Steven and I got engaged May 31 and chose September 9th as our wedding date. Yes, that was a little ambitious. In just over three months I would need to sell my house, move, and plan the wedding! I knew that every moment would count so I was intentional about creating elements for the wedding invitation that could be reused across all of the wedding day materials. I had no choice but to let the illustration ideas simmer as I prepped and sold my home. I’m sure glad I did. At first I was thinking about including bunnies and squirrels on the invitation. Yes, I’m a Beatrix Potter fan. However, this isn’t a children’s book—it was our wedding invitation. As the idea for the big day evolved so did the look of the invitation. I decided to take inspiration from the willow tree in our yard and combine it with my innate desire to create decorative, ornamental elements (hence my logo). I got out a fresh sheet of watercolor paper (pictured above) and used every square inch to create illustrative elements (pictured below). These would serve as the “branding” elements for the entire event.
With my wish list in mind I created illustrations that could be repurposed across an entire collection of event items. This is the same way I create for your brand materials. The idea is to establish a collection of secondary brand elements that match your brand style—creating a library of sorts. This library includes items like your logo variations, multiple fonts, images, and illustrations that portray your mission and values. Today I want to share with you some useful tips on how to collect these items with your wish list in mind.
1. What particular styles do you love?
You’ve had a week to think through descriptive words that resonate and start taking notice to your visual preferences (if not, start here). Now it’s time to name them. My favorite designer and business role model is Louise Fili. Her work makes my heart beat a little faster so I decided that she needed to represented. I purchased her “Love” stamp for all of my envelopes and bought a font that she just debuted, called Montecatini. The font was also named after a town in Italy—Montecatini Terme—which I happened to visit 13 years ago. What does this have to do with you? You’ve collected your inspirations and preferences, now it’s time to imbue more of what you love into your brand. Keep collecting those items and make sure to share them with your designer.
2. In what formats will your materials be created in?
Thinking through the entire event package prior to creating the illustration was crucial for saving time. This included my invitation, thank you cards, table numbers, place cards, signage, program, website, cups and more. Before you start finalizing one little part, picture how your brand will be represented as a whole. Is your logo only going to be visible on your stationery? Or will you be creating packaging that features your logo as the main branding element? Do you have a car or truck that needs to have your logo and brand elements prominently displayed? All of these details matter. Think big and then start small. It should be fun to think of the different ways your brand will be represented.
3. Price out the cost to produce prior to designing.
Did you know that postage costs more for square envelopes than rectangular envelopes? These tiny details add up when you are working on branding elements. Small choices make big impacts both in dollar amounts and on our environment so I suggest pricing out different ways to produce your marketing pieces. For me it was important that my invitations be printed on 100% recycled paper. I also wanted to reduce waste by allowing the RSVP to tear off and serve as a mailer. These choices cost a little more up front but resonate with my brand so I could plan accordingly.
Essentially when you are thinking through all of these little elements your brand is coming to life before you even began. This means that you are troubleshooting issues and saving money in the long run—which to me, is branding with purpose. That’s what I’m here to help you do! If you’d like to review your next branding project start by emailing me here. Next week I’m going to share the entire wedding package so you can see it come together. For now, I’m going to go make the BEST COOKIES EVER (recipe here). Happy Thanksgiving!