Rotanz Design

Squarespace Website Designer NC | Freelance Graphic Design

The evolution of my brand

Branding and Design

As I was reorganizing my office, I came across some of my old business cards and thought the evolution and meaning of my own logo could be a great first blog post. So here goes nothing! 

When I designed my first logo

I designed my first logo for myself in college. Our entire last semester of school was dedicated to perfecting our portfolios and creating a consistent and cohesive brand across our websites, resumes, business cards and leave-behinds. Our teachers wanted us to be prepared for finding jobs in the real world whether that was finding a job at an agency or creating a client base of our own.

This assignment was one of the hardest projects I’ve ever had to do. I had some seriously deep thoughts about who I was and what I represented. I was overwhelmed about figuring out what my style was and struggled with my identity between being a graphic designer and my love for fine art and painting.

It started with the color

One cold, rainy day on campus I was walking with my head down on the Drill Field at Virginia Tech and when I glanced up I noticed a bright red/orange autumn tree that literally stopped me in my tracks. This tree was absolutely beautiful and was glowing against the grey sky. Without even thinking I walked straight over to the tree and picked off a leaf. I didn’t know exactly what my logo was going to look like, but I knew this was going to be the color. There was something about the simple beauty of this tree that hooked me like good design does. I find that I’m often drawn towards the simplest of designs because it’s refreshing in an overcrowded world. This color was natural and bold and I wanted to stand out the way that tree did.

And then… the mark

After much thought I finally came to realize that my logo wasn’t all about me. It’s actually about my clients and the services I provide for them. I want my client’s work to stand out and make them look professional and successful. The leaf itself symbolized a source of inspiration and a reminder that inspiration can come from unexpected places. I sometimes stress that I’ll run out of ideas or panic in a creative block, but my logo reminds me to get out of the house, explore a new place, go on a walk… anything but sit at my computer and worry. I actually found my inspiration for the Paint Rock Farm logo at an antique shop of all places. My logo is my muse.

Why three leaves to one leaf?

Initially I wanted to promote myself as a designer, illustrator and photographer and these three leaves symbolized those services. I quickly learned that photography was not my strong suit and just because I have a “nice camera” doesn’t mean I have the skillset needed to be a professional. I still love illustration and get especially excited when I can incorporate that into my design, but I don’t plan to promote myself as an illustrator. In the end, I’ve realized my love is in design and want to pursue my strength as a designer and collaborate with photographers and illustrators.

There are mixed thoughts on whether you should practice many talents or stick to one and get really good at it. I believe that’s different for each person and each personality. I’ve learned over time that I zero in on one thing: design. I design in my spare time, I read design books, I’m constantly scribbling notes in my little notebooks with new ideas. I knew I wanted to be a graphic designer in tenth grade and haven't strayed once. So, I decided to rebrand to one bright red leaf and customize it with my initial (in my all time favorite font… Archer). The color has evolved to a deeper bolder red and I love people’s reactions to it when I hand them my card. “Wow, well this one stands out!”. “Oh yea! You’re that girl with the red card”. Funny enough, I actually got a job at the Cheesecake Factory right after graduation because of my branded resume. My manager told me after a few months that he was impressed by my logo and that’s why he hired me - not exactly the kind of job I wanted, but happy to make money while I worked as an unpaid graphic design intern at Inside Lacrosse Magazine.

Shape of my cards

Clearly I don’t like traditional shaped cards - for my business. I have to admit that square cards aren’t the best when it comes to fitting in places that all other cards should (wallets, desk organizers, etc.), but I’m willing to take that risk and feel like I can as a designer. For my other clients I typically recommend traditional-sized cards, but it all depends on your profession and target market. So far I’ve received great reactions from my cards so I’ll stick with the square for now :)

Will I ever rebrand?

It's hard for a designer not to think about that. I toss around different ideas and especially think about the future when I get married and need to change my name. For now this suits me and has become a part of me.