Starting a business is never an easy thing. Exciting, nerve-racking, even scary, yes, but definitely not easy. There are always too many things to do, too many things to purchase and not enough time or resources to do it all. And so, I learned to make compromises and focus on the things I really needed at the time and put the other things off for a later date.
When I started, all I had was a name – Posh Pets Photography. That, and a dream to own a boutique pet photography business. Initially, I embarked on setting up a proper, bona fide business. It included things like obtaining a business license, purchasing insurance, drafting contracts…these were boring, mundane things, but so necessary.
However, the one thing I wished for was a beautifully designed logo. I loved looking at great design, but my knowledge of typography was limited to what was available on the drop down list in Word and I had no idea of the intricacies between size, placement and spacing. But, with some knowledge of photoshop and help from a friend, I was able to cobble together a logo that I could live with. Had I had the money at the time, I know I would have invested in a graphic designer.
Looking back now, I realize that I was missing more than just a beautiful logo, and that, in reality, I did not even have a brand. My style was still evolving and thus changing. A lot. It therefore turned out to be a blessing that I had not had the resources to invest in branding and logo design at the beginning. Had I done so, I think I would have outgrown it. So, to anyone who would ask, here is my first piece of advice if you are just starting out: wait until you have established your style before investing in logo/brand development.
Waiting also brought another unexpected benefit. It gave me great exposure to the photographic industry. An industry that has a plethora of vendors, selling you almost anything you can imagine. I have learned from great photographers, purchased far too much gear and, have seen the work of awesome graphic designers. Through all of that, I definitely had my favourites which I kept in a ‘favourites’ list.
Well, the day came when I had the money saved and I sent off an e-mail to Natalia Martinez of Design Lab Creative Studio located in Pentaluma, California. I had seen and followed Natalia’s work for some time, during which I had fallen in love with her clean, modern design aesthetic and there was simply a point when I knew that I would ask her to design the Posh Pets Photography logo. The beauty of the modern world is that your creative vendors do not have to live in the same city as you. We agreed on a schedule and began the process.
Now, I will warn you: designing a logo around your brand is hard work. Much harder than I expected. Natalia sent me an initial questionnaire with made me think about what I wanted my logo and brand to communicate. And when I wrote down the answers, honestly, I was starting to wonder if my money would be better spent on therapy as I was evidently at least partially schizophrenic. Early in the process, I joked that I was probably her worst client (which she graciously denied). But, through all of the crazy ideas meandering around in my head, Natalia was able to bring clarity and came back with the most gorgeous designs for me to choose from.
One of the greatest values I think that a graphic designer brings to the process is the ability to introduce you to new concepts and designs that you would never have come up with otherwise. I was completely surprised that what I eventually chose was not something that I would have ever asked for. But that is the point, I didn’t have to ask, Natalia created something and then offered it to me.
My final choices are beautiful and meaningful to me. The cat stamp is a custom-drawn profile shot of our very first pet, our dear Ripley. The dog belongs to a favourite client of mine. The fact that I have two stamps is special – while I love photographing all dogs, I believe I photograph more kitties than the average pet photographer. They are an important part of my business! I had to purchase fonts – such a grown up thing to do! – and I have beautiful design in my business cards, my letterhead and my watermarks. Together with the Posh Pets website and Posh Pets blog, I now have a cohesive look and feel to my brand. Plus, I have my Brand Guidelines to help me as I move forward and use my logo while creating additional marketing materials.
Natalia and Bill (her partner in life and business) were amazing through the whole process and went above and beyond what I could have ever expected. Natalia even got on line and prepped print files for me while she was on vacation, all because I had managed to mangle them up and my printer was having a fit. No question was too stupid and no idea was disregarded. Which really why my second piece of advice would be this: find a graphic designer with whom you feel comfortable and whose working style fits with you.
So, there you have it – The new Posh Pets Photography logo is now live! A huge thanks to Natalia and Bill who made all of this possible…I am so excited to share it with you all!