Something I had always struggled with at Studio S, was our visual identity/branding for ourselves, it never felt fully me...until now! With immense personal growth and fully embracing me in every way, Studio S finally looks how I feel about the business and what I do..
Here is the story of how we found our identity, and how you can find yours too. A journey in life, learning and growth.
Its well known that as a professional in your field, it is easy to use your skills to help others, but often we find it hard to use our skills to help ourselves, such as: teachers who find it hard to be taught and accountants who aren't always great with their own money, etc. But you are so good at using your services and skills to help others! It doesn't make sense...
Throughout my design career I have had a few different logos - this is because as life goes on, we learn new things about ourselves, what we like, how to create and our skills grow - so along with the cycle of life, there is a cycle to creativity too. I started with Amanda S Design in 2013, using a blooming lotus flower as the 's' to symbolise growth and life in a holistic way AND used my new initials after getting married, changing from Connolly to Sears... Although it wasn't super clear that it was Amanda S Design.
I used Amanda S Design for a little while but really wanted John to be a part of the business too, so we came up with Studio S (the S is for Sears). It started with a whiz and a bang in 2014 and we were up and running! Time was not on our side as we had to come up with a name, a business plan and a logo quickly to include in the first Street Art book publication in 2014. (We only had a week or so to design and create it!). It was rough and raw and resembled that in hindsight.
It was crisp, clean and symbolic of an over-arching umbrella business that could do many things within it and also of the mountain ranges surrounding Nelson. It worked for a couple of years, but it still didn't feel right. As Studio S became my baby while John worked full time at his own job it didn't really represent me and my style - which is what my clients are paying for. So more thinking had to be done and a little bit of restructuring.
In April 2016 with many hours of research, careful planning and thinking and using our design process approach on our own business - the next version of the Studio S logo was born.
We were clearly on the right track with design - as not long after that a few nationally
recognised and quite large businesses also rebranded themselves using similar styles.
While logos can have similarities - the process and development for each one is unique to the business (or should be in best practice - your business is unlike any other).
The scribble circle around the S represents our dynamic and holistic approach toward design, always coming full circle, while exploring various tangents utilizing our broad range of skills - it also reflects our energy through the visual representation of movement.
To expand our brand elements in this phase we included 'scribble' icons of a heart, star and flower and recently added a scribbly oval to the mix - and to keep it true to who I am as a person, energetic and bubbly, we chose bright colours blue, gold, pink, green and orange. We used the scribble circle to create repeating circle patterns in various colours for backgrounds.
A year on (2017) and my design tastes and knowledge had grown and changed exponentially and with minimalism becoming a big feature in my life, the brand still needed refinement - and just like I decluttered my home, wardrobe, smartphone, emails, computer and studio - I stripped Studio S back to the basics and refined it to match my bright, bubbly energy with my contrasting minimalism.
But... it still wasn't quite right... I was getting there with the colour and vibrancy and LOVED the S and scribble circle, but with other big brands doing similar circles, I wanted to bring the individuality back and also reflect my unique illustration style.
After about 6 months of thinking, sketching, designing, drawing and playing,.. one day a design just came to me (the fun part of intuitive design is it always comes at the right time and it is ALWAYS perfect!) and the current logo was created! Unique, energetic, fun, illustrative and SO ME! Gold changed to yellow and purple was added to the mix.
Finally after huge growth over 5 years the visual design elements of the brand were done - the why behind Studio S never changed, but I did as a person - I started to love myself more, learn who I was and what made me happy and with this realisation and acceptance I finally had clarity for my business and I wanted it to reflect that. Energetic, bubbly, fun and quirky with a passionate and intuitive instinct to help others find their clarity and to succeed in doing what they love to do too.
A brand is always evolving, this is the evolution of the Studio S brand over 5 years, and while the logo design is unlikely to change in the next 3-5 years at least, other graphic and stylistic elements will as I grow. I hope you stick around to be a part of this journey with me.
If you are finding it hard to truly realise your business, here are some tips:
Take a step back and make sure you are performing at your soul's peak, because this is where you have the most clarity in life and in business (which is why work and life balance is so important)
Do what makes you happy and notice the ideas that come to you in these moments
Always carry a pen/pencil and paper to write notes or put them in your phone, no idea is too small and some ideas are for future use
If you have over-complicated it, strip it back to basics, build strong foundations with a detailed and personalised brief/business plan, then expand upwards from there and let the creative juices flow!
Find someone to help guide you and define your direction into something more manageable like a life or business coach or a professional with the skills you need to move your business forwards, there comes a time when you realise you can't do everything yourself
Plan, as simple as that, create a plan, follow through and enjoy the journey
Your business grows as you grow, make sure your visual identity (brand) does too
Thanks for taking the time to read this, get in touch if you need a hand and above everything else, have fun!
SBS Banks, Stuff, TVNZ Logo Image Sources