Brought to life by husband and wife team Shannon and Charisse, the idea of Starling Art has been brewing for a number of years. Confession: Charisse is my mom, so I've been able to watch the idea evolve from a thought, to a concept and now to fruition. Over the years, we have (informally) brainstormed and dreamed up what Starling Art would "look like." What the logo would consist of, what style and feel we'd go after, how the business would be marketed.
Then some inventive, unique and FUN home decor projects got Shannon and Charisse's wheels turning last year. It gave them focus and inspiration, and they were ready to take the next step with this Starling Art "idea." When they asked me to design their visual brand and website, I said, "Heck yes!" It had been a long time coming... :)
Starling Art designs, creates and sells unique, functional pieces of art such as light fixtures, furniture, jewelry and more. They're all about blending old with new and, in their words, "emphasizing the duality of both earthy things that we are reusing and reconstituting as well as universal creativity."
Cool, huh? That beautiful statement was taken directly from the Branding Workbook that Shannon and Charisse completed as a part of my branding process (download your very own workbook today for FREE!). It served as a great launching point for our project and it remained top of mind when we gathered visual inspiration. Their Mood Board (one of my favorite to date!) really brings this concept to life. It's just so beautiful!
After settling on a visual direction to take, we started the design process. I always approach visual branding projects as a true collaboration with my clients, but with Starling Art, we took it to the next level. I had the opportunity to collaborate with Shannon on what is now the illustration of the Starling Art symbol! He did some sketching and concepting, putting his vision for their logo on paper himself. I "played" with the illustrations - exploring their use, their placement and how we might unify them with the business name and tagline. Here's a peek at a few of Shannon's original drawings:
After lots of experimenting and a handful of logo concepts, the middle illustration above was chosen as the symbol. I digitized the drawing, smoothed out lines, incorporated their branding colors, added a gradient and "starry" effect...before we knew it, we had a finalized, original symbol that was meaningful to Shannon and Charisse AND fit the Starling Art vision perfectly.
The full logo design and visual brand styling has a great balance of modern and classic, speaking to the idea of blending old with new. Take a look at Starling Art's branding board - you'll see what I mean!
The symbol and typography together create an artsy, unique logo that oozes creativity and confidence. I love the logo's engaging sense of depth...it's as if you're getting a glimpse at the galaxy through a telescope. The rich color palette was also galaxy inspired. The colors were actually taken directly from a photograph captured by the Hubble Telescope!
As we moved forward from the logo design and started working on additional branding elements, the symbol's powerful presence was truly realized. Its striking detail, depth and texture really makes a statement and commands attention. So, in effort to maintain the logo's integrity and avoid creating competition with it, we decided against adding any patterns and textures to the Style Guide.
At the same time, a great brand has depth and versatility (among other things...read more about what makes a great visual brand!) and it's important to have supporting design elements. Thus, the creation of Starling Art's submarks and tagline marks. The submarks work really well as stamps, buttons, watermarks or otherwise, and the tagline marks strongly reinforce the business' personality and artistic vision. All of these elements will be a strong advocate for Starling Art's brand when used throughout their print and web marketing.
Typography is one of my favorite things to talk about when it comes to a new brand, and Starling Art is no exception. The logo font choices are strong and fearless, and they compliment the symbol well. However, during the design process, I kept coming back to a script font used in a different preliminary logo concept. I knew Shannon and Charisse really loved it too. So, after experimenting a bit, I found a way to incorporate it...and it actually turned out to be the perfect finishing touch to our final brand styling. It serves as a nice "accent" and gives the design elements a classic flair, another way of supporting the ever present concept of blending old and new.
After the Style Guide was finalized I designed print materials, starting with the basics - letterhead, envelope and business cards. These pieces will help Shannon and Charisse look good when they start spreading the word about Starling Art. Next up is their Squarespace site design, when their new visual brand will really come to life! When their shop is up and running, we'll also create some beautiful packaging design materials, which will leave a lasting impression with their customers. Consistent branding and little touches like mailing labels and thank you cards go a long way.
Stay tuned for a full website launch in the coming months! Thanks to Charisse and Shannon for a wonderful collaboration. Can't wait to see what Starling Art creates and shares with the world.