Brand Pick-Me-Up: Fall In Love With Michelle McSwain

Dec 14, 2017
Consulting Case StudiesMarketing

Michelle McSwain came to us over the summer, looking for a bit of inspiration. The Brooklyn-based photographer, who is known for her light-hearted portraits and lifestyle photos, was feeling like she needed to further refine her brand and messaging.

Michelle had two goals:

  1. To shoot lifestyle ads for fashion brands like American Eagle, Levi’s or Urban Outfitters.
  2. To shoot more studio portraits for tech start-ups similar to the project she shot for Fiverr’s website earlier in the year.

michelle mcswain, erika blatt, stacy swiderski, lyndsey matoushek, marketing consulting, photo editing consulting, web edit, logo refinement, print promo, modern postcard, glossier, sticker mule, barkbox, made, fiverr, american eagle, levi's, urban outfitters, brooklyn, new york, new york city, wonderful machine

A selection of portraits from Michelle's shoot with Fiverr.

Our first step in working with Michelle was to curate her website's new content: her edit. The plan was to include a mixture of editorial, environmental, and lifestyle portraiture. Plus, we wanted to create project-based galleries when possible to show her strength in storytelling.

Our photo editor Stacy Swiderski scoured through all of Michelle’s photographs and organized her images into the following themes:

Out and About: a gallery that focuses on a curated collection of Michelle’s most commercially viable lifestyle work, with touches of travel/wanderlust influences weaved throughout.

In the Studio: a drop-down gallery, made up of her Fiverr, Barkbox, and Made projects, highlighting Michelle’s portraiture and pet imagery.

Michelle's new deliberate collection of photographs and navigation structure presents her work in a manner that makes the most sense to prospective clients, all while being user-friendly.

With the web edit finalized, it was time to think about refining her logo and creating a print promo that she could either send to new clients or use as a leave-behind at networking events. Michelle already had a strong logo, with a play on the double M’s in her name. Using her existing logo as a base, graphic designer Lyndsey Matoushek tweaked the typography a bit and added some neutral colors to help emulate Michelle’s natural and authentic style.

michelle mcswain, erika blatt, stacy swiderski, lyndsey matoushek, marketing consulting, photo editing consulting, web edit, logo refinement, print promo, modern postcard, glossier, sticker mule, barkbox, made, fiverr, american eagle, levi's, urban outfitters, brooklyn, new york, new york city, wonderful machine

Round one of logo refinement selections. 

After providing Michelle with a few options to choose from, she ultimately went with a simple M including a touch of color to help it stand out on her homepage.

michelle mcswain, erika blatt, stacy swiderski, lyndsey matoushek, marketing consulting, photo editing consulting, web edit, logo refinement, print promo, modern postcard, glossier, sticker mule, barkbox, made, fiverr, american eagle, levi's, urban outfitters, brooklyn, new york, new york city, wonderful machine

Michelle's homepage featuring her new logo! 

With summer winding down and people getting back into the office, we wanted Michelle to have a playful, seasonally appropriate promo for the fall. I am constantly looking at Instagram and through any mail or magazines I receive for photographer promo inspiration. I had recently ordered some makeup from Glossier, and in the package, they included a pink postcard thanking me for my purchase and a little packet of stickers. If you know me, you know I love pink and stickers, and the timing was perfect for me to get this! I knew a sticker sheet promo would be the perfect way for Michelle to debut her refreshed brand.

michelle mcswain, erika blatt, stacy swiderski, lyndsey matoushek, marketing consulting, photo editing consulting, web edit, logo refinement, print promo, modern postcard, glossier, sticker mule, barkbox, made, fiverr, american eagle, levi's, urban outfitters, brooklyn, new york, new york city, wonderful machine

The Glossier promo I used for inspiration. 

Lyndsey used her illustrator talent and was thrilled to whip out the drawing board to sketch Michelle’s new promos. We planned to use her spread of a Fall picnic with plaid and denim as the base for the stickers, so Lyndsey got to work creating the fall-themed set.

michelle mcswain, erika blatt, stacy swiderski, lyndsey matoushek, marketing consulting, photo editing consulting, web edit, logo refinement, print promo, modern postcard, glossier, sticker mule, barkbox, made, fiverr, american eagle, levi's, urban outfitters, brooklyn, new york, new york city, wonderful machine

Michelle's sticker concept. 

This is exactly what I had in mind! Thank you all so very much! I’ll be able to send them tomorrow to print. I greatly appreciate helping the vision come to life! I can’t wait to see it all printed.

We sent the postcards to Modern Postcard to print 4x6 cards and the stickers to Sticker Mule for fabrication. Michelle tied it all together with a vellum envelope and handwritten addresses. A couple of weeks later, I was excited when the mail delivered one of these! It added such a touch of brightness to my day!

michelle mcswain, erika blatt, stacy swiderski, lyndsey matoushek, marketing consulting, photo editing consulting, web edit, logo refinement, print promo, modern postcard, glossier, sticker mule, barkbox, made, fiverr, american eagle, levi's, urban outfitters, brooklyn, new york, new york city, wonderful machine

michelle mcswain, erika blatt, stacy swiderski, lyndsey matoushek, marketing consulting, photo editing consulting, web edit, logo refinement, print promo, modern postcard, glossier, sticker mule, barkbox, made, fiverr, american eagle, levi's, urban outfitters, brooklyn, new york, new york city, wonderful machine

Michelle's final promo! 

Michelle was thrilled with how the promos turned out and had great experiences sharing them in her portfolio reviews.

People loved the stickers and thought they were so fun and really fit my personality, which is pretty playful.

Her promo was shared by Rob Haggart from APhotoEditor (with a big thumbs-up), which received comments filled with positive feedback.

Here are some of the rave reviews Michelle received from clients:

Thanks for your prints - so pretty! - Kori Dyer, Dearest Creative 

Thank you for the snail mail. I love the stickers. I'm totally going to give these to my daughter Millie. She's so in love with stickers right now, and she'll love these. Would love to have you by the office one day." - Tommy Noonan, DCX Agency

Looking for your own brand refresh? Reach out at 610.260.0200 or shoot me an email