Holly Gardner is a Florida-based photographer with a sunny persona to match her lovely surroundings in Panama City Beach. Holly first came to us for a Branding and Marketing plan, to fully evaluate her brand. Holly shoots both retail (weddings and lifestyle) and commercial work. At the time, she was marketing both with the same branding from the same site. We advised that she create two separate sites, one for her commercial work and one for retail, each with it’s own distinct branding because the two have different target clients with different priorities and very little overlap.
Holly followed our advice to the tee and had her two sites up in no time. She then came to me to start on her new wordmark. At Wonderful Machine, we usually deal exclusively with commercial photography work. However, in Holly’s case, branding two separate but related sides of her business seemed like a unique opportunity to create a strong, comprehensive, and multi-faceted identity. Holly’s current retail logo (below left) was unique and illustrative, but was too detailed to scale down well and wasn’t as sleek and sophisticated as it could be. On the other hand, her commercial site, being brand new, had her name set in a font at the top in her existing brand colors (bottom right). This was an okay start, but lacked the memorability and distinctiveness a new logo could and should bring to the table.
I began by sending Holly some brand inspiration to guide the design process. Holly was looking for a new brand that would be clean, simple, timeless, and subtly feminine. She was also interested in considering a hand-lettered logo, which had me particularly excited. Having a lot of lettering experience and overwhelming enthusiasm for hand-crafted logos and graphic elements, I was more than a little anxious to get started.
In the first round, I experimented with some different lettering techniques and monogram treatments for Holly. She left it up to me how her commercial and retail logos would look, and how they’d relate to one another. So throughout the process, I showed her variations for the commercial and retail brands within each option.
The first few options would differ mainly in the secondary text and would be treated with distinct but complimentary color palettes. The next two options experiment with using the same lettering for Holly’s name and switching up the logo mark between brands along with the secondary type. I was particularly excited about these options, one of which shifted from a crest to an engagement ring with the subtle addition of a diamond to the mark. The other played on Holly’s love of sailing and her smooth, easy-going manner, utilizing a sailboat for her commercial brand and monogram with an anchor for the retail side.
However, Holly fell in love with this next option and felt it represented her and how she envisioned her brand perfectly, which is exactly what I was after. I couldn’t be happier when someone sees him or herself in a logo I’ve created. The chosen mark is a hand-lettered ‘h’ offset by some leafy embellishments, and really does feel like it belongs with Holly.
Next, we explored some alternate type treatments, wanting to keep the text classic and understated.
Once Holly settled on an option, we explored color options, and ended up with a really cool and lovely combination that’s reminiscent of succulents. I came to find out that Holly even gives succulents out to her clients on occasion, which makes the palette even more relevant and appropriate.
Once we had all the pieces in place, we created a retail variation of Holly’s new commercial logo, designating “Holly Gardner Photography” for her commercial brand and “Holly Gardner Weddings & Lifestyle” for her retail brand. We also decided that she could use a neutral version (shown above) with just her name and the mark on all of her stationery (with the exception of business cards), to avoid needing different versions for every piece of stationery for each brand.
Holly has been an absolute pleasure to work with, and she was equally pleased with the work we’ve done for her:
“Hiring Wonderful Machine has been one of the smartest investments I’ve made in my business. The team gave me honest feedback and guidance during my branding and marketing review, and I felt like they really ‘got it.’ I was really excited about working with Melissa for the design of a new wordmark because I’d seen her work (which speaks for itself) and chatted with her previously. What she delivered surpassed my highest expectations though. She made the whole process as painless as possible and responded thoughtfully to every question and concern I had. In the end, she created a wordmark that I feel fits not only my personality, but how I’d like my work to be perceived – timeless, personable, colorful and clean.”
Holly even followed up with us after she’d implemented the new branding, saying “I’m booking commercial jobs like crazy (relatively) now! I think it’s because of you all helping me get this stuff in order. It’s made a huge difference.” We wish nothing but continued success and growth to Holly and both her brands.
Until next time, don’t forget to check out all of our design consulting services, and drop us a line if you’re interested in a new identity or if you’d like to build out your own brand. We’d love to hear from you!