Eleven + West



My Branding Process

Creative Business Tips, Creative Lifestyle, Blogging Tips, CreativityGina PaulsonComment

As a creative designer, BRAND matters. It's about giving your business a personality, telling a story, and giving you the ability to captivate your clients and move towards your business dreams. Yeah, that's how important a brand is. So it's no surprise that it can be just a whirlwind for people, especially when you're trying to brand yourself. I've branded, and rebranded, and rebranded again and felt like I was stuck in this endless cycle of indecisive creation. But today I am happy to finally share my brand board and share a few tips on how you can determine your own personal brand board. 


One of the biggest reasons I wasn't getting anywhere with my brand was because I didn't have a clear vision of where I wanted to take it and couldn't sum up what exactly Eleven and West was besides a creative outlet turned into side hustle. I knew I wanted to eventually turn this into something more and I wanted my brand to communicate that with intention. I literally defined what Eleven and West was, as clear and distinct as possible. If you're still unclear of your own business branding, try writing out what you think Webster's would put next to your business if it were to put you in the Dictionary. I also found it helpful to define the values of my business and set a clear intention for it. 


Once you have a clearer definition of what your brand is, it's time to get even more specific. This part was actually pretty easy once I had a defined business statement. Pick THREE words that would describe your brand- everything from intention, to values to look and feel. That's a lot to encompass in three words so think of words that are broad but meaningful. For example, I chose the words natural, creative and sincere. A quick way to kickstart this list is to grab a piece of paper and a pen and start a time for 30 seconds. Write down as many words as you can that you feel describe your brand. Don't think too hard on any one word and write down everything. Once you have a bigger list you can go in and look for similar words and patterns and narrow it down from there.


The fun part! Luckily we have Pinterest now and are able to draw a lot of inspiration from that but it's also helpful to look at mail, magazines and catalogues, book, and your surroundings. I started a secret Pinterest board and anytime I saw something that felt like my brand, I pinned it. I also found inspiration from some email marketing I received and some of my Instagram followers, so I would take a screenshot and then pin that screenshot to save it. The longer I pinned the more clear the vision, look and style became. 


Another trick that happened organically for me during this branding process was my workflow. During the branding process, work life went on, with or without a clear brand in place. I started to notice patterns in my workspace that I was able to incorporate into my branding. For example, I package up a lot of my work with kraft paper and I work a lot with chalkboards and black ink on white paper. I noticed this trend on my Instagram as I looked back through old photos of my workspace as well. Maybe you always write in a certain color ink? Or always carry a certain pattern binder? These colors and patterns that you unknowingly infused into your workspace can also become part of your brand. 

Instagram / @ginahagerty

Instagram / @ginahagerty


My last piece of advice is to not rush it. I tried to crank out a brand for myself multiple times and it never felt right because I hadn't given it the time and thought that it required. Give yourself and your business the time it needs to authentically evolve into its own brand. Allow yourself time to find your customers and truly understand them. Over time, and with patience, your branding will begin to naturally evolve and it will become easier and easier to create a clear branding vision for yourself. 


Progress Work: Eleven and West Branding

letteringGina PaulsonComment

I want to talk about BRAND

I think coming from a creative yet business / marketing background - branding is the first thing that comes to mind with any good idea. It's the building blocks behind successful companies. It's the forefront of a mission and purpose. And most importantly, it's the face of what is trying to be done. How do you want to come across to viewers? What does your brand feel like? How does your business communicate this feeling? See.. this is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT stuff. Unfortunately, I think its commonly overlooked. 

Why? Because it is so much easier to dive into something exciting than it is to really take the time to dig deeply in to what you're trying to accomplish. It takes effort and time, and it does not always give us that instant gratification that we get from submitting a blog post. I've done this... multiple times. I really wanted to start this venture off on the right foot, so I really dedicated myself to this process. So I  spent some solid hours (and by this I mean weeks) developing where I am at with my branding and where I want it to go. I read books, articles, and blog posts about the subject and worked through numerous workbooks on the topic. I'm still a work in progress but I want to share this progress as I finish certain phases along the way and continue to develop it. 

I first started with a vision board (or also commonly referred to as a mood board) What inspired me? What mood did I want for my brand? What textures and patterns spoke to me? What was aesthetically pleasing to me? How did these things make me feel? All I can say, is thank goodness for Pinterest. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Though a slow process, I began to save images that jumped out at me and reminded me of the brand I want. From there I realized I began to develop a theme and feel. Images started working well together and a color palette began to form. 


above photos curated via Pinterest

After the mood board, I dove into logo work which I will share my work and process on soon!