breanna rose art. food. fashion. Thu, 22 Oct 2015 17:51:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 I’ve moved to Rowan Made! Thu, 22 Oct 2015 17:48:46 +0000 Rowan Made

The new studio website for Rowan Made launched yesterday and I’m now officially blogging over there! While it’s sad to say goodbye to this space that I’ve kept up with for almost 5 years, I’m excited for this change and fresh perspective. For now, I’ll be keeping my old blog archives alive and well right here, just as they are, but anything new will be found over on the Rowan Made blog! I’ve already written a short + sweet post in the new space about what I plan to write about, which is inline with some of my favorite topics I’ve discussed here over the years. ;)

Thank you so much for your continued support and for all of the kind words shared on my last post explaining this change. It truly means more than you will ever know. :) So what do you say … will I see you at Rowan Made? I hope so!!

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where have i been, where am i going? Tue, 08 Sep 2015 18:44:18 +0000 Breanna Rose | Rowan Made

It’s been exactly 2 months (whoa) since the last time I posted on this blog, which is the longest time I’ve ever gone without any sort of update. My time away left me feeling guilty, but free, a combo of emotions I knew I needed to figure out for myself before moving forward. To be totally honest, I’ve struggled with the direction of this space for the past couple of years, unsure of where I fit into the world of blogging. In the beginning, it was a life altering outlet that allowed me to express myself and connect with creatives all around the world, something I’m truly thankful for. I know now, beyond a doubt, that I wouldn’t be where I am today without this little space. But that doesn’t mean that things will always stay the same.

Over the past few months, I’ve asked myself a lot of hard questions, focusing on what my true honest to goodness answers were instead of what I thought they should be. Because at the end of the day, you’ve just gotta be yourself and do your own thing. That’s the real secret. So instead of continuing to follow my original blogging routine and schedule (the one I set for myself years ago), I’ve decided to take a different route. The right route.

Design, for me, has always been number one. I absolutely love helping other creatives tell their stories and creating beautiful visuals for their brand. But once I started my new studio, Rowan Made, I instantly felt a disconnect with this space. I’ve tried a few different things to help connect the two, but nothing felt quite right. I owe a lot to this blog, so it’s been hard (and scary) for me to leg go. To move on to bigger + better things. That said, this is one of the last posts that I will publish to my personal blog. It’s not a goodbye, but a new beginning.

So what’s next? WELL, I’m glad you asked. ;) I’ve been working hard since I don’t even remember when on a huge overhaul for Rowan Made. There will be a new brand, website, a MUCH better + tighter client process, and … a blog. A Rowan Made blog. I’ve been itching to start fresh, and adding a studio blog to Rowan Made’s new website will do just that. There, I plan to tackle my most favorite blogging topics: design + business. I’ve learned a lot over the past 5 years and am excited to share content that feels more connected to my everyday work here at the studio. For everything else, I’ll be using my personal instagram account (@imbreannarose) as a form of micro-blogging, where I can share all that other stuff, like travel, food, our new house (!!!), and everything in between.

At this point, I’m super close to finalizing the new Rowan Made website and blog. Then, everything just needs to be developed! I will make sure to let you all know, right here, when that happens (hopefully this fall), so that you can follow along. For now, feel free to find me on instagram (biz + personal) for other updates. :)

Words can’t express how grateful I am for this space. Change isn’t easy, but sometimes, it’s for the best. I absolutely can’t wait to see what’s next and hope you’ll all join me for the ride. Hugs and high fives to all of you. ♥

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brand strategy importance Wed, 08 Jul 2015 12:00:15 +0000 The Importance of Brand Strategy | Breanna Rose

actual snippet from a brand strategy presentation of mine.

