This week on the blog, I’m excited to share with you guys that Wanderstitch, and my store Wanderstitch Studio, have undergone a rebrand!
Well, I say ‘rebrand’, but we didn’t really have a brand to start with – just random images that we had managed to cobble together to get the blog (and shop) off the ground.
When I started the Wanderstitch blog, at the beginning of 2017, I had no knowledge of blogging (literally, zero clue what I was doing) and no idea whether I would actually be able to get a blog going… whether anyone would read it. Whether it would just fade into the internet and die a death.
So I didn’t really want to spend any ‘unnecessary’ money on it, y’know?
The blog has now been going for almost two years (yay! – but also ?) so I think it’s safe to say that it’s here to stay. (And I’m grateful for each and every one of you, dear readers, for listening to my rambles each week ?)
Five months after launching the blog, I must have felt restless and like I had too much time on my hands (ha! As if) so we then opened our online store, Wanderstitch Studio, after I made a toiletries bag for a friend and she was like ‘you should totally sell these…’ Ironically, I made her the bag as a thank you for nagging me to start the blog (despite the hours and hours of WordPress and IT-geek-type-stuff learning I’d had to put in for it), which in turn then sparked the shop (and yet more learning, and even less spare time for me ?).
Again, I didn’t want to shell out dollarz on frivolous things – we had to invest a bit to actually get the shop off the ground (fabric, and stuff) so spending even MORE money made me a little bit edgy… but hey – jump and the net will appear, right? (Or the net doesn’t appear and you get a broken leg – but you’ll never know if you don’t jump and the broken leg will hopefully heal… *hopefully*)
But, thankfully, we’re a year-and-a-bit later and the store is actually doing far better than I ever imagined it would. So much so that I feel that if I can really invest the time into growing it, it might one day be our main source of income. I dream of having a beautiful house surrounded by woodland, with a studio attached, where me and the husband can work together each day, sewing up the orders. The shepherd-dog Fry will sit on the porch surveying the garden (because that’s what he enjoys doing most) and the spoilt-diva-princess Leela will have a bed in the corner of the studio, with a snuggly blanket, where she can lay and snore the day away (because that’s what she loves doing most ?). I’m not ashamed to say that I regularly drool over such houses on Instagram.
So what made us go for a rebrand? Well, the fact that the store and blog actually *were* doing better than expected, but the visuals were holding it back. It all looked a bit… amateur. Which, to be fair, is what we were when we started out. Now we kind of know what we’re doing… well we’re a bit more clued up than we were at the start – let’s go with that, because even now we’re still learning.
So, let me share with you the journey of getting to this point, from the very start. Here’s the blog logo we launched with, which you’re all (probably) familiar with:
It’s a bit pants, let’s be honest. We ain’t no graphic designers, that’s FOR SURE. But we also ain’t millionaires, so it sufficed at the time.
And this…. *drumroll*… is what we’ve got now:
You’ll see that the essence of the original logo – the arrow – remains. I chose this symbol to represent following your own arrow – your own path, whatever makes you truly happy. You are you, uniquely you, and you should be proud of that. To want to be someone else, to follow someone else’s arrow or be someone you’re not, is not true and you’ll never find real happiness. In short: be who you are, be happy, and to hell with everyone else ??
The arrow that we had originally was drawn by the husbeast, on Microsoft Paint. You remember – that program you used at high school for the lols rather that for anything educational. (Plus, those were the days long before iPads and Apple pencils so anything you drew was with your mouse – and you can imagine how artistic *that* looked). As you can tell, he’s no artist (but that’s no criticism, because neither am I ?) but in the absence of anything else, we used it for the blog and the shop. They did us good for a little while, but when we started to see sales volume increase, I felt that it didn’t give off the impression that we were a professional joint. Other sellers were doing it better, with coordinated graphics and logos – and nothing spurs me to action like someone doing something better than me ?
I never knew, at the time, that you could buy premade off the shelf logos, or hire a real life person to design you one. It’s not something I’d ever really thought about. When I first began searching for logos online, all I saw was ‘logos for £39’ adverts which just looked crap, basically, and were simply a collection of clip art, ready made graphics and common fonts. Which even with my limited knowledge, I could have thrown together myself (probably). They were totally lacking in individuality and personality. And they were so… simple. I’m not about simple. I like detail, and lots of it.
I mean, these logos make me sad:
So it was decided that we’d have to pay for our own custom logo to be designed, because nothing else would measure up to what I wanted. (High maintenance? Moi? Not at all. Just don’t ask the husband ?)
But before I went any further, I needed to have an idea of what it was I actually wanted. I knew I wanted a BETTER arrow, but what did that look like?
Colour. Lots of colour. And a really intricate arrow, with a peacock feather on the end to mimic the one on my tattoo. Then I started thinking, if we’re heading along that line, perhaps I should treat it as a tattoo – a visual representation of myself and the blog, with you for life. So I started to form the watercolour idea in my mind… containing pink and purple to represent my hair, and bright, vivid turquoise (one of my favourite colours, which also features in my tattoo sleeve). And some red, for balance.
