Behind-the-Brand | Tara Alchemy
Updated: Sep 24
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. We wholeheartedly believe, branding is transformative and empowering when built with strategy + creativity.
Introducing Tara Alchemy - Wayfinder Life Coaching, a delicate balance of science and spirituality, bringing together a unique combination of academic knowledge, experiential wisdom and lived experiences. The motivation supports a journey of connecting mind and passions, head and heart, to live every day with purposeful energy and a renewed sense of self.
We thrive on collaboration, so it helps when we work with inspiring people who are passionate about what they do, just like us!
We were delighted with the results of Tara Alchemy’s new identity. To give you the full story, here’s a behind-the-brand look at the complete process of how the branding was developed.
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.
TARA ALCHEMY, owner Joanna Heerlein, reached out to us, recognizing the need for a professional image before launching her coaching business. She wanted to step out with a tailored brand identity to secure her dream clients 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 Joanna’s discovery questionnaire, we asked for a selection of words that she felt best described her brand. She answered with the following:
Together with our industry and competition research, these words informed the strategy for the TARA ALCHEMY brand.
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 Change With Purpose strategy centring around the primary clients -- the passionately devoted women, caregivers and often mothers, overwhelmed by their home and work lives, ready to experience clarity, regain freedom and control of their own dreams and goals. Deeply interwoven with symbolism, the ideology of Tara Alchemy ensures the alignment of thoughts, emotions and beliefs with behaviours, actions and results for the purpose of personal and professional transformation.
The approach is a delicate balance of science and spirituality, bringing together a unique combination of academic knowledge, experiential wisdom and lived experiences. The motivation supports a journey of connecting mind and passions, head and heart, to live every day with purposeful energy and a renewed sense of self. Tara Alchemy believes in embracing change, as it is the only constant in life. The brand’s objective is to provide an intuitive, heartfelt coaching journey that is pragmatic and effective as it is magical and spiritual. Tara Alchemy wants you to feel empowered to change your current status with a distinctive and illuminating experience that provides a clear view of life’s limitless possibilities.
The overall style direction places emphasis on warm tones and curved lines, to convey a nurturing and passionate female-centric aesthetic. The Tara Alchemy brand incorporates a multifaceted combination of thoughtful elements and rich symbolism, to create a personal connection with the audience, that is deeply purposeful, spiritual and mindful.
Symbols are extremely important to the effective entrenchment of a brand. Each represents a business' personality and contributes to brand recognition. The primary symbol of a company is its name. By selecting one that is appropriate and well-branded, it carries long-term positive implications. Tara Alchemy’s intriguing and layered moniker is no exception.
The word ‘Tara’ associates with the story of White Tara, the first female Buddha, known as the Mother of Liberation. A champion of femininity and reverence for motherhood, the symbol draws parallels with Tara Alchemy’s primary clients; women as a whole. Said to be visualized as a deep Midnight Blue and seated upon a lotus flower, Tara represents the virtues of freedom and success, with a focus on compassion, playfulness and action, all motivations of the brand’s story.
The word, ‘Alchemy’ whether understood as a science or a psychospiritual instrument, is ultimately about transformation and change. A secret science of illumination and inner liberation, Alchemy, in terms of the coaching practice, creates an interrelationship between soul and matter and between self and world. One side must equal the other to regain alignment and wholeness in life. The Tara Alchemy brand believes the equilibrium between inner and outer worlds is required to face challenges and obstacles with ease and playfulness, whereas traction is gained through purposeful direction.
To illustrate, insightful images are used to communicate the Tara Alchemy mission, drawing inspiration from the directional purpose of the Compass and the whimsical adaptability of the Hummingbird.
The compass represents spiritual direction, awakening, discovery and specifically in terms of coaching, finding one’s true purpose in life. Celebrated throughout history as a symbol of guidance and infinite possibilities, the compass correlates with White Tara’s name, meaning North Star.
The hummingbird symbolizes nature, joy and playfulness. Its unique ability to fly backwards, sideways and hover up and down, reminds us to stay adaptable and to accept the reality of change with a happy heart. A hummingbird’s whimsical colours, shape and movement, also prompt us to seek out the magic that life has to offer. Linked with the forest deity of White Tara, by the association with nature (plants, trees, flowers) both are revered as healers. When faced with challenges or an environment plagued by negativity, the hummingbird and Tara, help to bring a positive outlook by finding a way out with optimism.
