When I originally thought about “branding” and I use that term in a very loose way, I sort inspiration from all sorts of places. I sounded out friends and family. I was also heavily influenced by what I saw on Instagram, whizzing through hundreds of images in seconds. This one size fits all and design by committee meant that the end product was more of a generic chimaera than a distinctive offering aiming to please as many people as possible. As if Instagram likes would translate into more sales. The problem with this is that chasing likes on social media is not the same as running a viable business.
Thankfully at the same time as my insta-scrolling I was listening to several different start-up podcasts on rotate – and it probably wasn’t a coincidence that they were from The States. Both were inspirational and motivating, Masters of Scale for its visionary entrepreneurs and How I Built This for the business owners shear bloody-mindness and determination. Seth Godin’s Akimbo also resonated. In one episode “This is Marketing” Seth states that you don’t need to appeal to the largest audience possible, but to find the smallest number of people who care about what you are doing and focus in on connecting with them. This sounded like a good idea! Specialising made sense (some of the best offerings in the industry I had seen were by people who had focused in on one type of look or style.) So, what to specialise in?
I had recently picked up a few art items including a delightful wooden artist pastels shop display cabinet and some ironstone photography developing trays. Both pieces were functional (this is always important to me) and also had a great aesthetic. As I studied art history and aesthetics at university I also saw art materials and products as an area in which I had built up a certain amount of knowledge. These items were fun to present visually and there was a lot of scope for research and writing about artists, colours, materials and manufacturing and hopefully some opportunities for collaboration too. At the same time I wanted to offer products that enabled artists to create and recreate works that matched the high standards of the past and to have fun while making work.
As part of the changes, it was also time to make the logo more distinctive, to reflect the company as an art company one that was invested in images and representation. I have already explained the origin of the company name, but I also liked Joan of Arc as figure and a pun and had just seen an imposing statue of her in the Musée d'Orsay on a trip to Paris. I wanted to work with an artist and am a big fan of the work of Joe La-Placa and really liked his dark graphic take on things. So I got in contact with him and we worked together to come up with something that was quirky and encapsulated the brand. We created a work of art and moved away from the previous corporate looking logo.
This logo now appears on the website and on Instagram and I am currently deciding what other little bits of printed matter to produce. I quite like the idea of stickers, and might also produce a long thin flyer… any other suggestions or ideas would be gratefully welcomed.