As I designer I have never really felt I have a strong design style. There are certain colours and media I like to use over and over again but I love trying out different materials, experimenting with sizes and textures and learning new creative techniques. This is one of the reasons I decided to call the business Darwin Designs - because it is always evolving.
I love the name and I wouldn't change my way of working because I love that I haven't confined myself to strict rules about colours and materials and can truly create what I like. However I knew with this slightly irregular way of working, it would be a bit harder to develop a brand that can work alongside it all.
So far my branding has been a bit of a jumble. Different colours and fonts have been played around with every few months to try and find something that fits. I've tried monochrome, yellow, pastels and about a dozen different fonts, all with the hope it would fall into place and I would find the holy grail of a cohesive brand.
My designs range from monochrome typographic pieces to colourful watercolours
I've been through a lot of different ideas to try and find one that works but it never looked just right. Several times throughout the year I thought I'd take some of my most popular designs and use them to influence the branding... One month I created pastel coloured, nautical thank you notes for my packages (I have about a zillion left - that was a big mistake) and a few months later came the bright yellow sloth business cards. Individually both were fine and did at least show some of my illustration work, but a yellow sloth business card is never going to work with a monochrome 'I like you' card and a peach, nautical thank you note looks a bit random with a personalised labrador card.
One of the main problems I found when trying to find my look was getting swept up with trends and being over influenced by other brands I liked. I love some brands with their pastel colour schemes and cute, feminine styles and I love some with their simple, black and white aesthetic and dare I say their 'hipster cool.' Looking at some of these brands I loved, finding a cool new font or the colour of the moment was fine but it wasn't right for Darwin Designs. I wasn't (and didn't want to) create work within these niches and I needed to create a brand with more longevity than the colour I liked in February 2015. Darwin Designs is a brand I want to evolve over time and it needed branding that could match this idea.
Finally I had a bit of a brainwave when I came across some advice online that said your branding needs to represent your mission statement. I am sure I had read this before, but I hadn't related it to my unique situation and my brand. I had been trying to create a brand for all my different styles of work when really I needed to create it for the mission statement itself. After a little think and a good read through my about page on my website and Etsy store I remembered why I had wanted to create Darwin Designs in the first place - 'to create items that put a smile on someone's face and raise money for a good cause' with a style that is 'constantly adapting and evolving.' This reminded me that my brand is meant to be fun and colourful and fresh and inviting. I create designs that will appeal to a range of ages and different people and I don't need to have a super specific niche to have a cohesive brand. So what if I don't just make black and white type pieces? So what if some of my cards are child friendly and others have naughty puns on? They all have their fans and they all put a smile on someone's face!
It was after realising this and getting rid of the pressure of having a 'cute brand' or a 'cool brand' or a 'luxury brand' I realised that I needed to create my 'evolving brand.'
It seems so obvious now that I have thought of it but my take on the 'March of Progress' also known as the 'Evolution of Man' is the perfect symbol for Darwin Designs; and using these bright, rainbow hues (and I think a clear black font) I will be able to create a logo full of meaning but still fun. It suits the name, has a clear evolution message and the rainbow tones show the diversity you will find.
Of course this is a work in progress and I am sure it will be tweaked and adapted a bit along the way but I feel like I might have finally turned a corner with my branding - let's hope this one sticks! When the logo is complete and I have redeveloped the rest of my branding for social media and printed materials I will make sure to share the final ideas with you. I'd love to know what you think so far...
After thought /// A lot of people say your brand comes from you as a person and your style and likes - I just wanted to point out this could well be true as in life my likes and style is just as varied. I certainly know what I don't like but in regards to home decor, fashion etc I love all sorts /// This is also an apology to my friends because I know this can make me a nightmare to buy for. Sorry XXX
Welcome to the Darwin Designs blog! I'm Alex and this is me circa 1996. Clearly I was destined to be a designer-maker.
Here you will find info about new products, what I have been getting up to, creative business advice and a whole lot more.