I knew I was ready to start the transition to taking Wichita with Love to a full-time gig focusing on small business branding. When I was talking about it on my Instagram story, Tiffany reached out about a brand redesign.
I could dive into all the details of our communication, but I’ll save you my poor storytelling ability and jump right into the good stuff. This is how I help turn a small candle company into a highly recognizable brand and provided Tiffany with the tools and guidelines to continue to grow her visual brand across all platforms.
I started by creating three mood boards for Tiffany to respond to. As a designer, it is important to listen to the words your clients us as well as understand the market they are speaking to on a daily basis. Tiffany kept saying words like “luxurious,” but I also understood that her ideal clients had a different take on luxury than someone from LA or NYC. Rather than luxury being something of price, midwest women find comfort and clean simplicity as luxurious. I added that knowledge to my boards.
P.S. if you’re a designer, DO NOT SKIP the mood boards. They are a great way to communicate with your clients before you dive super deep into a project.
Following the mood boards, Tiffany had identifying her like and dislikes, and my design process began. Have you ever googled candle brands for three hours? It’s crazy how much everything blends together and how… absolutely cluttered… a lot of brands are. Seeing what I didn’t want and what didn’t work allowed me to narrow down the right ideas for Tiffany’s company. I needed the brand to do the following:
Be brand-forward & super instagramable.
Create timeless design… but still a little funky and young.
Once the looks were established, I met Tiffany for coffee to pitch the ideas. I made sure to do mini mockups for what the logo could look like on her packaging. I found it extremely important to showcase different styles that played to pieces of the mood boards I showed Tiffany. The first logo she said she liked in this set was the one most similar to what she already had. But Tiffany thought she was ready to pursue something different.
A key thing about working with design clients is being there as a supportive role in their decision making process. Yes, I had one I liked more than the others. Of course I hoped she would select it. But I listened to Tiffany and her sometimes confused decisions and processing. If you are a client, trust me, this is a 100% normal and acceptable reaction to making such a big business decision. Like, girl, it’s OK to need to take time and talk it out! We, as designers, want YOU to love it.
I’m good friends with Tiffany now, so I think she will laugh when I say that I received several late night novels from her talking about her rebranding. I drank my morning coffee and kept working on the fun, little puzzle.
I noticed Tiffany was struggling with the decision. She had expressed feelings of extreme connection to her current logo, but knew it wasn’t working anymore. It was a breakup she was facing. So I threw her a new look. She wanted was attracted to things that were bold, but still soft and wanted the ability to use color to represent her scents. My pitch worked and she agreed to the new look… but only for a day… and then I got another novel. Ha!
Tiffany had the strongest response with our first branding pitch meeting to the simple serif typeface with a thin, framing line. So when she was, yet again, not ready to finalize — even after I sent her all the final files for this brand — I knew we had to go back to what she first loved. And it connected perfectly to what Black Label Candle Company is.
But why did she struggle so much with the decision if she liked the simple one most? She was explore the options and ideas of making a vast change. She wanted something different but was testing the waters. I would like to say again, this is absolutely the right thing for her to have done. My job is to be a designer, friends and someone who can take your feelings and turn them into results. I was listening to Tiffany the entire time. And I made the appropriate move to what I knew she was actually looking for.
* I am NOT actually a therapist. Just good a knowing what my clients need and want.
The most important change I made, especially to her packaging, was the impact of her business name. On her original packaging, “Black Label Candle Company” was small and hidden at the top. To grow her brand, we needed to focus on the importance of implying luxury to midwest women with her candles. Making her branding center focused and her labels and the scents represented simplistically and with her color lines, we are able to grow recognition. I don’t know the word for it, but it’s like the thing with designer brands where you buy them for the name/showing off the name. We did that, but with candles. And if you see all of the cute IG posts people share, I think it’s working it.