There is no branding tool more powerful than colour. Regardless of lived experiences, colour transforms a brand into an emotional journey by instantly stimulating desire, instilling trust and connecting the mission with the target market's soul purpose.
The proposed palette is a harmonious blend of reddish-purple, pink, blue, turquoise and peach with hints of copper. The hues denote warmth with an underlying sense of femininity, encouraging reliability and trustworthiness, all central to the motivations of the Tara Alchemy brand. The combination of warm and cool colours provide a balanced feeling of comfort with action and a sense of calm with sophistication.
Merlot (Burgundy) Rich and robust, Merlot is a full-bodied colour, grounded by its red-violet roots, it emanates an impactful, natural earthiness. The hue provides comfort, contentment and warmth. Its versatility is seen with its underlying notes of purple, connecting the palette’s warm colours with its cool blues. Merlot represents wisdom, devotion, spiritualism and magic, directly reflecting the Tara Alchemy brand ethos.
Blush (Pink) Delicate, playful and feminine, Blush evokes feelings of compassion and softness. It is a calming colour with a nurturing and joyful vibe. Blush (pink) is the colour of universal love of oneself and of others. It represents harmony, inner peace, and approachability. Blush is believed to bring about fulfilment and is associated with the expression, "tickled pink" meaning of being happy. It is intuitive and insightful, showing tenderness and kindness with its empathy and sensitivity. The hue is inspiring, think, springtime flowers and all things fresh and new.
Turquoise a blend of blue and green in both actuality and colour psychology. It represents a fresh and calming brand, one that is compassionate and promotes healing and leads to growth. The hue associates with wisdom, serenity, wholeness, creativity, emotional balance, tranquillity and patience. Essentially, turquoise is harmony based on authenticity. Turquoise is also the colour of restfulness, mental and spiritual balance. The understated elegance of a blue-green encourages a reflective mood by communicating compassion with a side of feminine sophistication.
Blue (Midnight) carries the symbolism of confidence, power and authority, associated with intelligence, stability and unity. The hue is named for its resemblance to the very dark blue shade of a night sky (around the full moon) linking to the symbolism of Tara. Midnight blue is a versatile and timeless colour. It can appear sensible, projecting logic, efficiency, reliability and trustworthiness. Psychologically, blues provide perspective, opening energy flows to release stress and help internalize new ideas and personal transformations. Blues are often connected with spiritual studies and mediation while instilling confidence and inspiring feelings of integrity and responsibility, all integral attributes of the Tara Alchemy brand.
Peach (Peach) Charming and likeable (a blend of orange and pink) peach symbolizes happiness, love and femininity. Soft and calm it encourages conversation with great communication. With its origins to nature, Peach is comforting by promoting a sense of general wellness and emotional energy that should be shared, such as compassion and warmth. The hue helps improve moods, is loaded with optimism and increases levels of happiness.
Rounding out symbol and colour theories is the inclusion of the metal, Copper. The elemental Alchemy symbol for copper is also the planetary symbol for Venus. As such, it embodies many aspects of femininity in its purest form, such as maternal love, nurturing, caring and fertility, drawing parallels with the symbolism of White Tara. Copper also inspires kindness, caring for others and a motherly protective spirit in addition to creativity and capability of enjoying life. Copper, comparable to the hue of orange, combines the energy of red and the joyful positivity of yellow. Being an earth element, most of its colour meaning is associated with nature.
Similarly to coaching, Copper associates with concepts of balance and harmony, resulting in a sense of calmness. In fact, its ‘purpose’ is to find a way of introducing the spiritual into the material world. The personalities of Copper are known to provide good energy flow, flexibility, sincerity and authenticity, paralleling the aspirations of the Tara Alchemy brand.
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 gives a brand, its layered and deeper meaning.
The circles, ovals and arches included portray a feminine essence, project optimism, comfort and united energy. These round shapes send a positive emotional message of harmony and protection. Ovals and circles are graceful and complete, giving a sense of integrity and community.
The triangle and Tara Alchemy together inspire improvement, focus and represent action. In spirituality, triangles represent the union of body, mind and spirit. The Alchemy symbol for Water, (the triangle turned upside down) is associated with the female essence. The upright triangle with the horizontal bar represents the Alchemy symbol for Air, correlating with Tara’s wind association. The use of triangles speaks to the progressive approaches of Tara Alchemy’s coaching motivations and does wonders for showing the multi-disciplinary solutions behind the brand.
