few times during this process. What I found with her inspiration photos were they all had a colorful, busy, maximalist style. They were chaotic in the best way. Essentially, minimalism is not in Alicia’s vocabulary. I ultimately decided Alicia’s brand needed to reflect the organized mess that takes up her studio and paint palette. I developed a collage theme of scattered papers, polaroids, and patterns. Utilizing her blob and badge elements, as well as her extensive color palette. It would be a cute, fun way to display Alicia’s personality and work.
Alicia’s main asset was of course her website. As she needed a place to display and sell her paintings. I knew I would need to design the typical pages, like a home, about, and contact section. During the duration of the project, Alicia completed 3 collections. The girl is a workhorse when it comes to whipping out works of art, so I knew I needed to design collection pages that could…
· Be updated easily
· Be cohesive, despite color/subject differences
What I came up with was an intuitive UX/UI that has proven to be a successful experience for website users. The responsive site features an intuitive path to checkout as well as engaging scroll effects. Check out Alicia’s website here. Please note that the original design has changed since the initial launch.
Alicia’s brand launch was a success! All her assets, graphics, and website were released in conjunction with her HOME collection. We were able to promote the show which drove extra traffic to the site. We opened pre-sales for her new paintings that would be available after the show. Since this was a soft launch of sorts, this gave us opportunity to work out any kinks, typos, or responsive issues.
As time has gone on, Alicia’s brand has grown exponentially in one year. She introduced 6 full collections to her catalogue, hosted her first solo show (safely), and opened a studio store front. And we’ve promoted it all in many ways.
I came up with ‘The Blob’ as an additional tactic in our marketing efforts. The Blob is Alicia’s e-mail newsletter that updates her subscribers about new launches, sales, and events. Subscribers are the first to be notified on updates before any other platform. While everyone is encouraged to subscribe, we believe this creates some exclusivity. As Blob members are given special preference. We plan on intensifying The Blob with more personalized content and perks in the coming year. We’ve collected 100+ email addresses over 2020, with great conversions in opened and delivered mail.
We have scheduled numerous campaigns over the year that keeps Alicia active on social media, without being overbearing. We try to post once a day when she releases a new collection, and every other day during slower months. Our largest promotion has been our 12 Days of Christmas campaign on Alicia’s Instagram. Each day we had a different spotlight on Alicia’s available work. We also hosted a giveaway and a flash sale. The campaign in total, gained Alicia 110 followers and led to a 30% increase in print sales. We try to make the campaigns as engaging as possible with specially edited photos and infinity feeds.
Alicia hosted her first solo art show in August 2020. We advertised mainly on social media with corresponding graphics and video promotion. The show was a huge hit and Alicia sold 15 pieces.
Through this re-brand I was able to overcome the initial challenge that faced us. I successfully designed a sophisticated identity system that better reflected Alicia as a person, an artist, and a business. We exceeded our goals in establishing brand recognition and converting sales as she is now a full-fledged business. All our efforts can be considered a serious improvement from where we began in April.
However, I am constantly looking forward to see how I can improve Alicia’s studio. We are looking at gaining new customers, joining new ventures, and getting Alicia the exposure she deserves. Part of this will be intensifying her marketing and advertising tactics, taking advantage of her new home in Los Angeles. As well as improving her website and general services. As of now, I have started the process of UX Research. We have almost a full calendar year of website analytics to dissect. I’ll be consulting these numbers and making the appropriate changes to make sure Alicia’s buying process is as streamlined as possible. We’ve also started reaching out to past buyers for quick interviews. To understand their mentality when purchasing art. Taking any insight we gather and applying it to efforts of appealing to Alicia’s target audience.
Check back soon to see the improvements I’ll be making! We’re excited to see what’s next. In the meantime, go buy a painting!