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The evolution of a brand. Part one.

Brand Audit.

For well over a year, I have considered outsourcing a brand audit, an objective eye to look through all of the bits and bobs that make up my d.i.y. brand.  Today, I took the first step toward making that happen and throughout the course of the next three months I will be documenting this journey to share with the readers of The Business of Boudoir.  In this series, I will share the good, the bad and the ugly;  from my first graphic representation of Bella Boudoir to what it has evolved to, my thoughts and reasons behind the choices that I’ve made and how I feel now in retrospect. Cate Scaglione will be performing this brand audit.  I first ran into Cate in an online forum for boudoir photographers and immediately liked her.  Always kind, funny and one helluva talented photographer, she had my respect two  seconds after our first hello.  Her professional background in marketing and branding and her current career in photography is the perfect blend of experience to get me to part with my hard-earned profits.  I’m a bit of a tightass when it comes to what I spend on my business, I generally turn over every nickel twice before it gets spent.  Hence the year it took to commit to this audit.

My goal.

Refine and polish my brand— including but not limited to the following:

  1. Artwork review.  This includes logo, use of fonts, embellishments, color scheme.  Consistency of use.
  2. Web presence.  Site and blog.  Content and layout.
  3. Client-flow.  From contact form to booking.  Cate will review my client correspondence and make recommendations for improvement.
  4. Product line, including presentation.
  5. Packaging.
  6. Client follow up.

And, now for your viewing pleasure I give to you the evolution of the Bella Boudoir logo.  From concept to current. Don’t laugh, this makes me feel as vulnerable as standing in a crowd whilst fully nude— then dropping my keys on the ground, while naked, unable to escape the crowd to the sanctity of my car, where my clothing sits mocking me from the front seat.

Concept and launch.

I kept this for less than a year.   Had a little help from my graphic designer neighbor.  Bless her heart, I know I’m not easy to work with simply because I couldn’t really verbalize nor did I really know what I wanted. PIN

The style/set of graphics always felt a bit unfinished.  It lacked a little something that I could never put my finger on.  The colors were fun, they were *me*—they were what I wanted.  They were not representative of the upscale, luxury brand I was trying to build.  I can’t recall the hours I spent in Illustrator trying to get the graphic to look ‘finished’.  But like every cloud and its silver lining—I learned the virtues of vector graphics and my way around Illustrator. Here’s a screen cap of my splash page using the artwork above with one of the many variations that occurred in the ‘less than a year’ that I actually used this look.   BellaBoudoirKCSplashPIN

Now, on my own I created this little gem.  What I was trying to accomplish with this logo was something classic, something with vintage flair and a bit of whimsy…. and well… ladybugs are hawt. Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 7.03.25 PMPIN

That quickly evolved into this, making the ladybugs more of an embellishment instead of a part of the text treatment.

Untitled-1 copyPIN

That one stuck around for a few minutes and evolved into this:

80px copyPIN

Do you see the evolution?  Slowly, it became simpler. Cleaner. Can you imagine the amount of hours I dedicated to this? It was more than I care to recall or even guess… but I was obsessed with getting it right and doing it my ‘damn self’.

To note:  I might be a teensy bit stubborn, it can take me a long while to recognize that I cannot do *everything* and admit defeat.  

It was at this point that I started to research the use and psychology of color. Black and dark grey are associated with things of high quality. Purples are associated with royalty and power. I looked outside of the photography industry to brands that I associated with high quality like Dolce and Gabbana and Chanel and the things I noticed immediately was that the artwork was clean and simple, no embellishments required. No ladybugs. I also made the financial commitment of paying for my fonts with this rendition of the evolution.

Baby steps with me. Baby steps. 

Revised Style Guide-01PIN

And this brings us to our current look that was changed as recently as six months ago to simplify further and ditch the purples/lavender in the word ‘Art’


Yeah.  Funny right?  Keep laughing.

I’m going to hide now…with my ladybug.

PetraScreen Shot 2014-05-18 at 4.46.20 PM

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Petra Herrmann

The Business of Boudoir co-founder, Petra Herrmann, owns and operates Bella Boudoir located in Kansas City. In addition to running her studio, Petra also teaches through Level Up, a master class aimed at shooting smart and shooting to sell. Petra is the proud inspiration for FloricolorUSA's Boudoir Collection and is known for her naughty, voyeuristic, and romantic style of capture.

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  • May 19, 2014 - 1:07 AM

    Kim Mallory - I’m pretty sure you had a fly in that logo at some point!!!!!!!!!!!! Love your evolution!ReplyCancel

  • May 19, 2014 - 5:36 PM

    Danea - I like how it has come along, but will say, I found it striking when you had art purple. Just saying. 😉ReplyCancel

    • May 19, 2014 - 5:40 PM

      Petra Herrmann - Oh trust me. I love the purples too. I made the choice for two reasons – I get a lot of my marketing materials made with spot gloss treatments and the purples didn’t print well and I could never settle on which shade of I wanted to use. We still have the flair of the script treatment.ReplyCancel

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