My life, the past few weeks/months, has been about making things happen. But more than anything lately, it’s been about making it happen. And so, on Friday, at around 3pm, I finally made it happen. I launched a website that I, and a handful of very talented, special people, have poured heart and soul into. Emily Ley Paper's new home isn’t just about a new website for ELP. Ask my rock star designer, Kendra, and she'll tell you the site you see now is ELP 3.0. We changed the overall aesthetic numerous times before my brand really began to take shape. And that happened right about the time I decided to commit myself to being true to my core.
My biggest piece of advice for anyone struggling with branding, with refining their style, with discovering "what they're all about" :: be yourself. Be yourself in your products, in your market segmentation, in your messaging, in your color palette, in your social media interaction. Use your photo. Use your name. Own your personality and run with it. Don’t try and mold your brand around one certain idea or a certain image you have in mind (likely someone else's "image"). For me, I've always been this funny oxymoron of a person. Yes, I'm sweet and Southern, but I'm a fireball of a businesswoman/thinker. Yes, I'm petite and quiet at times, but I have a huge, loud Southern personality. On that same note, while I do laugh at just about everything and find perfection in the details, I truly love organic, simple, clean, color-less, fuss-less design. I love the lack of color more than a bold hue. I love the feel of 100% cotton letterpressed paper more than a whimsical, ornate design. I’ll take mine plain.
So in defining my brand, I initially struggled with the duality of my personality. Until I realized, really by trial and error, that all those different aspects, even the ones I tried to deny and/or push down sometimes made me Emily Ley. When Kendra and I finally put my final brand together, it came from a constant inspiration board that I was continually updating, refining and adding to. Burlap, rich paper, neutral colors, timeless design and Southern, down-home details began to emerge as the key ingredients to Emily Ley Paper (at the time… named something else). And so, my patient designer took those emerging concepts, tones and qualities and shaped them into something I am so proud of and so truly believe in.
Now, as you build your own brand, bring together the images, words, phrases, concepts, theories, colors that represent you. You’ll find the many sides of your personality begin to take shape into something as strong and unique as you are.
Interestingly enough, I'd had on my heart for many weeks a desire to help others travel the branding journey that I did/am - to help them pull together and their personal brand and help them design their aesthetic around what they truly love in the form of an inspiration board, color pallete, dynamic logo in various forms, business cards, stationery and packaging, social media and web concepts. Two amazing people walked into my life at just that time. And I'm beginning to take on just a few design/branding clients to help them design their own personal brand - both figuratively and aesthetically. I cant tell you how quickly my heart beats when I think about being involved in this very important part of their journey with them. I've decided to limit myself to four design/branding clients at a time - so that I can devote enough time, energy and thoughtful guidance to each. If you're interested in talking with me about this full package or partial design/branding help, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.