Since having my third baby, I've been in the mood for makeovers. Making over my wardrobe, making over my appearance (new hair, workout plan and makeup!) making over my businesses and of course, making over my blog. You may have noticed some changes here are I've started implementing the new brand, and there will definitely be more as it all evolves. But I wanted to tell you a little about the process in case you're thinking of doing something similar. (Quick note: I know some of you were expecting a post about my handmade jeans plus a discount code and giveaway today. Well, stay tuned! I am still working on the details and hope to have it all ready later this week. Thanks for your patience!)
I started the process by creating a pinterest board of inspiration - sites I loved, fonts/typography that appealed to me and colors that stood out. And here's what I found:
Follow Lauren @ BASTE + GATHER's board Mood Board on Pinterest. I also reached out to my friend Beth at Sew DIY because I feel like her site is both lovely and well-branded (and she is a professional graphic designer!). With a little bit of advice from her, I set to work creating a mood board that would drive the rest of the brand development (see post image above). These are all images collected from my Pinterest board, and you might recognize several of them from one of my favorite blogs, The Craft Sessions (shared with permission).
Let's talk about the new logo. Previously, I have designed all the logos/headers and watermarks, etc. for my blogs. I always feel like they look okay, but I'm never quite satisfied with my own work. I had a vague idea of what I wanted for this go-around, but I wasn't having success in creating it myself. (Hand lettering on a Wacom tablet is a lot harder than one might think!) So, I took the advice of Darren Rowse of Problogger (one of my FAVORITE blogging sites) and launched a 99designs.com (affiliate link) project.
99designs.com (affiliate link) is a crowd-sourcing site where you write a creative brief describing your project, set an award amount and wait for the entries to roll in. They do everything from logo to packaging design, and their designers are from all over the world. They guarantee that you'll get a design you like, or they refund your investment. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I started my contest and went to bed hoping the designers would wow me the next morning.
Well...(dum dum dum) I was honestly underwhelmed with the first few submissions. In fact, most of the submissions I received in the initial couple days of the project were lackluster. But then! Oh yes, THEN, the good stuff started pouring in. I think the best designers wait until the last minute to submit their ideas so no one else copies them. I also think they take a little more time to think about and refine their work.
After over 120 entries (!!) and several WAAAAY-off-the-mark (but highly entertaining) corporat-ey logos superimposed on images of company vehicles for my blog, I ended up with this:
And I loved it! The designer did a few revisions for me including refining some of the letters, playing around with the orientation of the letters on the smaller versions and modifying the plus sign in the middle. He was a pleasure to work with, and the 99designs.com (affiliate link) interface made the process very painless. When the contest was over, I released payment and received all my files (.ai, .eps, .psd and .png) and copyright info. In about one week, the entire logo-creation process was complete!
Finally, I created a more comprehensive mood board detailing colors, fonts and other graphic elements:
Now, I'm in the process of seeing how these elements actually work on my site and creating cohesive templates for creating post images, social media images and all other associated media. I'm sure some things will change (colors, fonts, etc.) as I play with them in an online environment (versus designing a static page in InDesign/Illustrator, etc.), but overall, you should notice a much more cohesive look and feel for my site.
I hope you like the new look! I'm really enjoying how easy it is to create new graphic content for the site now that I've established standards for everything. I've been alllllll about planning and systems lately, and I've been much more productive as a result! Plus, everything just looks better! I'm excited to see how it all comes together.
What do you think? Do you notice when blogs re-brand and/or create a more cohesive look? Does it make for a more pleasurable reader experience for you? Have you ever tried crowd-sourcing design work?