I asked a couple of people on Instagram who did their branding for them, and realised – quickly – that branding packages ain’t cheap. Quite the opposite in fact – they can be *seriously* expensive. But when you think about it – they will be, because someone is spending time conceptualising your ideas into a visual graphic that’s going to be the face of your brand to the world. If you’re not bothered about spending money on it, get an off the shelf one with your company name on it. I was bothered about it – because I’m not one to do things by halves.
So I took the first step and started looking on Etsy – after all, this is where creatives hang out, right? A quick search brought back lots of options for watercolour logos:
I stared chatting to a few logo/branding sellers, explaining what I wanted. One lady said that she was sure she could realise what I had in my head – that she had access to hundreds of arrow graphics and there was bound to be one that fitted what I wanted. Hmm. A warning bell sounded. Those arrow graphics were pre-made. She wasn’t going to draw it for me, she was going to collate graphics just the same as the ‘logos for £50’ people… but use prettier graphics. Hmm.
It was at this point that I realised what I needed to do. I either needed to keep what I had, or pay a designer to build me a logo from scratch. There was no halfway for me – I didn’t want to choose from designs that were already available, I didn’t want a logo that someone else might also have. I wanted something unique that truly represented what we were all about.
I searched around for watercolour logo designers, checking people out from all over the world. Paris, London, the States. A lot of them had a kind of country, shabby chic kind of style – it seemed this and watercolour went hand in hand ?? I didn’t want shabby chic though.
Then I found Maria B Paints in New York. I couldn’t see anything on her portfolio that matched the *exact* style of what I had in my head, but I liked what I saw. Rich colours, hand painted intricate and detailed logos. I liked her spirit, her essence. And that was the important thing. That was how I chose my tattoo artist, and that worked out well, so I figured I could apply the same criteria to my logo designer.
I reached out to Maria to talk about what it was I wanted, and after a few conversations I knew that she was the one I wanted to design our logo. As a starting point, she sent me a questionnaire to complete about various aspects of our brand, and she asked me to put together a mood board of colours, designs, and other logos that I liked:
So that was all (well, most of) the inspiration that I collected… hopefully you can see how that translated into the finished logo:
I sort of knew the colour scheme I wanted, so that part was easy. Pink, purple and turquoise, my three favourite colours. As for design elements, I broke it down into a couple of sections – the arrow, and the colour behind the arrow. For the colour, I wanted something free flowing, to represent my free spirit – not constrained, not following any rules. My ideas were water and smoke – because both of them kind of go where they please – which then progressed on to watercolour. But I didn’t just want a plain old watercolour splodge, because then people might think my blog is all about painting ??♀️
In the same way that I did for my tattoo, I wanted the logo to incorporate me, my life and my experiences. If you look around the edge of the logo, you’ll see a needle and thread (because Wanderstitch is about the adventures of a needle and thread, obvs), a lotus flower pattern and some Thai design elements (to represent our time living in Asia). The pink and purple represents the physical me – my hair. Another idea I had right at the start was to change the logo from an arrow, and have a girl in profile with her pink and purple hair flowing out behind her, in the style of my favourite print by Josephine Wall:
But Aaron said it would look too much like a hairstyling blog, so that idea got ditched ?? Plus, the arrow was there for a reason, so it made sense to keep it.
When it came to designing the shop logo, we wanted it to be the same as the blog logo but subtly different – after all, the shop sprung from the blog, they are intertwined, so it made sense to me to have coordinating logos. We kept the arrow, but changed the colour scheme for the shop. We also changed the motifs around the logo – the needle and thread became a book of spells and a wand, and the Thai motifs became a skull and some damask patterns to reflect the ‘geek, goth and alternative’ essence of the store:
Turns out that it was MUCH harder to come up with visuals that represent ‘geek, goth and alternative’!
We also had a few extras designed, such as business cards, Facebook and Etsy banners, and the stickers that we use on our shop packaging. Previously, we had one (very plain) business card that doubled as both a shop and blog card – but now we’ve got proper separate ones!
Excuse the crappy lighting in the below photo… the colours are actually lovely and bright in real life! *Note to self – buy daylight bulbs for the living room lights rather than using the crappy yellow lights so that photos actually look true* ??♀️??♀️??♀️
Having the rebrand was definitely an investment, but totally worth it – it really does take everything up a notch visually, and it’s nice to have a coordinating set of assets to help bring everything together.
Here’s a little before and after of the blog:
And the Etsy shop is totally on point now as well:
The process of logo design was really easy and painless, and each element came with a few rounds of amends included – so that tweaks and changes could be incorporated once there was something visual to look at (because as sewists, we *all* know that sometimes things can look better in your head than in real life… amirite ?). Maria got the essence of each design pretty much spot on with the first draft though, so only small tweaks were needed each time. I gave her free reign on some of the assets and was really happy with what she came up with!
I feel like the blog, and the shop especially, now looks like much more of a cohesive brand. A lot more profesh. I think that now was a good time to do it – the blog is almost two, and the shop just over one year old – had I have done it at the very start, I think my ideas and style might have been different. We’ve used this time to really discover and define our brand, and figure out what we want it to be. I’m glad we waited, rather than rushed in at the very start, because we might have gone with something totally different that wasn’t really representative of what the Wanderstitch Empire was to become.
So, whatcha think? You likey?
Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… the coolest shirt EVAH, with dinosaurs on it! ?? ✂️ Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!??