Finally, the inclusion of squares and rectangles represent the brand’s logic, certainty, trustworthiness and order. Since decisiveness and support are central to Tara Alchemy’s brand adjectives, this makes these shapes an ideal fit.
Similarly to how colour and shape theory impact the development of an identity, so does the use of typography. The sans serif and script typefaces presented, connect to the modern aesthetic, imparting notions of professionalism and spirituality with ideas of femininity, playfulness and creativity.
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 the brand's unique expertise by bringing a multi-dimensional and disciplinary coaching style to empower change
Keeping the design versatile and functional
Developing a multi-layered strategy, deeply interwoven with symbolism in order to connect with its audience on a deeper, spiritual level
Tailoring the appeal to garner access, support and build a fierce tribe to foster a like-minded community of engaged individuals
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, an 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 have been extracted to showcase the systematic approach used to create the monogram and abstract emblem icons, with the aim to connect with the audience on a deeper level.
CONCEPT 1 - The Healing Hummingbird Logomark
This design focused on whimsical adaptability and healing through the representation of a hummingbird. The curved shapes and loops portray a feminine essence, projecting optimism, comfort and united energy. The overall triangular airiness of the hummingbird mark represents the union of body, mind and spirit, inspiring improvement, focus and representing action. The idea of connection and unity is depicted by the purposeful link between the word, ‘Tara’ and that of the hummingbird. The topographic map pattern depicts one’s non-linear life journey, symbolized by the adaptable flight path of a hummingbird. The flowing handwritten script gives a sense of the personal relationship between the brand and its audience, evoking feelings of authenticity and openness. The angled ‘H’ crossbar in ‘Alchemy’, portrays movement and direction, while the horizontal line under the letter ‘Os’ represents harmony and peace. These typographical elements remind the audience that an equilibrium between rest and play is required to regain alignment and wholeness in life. The palette denotes warmth with an underlying sense of wisdom, harmony and approachability, encouraging perspective and personal transformations, central to the motivations of the Tara Alchemy brand.
CONCEPT 2 - The Beacon Star Logomark
This design focused on spiritual guidance and femininity in the form of a reimagined compass. The beacon star mark is made of a circle representing wholeness and the (North) star symbolizing goddess Tara, navigation and infinite possibilities. Brought together, the shapes parallel the likeness of the planetary symbol for Venus (O+), embodying femininity in its purest form. Additionally, the curves and crescents, convey a nurturing and passionate female-centric aesthetic while sending positive emotional messages of harmony and protection. The abstract logomark extends throughout the concept to strategically act as a guiding light and aiding in finding one’s true purpose in life, central motivations of the Tara Alchemy brand ethos. The sans serif typeface was chosen for its spiritual and mystical allure, while the handwritten script has a modern and effortless vibe, denoting friendliness and inclusion. The ‘T’ letterform in the script variation logo, is reminiscent of a directional arrow pointing upward, reaffirming the Tara Alchemy mission of a purposeful coaching journey. The warm~cool colour palette provides a balanced feeling of comfort with action and a sense of energy with calm. The use of turquoise delivers restfulness, mental and spiritual balance to the brand, encouraging a reflective mood, while the blush and peach communicate compassion and optimism with a side of feminine sophistication.
Both concepts were meaningful branding options. However, Joanna had no hesitation choosing her preference, she was immediately taken by the strategy of the hummingbird; making the first option the stand-out choice.
FOUR (4) | REFINE AND BUILD
Minor letterform and colour tweaks to the variation logo were made and we updated the tagline. Due to our considered design approach, we usually have minimal design refinements, if any at all.
Next, we built out any print, digital and social collateral required. To put it simply, this is the process of designing all the other items that will be needed to communicate and launch the brand identity.
For this new identity we created the following collateral:
Social Media Banners
Instagram Story Covers
FIVE (5) | LAUNCH
Altogether, this process took 6 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, Joanna 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 ongoing design services to ensure that future projects align with the new branding.
THE TAKEAWAY When you invest in your brand, you're building a level of confidence within yourself, your business and your clients.
Joanna's new brand fully communicates a level of professionalism, confidence and sophistication that will inevitably have her clients trusting her on a whole new level.
Don’t just take our word for it. See what Joanna had to say:
"It was an amazing journey of creating the Tara Alchemy brand with you. It is a great foundation as my new venture of entrepreneurship begins. I'm truly grateful for your keen eye to details, your creativity, vast knowledge of symbolism and all things branding." -- JOANNA HEIRLEEN, TARA ALCHEMY
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