Behind-the-Brand | KellyWerks
One of the things we love most about designing a new or rebranded identity is the power it has to help our clients reach their full potential. Branding is transformative and empowering when built on strategy.
We thrive on collaboration, so it helps when we work with inspiring people who are passionate about what they do, just like us!
Introducing KellyWerks, a masterful textile artist, who repurposes old wool sweaters to keep them in our lives and out of landfills. Their goal is to produce quality, handmade one-of-a-kind soft goods that are better and longer-lasting than the original garment they came from. KellyWerks shines a much-needed light on the need for sustainability through upcycling; helping to make the world a better place for future generations.
We were delighted with the results of KellyWerks new identity. To give you the full story, here’s a behind-the-brand look at the complete process of how the identity was created.
ONE (1) | DISCOVERY
Since clients know their business best, they have a valuable role to play in the design process. The initial step includes the completion of a discovery consultation questionnaire, so we can get to know the business inside and out, before beginning the strategy and design development.
Kellywerks, owner Kelly Corp, reached out to us, recognizing the need for a professional image before (truly) launching her business. She wanted to step out with a tailored brand identity to secure her dream customers and make a profound mark in her industry.
TWO (2) | STRATEGY
Our branding approach is built by combining strategy + creativity. We listen first and then learn what makes our clients idiomatic, diving deeply into their industry, studying the challenges and nuances of how companies in their sector grow. We learn about their competition, research what makes them ambitious and how we can build a strategy that stands out. In the end, we use all this information to curate and carefully blend together our client's strengths and what makes their business unique.
Next, we create a written brand strategy to define how we communicate the proposed vision. This forms the creative brief and guidelines to refer to when the concept design begins.
Within Kelly’s discovery questionnaire, we asked for a selection of adjectives that she felt best described her brand. She answered with the following:
Together with our industry and competition research, these words informed the brand strategy for KellyWerks’ new identity.
Next, the mood board and colour palette (shown below) was curated to visually convey the feeling described in the brand strategy. The mood board sets the tone of the proposed brand identity and very importantly, ensures our thoughts run parallel with our client. We must be in agreement on visual direction before proceeding to the concept stage.
The mood board focused on ‘The Sustainable Sewist’ strategy, centred around the upcycling movement and the passion Kelly has for creatively reusing sweaters to keep them in our lives and out of landfills. It is an ideology of producing eco-friendly and ethical garments to ensure they bring meaning, value and joy to everyday life and for generations to come.
The approach challenges the fast fashion norms and demands change through innovation and creativity, but not at the expense of the goal -- to produce quality, handmade one-of-a-kind soft goods that are better and longer-lasting than the original sweater they came from. The overall brand direction has a quality-made and ‘sew worth it’ higher purpose.
KellyWerks is a brand that believes in sustainability and that upcycling is a great way to accomplish it.
Using the three R’s of recycling as inspiration, we look to define upcycling as 1. Reuse: a discarded material or textile 2. Repurpose: it for higher quality and better environmental value and 3. Refashion: it to create a sustainable garment or product.
Building upon the shop small and local business aspect, we proposed creating a narrative that details Kelly’s drive with a little thank you note, along the lines of:
More than an old discarded wool sweater, KellyWerks products tell a story of a fashion revolution. The idea of upcycling (sweaters) came to be after our founder, Kelly Corp, The Sustainable Sewist; as she is affectionately known -- read an article about the unethical and damaging environmental impacts on the planet and other human beings from manufacturing throwaway (fast) fashion. Kelly was empowered to make a change and build a business that is resourcefully responsible and creatively challenging.
At KellyWerks, it is important for us to create one-of-a-kind products that are designed to last through multiple generations and we love the task of designing within the confines of an existing structure - a sweater! Thank you for being a conscious consumer and joining our journey to sustainability.
This ‘behind the brand’ messaging was suggested to be included on the ‘about us‘ section of the new website as well as printed on the reverse of Kelly’s product or garment hang tags to introduce and thank customers for being part of the sustainability solution.
Colours are strong brand identifiers.
The proposed brand palette is colourfully unexpected, in comparison to what we traditionally see from the neutral environmentally-friendly clothing industry.
