Kayla and I met via Instagram in June 2016. Yes, that really happens and I'm so grateful, because this girl is one-of-a-kind.
We became fast friends over a hot chocolate (for her) and coffee (for me) date here in Minneapolis, at a cute little cafe and bakery where we may have overstayed our welcome. The cafe graciously let us stay after they had closed, so we could continue chatting about business, our big picture goals and dreams, and being an online business owner. These conversations continued as the year went on and I found us to be very like-minded. It's wonderful to have a friend by your side who also experiences the ups and downs that owning a small business undoutedly brings.
Kayla is the kind of person you just love having around. She carries inspiration, authenticity and a warm and caring spirit wherever she goes... one of the many reasons she has cultivated such an amazing and loyal community, #CreateLounge. So, when she came to me about a potential collaboration on her new visual brand, it was a big enthusiastic "YES!" Let's do it!
Allison understood my vision from the get-go and took time to really dig into what I desired. I’ve received many compliments on my logo and my color palette seems to have stolen the show! People love it! Allison is an incredibly talented designer who went above and beyond for me, and I’m so thankful I had the chance to work with her. I just adore her!
Kayla Hollatz, Copywriter and Content Creator
After blogging for two years, hosting the weekly #CreateLounge Twitter chat for one year, and running a coaching business since December 2015, Kayla felt a pull to move in a different direction. She wanted to help her clients in a more hands-on way.
After much soul searching and what she calls "a season of patience," she decided to get back to her marketing roots and her deep passion for writing. She would transition from coaching to copywriting and brand strategy, serving creative entrepreneurs and small businesses in the visual industries. Woohoo!
As Kayla prepared for the transition and thought about how this change would manifest itself on her website and visuals, she decided it was time to invest in a graphic designer. She had a vision, but she wanted to partner with a designer to help her further develop her ideas and make it come to life in a beautiful and cohesive way that uplevels her brand. Professional, minimalist and timeless is what she wanted -- something that not only authentically represents her but also attracts the type of client she loves to work with.
Who is Kayla's ideal client?
I'm so glad you asked. Kayla basically rocked her Branding Workbook, which is part of the Discover + Inspire step in my creative process. Get your very own Branding Workbook here! She had already dug into most of the details of her brand story and her audience. In fact, she shared with me her ideal client profile, which paints a clear picture of who Kayla wants to work with. Of course, it was so well written that I found myself saying, "Oh my gosh, I know her!"
Here's a snippet:
Summer is a late twenty-something creative business owner with a knack for real and bold visual storytelling. She deeply cares about connection, but is unsure of how to build a self-sustaining community through her social media presence and sell her skills and work in a non-icky way through her website copy.
Her strengths are transparency, compassion, and self-awareness. Her weaknesses are over-analyzing situations and taking on too many projects at one time. She connects with words like ‘ease’ and ‘grow’. She runs away from words like ‘traditional’ and ‘supposed to’.
Summer craves freedom and flexibility in all things. She started her business to be the boss of her own schedule so she can spend more time with her loved ones and on herself. Summer thinks in a linear way but isn’t afraid to throw her own rulebook out. She values white space, both in design and her daily life. Her mantra is “done is better than perfect.”
Starting our collaboration in this way was thrilling. I knew I was working with someone who knows herself and her audience like the back of her hand. It was going to be a wonderful collaboration.
Gathering Inspiration + Developing a Visual Direction
Kayla's big picture vision for her new brand was a minimalist and editorial aesthetic blended with a down-to-earth, "come as you are" vibe. It was important to her that the visual brand looked high end with a slight edge, while still having a personal and welcoming touch.
We developed a mood board based on the beautiful imagery Kayla collected on Pinterest and created a color palette that's a perfect fit. Feel free to swoon over this... I know I did (and still am!).
After we solidified our visual direction and palette, we dove into logo design concepts. Kayla knew she wanted her logo and most of her typography in black, which aligns well with the modern and clean aesthetic we were going for. I also designed some examples of how we could incorporate color into her submarks and played with different ways of using Kayla's initials within each design, as that was an idea she loved.
Kayla was immediately drawn to the second concept. She also loved specific aspects of others, for example, the really thin and delicate letters on the first concept and how color was used on the submarks in the second concepts.
After some experimenting and discussions about typography (we may or may not have nerded out a bit!), we had our finalized logo, logo variation, watermark and submarks. For a final touch I designed a clean graphic pattern with thin diagonal lines, inspired by Kayla's love for plants, specifically palm leaves.
I just love the final product!
The brand styling is not only beautiful but also effective, with clean and modern typography and a slight edge portrayed through the handwritten font for the KH. The consistent rectangular and square boxes around the typography and simplicity of the black on white gives the styling that editorial feel Kayla had in mind, while the ocean blues and greens soften things and bring a casual and comfortable quality to the styling.
The typography is simple and elegant. We also incorporated Didot as a secondary font for callouts and select headers, as its classic and detailed nature adds a nice interest to the styling. It also happens to be one of Kayla's favorite fonts!
As I mentioned, we incorporated Kayla's love for plants by including the pattern, which is beautifully subtle and could be used as a background on her website and beyond. The bright and lively green in the color palette also helps make this connection. Although we didn't plan on using that specific color within her branding graphics, Kayla loved the idea of incorporating that pop of color by using plants in her new lifestyle photography. So pretty!
Speaking of photos...
Next, it was time for photography for Kayla's new website and thriving social media presence. Kayla collaborated with Minneapolis film photographer Carly Milbrath on her lifestyle photos. And WOW is all I can say. I couldn't help but share some of the beauty that was captured. How gorgeous is Kayla and how beautiful are these photos!? Carly is so talented!
After the visual branding and her photography was ready, Kayla designed her own website and did an AMAZING job using her new brand styling elements and photography effectively. This girl definitely has a design eye and her copy, of course, is right on point. All elements compliment each other in the perfect way, resulting in a harmonious visual experience. So lovely and so Kayla.
Whenever I visit her website, I feel like grabbing a cup of coffee (or cocoa in honor of Kayla!) and settling in to read her blog, checking out her courses and taking her quiz, Copywriting 101: What is your brand voice style? (My style is a Connector! What's yours?).
this project was a dreamy collaboration.
Working with someone who I call a dear friend AND a fellow heart-centered small business owner? All the heart eyes over here. I've said this before and I'll say it forever... the best visual brands are created when there's a beautiful partnership behind it.
Thank you to Kayla for trusting me with designing her visual brand. She also was an amazing collaborator on strategy and copy for my own site. Her ability to get to the heart of my business and turn my various ideas and thoughts into concise and inspiring copy for my site was almost magical. If you're in need of an expert brand strategist, a copywriter or content creator, Kayla is your girl.
I look forward to continuing to support each other and cheer each other on as our businesses grow and evolve. There's nothing better!