Blog Biz

Refreshing Our Brand

Thank you deeply for the enthusiastic response to our new website design! We’ve been working on it for months and months and I’m so happy it’s finally done and I can finally turn my attention to other things (like all the great patterns we have planned for this year…)

Before I do that, I thought it would be fun to talk a little more about some of the tweaks we made to our visual identity. As I mentioned in our last post, I really frankensteined the look and feel of the brand over the years, with help from a few different graphic designer friends. I never had the budget to have a proper branding package created, and since everything was done so piecemeal ( a logo here, a font there, a new colour added somewhere over there…), I always had low level anxiety buzzing in the background that things were not as polished and cohesive as they could be.

Part of what Four Oh Seven did when they came on board was to do a detailed brand audit. This meant filling out pages and pages of workbooks about who I am, what this pattern company is all about, and who are customers are; I started to feel like I was in really intense therapy. They look all that information, along with all the random bits and bobs of existing graphic elements I had been working with, and then analyzed it from a macro, objective point of view to see what was working, what wasn’t, what was missing and what could be improved.

First up, they wrote a really detailed Brand Strategy Blueprint; this document collated all of my responses in the workbook stage, along with their analysis of the company. It was really fascinating to see someone else piece together all this disparate stuff and then synthesize really clearly what I want for Closet Case Patterns, and then help create a more strategic plan for who we are and what we want to say going forward.

Then they turned their attention to the visual side. I’ll be honest: I was half terrified they would come back and say “scrap everything”. Thankfully that’s not what happened. Rather than reinvent the wheel, they simply made some critical adjustments to our logo, colour palette and font system. This ensured that there was a fairly seamless transition into our new design; it also made me feel a lot better about decisions I had made in the past. As Kristin told me, we were just evolving out of our awkward teenage phase (I’m looking at you, Tori Amos posters), and hopefully into our glorious, adult lady years (less posters, more white wine).

The first thing that had to change was our logo. Its square format made it hard to use in a variety of applications. Four Oh Seven changed the orientation to horizontal, and classed it up with a more modern colour palette. I was really happy when I saw this; it still felt familiar but was clearly a little more grown-up/white winey.

Here is the new and improved Brand Board they created for us. Along with the new logo (with an option to lose the yellow accent for print applications), we also got a new brand icon and a logo variation, for those times when a horizontal logo isn’t appropriate. They also refined the colour palette, keeping the bright yellow and coral I already had, but adding some sophistication with warm, grounding neutrals and a new pop of blue. I wasn’t sure about the deep brownish grey “Stitch” at first, but I’ve grown to really love it. I think it’s a nice alternative to basic black or charcoal.

Since our entire website was changing, our printed patterns needed to be tweaked as well. I didn’t want to change things too drastically since I think it looks weird on store shelves when there is a big packaging shift, so we kept the overall design and just updated some of the text, colours and logo. Over the last year I’ve also switched printers, allowing me to have way more control over the envelope printing. As a result, the back design has changed a lot too.

Here’s how things are looking, one year after we first went to print:

The changes are subtle, but I think they pop a lot more . I’m also happy to say we’ve already reprinted 3 of the first 4 patterns I released on paper, so we don’t have too many of the original envelopes floating around.

I also redesigned our PDF packaging to reflect all these changes. We’re just finishing up the updates to everything and should be re-uploading the changes soon.

I can’t stress enough how good I feel right now about everything. That low level anxiety is totally gone, and I’m just super excited about this year, and the year after that, and the year after that. Having this beautiful structure in place is going to make it much easier to tackle everything to come!

  • Four Oh Seven

    Love, love, love that you wrote a post about all of this! We seriously adored every second of wroking with you!

  • Genevieve

    It’s lovely reading a post about your growth. It helps us customers feel like we are part of your team, like friends. I hope that’s not too cheesy, because I always enjoy seeing things happening with you and your business 😄.
    ❤️ Genevieve

    • Not too cheesy at all my friend! I’m so happy to hear it! xo

  • Subtle changes can make all the difference, can’t they? Loved seeing the details behind this!

  • I was keen to read this too as I’ve been through similar processes over the years and know only too well what it’s like to end up with a cobbled together image! I love all the work you’ve done and describing how such subtle changes can make a huge difference in how you are perceived. It so helps when you have an identity! It becomes your guiding post and centre making everything you produce from this point forward so much easier to parcel! I love your new designs 🙂 clean, true but authentic to who you’ve always been to us 🙂

    • Such a great comment Kathleen! Thank you!

  • It looks really great now, and I can see the difference bringing in professionals make, but I’m actually also super impressed by what you’ve managed to cobble together by yourself these last few years! It’s not a night and day sort of change, you really have a good sense of design!

    • Aw thanks lady! It was totally workable before, I just feel a lot happier knowing I brought in the “big guns” haha!

  • It’s clean and clear. I can find no higher praise than that. What is our house mantra? Make it easy to give me money!

    The ‘brand/structure’ audit is key and usually done waaaaay too late (hey, boss, listen to me!) to be effective. The work website is like my fabric stash: there was a logic there once. I can see it, but you can’t. And there’s more to be torn out than retained to be effective. I have a great flow chart for what it should look like, but I’m not the decider or the builder. I just deal with the customer fall out. In a consult on this, a dear friend who will not be named, ran through the issues and intoned “Well, that’s just user error there.” NO, WRONG ANSWER. Without User, there is not Paycheck.
    Oh, reminds me. Need to log in to work…..

    • Ah haha! Websites are tricky because they’re so expensive to build and design. I’m just happy Bramaker’s finally updated theirs!

  • I think you’re doing an excellent job over there/here Heather Lou. Thanks for sharing all the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff – its fascinating. Wow, what a country you have – this Canadian Rockies thing is fabulous! x

  • Hkay
  • Lynsey

    Super changes, classy and easy to navigate website, it all looks fab to me 🙂

  • Tricia

    Thank you for the peek behind the scenes. I really enjoyed it.

  • Love the changes!! Your blog looks absolutely amazing!

  • Jennifer O.

    So nice! I love how the changes are subtle, not shocking. The package is still recognizable and related, just clearer (and changes to the back are less noticable).