visual story

time for a brand refresh?

An image from the new series for Anna at  Sweet Polka.  As a graphic designer and visual communicator, Anna is keenly aware of the power of effective imagery to win and influence her clients. She knew she did not need a rebrand (a total overhaul of the brand from the ground up) to inject a renewed sense of vigour. All she required was a fun afternoon spent crafting a handful of fresh images for use on her website.  Photograph by  Emma Byrnes.

An image from the new series for Anna at Sweet Polka. As a graphic designer and visual communicator, Anna is keenly aware of the power of effective imagery to win and influence her clients. She knew she did not need a rebrand (a total overhaul of the brand from the ground up) to inject a renewed sense of vigour. All she required was a fun afternoon spent crafting a handful of fresh images for use on her website.  Photograph by Emma Byrnes.

Is your brand feeling a little stale?
Does it feel like the ethos and principles of your brand are still relevant but the execution isn’t as elegant and effective as it could be?
If your answer is YES but the idea of a refresh fills you with a deep-seated fear of the endless hours you will lose as you go deep and attempt to reinvent the wheel (or in this case, your brand) - there is absolutely no need to fret.
Rather than going way out onto the precipice of rebranding, you can maintain the philosophy and essence of your brand but transform it into a super-charged version of itself by taking a few simple steps.

A portrait of Anna of  Sweet Polka . By using a restrained colour palette and a beautiful inner city location we were able to photograph a cohesive set of images - each one powerful in it's own right but able to sit within a visual framework. Photograph by  Emma Byrnes.

A portrait of Anna of Sweet Polka. By using a restrained colour palette and a beautiful inner city location we were able to photograph a cohesive set of images - each one powerful in it's own right but able to sit within a visual framework. Photograph by Emma Byrnes.

To start off, in most cases (with just a few tweaks from one of Heartland Project’s gun copywriter collaborators), your existing content can continue to serve your brand well.
The next step and in my opinion, the key secret ingredient to your brand refresh, is in creating a suite of professional, compelling and enticing photographs that reinforce your brand's central messages in a way that makes sense to your target audience. If you have been leaning too heavily on tired, daggy old imagery it is definitely time to (re)capture the attention of your clients with some original high quality snaps.
Having your own suite of professional photographs that you create from scratch allows you to shape an authentic and precise visual message, giving you control over what you evoke in your viewer. You can showcase real products, real services and real people from your team rather than the poor substitute of “off the shelf” stock photography. 
A limited series of original, high quality hero images are a key element - the right ones establish trust and catch the positive attention of viewers right away, adding to effective brand design.
In addition a wider gallery of associated images allows you to showcase your services/products on your website and can also be used for further promotion both on social and print media.

A close up detail of the  Tea and Sympathy  website for  Sweet Polka  as part of the brand refresh. Photograph by  Emma Byrnes.

A close up detail of the Tea and Sympathy website for Sweet Polka as part of the brand refresh. Photograph by Emma Byrnes.

Recognising the importance of visual storytelling is key to your brand’s success. 
I'm not just talking about pretty pictures, I'm talking about a way to visualise information in a simple way that makes sense to your clients. 
If you are tempted to skimp on professional photography bear in mind that images go into our long term memory and heavily influence a visitor’s opinion of your company culture. Potential clients will often eliminate your brand from consideration immediately, based on poor photography. You want the right photos, shot in the right way, by the right person: an experienced pro who knows how to get the most from a photograph. Your photos must be flawless. 
Get in touch to talk about the imaging opportunities that exist for your brand. Nothing gets me more excited than the opportunity to uncover a brand's true potential through successful visual storytelling :-)
And head on over to Sweet Polka's blog where Anna has a great post about our ongoing image-making collaboration - "How I learned to stop worrying and learned to enjoy having my photo taken."