I’ve spent a lot of time the past couple of months experimenting with new or updated additions to my design process. And as promised, I’m ready to share some of what I’ve found with you all, starting with the importance of brand strategy. This is something that I’ve struggled with for years, mainly because I wasn’t sure how far to go. I saw some designers keeping things simple with a short (but important) list of questions for their clients to answer, while others spent months digging in and getting to know their clients inside and out, complete with an elaborate presentation, all before the actual design began. Everyone has their own way of doing things, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about branding a business, it’s this: the better you understand your client and their business, the better you are as a designer. It’s as simple as that. If you are genuinely invested in your clients and doing what you need to do to understand their goals, it’s going to be THAT much easier to help them create a brand that works + lasts. So what exactly do I do? Here’s a step by step overview:

01. CLIENT QUESTIONNAIRE The first thing I do in any branding project is send over a comprehensive client questionnaire via Google Docs so that my clients can edit directly within the document itself (no sending back and forth necessary). My questionnaire is divided up into several parts. The first part asks fairly obvious questions about their business (so I can better understand what they do). The second part has them define their target market as well as competitors. The third part is where I have them describe their brand in a more visual way so that we’re both on the same page about their overall aesthetic + vibe. The questionnaire isn’t terribly long, but the questions have been carefully tailored over the years depending on what has given me the best response. I feel like client questionnaires could be a post in and of itself, so I’ll save that for the next few weeks. ;)

02. DIGEST Once the client questionnaire has been filled out, I set aside a couple of hours to fully immerse myself into their answers, all in one sitting. I’ve found that in order for me to truly dig in + understand a business, I need a no distraction environment where I can spend time with who they are, where they’ve been, and where they’re going. And as I’m running through everything, I jot down words, phrases, and anything important that sticks out. I always end up with a few new pages in my notebook filled up with scribbles, circled words, and a really rough plan of how to move forward.

03. STRATEGIZE At this point, many designers “strategize” differently. Some simply send a list of brand buzzwords. Some get on the phone and go over the questionnaire + findings. Others put together a thorough presentation. While there is certainly no right or wrong way, I’ve found that putting together an actual presentation has been the most rewarding solution for me and my clients because it forces me to really dig in and ensure that we’re all on the same page. Here is an overview of what I include:

– – – – – – –

THE GOAL This is where I define what the goal of our project together is. For example, maybe our goal is to rebrand an existing business so that it better reflects their target market.

MISSION If my client already has a mission statement, I like to reiterate (or even tweak) it here. If they don’t, I’ll work with my clients to develop a short + sweet phrase that better defines what they do as a business.

TARGET MARKET I also like to define WHO my client’s target market is. I try to get as descriptive as possible here instead of resorting to simple phrases like “young females” or “millennials.” You gotta dig deep and explain what these people are like. Where do they live? What do they enjoy? What are they looking for? Be creative. That’s what we’re good at anyway, right? ;)

COMPETITION Once you’ve outlined the target market, it makes sense to go over who the competition is as well. This is usually specific brand names or a more general niches description. I also like to give suggestions for how a client can stand apart from said competition. For example, if a client of mine is focused on locally made products (and their competitors aren’t), that could be a big selling point. Something to highlight!

BUZZWORDS Remember when I talked about jotting down words and phrases while learning more about my clients? Those very words and phrases are the ones I typically end up using for brand buzzwords, which is just a simple way of capturing a brand’s overall vibe. Check out the image above to see how I share buzzwords with my clients within the presentation.

MOODBOARD I’ve been putting together moodboards for clients since I began freelancing. But recently, I’ve started including them in my brand strategy presentations instead of having it be a whole separate thing. This way, the moodboard is a special surprise after the client has been reading through their goals, mission, target market, etc. It’s kind of like icing on the cake, where what you’ve been digesting is visually displayed at the very end.

OVERVIEW Before I close off my brand strategy presentation, I like to include a brief overview that highlights the important pieces from the strategy as a whole. In reality, it’s kind of like the conclusion you’d would write in any old paper back in school. Remember those? Restate the mission. Summarize. Close it off nicely.

– – – – – – –

Remember, a brand strategy can be whatever you want it to be. Seriously! My presentations are simple, but informational … typically 12-14 pages with small bits of content on each page. It does take a little extra time to put these presentations together, but after testing them out over the past few months, I can already tell that it’s a straight up game changer. Everyone feels that much more invested and on the same page, which is a beautiful thing when you are visually helping somebody else share their own story.

