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!