Trying Out Kissa’s Kreations

Today’s Tool Tryout Tuesday is different from our usual T3 posts, in that we’re trying out a service rather than an online tool or piece of software. Today we’re going to look at Brand Identity Packages from Kissa’s Kreations.

We met Karissa Skirmont at WordCamp Kansas City, and we admired the branding package she made for the conference so much that we asked her to make one for Haden Interactive. Our designers, Tom Hapgood and Jay Jaro, had already created our logo, website, and lots of graphics. Some of the elements of our visual identity, such as our original color palette and the Dali font that provided a starting point for our logo, are legacies from Shan Pesaru and Sean Borsodi at Sharp Hue. In short, there wasn’t much design work involved for Karissa, but we felt that there would be some real value for us in having all the organic growth of our visual brand organized and brought together.

Before we go into details about the work Karissa did for us, let me share the Branding Portfolio she created for WCKC.

Eric Huber was inspired to do something similar for WordCamp Fayetteville last year, and it was handy to have all the elements together so we could make sure that all the design elements were consistent as a large number of people worked on the project over a period of weeks.

So we asked Karissa to make one for Haden Interactive, too.

The process was very smooth and well organized. We actually contacted Karissa through Facebook (just one more reason to make sure you have a good Facebook presence) and she sent us a link that let us put a couple of Brand Identity products into the shopping cart and pay. Then she set up a Google Doc with a form for us to fill out with things like our social media accounts, our fonts and hex codes (colors), our logo wardrobe, and so forth. If you don’t already have all those things, Karissa will create them for you.

In fact, if you don’t know whether you have all those things or not, you’ll benefit from Karissa’s website/brand audit. Karissa caught some places where we were still using earlier versions of our graphics, pointed out some beautiful graphics that weren’t featured on our website at all, and caught some errors, too.

Here’s the Branding Portfolio Karissa put together for us:

HadenInteractive-BrandPortfolio_v2-300dpi

I assume that this is roughly what’s in Jay’s head as he designs blog graphics and table tents and T shirts for us, but I like having it all laid out for me at a glance.

Karissa also created a Style Guide for us:

HadenInteractive-BrandStyleGuide_v1-300dpi

This was interesting for me, because I wouldn’t have chosen exactly those colors. I would not have included black or white, but I would have included Whiskey, #d29062, one of the shades in our original palette.

whiskey

Apparently, I failed to notice that we had switched to #B18448, Muddy Waters, a couple of years ago. I’m mentioning this because I think it’s a good example — along with the other points Karissa made — of how easy it is to lose track of all the little details that make up your brand’s look and feel.

I also hadn’t been completely aware of the ways we’ve used blue… though I remember that Shane Richey suggested adding blue when we did our most recent website design, so I guess that suggestion must have been hiding out in our collective subconscious.

The style guide will be useful for me and our other writers and the social media team. Rosie has been nudging us to be more consistent in our visual branding and certainly if we bring in new designers it will be helpful.

Karissa’s prices are very reasonable, and we will probably go back to her for future projects. If you’re at a DIY stage, you’ll find it useful to have a style guide ready when you bring in a web firm — and for yourself. Karissa gives sensible, gentle advice that a business thinking about branding should find useful (if you’re reading this, Karissa, I assure you that we are going to make those changes you suggested as soon as we get a chance). And we also found that looking at the PDF printouts together sparked some interesting new ideas for us.

In fact, I think that Karissa’s Branding Identity Package and our SEO Strategy Document would make a good pairing for businesses and organizations getting ready to do some visioning work.

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