The last time we chose to tackle a rebrand was back in 2017 when we were first starting our business together. East + West Designs became our new born baby in 2016 right after we graduated college. We did a lot of wedding stationery designs for our friends and sorority sisters to get our feet wet and to start the making of our portfolio. We had a tiny, but horrible, brand to start which is why we quickly changed our look in feel in 2017. This was the branding we had up until now and we loved it! It was perfect. It appealed to our audience, it represented us in a way that was meaningful, it looked clean and put together—it was great!
Fast forward to 2020 and a lot started to change for our business. Between having a full team, the shift in our goals and overall wanting to carve our own path in the stationery industry, a new look once again was starting to make it’s way to the top of our never-ending to-do list.
This idea of a rebrand or a brand “refresh” first popped into my head when I decided it was time to leave my full-time job.
At this point, Lauren had been full-time for about a year now and it was about time that I hopped on board. I’d been anxiously counting down the days to leave my 9-to-5 and officially join forces with Lauren at E+W. Now, it was quickly becoming our reality! We’d saved up the money to make it happen, I was getting married in a couple weeks (hello, new insurance provider) and Lauren was bursting at the seams to keep up with our work load. All the signs were there that it was time to call it quits and say hello to life as a full-time business owner. This was the first major change that quickly caused a ripple effect in our business.
Now that we had double the man power, all these dreams we once had were now completely possible. We’d always dreamed of creating an online shop, designing stationery for sweet little babies, creating home decor, selling handmade greeting cards and becoming more of a stationery company than a wedding stationery company. This was a dream we’d had since day one, so why not shoot for it now? With all these goals within reach, we realized our branding just wasn’t going to fit this new direction we wanted to go. We had tailored our entire look, feel and voice to attract a particular audience, but now we wanted to expand.
The creation of our online shop happened fast. We knew once I went full-time that creating a semi-custom shop specifically for budget-friend wedding stationery was going to be my pet project. This was an idea I had for years, and now that I had wayyyyy more time I was determined to make it happen. When we began getting traction with our designs and started to create our marketing plan, there was a shift in our approach. We realized that the way we had always marketed our business before was not the same approach that we were going to need now. Our audience had changed. We were no longer talking only to high-end engaged couples and wedding planners—we were also going to start talking to couples looking for a more budget-friendly option that still came with the custom look. Hello, reason #3 why a new brand was becoming extremely necessary for our business. If we wanted to launch these new products, we were going to have to really target our new audience.
With being online, we were no longer limited to working with individuals solely in your local community. While we aboslutely love working with the Kansas City wedding industry, we also wanted to work with others outside of our area. Over the years, we had become pretty well established here in Kansas City, but if were were to show up outside of it, chances are that no one would know who we are, what we do or who we serve simply based on our currently branding. We realized that nothing about our branding described what we do as a business and that needed to change. So, here was reason #4 why a rebrand was definitely needed. We wanted to ensure that just by looking at our logo as you scroll on Instagram or Pinterest or just visit our website, that you quickly and instantly know what it is we do.
Now that it was sooooooo clear that a rebrand was absolutely going to happen for us, who was going to do it? In the past, it had always been me, but this time I wasn’t so sure I wanted to tackle it. With the previous designs I had made not only for myself, but for some other businesses, I learned that branding was not my passion. I knew we were going to need to hire someone, but who? Instantly, I thought of Anna Nunez. We had both admired her work for years following her on Instagram, but the main question now was, was she a good fit for us? And not only that, but was she the right fit?
When you live and breathe your business, it’s hard to see exactly what you need. That was the case for us, anyway. Turning to a fellow designer to provide an outside perspective was important to us. We thought someone like Anna could offer ideas and suggestions that maybe we had never thought of before simply because we are too ‘in it’ day-in and day-out. This was exactly what Anna did for us! While we were brainstorming ideas for what sort of illustrated icon we might like for our primary logo, she came to us with so many insightful suggestions, we were floored. Our primary logo with the two little birds facing each other—that was all Anna’s idea. It was a nice nod to our previous design, which packed a lot of meaning for us, but caused a lot of questions for our audience. So, she suggested two birds, one is the Kansas state bird and the other the Missouri state bird, mirroring each other to symbolize our partnership as well as where we are located—Kansas City, which happens to be split in both Kansas and Missouri. Seriously?! We never, ever would have come up with that. But, we love it.
Instantly, we knew Anna was a great fit because of her design style. All of the logos she creates have a very clear and distinct style that was everything we were wanting. What sets Anna apart from other designers is her ability to create all of her designs by hand. She creates all the typography, illustrations, logo designs, etc. completely by hand. Since a key factor of our business is that we focus on making everything by hand, we knew we wanted our new brand to also look and feel hand-done. Also, now that our audience has shifted we no longer wanted a brand that felt overly ‘put together’. Personally, Lauren and I joke with each other that neither of us are all that ‘put together’ in our everyday lives, so why would our brand be? We wanted our brand to feel incredibly authentic to who we are both as a business and as people. Anna did a great job of interpreting the style we were going for and bringing it to life. In our opinion, its that perfect combination of hand-done and put together, which is exactly what we wanted.
We were now heading into new territory with redirecting our business to offer all kinds of stationery designs. Before, we focused solely on weddings with the occasional baby shower or personal stationery design. But now, we wanted to open the doors to all sorts of stationery creations. Thankfully, Anna is also a multi-facetted designer! She not only designs logos and branding for businesses, but she creates fine art, teaches design tips + tricks, does amazing photography with her husband, Jesus, and does ads for businesses on her Instagram account. Plus, not only does she offer a wide range of products and services herself, but she’s designed for many other businesses who are the same way! So, when we described everything we dreamed of one day doing for our business, she made sure to keep everything in mind while designing our branding.
Working with Anna was like working with a close friend we’d known for years. With the two of us being graphic designers, as well, it was refreshing to work with a designer who understood our feedback, took criticism in a constructive way, and could quickly redirect when necessary or push back when needed. Working with a fellow designer who also has education and experience under her belt was the best decision we could have ever made. It also gave us peace of mind knowing we were going to receive a high-quality finished product that we could start utilizing right away. We didn’t have to worry or wonder what time of files we’d receive or if she understood color types. Everything we received from Anna at the end of the project was more than we could have ever expected and super organized.
We are so excited about our new branding and can’t believe it’s all our own. It turned out a million times better than we could have ever imagined all thanks to the oh-so wonderfully Anna. Her thoughtfulness, creativity and genuine desire to capture us in our branding design made this entire experience so, so worth while. Friend, if you don’t know Anna or have never seen her work, definitely go check her out. Follow her on Insta, shop her art on her website and if you’re a fellow biz owner like us maybe even consider hiring her for your next brand refresh! We cannot recommend her enough and seriously, you can thank us later for introducing you to her. (:
Now, we have some serious goals to go crush and fun new things to start creating. So, we’ll be back later with more journals soon.