Hello and thank you for visiting our blog. With this space I want to bring you behind the scenes to see how we work and introduce you to some of the many wonderful people we work with.
So it feels good that our first post is about how we developed The Styling Handbook - as a brand and platform for my work (that's me, Sophie, hello again) with Pam, from Page and Looker.
I named the platform 'The Styling Handbook' as we are in the process of creating one; a complete guide to still life styling from start to finish, drawing on decades of industry experience and crafted over the last few years through teaching individuals and groups both in person and via online courses.
And me being me, of marketing roots in an e-commerce family business, it is an all-encompassing manual / system, covering marketing, direction and mindset along with the practice of styling and photography.
That's a bit of a mouthful though isn't it?! This is where Pam came to my rescue. She helped me hone the message and develop the brand in perfect harmony with my purpose - to pass on knowledge that needn't be a mystery, to help new brands and creatives gain confidence in what can seem an insurmountable obstacle in their way of success.
So now I will pass you over to Pam.
Photography by Rob Smalley, Scene Photography
Sophie had a clear vision of how her brand was going to support businesses and individuals to create clear, content rich marketing strategies. The Styling Handbook was launched to share Sophie’s knowledge, experience and proven strategies through a bespoke online learning platform. Giving brands the opportunity to grow and develop into true powerhouse brands.
It was my job to hone Sophie’s vision and create a brand identity and tone of voice that truly reflects what great training courses Sophie has crafted.
I have a tried and tested way of working with my clients to create brands that we can both be proud of. Brands that reflect both the owner’s wants and needs, but also appeal to their target audiences.
I start with a discovery session to draw out as much information as I possibly can, to gain a greater understanding of the brand now, and the owner’s aspirations for the future. From this, I create an overall brand vision including messaging and tone of voice, working alongside the best copywriters I know.
If we’re all on the same page here, then the final brand identity won’t be a surprise, but a welcome realisation of the brand’s vision and strategy. There is no big reveal or ‘pick your favourite’, just one right solution crafted through the process of understanding the brand’s essence.
Photography by Rob Smalley, Scene Photography
For The Styling Handbook, we started by uncovering what the brand stood for – its heart and soul. We crafted messaging and a tone of voice that aligned with Sophie’s thoughts and feelings and looked for visual clues to develop the brand’s own style.
The proposition line encapsulates the theory that Sophie believes in – ‘the science of strategy, the art of style’
This all directed the way the brand looks and feels. The logo represents the style of the online courses Sophie has created, and the idea that there is both a science and an art behind every well-styled image. Books, chapters, pages of content allowed the logo to emulate books on a shelf, stood in a row waiting to be absorbed. A subtle nod to the theory and knowledge that is behind something artful and beautiful.
I didn’t want to stop there. Sophie’s courses support the creation of carefully-crafted still life imagery, to help better promote the products and experiences captured. I wanted to share this visual cue with an illustration reflecting the Dutch Masters and their phenomenal paintings of still life scenes.
The final illustration was created in collaboration with an extremely talented illustrator, reflecting a tree as knowledge and growth, the sun as the importance of lighting, and fruit, flowers and foliage as key features in Sophie's still life imagery.
Throughout the brand journey, Sophie and I were in constant contact to make sure we were always on the same page and that our visions aligned as the brand unfolded. I supported Sophie to select the right colour palette, reflecting her natural style while connecting with her audience; and fonts to express her expertise and experience. I also shared how all these elements can work together through designs for the course worksheets.
Sophie and I have worked together on photoshoots throughout the years so working on The Styling Handbook was a real joy. Sometimes you just find a person who you respect and relish the prospect of helping them on their brand journey. I can’t wait for brands to experience the genius of Sophie’s online programme. It will elevate any brand that subscribes.
And I have to say (you're now back with Sophie!) I am in love with my new brand; Pam has completely 'got' the essence of what The Styling Handbook will be to people and woven my own personal style through it perfectly.
The logo and illustration are just dreamy - cleverly designed with built-in longevity but also with nods to the book idea as well as a few of my favourite props.
On the surface, choosing brand colours and fonts might seem superfluous but it actually means I can share all of my content in a way that comes naturally to me and it all gels seamlessly; Pam has grasped my authentic style and given it a framework for design and print. I honestly couldn't be happier or feel more authentic in it.
If you are right at the beginning of your business or brand journey I thoroughly recommend working with Pam to craft a beautiful identity for your brand; one that you can be proud of and run with.
Your branding and styling will always go hand in hand, sitting side by side in all of your marketing - they need to work as one and tell the same story.
See more of Pam's work at www.pageandlooker.com
Pam was shortlisted in the 'Sixty Brilliant Brand Designers' list last year - a high accolade for any designer, awarded by The Brand Stylist. I can also highly recommend The Brand Stylist's book - Brand Brilliance to help you develop your messaging and visual identity.