This unique fashion-forward, yet ‘green’ colour story has a pivotal role, by connecting the identity with Kelly’s ideal market; the educated 30-something affluent mom, who is passionate about living an eco-conscious lifestyle while sourcing trendy and sustainable clothing for her little ones.
The predominantly cool tones of periwinkle (purple) and shades of green were meant to complement the warmth of Kelly’s soft good products. The clean lines convey a smart and bold aesthetic, with a focus on a thoughtful reduction of elements to reach simplicity.
With this harmonious blend of greens, pinks and purple with hints of natural whites, the palette denotes a nature-conscious vibe with an underlying boost of creativity, encouraging ingenuity and happiness, all central to the brand’s motivations.
Green (Forest + Grass Cloth) is essentially a chromatic symbol for nature itself. Down-to-earth, it represents new beginnings, growth and renewal. Apart from its fairly obvious eco suggestiveness, green is also a colour that can improve creativity. Versatile, inviting and leaving customers with a pleasing feeling, green denotes health and goodwill -- not too dissimilar to the brand itself. Green has many of the same calming attributes of blue, but it also incorporates some of the energy and happiness of yellow. Brighter greens, like grasscloth, are more energizing and vibrant, while their darker counterparts, like forest green, are more representative of the natural world, being the most stable and affluent. In design, green has a balancing and harmonizing effect.
Purple (Periwinkle) is seen as a grown-up and cooler version of pink on the lighter side of purple. The hue is associated with genteel ladies and can evoke feelings of nostalgia for women. Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red, representing wisdom, devotion, and independence. The inclusion of this hue shows that the brand is associated with quality, is purposeful in its execution while inducing a calming effect that encourages imagination and ingenuity.
Pink (Rose + Blush) is the delicate and purely playful hue. It denotes a cute and charming allure, similar to the rosy cheeks of little ones. Pink is believed to bring about contentment and linked to the expression, "tickled pink" meaning of being happy. Pink is intuitive and insightful, showing tenderness and kindness with its empathy and sensitivity. Pink is a sign of hope. It is a positive colour inspiring warm and comforting feelings, directly linking back the soft goods with a side of the ‘a mother knows best’ life lesson.
Rounding out the colour story is White + Ivory (Cotton) it is generally considered a neutral backdrop that lets other colours have a larger voice. However, onto itself, it is synonymous with cleanliness, simplicity, purity and virtue.
Shapes also play an important role in the development of an identity. It's often the most innovative approaches that happen in the background that give a brand, its layered and deeper meaning. The circles and infinity loops were included to portray a feminine essence, projecting positive, comforting and united energy.
The circular designs represent the brand's dedication to the sustainable fashion community and the unity with the eco-conscious causes that have spearheaded the ethos.
By contrast, the triangle suggests excitement and growth, inspiring improvement, focus and representing action. The use of this shape speaks to the creative approach to developing sustainable products that provide effective and result-oriented solutions to minimizing the garment industry’s wasteful ways. Triangles have energy and they do wonders for showing the innovative life cycle behind the brand and its products.
Similarly to how colour and shape theory impact the development of an identity, so does the use of typography. The gentle mix of sans and slab serifs displayed, connect to the ‘built to last’ aesthetic and impart notions of fun and happiness with its light, straight-edged and linear lines.
THREE (3) | CONCEPTS
After defining the visual brand direction, it was time to begin developing the logo concepts – our favourite part of the process! Our strengths lie in creating brand identities that translate our clients vision and bring their message to life in a visual way.
The greatest challenge of creating a brand identity is incorporating several aspects into the design while still keeping it simple.
We had several considerations in mind during this stage, including:
Showing Kelly’s unique expertise of textiles and sewing
Keeping the design versatile and functional
Providing Kelly with the appeal to secure local handmade markets and retail shop opportunities
Connecting Kelly with her ideal customers, who want to buy products with a purpose
Bringing about a greater awareness of upcycling and slow fashion revolution
As always we start by using pencil and paper to brainstorm visual ideas. From there the ideas with the most potential are refined.
Since design is subjective, we provide clients with a choice, by presenting two (2) different concepts that we confidently believe answer the directive.
However, a brand identity is more than just a logo; it’s a complete visual system, that should add depth and personality to the brand. This structure gives our clients the confidence to implement and grow.