Em x

a thousand faces of the feminine

One of Merilee Bennett's hand-painted, hand-stitched wisdom doll "goddesses". Photograph by  Emma Byrnes  

One of Merilee Bennett's hand-painted, hand-stitched wisdom doll "goddesses". Photograph by Emma Byrnes 

Over the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of working with Merilee Bennett - artist / film-maker / writer / educator / workshop facilitator.
She is a woman of many talents and someone whose company I have come to cherish and love. She is generous, warm-hearted and has that rare ability to exist in the present moment. Much of Merilee's life and art has been an exploration of the archetypal realm and how we interact with that realm in our everyday lives. 

Over her career Merilee has moved seamlessly from painting to film to photography and has, for now, settled in the three dimensional realm of wisdom doll making. She hand-stitches, beads, adorns and paints textile figures inspired by myths and fairytales, paleolithic goddesses, dreams, the natural world and the occasional mystical revelation. Each of these figures, when cradled in one's palm, has a special energy and feeling - they seem to speak of Merilee's own personal journey and inner wisdom.

As she mentioned in a recent interview with Popcraft Studio:

"The Wisdom Dolls started with my menopause doll, to celebrate entering that particular rite of passage. From then I have been listening to their whispers, and following their inspiration...She is everywhere! In seed pods and flowers, and the wind! In the feeling of sun on my skin, or the night sky when the stars are out. In the feeling of my body moving, or the energy within me during meditation. There are ancient stories that speak to me, and ordinary fabulous women around me who embody the archetype of the feminine in so many different ways. It is the grandmothers, the old goddesses, the earth under my feet."

Merilee has an interest in the incredible power of stitching and meditation - of when these two elements are in unison. When speaking of a recent wisdom doll workshop that she hosted:

"The quality of conversation around the table, over the making, as they refined their ideas and we worked out together how they were to create what they envisaged, reminded me of the aeons of women of every culture, working together, sewing or cooking or problem solving or building relationships, building community. There was an element of that feeling as this group stitched and painted and constructed, all the while talking in that free wheeling, looping manner, where technical questions give way to moments of deep emotion and intimacy."

Merilee will present her textile sculptures at the monsalvat residents gallery from 18 january - 19 march. She will also facilitate an art making workshop where attendees will explore archetypes, life narratives and create their own talisman. Spending time with Merilee and her "goddesses" is a privilege and one that I would urge you to follow up during her time at montsalvat. If you get the chance to attend one of her workshops you will find that the time spent will be deeply enriching.

Em x 

 

 

space + craft

Photograph by  Emma Byrnes  

Photograph by Emma Byrnes 

I was recently commissioned by long-standing Melbourne printmaking studio - Spacecraft - to formulate a visual strategy for their brand; produce a bank of images for use on their website; and host in-house training for their staff on maintaining a strong, cohesive style for their daily social media needs. Considering my history as co-founder of Harvest Textiles screen-printing studio; having worked in communications/media for many years; and my love for all things visual - this was a dream brief!
What an incredible small business Spacecraft is and a real life example of small-scale, local production. I spent time getting to know their dynamic approach and running between their print studio and Gertrude Street store, taking photographs as I went. The small team screen-print all of their textiles in their Collingwood studio, then walk the fabric up the road to their beautiful Fitzroy store, where their in-house sewing genius, Rosie conjures it up into homewares or clothing. Then it is ready to place in the store for sale. They also undertake loads of collaborations with artists which keeps things interesting for the whole team. It was an absolute pleasure spending time with such creative and cohesive folk - they have such a strong spirit and a dedication to handmade and locally-made artisan products. 
The image above is of Stewart and Danika from Spacecraft hand-printing a Northern Rosella from their Ornithology series. As part of the studio work process, the table backing cloth also takes impressions from each and every print, slowly unfolding as it's own, stand-alone artwork - layers and layers of labour and love. Just wonderful work.
The results of my strategy job will roll out over the next few months and I am excited to watch the brand begin to truly communicate their elegant aesthetic.
Em x