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Client Spotlight – Bike Delaware Cycling Jersey Design

Bike DE Event Branding | The design process for branding a cycling jersey, poster, and t-shirt | Jenn Wells Design

The Client: Bike DE

One thing I love about working with Bike Delaware is that it takes me out of my comfort zone. I’ve worked with Drew twice now, and we usually begin our jersey designs by taking a look at the work done in previous years. We analyze what he liked, what he didn’t, and how this year’s version should be different.

The thing that strikes me every time is how urban and artistic the previous designs have been, which is not my usual style.  To compensate, I make the craziest, most graffiti-like design I can and then it’s a nice, minimalist version of what Bike DE usually does.

This year, Drew was looking for a cycling jersey design, as well as a poster and a t-shirt.  These pieces were all part of the same promotional campaign for the Amish Country Bike Tour.

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Going to Bat for the Oxford Comma

Going to Bat for the Oxford Comma

MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian. There are a lot of best practices and formatting guides out there. They don’t necessarily agree with each other and it’s not always clear which is best in which situations. Often it comes down to personal preference, as it does for the hotly debated punctuation mark I’ll be discussing today.

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Font Psychology – Reading Between the Lines

Font Psychology - Reading Between the Lines | Jenn Wells Design

Confession: I’m not a huge typography nerd. A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with some friends about the fonts used in an ultra hipster café we brunched in. I was happily going on about the quirkiness of fat-face fonts when they started naming their favorite sans serif fonts and I realized I was in over my head.

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Client Spotlight – Aurora Estella Doula Services Logo

Aurora Estella Design Process | Jenn Wells Design

The Client

Rachel came to me wanting to brand her new doula business entirely from scratch. We discussed her mission statement and target market – to make doula services available to everyone, including younger moms-to-be and those with a lower income. And then we talked visuals – what fonts and colors she likes, hates, or thinks would best represent her business, and what kind of feel she wanted the business to have. We decided to aim for something a little warmer and more comfortable to reinforce her goal of accessibility.

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Branding: What It Is and Why It Matters

Branding: What It Is and Why It Matters | Jenn Wells Design

I attended a networking event not too long ago that discussed, among other things, what branding actually means. The answers ranged from, “How you present yourself” to “What people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Throughout history, branding has also meant everything from cattle brands to the more contemporary logos and more widespread uses today.

So What IS Branding?

For our purposes, I agree with all of the more contemporary answers provided at the event. Branding IS the way your company/brand/etc “feels” to other people.

Naturally, as a graphic designer, my mind tends toward the visual elements. And yes, if you’re thinking logos, that is a part of it. But by itself, a logo doesn’t make up an entire brand.

Your brand is your logo, your color scheme, and your fonts. Your brand is also the combination of those elements, along with the images you use, and the voice you choose to communicate with your clients. It really is your reputation, but not all of those elements are easy to capture on paper.

Branding Guides

For the elements that are tangible enough to document, branding guides are immensely helpful. In its simplest form, this should include fonts and colors, with enough color information that web and print elements for a company can maintain consistency.

Branding guide for Maria's Italian Restaurant | Jenn Wells Design

I like to include links for my clients to download the fonts, since they’re not always standard system fonts.

Branding guides can also include imagery, including graphics or patterns. Anything that is intended for reuse throughout company design.

Branding Guide for Jenn Wells Design

For my own branding, I use the same linen background and stylized swirls as a header for my website and all my social media profiles

Sometimes the branding process stretches out from logo conception all the way to website creation and setting up social media. It can also start with with just a logo and business cards. Either way, the end result should be a set of materials with a consistent look that appeals to your target market.

The Intangible Elements

These are all the things that I, as a graphic designer, can’t necessarily do for you. Basically, you’ll want the way your brand sounds and communicates to be in harmony with the way it looks. If you’ve already defined your target market, this is the time to really think about what approach will appeal to them.

Is your audience tech-savvy or will you need to be careful with technical jargon? Does your target market prefer a formal or informal approach? Think about not only what your message to your clients will be but how you will say it. What kind of wording will you use? Will you focus on emotional aspects or a logical approach?

I personally found it a struggle to define my “voice.” Having run a personal blog for the last 3 years, it was difficult to find the balance between personal and professionalism. For me, it ended up being a place where I don’t hesitate to say “I” or share my personal experiences but I also tone down some of vulgarity I might use in an informal setting. For you, the balance could be anywhere on the spectrum! Maybe your clients don’t mind colorful language, or maybe they prefer strict professionalism.

The best balance is one that will be comfortable for both you and your clients. Customers can tell when you’re not being genuine so don’t think you need to be something you’re not! Your ideal customer is out there – you just need to figure out how to find them and speak to them.