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process 24 : the rose shed Thu, 25 Jun 2015 15:00:39 +0000 The Rose Shed Design Process | By Rowan Made

I love sharing process posts with you all. :) I have some cool projects in the works right now, but since this particular one is about to wrap up, I thought I’d share some examples of where we’ve been! The Rose Shed is Rachel Husband’s floristry business in the UK and she’s been an absolute delight to work with. Seriously. Together, our goal was to rebrand her business into a more editorial and sophisticated, yet femme ethos. And the modern serif typography, paired with a lighter palette does just that. Looking back through my sketches, I realized that I never shared her original moodboard with you, so I’ve included that below as well. It’s a favorite of mine!

The Rose Shed Moodboard | Curated by Rowan Made

The branding is officially finalized (hint hint, we landed on the top option) and her website is about to go into development, so I’m THISCLOSE to sharing the whole shebang with you all. Plus, you gotta love when you’re given gorgeous photos full of florals to work with. Kinda made me want to change careers? Okay not really, but the thought did cross my mind. I suspect that I’ll be rolling out some new designs very shortly (and sharing more about some of my new design process), so keep checking back. ;)

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traditional designer? maybe not Tue, 16 Jun 2015 15:36:05 +0000 Traditional vs. Untraditional Design Studio | By Breanna Rose of Rowan Made

I’ve subtly mentioned in many of my most recent blog posts that I’m currently working on streamlining my business. And that I would share a lot of that process with you all, so here it goes! No more of that vague “what is she really doing” sh*t. Ha. Throughout my freelancing career, it’s always been a goal of mine to create a studio that felt bigger than it was. To offer what the traditional studios offered, just in a smaller package. More boutique. At least that’s what I thought I wanted. I looked up to (and still do) studios like Ro And Co. and Stitch Design Co., who seemed to grow while staying true to their small roots. But as time went on, I realized that I liked working by myself for small businesses. And that maybe growing larger wasn’t what I really wanted.

As soon as I started Rowan Made, the question of “what do you really want” pushed it’s way to the forefront, occupying my mind and leaving me a bit paralyzed. Did I want to grow my little studio into something bigger and potentially bring more people on board? Did I want to offer ALL of the services and be a one stop shop? Or did I want to specialize? It was the intersection of traditional and untraditional. Initially, I feared that specializing would shut the door on cool projects or paint me as less of a “real” designer, so I kept things vague + listed out a TON of services I could offer, just as most of the traditional studios do.

I walked the path of a traditional designer for awhile, despite feeling off about the whole thing. I became my own boss to break rules and do what I wanted. So why wasn’t I? Any time I visited the website of a designer who was specializing or clearly doing exactly what they wanted, I got inspired and crazy excited. And soon enough, that untraditional path became the only option.

When I’m being honest with myself, I don’t want to manage a ton of other designers or grow my business into this huge thing. I want to work one on one with the right clients and do good work. It’s as simple as that. And in order to do my best work, it means that I’m finally ready to streamline and specialize. As of right now, I feel like my business is a gigantic mess of experimentation. But in a good way. ;) I’m trying out a few new process ideas, working on defining my services, and being completely honest with myself.

My goal through all of this is to figure out what works best for me and my clients and to apply the rule of transparency in all that I do so that it’s abundantly clear. Plus, I’m going to continue sharing more of what I’m discovering right here on the blog as a way of getting it out “on paper” and gaining insight from all of you, too.

PS. I wanted to share some of the people who have inspired me to think about what I really want. :) Elise of Hey Sweet Pea is a friend of mine who dropped her design services completely to follow her gut and teach + inspire creatives all around the world. Joanna Waterfall started exploring new passion projects of hers (like the Yellow Conference) and is all about doing what you want and surrounding yourself with a positive environment. And Lauren Hooker of Elle & Co. is a great example of a designer specializing in what she does best as well as being super transparent about all of it.

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