PORTFOLIO | moodboard for a fitness magazine

A moodboard for a new kind of women’s fitness magazine. I’m so excited to share this moodboard with you all today. I finalized it with my clients last week, and while it was definitely different than what they were expecting, I’m glad they are on board with this strong, powerful, and neutral refresh for their fitness magazine.

After our values-finding process, it was found that their key values are sophistication, bravery, and powerful. I really wanted to harness the essence of strength through natural elements like marble, clouds, and mountains. While they will be playing a supporting role, I’m hoping their values will thrive through this solution. Sophisticated and slightly feminine type will be used for their logo and masthead, while geometrics will play a role in the mark to emphasise bravery.

I’ll be back next week with some logo options before the brand reveal at the end of the month!

Pssst, Pinegate Road got a makeover this weekend! I’ll be doing a separate post on how everything came together over the past year, but take some time and look through and let me know what you think of the new look!

PORTFOLIO | sarah hearts branding

Sarah Hearts branding by Pinegate Road

Happy Wednesday everyone. This Sarah Hearts branding project has had me is such sweet spirits lately. Sarah and I first met at Alt Summit several years ago, and I was thrilled to help her take her branding to the next level over the past month. As a graphic designer herself, I was slightly intimidated to take on this project. For all you designers out there, you know how hard it is designing for yourself though right? After a few takes on her own, she decided it was time to pass the torch, and what an experience it was for the both of us! It was a completely unique process working with another designer for their branding, and Sarah’s amazing feedback helped us push this logo to where it is today.

Sarah’s brand value words are inspiration, creativity, and accessibility. She is a DIY blogger who loves bright colors, simple shapes, patterns, and helping her readers make their homes joyful creative spaces. The new Sarah Hearts branding shows that she is a creative, that what she presents is simple and design-forward, and that her brand is an inspiring one to interact with. We made her primary logo colorful and had lots of dots surrounding her logotype. This represents the pops of inspiration that Sarah Hearts gives to the readers. ‘Sarah’ was done in a unique custom typeface that shows off the creativity in the Sarah Hearts brand. She is always putting unique and simple spins on to every-day items, and this type really shows that quality off. ‘Hearts’ is done in a simple feminine sans serif that represents Sarah Hearts’ accessible approach to DIY.

Next we’ll be tackling some website optimization. This is a newer approach I am taking with clients. While I’ve been designing websites and blogging for the past several years, I’ve been more in a ‘tell me what you need’ mode rather than a ‘let’s explore how your brand lives on the web and how it can tie to your values.’ Novel, huh? ;) I’m going to be going through every detail of the Sarah Hearts’ online experience and making sure that it not only lives out her new brand visually, but that it’s supporting her values through the reader’s experience. I’ve been adding these kinds of elements throughout web design projects over the years, but this will be the first time we’ll be coming from this point of view 100% from the beginning.

Cheers to Sarah on her new branding!

sisters in shape branding

sisters in shape branding | PINEGATE ROAD

Here’s the other brand that I have been chatting a little bit about via instagram lately. The Sisters in Shape branding was completed this weekend, and I’m happy to see how this brand refresh turned out. Erica came to Pinegate Road with a website and a brand that had been growing very well over the years. She has made amazing strides as a fitness model, and as a founder of the Sisters in Shape fitness coach community. After a new baby, Erica was ready to step it up to the next level visually for this brand so that she could keep working on her big dreams for Sisters in Shape.

We warmed up the purple and green from the previous look, and added two more warm tones that come together to create a strong, famine palette. As we go about creating more of the look, we will incorporate a gradient in the Sisters in Shape colors, as well as using watercolor as a texture throughout. It was important for Erica to have the logo in many different forms as she builds out her brand across social media, the web, and print, so we created an alternate logo, a monogram, and various wordmarks to fit her different needs.

