Juli Grigsby Brand Identity & Website
Juli Grigsby is a passionate academic and anthropologist whose work focuses on gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, and feminism. What I found in working with Juli is that her work is largely informed through her personal experiences and she is more than just an academic. Truth be told, however, I did not come to this realization at first.
I approached this project a bit differently than I typically do. I asked Juli to fill out a branding questionnaire and also asked her to create a Pinterest board of images that inspire her. I have seen other graphic designers do this in their creative process so I wanted to give it a try. After gathering her inspiration and questionnaire I got straight to work. When I presented the first round of the brand identity and website to Juli her feedback was that although it looked very nice and professional, it didn’t feel like her and it felt like it was missing the Little Trailer Studio touch. I was slightly taken aback by this since her website perfectly matched her Pinterest board. I went back to the drawing board ready to create something that she loved and was a reflection of her. After spending a day of designing the identity I felt like I was spinning my wheels. I was having a serious creative block. Another day or two went by and I realized that it wasn’t really a creative block. The problem was that I had not adequately done my homework. The questionnaire I sent her did not give me a full look into who Juli’s personality, her background and what lead her to choosing academia as her profession. I emailed Juli a more in-depth questionnaire but unfortunately her schedule was way too jam packed to fill out another questionnaire. Luckily for me we live in a digital age and Juli is quite active on social media. So I stalked every social media channel she was on and this really started to paint a picture of her. I then created a moodboard of visuals that I felt were appropriate to her brand (see moodboard below). I incorporated some of her Pinterest visuals but did not heavily rely on it. When I looked at her social media I saw that she is such a Cali girl and loves to take pictures of the California landscape. But her Pinterest board did not reflect this at all. Her Pinterest board was filled with black and white photos of architecture. As you can see from the website, I incorporated black and white photography but also incorporated color and some of her own photography of California landscapes. I also translated her love of architectural buildings into a geometric pattern as you can see on the website background. So by going back to the drawing board and getting to know my client really well I was able to create a brand identity and website that really spoke to who she was as an academic as well as show her personality.
This project provided such a learning lesson and I want to share what these mistakes taught me.
Mistake 1: I didn’t get to know my client thoroughly.
The first questionnaire I sent was too short and did not ask the right questions. What this realized is that in order for me to create a strong brand identity and website I need to really get to know my client and their business. No detail is too small for me when I’m designing a brand identity that needs to be a reflection of them.
Mistake 2: I let the client be the art director.
I think it’s great to ask clients for visuals that inspire them but at the end of the day, I’m the art director here. I’m the branding expert. Of course I want the brand to be a reflection of their personality but it is my job to ensure that the visuals are not arbitrary and really communicate the brand ethos. I still do Pinterest boards from time to time but I do them with my client instead of my client doing it entirely on their own.
What this revealed was that I wasn’t just going through a creative block, I was missing the foundation on which branding, brand identity and websites sit. After this learning lesson I decided to look at my other “creative blocks” with more scrutiny in an effort to have them less. That lead me to creating a workbook which helps identify and manage creative blocks. Download and read the full blog post here: Dealing with Creative Blocks. You can read more details about the project details here.
What are your thoughts on this brand identity and the mistakes I’ve learned? Have you ever made mistakes that have helped improve your creative process? Comment below, I’d love to hear all about it! Also, if you’re loving my work and are looking to spruce up your brand identity or website, feel free to check out myservices or book a phone chat with me!