I’m imagining that some of the makers who visit the LAB probably wonder why I’ve added the Branding & Packaging Inspiration posts to my Get Inspired series. Well, my reasoning is simple: I’m hoping to inspire makers to seriously think beyond the items they create and onward to building a brand. Some of the makers I’ve featured on the LAB present, in my opinion, an interesting dichotomy: Really well-designed, handmade goods and not so well-made branding.
For some, the idea of coming up with a brand identity can seem like a daunting task. After all, when you are dedicated to making great handmade goods, it only makes sense that the things you make are priority #1. However, if you intend for your little company to grow, be seen and be remembered, you really do need to give some consideration to your branding. The good news is that, if you don’t have the skills to do it, there are talented graphic designers out there who can help you. (hint, hint) Just to show you how impactful a great branding package can be, I thought I’d shine the branding spotlight on one of my favorite finds from 2013, Ivonne Schippers’ Ada Blackjack.
I featured Ivonne’s shop last June and her entire collection really stuck to my brain. There’s a great story behind the name, not to mention a simple and clean logo, none of which overshadows Ivonne’s incredible handmade bags. What I didn’t know at the time was who designed the branding. The designers (and photographers) behind the branding are Verena Michelitsch and Tobias van Schneider, with Matthias Mentasti, who designed the website.
The story behind the Ada Blackjack brand served as the inspiration for the logo. Ada Blackjack was an Inuit woman who was the heroic and sole survivor of a two year expedition on the uninhabited Wrangel Island in northe Siberia. Accordingly, the Ada Blackjack brand stands for “resilience, endurance and bravery”, qualities that Ivonne tries to infuse into her carefully designed and constructed handmade bags.
The creative team of Verena, Tobias and Matthias worked to seamlessly integrate the new logo, depicting Ada Blackjack, into every part of the brand identity. You see it on the bags themselves, on the website, the lookbook and tags. I have to say to whomever designed that letterpress card: that thing is a big win in my book. The branding adds a nice distinctive touch to a great handmade collection. It’s exactly what good branding should do.
What do you think? How important is branding to your handmade business? Check out the rest of the images and then head over to see the work of these three talented designers and the entire Ada Blackjack collection. One last note: Tobias and Verena have a joint Society6 project that is worthy a look.