Thursday, January 27, 2011

Branding.....and I'm not talkin Cowboy..

Chocolate Creative Design has been super duper busy with some very exciting new projects!! In the past few weeks, I have been working on some rebranding and branding of some of the most fabulous companies which I positively can't wait to unveil in the coming months. Since my pesky website is still a work in progress, I figured that this was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate(shortly and sweetly as I could go on for days)Chocolate Creative Design's creative process.

The best way to illustrate (and one of my all time favorites)is Chocolate Creative Design's branding of the Fabulous Miss Sarah True's company, True Event.

Image found via Domino Magazine

I say...Bring on the color!! Besides imagery, color has the hugest impact on the overall design as it sets the mood, style and tone of your company. I always try to incorporate a mixture of both masculine and feminine colors so that it doesn't eliminate any clients who come knocking at your door, unless of course you are specifically targeting men or women. 

So the hunt begins with my clients searching and rummaging through magazines, books, the internet and even their homes or offices for what truly inspires them. With Miss True, we looked and looked and looked and it wasn't until The Domino Magazine article about Jenna Lyons home, (the Creative Director of J. Crew) that Miss True had the pivotal AHA moment.

Now that the colors have been chosen, it's straight to the drawing board for the design of the company logo. Just like in the choosing of colors, I believe in the combination of both masculine and feminine in the creation of the logo. 

Miss True works with BOTH brides and grooms so it was very important for either of her clients to relate to the design.

To make this work, I combined a very classic strong masculine font with a slightly delicate feminine script. I absolutely love the nod to one of the most famous sculptures in our country, Love by Robert Indiana. When designing a logo, I am completely obsessed with creating something that either has a dual meaning or 
makes the viewer step back, come back and finally have their AHA moment.

When that works, then I know I have done my job!

The secondary Logo is just as important as the primary. It can come in the form of an object or a pattern. Take for instance Henri Bendel. They have a very clean modern font as their primary logo but those amazing chocolate stripes are their secondary. Any woman who sees vertical chocolate stripes can safely assume that it's from Bendels. 

Miss True loved the idea of incorporating the delicate peacock feather along with the strong zebra print. If used creatively and cleverly, anyone who sees a yellow peacock feather or zebra print will instantly think of True Event..
I know I do!

Image via charleswhyte

Here comes the hard part.. editorial. It not only has to be clear and concise but simple and articulate at the same time. What is your company about? Can you describe it in less than two sentences? What is the style of writing and voice that you want to convey?

Most graphic design firms will write the editorial for their clients. I however, believe that it is important for my clients to write most of it themselves. 
It allows them to really think about who they are and where they want to go. 
Of course, I will edit and add in my two cents but this exercise is extremely essential in the creation of their company. Not to mention, it allows me more time to focus on the design.

Image by Justin and Mary Marantz

Now you're speaking my language..Being a photography major, I can't help but a bit of a photo snob. Imagery is what I believe makes or breaks a website. Most companies don't have professional images of their work, office or even themselves so this is why I offer clients the ability to have a great photographer for their project. I have been extremely lucky to have been working with Anna Sawin of 
Anna Sawin photography over the past couple years.

Having a single photographer like Anna Sawin or Justin and Mary Marantz really allows the images to flow cohesively throughout the entire site thus making the site more beautiful and reader friendly!

The whole enchilada! I believe that a website should be clean and simple. It's your virtual storefront and you literally have just have a few seconds to catch someone's attention. So, it should have large beautiful images combined with short yet articulate editorial. For me, it's like putting a 3,000 piece puzzle together and I love every minute of it!

 Just like a story, it should have a beginning, a middle and an end. Toss in your secondary and primary logos and voila...instant website.'s not as simple as all that but by creatively utilizing those other elements it will allow your site to have cohesion from beginning to end.

I design only in harkens back to my days in fashion and I figure why change what works. 

Then...the magic begins...

It flies all the way out to sunny California to one of the most talented artists I know..Mr. Jon Michaelsen of Braincloud Media. He is what you call a TRUE web designer. There are a lot of people out there who call themselves "Web Designers" but in fact they are really "Web Architects" as they have no design background. This is why I am really really lucky plus he's really cool, makes me laugh and rocks at animation.

By laying a finger aside of his nose and giving a wink, he magically builds the site. In fact, he is so amazing that he can make an inanimate object such as a peacock feather appear to drift gently and softly through the air and across your screen.

Since Miss True's site had been designed, so many other social mediums have been introduced and are now commonplace in our daily lives. My favorite, the blog, is an absolute must for every business and if you don't have one..GET ONE! Space for Twitter and Facebook should also be allotted into the design as well. Personally, I am still trying to figure out Twitter but I have an account and it is waiting for me when I am ready..

This is where the REAL fun begins....All the design elements are completed so it's time to get really creative and think outside the box! Business cards are an obvious must but there are other things to think about like thank you cards, postcards, custom stamps and my all time favorite...promotional pieces! 
I LOVE to create marketing materials that can cleverly incorporate the primary and secondary logos without ever being obvious.

So there you have it folks..painless, to the point and most importantly a true depiction of how Chocolate Creative Design get things done!!

So get ready for some new and exciting branding and rebranding and see if you can figure out where their inspiration came from!

PS I would swiftly and quickly toodoodloo over to the True Event site as she is in the process of a redesign!!


  1. love this, wish i knew you did all this back when i was looking!

  2. Branding a dream and working together to do so was one of the highlights of launching the business. Great post! xo

  3. Nice post! Loved hearing another creatives process - well stated, Ms. Wesson - and love the results!

  4. You are a creative brain trust and this post is a distinct feather in your cap!