sisters in shape branding before and after | PINEGATE ROAD

Keeping the purple and green color story from her original branding, as well as the perky, strong, and feminine silhouette, this new Sisters in Shape branding keeps the same values that started with the company and brings them to a clean and refreshed space to grow from for many years to come. The look was cleaned up, a new typeface was chosen, and the silhouette was tweaked to work across both print and web materials. She was also flipped to the right so that you look visually from left to right as you take in the logo. In the wordmark, the ‘in’ is raised up to signify the link that the coaches have their their clients and to signify the community of women that Sisters in Shape provides for those involved. This also allows for an accent of the secondary color, green, to be added to the primary logo for a cohesive brand look. Throughout this process it was imperative to Erica that the brand still kept a feminine and soft appearance while exuding strength. I loved working with these parallels, and chose Brandon Grotesque as a perfect accompaniment to the brand identity. While it appears to have a strong and stable look, each corner on this typeface is actually rounded. This paired so well with the values of Sisters in Shape and will be an amazing typeface to work with as we build out the rest of the brand. We’ll be working on the website next, and I’m excited to see it all come together and see how this new look will help propel the Sisters in Shape community forward with their goals.

Hello Yellow Branding, an interior design blog

Hello Yellow Branding | PINEGATE ROAD

We finalized the new Hello Yellow branding last night, and I couldn’t wait to share! If you remember from only a few short weeks ago, this logo is based off the first moodboard in this post. We went through a process of creating three very different hand-lettered logo options, and settled on the one above. Working with a brand that’s name incorporates ‘Yellow’ had me thinking all sorts of bright and cheery thoughts. This logo hints at sunshine without going over-the-top and it also references many vintage logos made for home-oriented products that used scripts as their main mark. Bright, cheerful, hand-made, clean, updated, and female were all key words that signify this brand’s aesthetic.

Now we’re on to placing this brand look into the website, and fingers crossed we will get to share the complete project soon!

when to hire a designer for branding

The right time to hire a designer for branding | PINEGATE ROAD

I recently received an email from a passionate lady starting off on a new event planning business. She was wondering how important it was to go into this process with a truly solidified brand she was proud of. Like so many other creatives venturing off onto new business quests this year, branding is sure to come up as a ‘should I? / shouldn’t I?’ situation. When there are so many costs to consider, the thought of spending a significant amount of your budget on branding right at the beginning deserves a little thinking over. As a designer and a lover of a great brand identity, when I started my own freelance journey I would have told you that it was an absolute necessity. After working with creative entrepreneurs over the past couple years, and seeing the various sides of where their business were at when they decided to take on a new brand identity, I have completely flip flopped.

So…if you’re a new business with a small budget looking to brand yourself, my best advice would be to WAIT! Crazy, huh?

The time with the most changes for any business will be in those first couple of years. Your goals might change, your vision might change, and most importantly, the values of your business might change as you go about figuring things out. As a designer who builds brands around values, having those change as your business is growing is a definite sign that you will need a completely new identity design when you work out the kinks and start moving on. Some of my most successful clients and branding projects have come from working with creative entrepreneurs who took the time to work on growing their businesses with an identity that got them by until they reached the point where they really knew their voice and values as a brand. This is essential. It can make months, or years, but it often comes with the feeling that you have the background knowledge and confidence to move forward, but knowing that you need to step it up visually for your brand to come together to reach your full potential. Now’s the time.

From here, you’ll be able to work with your designer to build a brand that will last you five to ten years before you need a little refresh — not a complete overhaul. That is always my goal when working with my clients, and I try and base design decisions around timeless elements that can grow with the brand rather than something that shows its age a few years later by using a too-trendy trend. My blog, my terms here, ok? ;)

So what do you do in the meantime? Hire a student! Go to a college with a reputable graphic design program, and post on their job board. Reach out via craigslist, or ask your college friend’s niece who is taking that course in typography. You will get an identity that will do you fine for the time being, and you will be supporting someone who would love to have some real-life experience to build up their resume and portfolio. You could also look to Etsy and search pre-made brands that could also get you by for the time being. These are often-times designs that will give you a nice look and feel, but that lack a true individualism and value-based identity that is true to your brand. Lastly, take a go yourself if you have the right software. Pick colors and values that are true to your vision now, and have at it.

When is it right to begin a new business with the identity design in place? When you are a mid-sized business or corporation starting a new venture with a new identity, this is the time to begin with a well-designed identity. You most likely have the budget, a business plan, and you’re rearing to make your new business the best it can be right off the bat. Yay, go for it!

Do any of your have other questions or have any input on this subject? Leave some notes in the comment section, I’d love to hear from you! Have any of you gone through the branding process and wish you did it differently? I’ve totally had my ups and downs when looking back :)