If you’ve taken a close look at my website during the last four weeks, you’ve likely seen a few changes happening. It’s now become obvious that I have undergone a mini rebrand. I say “mini”, because I was happy with most of the elements of my brand, but I was uncertain about the colours for a long time. Colours aren’t “just colours”. I have been in the design world long enough to know that colours are an extremely important part of a brand. I didn’t want to keep changing them to find something I liked, but I had little idea of how to start deciding on colours, so I was happy to keep what I had. Until mid-March, that is.
This story is a rather long one, so I am making it a two-part series. Part 2 will be up soon.
Let’s go on a bit of a nerdy tangent here: Colours. Colours evoke feelings and can help viewers attribute certain emotions to your brand. They add to a viewer’s ability to identify your brand. They can help to express your brand’s uniqueness as well as the brand values. It’s important to choose the right colours for your business – for example: interesting without being too weird, or conservative without being boring. It’s also important to choose the right colours for your brand message or industry; for example, a bank would look strange with bright, candy floss pink branding. It would sit at odds with an audience’s existing perception of a bank. So, I repeat that colours aren’t “just colours”, and it’s a challenge to choose colours for a brand.
Back to the Fox & Owl Brand
Let’s take a couple of steps back. For context. When I started, I knew what I wanted my business name to be, and that was pretty much it. I looked for colour palette ideas in a book I have. Foxes are generally represented with the colour orange, and I knew I wanted bright, vibrant colours rather than pastel shades. I looked at a few combinations, and found a palette of 3 colours: orange, teal and lime green. I liked the orange and teal, but didn’t like the lime green. I decided that I only needed 2 colours anyway, and went ahead with those.
Once I got my logo designed, I applied the chosen colours to my branding: website, social media, and visual identity. Once the work was done and everything was set up, only then did I have a chance to evaluate the big picture and the overall aesthetic. I realised that I didn’t immediately love the orange, but I did choose it, and I loved my logo. I also did not want to waste heaps of time looking for colours and testing them on my visual identity. Spending time agonising over surface decisions stops any meaningful progress from being made. So, I made the choice and moved on.
Thinking Carefully About My Brand
It’s odd to admit that orange is not among my favourite colours. I love purples, reds, blues and turquoises, and over the last year, I have really come to love shades of teal. Having said this, I know that over time, the orange grew on me, and so did the colour combination. As I created more and more digital items (blog post graphics and social media graphics) for my business, I became fond of my colours. But I still felt that they weren’t exactly “me”. I didn’t do anything about this niggling feeling, as I was too busy working on client work and improving my processes behind the scenes to give myself time to make any concrete changes.
I spent 8 months with my orange and teal branding before I decided that it might be okay to want to make a few changes. After this amount of time, you’d probably think that it’s about time I settle and focus on other areas of the business. I debated with myself for a long time before deciding to go ahead with the process. And it is indeed a process. By this time, I had already set up all my important documents (info booklets, quotes, receipts, invoices, contracts) and had developed a style for the images on my blog and social media channels. Changing a brand’s colours involves changing every single part of the visual identity. I was fully aware of the fact that this was going to be a huge time investment on my part.
Despite wanting to change parts of my branding, I didn’t really know where to start, or what to change. Do I change everything, including the fonts I was using? What do I change them to? Do I dislike my fonts and colours that much to want to change them? What if I don’t really like what I’m changing to, and 5 months down the line, I’ll wish I hadn’t made any changes at all? That’s always the self-doubt that creeps in after beginning to commit to a big decision. So, I ignored it.
In the next post in this series, I’ll share a bit more context, and take you on my rebranding journey.
Melissa De Klerk
Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.
You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.