Starting a handmade business is a sizable investment, and I’m grateful to have the skills to create the brand strategy and implement it myself!
Setting the foundation
I started the branding process by solidifying the Oxford Dogma purpose, values, and style keywords.
For all pets to feel loved
In addition, I chose a few words that represent how I want my customers to feel when they buy and use my products:
Throughout the course of running my business, there are lots of occasions where I need to come up with a design for some kind of marketing collateral. One example I’m particularly happy with is the Summer/Fall 2016 Lookbook I created to help give people a sense of the full collection of my products.
This piece resulted in my single largest retail sale, making it a project well worth my time.
Another project that allows me to blend my love for pets with my design experience is the Custom Pet Portraits. I created a postcard to hand out at local market events and insert into packaging to help give people a sense of what they can get with this item.
Creating the branding and designs for my own product has been such an eye-opening experience. I highly recommend designers experiment with having their own product of some sort because it gives you a lot of insight into what it’s like to be the client, and helps you empathize with their goals.
In the summer of 2016, an Arizona-based artisan decided to form an organization specifically for Arizona makers and artists — Arizona Artisans Collective. When I received an invitation to join the community and help shape the direction of the collective, I jumped at the chance to participate. As it turns out, many of the participants were in the first year or two of their handmade businesses (like me with Oxford Dogma), and the energy and enthusiasm of that stage of entrepreneurship is really cool to be around.
The organizer, Miriam (you can see her work at baldurstudios.com), put out a call after our first meeting for someone to volunteer their time and talents to create a logo. I signed up to help out and after chatting with her about her goals for the identity, I developed three directions.
A. The “Maker’s Mark” concept, based in heritage, an earthy feel, and handcrafted tradition. The concept is inspiredby the marks on leather goods, ranches, and spirits. The mark itself is inspired by the mountains of Arizona, and the color palette represents the colors found in our natural surroundings.
This is the concept Miriam selected for the brand direction.
B. This concept has an airy, light, fresh, and trendy vibe to it. The mark is inspiredby the mountains of Arizona and suggests growth and unity (two themes Miriam was interested in conveying about the group’s mission). The colors are consistent with those found locally, especially our spectacular sunsets.
C. The final concept is very clean and simple. Since the organization was in its very early stages, it wasn’t quite clear which direction it would take. So we wanted to explore a logo that was very simple, adaptable, and basically an empty vessel for whatever the future holds.