Clothing Boutique Rebrand | Poplin Puff
When my friend Abbie decided to launch her clothing boutique almost a year ago, one of the last things on her mind was a branding strategy. In the midst of buying merchandise and obtaining her LLC, she had her Uncle, a mid level graphic designer, draft her a simple logo to use for her website and social media and launched her brand.
While she wasn’t obsessed with the logo he created, she figured it got the job done until almost a year later when she approached me about a potential rebrand. Having only beginning experience in graphic design, I knew creating a new logo and brand guide would be a challenge, however, I also knew I needed the opportunity to refine my graphic design and branding skills so I accepted the challenge and got to work.
Step 1: Research
My first step was to conduct research on the target audience. Abbie’s target audience was women ages 18-30 who value quality upscale clothing. I knew I needed to find out what this audience values in terms of their style and their favorite brands’ branding. I wrote out a survey and put it out on my Instagram. I chose this method over publishing a survey through the school because I could get more diverse responses. My respondents varied in age and were scattered across the United States. I received just over 100 responses. Below are 6 of the 10 questions I asked, and how they impacted my branding decisions.
Step 2: Mood Board
After looking at the research, I knew that my target audience valued the East Coast, preppy style. I took to Pinterest to gather further inspiration. This was the part of my project I enjoyed the most! I ended up falling down a branding rabbit hole and spending hours on Pinterest nailing down the brand’s aesthetic. I was able to find inspiration not only for the clothing and social media but also for the logo and icons. I settled on South Carolina, specifically Charleston the inspiration behind the brand. Below is a graphic compiling many of the pictures on my mood board.
Step 3: Brand Voice and Tone
My next step was to nail down a brand voice and tone. This is important to establish because it determines how the brand will interact with it’s customers. Abbie, the boutique owner, is from the South and loves southern hospitality. She wanted that to be a big part of the brand’s voice. Because the brand is based off of the east coast, I knew the brand voice also needed to be very refined and eloquent. With that information I created the following brand manifesto, voice, and audience persona.
Step 4: Logos and Icons
This was by far the most challenging and rewarding part of my project! I had gained a lot of inspiration from my mood board and felt confident in the direction I was going. I had seen several logos with dainty hand-drawn elements and I loved the look of them. I also wanted to include some elements of South Carolina since I had chosen that as my inspiration. I combined my ideas with the brand color scheme and after many, many drafts ended up with the logos below.
The hand-drawn flower in the center of the logo is the South Carolina state flower, Yellow Jessamine. I absolutely love the subtle call-back to South Carolina. I made two alternate logos as well. One for the Instagram profile to better fit the circle profile picture and one that incorporates more of the navy color scheme.
I also created six icons for the brand. These can be used for her Instagram highlight bubbles. I once again sourced inspiration from South Carolina. I included the moon from the state flag as well as the state flower in my icons. I followed the hand-drawn theme and developed the six icons below.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with how my project turned out. I presented my compiled book to Abbie and she was thrilled. She’s especially glad to have logos and a branding strategy that are based in research.
I’m happy with how this project stretched me. I spent many hours in illustrator trying to make my vision come to life and having to draw and re-draw icons. I also was challenged to hone in on a specific niche style and not be too broad with the brand’s identity.
I’m grateful for the direction of my faculty mentor Emily Russell who guided me through the branding research and development process. I learned so much from her and am inspired by her work ethic!