Why We Rebranded

After our new letterpress stationery came in, I had to bring a notecard and envelope to our Senior Studio Coordinator, Mallory, so she could experience it.

The experience of the things that have your logo on them are just as important as the logo itself.

 
 
 

Everything in your marketing suite, whether printed or digital, says something about you and about your brand. Even the outfit you wear and the music playing in the background – it’s all part of how you are presenting who you are. And if you are doing a good job, what you hope to be communicating to clients is actually what they are getting from their experience with you. 

We recently went through a branding refresh in tandem with moving to a new studio space and redesigning our whole website. We put our heads together to determine in what ways we needed to redefine our brand. Our work and processes are constantly evolving, so why wouldn’t the same go for our brand? There was nothing wrong with our logo, or fonts, or colors. It all simply deserved a thoughtful evaluation to make sure anything we changed – or, just as importantly, anything we didn’t change – was because of a conscious decision to do so. 

 

 
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We decided that while the inspiration for our studio had really evolved into a mix of a more clean and bright, modern French, hint of Art Deco kind of vibe over the last year and a half, our logo and marketing collateral in general was still existing in a more heavily vintage/Deco place. We had to modernize our fonts and put the theatrics into the monogram of the logo. We had to move our colors to a more neutral palette overall with only pops of the coral red, French blue, and metallic accents we had come to use in our space.    

We had to (finally!) create a style guide so that we could have a foundation and style parameters as we embarked on the major projects of moving and remodeling a new studio, redesigning a website, and redoing all of our printed and electronic materials. It was a huge undertaking to say the least! Moving the studio meant we had to redo everything with our address on it, but that meant there was an opportunity to do a real branding audit and do more than just reprint envelopes and business cards with the new address.     

 
 
 
 

One of the biggest lessons I learned and was very proud of myself for, was that I was willing to evolve and change.

I think many business owners are protective of a logo or look; basically it’s easier to be stuck than to change sometimes. And of course, it can be a tough conversation to have someone tell you that an old design could use a refresh – that the thing you chose and loved at one point isn’t serving your brand the way it used to. 

I had to trust our new in-house Senior Design Coordinator and Brand Manager, Megan, to be the expert to allow us to modernize the things that needed change. I built this brand into something great, but it was time to bring in more help to make it even more amazing! It was actually exhilarating since, as an entrepreneur, I love launching new things and new ideas. Because of Megan’s insane amount of design talent and our wonderful communication styles, along with Mallory making sure our messaging was on point, copy editing, and giving input all along the way, we were able to land on a truly amazing brand refresh.   

 
 
 
 

Good branding is clear, consistent, and congruent with the message of who you are and how you do what you do.

For example, we are a luxury studio and we pride ourselves on being a local small business and working with other local small businesses. Only the best will do for our clients, so we were sure to use awesome local printing options when it came time to print things.  

Studio On Fire did the most gorgeous job on our letterpress and foil stamped business cards and notecards. If you know me, you know that a good hand-letterpressed piece of physical collateral might just be my favorite thing to hold. Then Smart Set did all of our digital printing – so the envelopes, post cards, pricing sheets, etc.  Holy buckets, has digital printing come a long way! We were very impressed with the high quality paper options and how beautifully everything printed.

 
 
 Flat digital printing by Smart Set in Northeast Minneapolis
 
 

This is the first time in my eight years in business where absolutely everything about our brand is totally on point and existing. I remember thinking early on about all the things we didn’t have in our marketing suite yet (because it’s all an investment, oh I know). Yet it was always really important to me to maintain a clear definition of our brand. I remember the first time I got to have a designed business card and my first logo. It felt like such a leap to not have to go through an online printer where you just entered in your contact information to their template, like you were ordering new checks or something. Here we are years later with a stunning suite that is completely befitting of our luxury studio in a way that makes everyone say “wow!” and “this is SO you!”

And that’s exactly what I was going for.    

A Grand Opening

Holy buckets, we made it!

Many of you in our tribe got to see the wonderful launch of our new space, new website, and branding refresh this fall. It has been a whirlwind of excitement! And how wonderful that it all came together in this, our eighth year in business. I started the studio back in the fall of 2008 and boy have we come a long way!  

We started our journey of creating a new website back in June. Every word, every image, every menu, and navigation was reworked, revised, and refreshed until it was perfect and ready for the public eye. I’ve got high expectations, and I have been 100% happy with how it all turned out (big props to Megan, our in-house Senior Design Coordinator and Brand Manager – who also does freelance work)!  

 
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We also took the opportunity to do a little branding refresh on our logo and all marketing collateral – but more on our branding refresh and pricing to come in subsequent blog posts. Part of that was now having Megan on board, and part of it was out of necessity after moving the studio! 

 
 

If there are two consistent rules with business, they are:

1. If you take a group staff picture, someone will get hired or fired shortly thereafter.

2. If you print things with your address on them, you will probably move.

Ha! On a related note, there will be a TBA ceremonial bonfire of all the old materials sometime soon at my house. S’mores, anyone? But really, we couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out. We are living the reality of the dream every business owner has – to actually love all of your marketing materials and to not have missing pieces anymore.  

And why did we move?

We got the opportunity to move into the Solar Arts building in the trendy NE Minneapolis Arts District with a vibrant artists’ community. I toured the building on a rainy June weeknight and by July 1st we had the keys. Everyone has asked – how did you keep it a secret?! If you know me, you know that I just Instagrammed my lunch and posted another picture of Frank to Facebook. It was extremely difficult to keep the news on the down low, at least until we had the remodel done and the website was ready to launch. We got some great advice from a business mentor to do one big launch/announcement all at once, which meant hustling on the last month of the website and keeping our lips sealed for just a bit.  

We are so, SO in love with our new space and how it turned out! Once again, a design win for the décor and paint, plus the exciting new offering we have for brides to use it as a getting ready room. We nearly tripled in size and now have a wonderful shooting bay for headshots and family pictures, along with ample workspace for our team.  

 
 

When awesome things happen,
you throw a party!

We had a wonderful grand opening party on October 6th! A huge THANK YOU to my staff, the participating vendors, everyone who came, clients, friends and family, our new building owner/manager/fellow artists/fellow neighbors, and last but very not least my personal #1, my Michael, for supporting us in getting to what very much feels like Brett Dorrian Artistry Studios 2.0 this fall! It was a perfect way to celebrate all of our amazing developments at the studio!

 
 

Cheers,

Brett Dorrian

xxoo

 

A big thanks to everyone who was a part of our very special grand opening party:

Photography by: Brett Dorrian Artistry Studios
We are now located at: Solar Arts Building in NE Mpls!
Food by: Chowgirls Killer Catering (they have the wedding venue on the 3rd floor in our building!)
Floral by: Martha's Gardens
Macarons by: Nikkolette's Macarons
We threw some Indeed Brewing Company beers into our champagne bucket for good measure! (they are in our building on the 1st floor!)
Cigar Rolling by: International Cigars
Giveaway donations from: Chowgirls Killer Party Food: Righteous Bites & Cocktails for Every SeasonFlutter BoutiqueFlirt BoutiqueKisa Boutique, International Cigars, and Brett Dorrian Artistry Studios