LOOK + FEEL: Chasing Paper

January 04, 2017

Branding #1.jpg When I started Chasing Paper nearly four years ago, if I am totally honest, I didn’t put a huge amount of thought into the design of the brand. Rather, I was focused on creating a great product and very quickly learning the ins and outs of running a business. The poor developer who helped me create my first website would show me an iteration and I would just say, “NO!” What I wanted, I couldn’t say, but one thing was clear, I knew what I DIDN’T like. I have strong ideas in my head about what I like and how I want things to look but its been a process for me to get those thoughts out and Critiquing design and articulating what I want is something I am still learning, it’s truly a evolving process.

Getting the business up and running was done quickly and decisively. My super talented friend from high school helped with the logo + business cards, I art directed all my own photoshoots (I still do) and hit the ground running. The greatest gift I have as an entrepreneur is wanting to not overthink, rather just to jump in. Doesn’t have to be perfect, doesn’t have to be final — but I am a doer. It is one of my greatest strengths, and also, weaknesses. I do not have the perfectionist bug, or at least I didn’t when I started (and let’s be real, I am still running around town most days in a top knot and not a lick of makeup so maybe it still hasn’t taken full hold.) But great design has come to be a trademark and part of the Chasing Paper brand and it something I take very seriously.

As Chasing Paper started to grow, little by little, I started to recognize the importance having a consistent overall look + feel.

The companies I studied and watched from afar were masters of this. Companies like The Sill, Negative Underwear, Outdoor Voices + Glossier — all had such consistent, beautiful branding. How could I get closer to that without spending a small fortune + staying true to myself?

Nothing has happened overnight, rather, I have continued to edit and upgrade the CP brand to be something I feel is not only an articulation of the product, but also an extension of my personal brand. I enlisted the help of friend, designer and general cool girl Emma Darvick to help create new marketing materials. Business cards, installation guides, information postcards, stationary, etc. As it was in the beginning, its was A LOT of trial and error. It was also an exercise in patience for Emma. Often times should would send me design files and I would need to live with them on my desk or in my mind for a week or two. Ultimately, I knew that having something that felt in someways more ‘basic’ felt the most true to what I am trying to articulate, I have always said that it is my hope that the Chasing Paper site has a gallery-like quality. Also, my personal style is somewhat minimal and I have learned over time that my voice is an important inflection point for my brand. Together, Emma and I created a style guide — colors, prints + fonts that felt like they told the Chasing Paper story. From there, the marketing materials just came together.
Branding #2.jpg

Things to Consider:

  1. Block out some time to brainstorm + identify words that describe your brand.

  2. Find examples of brands you love and hate — try to articulate or describe what you like — is it the colors? The font? The brightness or moodiness? Digging in to the ‘why’ helps you to dissect the design.

  3. Create a visual representation of your brand — create a board (online or off) with colors you love, words that articulate your story, best selling items, etc.

  4. Create a brand style guide — remember that this is a guide and I think it’s important to treat it as such, it can be edited and can continue to evolve with the brand. But its a great way to see all your ideas in one concise document for reference.

  5. Create fun, beautiful collateral that you WILL USE. I have certainly fallen victim to ordering stuff on moo.com that I certainly didn’t have a plan for it but more because it just looked so cute! Each piece of collateral should have a purpose and plan for use.