As part of the concept presentation, we also deliver a brand storyboard that includes the other design elements needed to complete the visual identity— secondary logo, submark, colour palette, typography, patterns and social signatures. In addition, digital in use renderings are developed to showcase how each concept could appear in real-life applications.
For both concepts, the subjective elements were extracted to showcase the systematic approach used to create the abstract and monogram icons.
CONCEPT 1 - ‘Sustainable Sewist’ Logomark
This concept design represents community, the lifecycle of textiles and the upcycling approach to sustainability in a minimalistic way. The design radiates dedication to the sustainable fashion community and the unity with the eco-conscious causes that have spearheaded the brand’s ethos. The logomark uses circles and loops to portray a feminine essence, projecting positive, comforting and united energy. The four ‘infinity’ loops that converge in the centre of the circle mark represent the 4Rs of upcycling: reuse, repurpose, refashion and repeat, directly linking to the brand’s mission of sustainability. Collectively the elements, create an ownable abstract mark, that is reminiscent of a fibrous wool ball and the head of a cotton flower, paying homage to the textiles used in the creation of the soft goods. The circle shape theory is extended to the ‘KellyWerks’ wordmark, with the loops on the ‘W’ and ‘K’, purposefully highlighting the brand’s initials. The typography was chosen for its likeness to a needle and thread, speaking to the sewist aspect. The term combines the words "sew" and "artist", to describe Kelly, the one creates sewn works of art, which include clothing or other items made with sewn elements. The colour palette reinforces the emphasis on ‘green’ eco-consciousness, new beginnings, growth and renewal, while it's creative and ingenuity inspires a confident brand.
CONCEPT 2 - ‘Sew Worth It’ Monogram
This concept design focuses on the brand's direction of quality made and ‘sew worth it’ products with a higher purpose. The ‘K’ monogram was created by combining two interwoven triangles representative of the fundamental structure of textiles. Triangles onto themselves suggest excitement and growth, inspiring improvement, focus and representing action. The icon symbolizes the creative approach to developing sustainable products that provide effective and result-oriented upcycling solutions to minimizing the garment industry’s wasteful ways. The monogram creates a mark that radiates energy and does wonders for showing the innovation behind the brand and products. The predominantly cool tones were chosen to complement the warmth of your soft goods. Periwinkle, dominates to show that the brand is associated with quality, that it is purposeful in its execution while inducing a calming effect that encourages imagination and ingenuity. The ‘KellyWerks’ wordmark connects with the ‘built to last’ aesthetic and imparts notions of fun and happiness with its light, straight-edged and linear lines -- all part of the brand’s ethos.
Both concepts were meaningful branding options. However, Kelly had no hesitation choosing her preference, she was immediately taken by the strategy of the abstract mark; making the first option the stand-out choice.
FOUR (4) | REFINE AND BUILD
No revisions were necessary. Due to our considered design approach, we usually have minimal design refinements, if any at all.
Next, we build out the print, digital and social collateral. To put it simply, this is the process of designing all the other items that will be needed to communicate and launch the new brand identity.
For this new brand we created the following collateral:
Website 'Coming Soon' Landing Page
FIVE (5) | LAUNCH
Altogether, this process took 8-weeks. The client launch package always includes a plethora of logo files for both print and web use; including all the brand elements, colour palette, patterns and typography (font files).
Thanks to the brand storyboard, Kelly understands how to use her new brand identity going forward.
We also provide a step-by-step web tutorial to enable clients to make simple updates whenever needed.
For all our brand identity clients, we offer an ongoing design service to ensure that future projects align with the new branding.
KellyWerks’ consistently styled visuals match the premium quality of her innovative upcycled creative work.
This project was a real success, not only does it look the part, the tailored visual identity already enhances Kelly’s professional image and helps a wider audience see her expertise and dedication to sustainability and crushing fast fashion ways through upcycling.
Kelly is now creating a big impression – her branding and e-commerce website has taken her to the next level and effectively communicates the value of what she does.
Don’t just take our word for it. See what Kelly had to say:
"Love the story. — you have articulated it much better than I. And love love love the colour palette." -- KELLY CORP, KELLYWERKS
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