Wow - can you believe that it has nearly been two full years since I re-launched The Residents! Neither can I.
The truth is, I started blogging on a bit of a whim. My first header was created on paint - yep, true story - and the first blog never got much traction and very much looked like something from the stone age by the time I came to overhauling it by taking the whole thing onto Squarespace it was time for a new look.
After nothing more than a few tweaks, I decided that it would be high time for a bit of a re-brand. I had come into contact with the impressive duo of Carl and Emily at Plankton and knew they’d be up for helping a blogger re-invigorate her brand and her website. I interviewed Carl and Emily for The Residents a few months back. Plankton is an innovative digital agency working within the heart of creative Wellington. Fortunately, for me - they agreed!
First, if you didn’t know anything about Plankton, here’s the low-down over here. They’re really talented and have lots of digital advertising experience so together, with my blogging obsession; it felt like we’d be a great team.
Here’s what we worked on collectively to pull together my new look:
First I had a meeting with Carl and Emily to discuss what I imagined for my blog and where I wanted to take it. This helped me to understand what I liked and what I wanted to change, as much as it was to help them understand my needs. For me it was a case of refreshing The Residents, moving it away from being only about Wellington to be more of a lifestyle blog. While I wanted it to be still Wellington-based, I didn’t want to have to turn down opportunities outside of Wellington. I told the team about some blogs that I admired and what appealed to me about them. Carl and Emily listened and asked challenging questions about my existing audience and how this might change in the future. We agreed that my website, logo and media kit needed adjusting to match my future goals.
At our next meet up, Emily presented several re-imagined logo concepts. One of the challenges for The Residents is keeping it feminine without being too girly and equally not being overly neutral (I like a bit of millennial pink - just saying!). We discussed what resonated with me, and also compared the concepts to other logos I’d seen recently. I discussed with her how they made me feel, good and bad. The team was very open to feedback, patient and reassured me during our refinement process. We discussed where to take the next step and agreed on a plan.
3. The Plan
For our next meet, Emily presented some updated concepts, including a refined logo, which I now adored. She provided me with guidance on my website layout to improve the user experience and to keep it simple, but still beautiful. We talked about an exciting new colour palette. We collated fonts and imagery, and made improvements to the overall look of my media “kit”. Carl explained the importance of being clear and consistent with my branding across all of my social media. It felt kind of ‘Palm Springs’ inspired, all fresh and bright, which to me was fun. I came away pumped and excited to see what was next.
4. Crunch time
Carl and Emily set to work producing the new look brand for The Residents. Plankton included me in the planning at every stage - we began with the website. Emily has a great design eye, working through what may or may not work for me and matching the result perfectly with what I wanted to achieve. Carl provided an objective view of the blog, giving special consideration to first-time visitors to the site so that they knew what The Residents was all about. Emily diligently chose the perfect colours and then together we set up the new logo and added customised finishing touches, like a sidebar, an about page and footer information.
5. Media Mission
To keep the overall re-brand consistent, we matched the colours in my media kit to those on the blog. A media kit is what I use to help explain what I do if a brand wants to work with me. Carl helped to explain how we could make the media kit more sales orientated, and strip out unnecessary information. He knows the world of advertising and marketing inside and out, so I was pretty darn comfortable that the advice I received was going to pay off (even though I wept while I said goodbye to some of my extended prose). I took his tips in re-writing the copy to be simple and to the point. We added stats, diagrams and more visual elements to keep it light, compelling and most importantly, clear to read.
6. The Result
Carl and Emily have helped me create a new website that I am so excited to share with you all. Writing this blog, and most of the web development, has been a solo mission - so I absolutely loved that Plankton was able to take me to the next level, and give the old girl a lick of paint! Even though I like to think I know a bit about design, sometimes it really is valuable to employ a professional to give you an objective view of your work. The best thing about Carl and Emily is that they listened to what I wanted, and they also had great ideas of their own. We worked in an iterative way to develop a new look blog that I absolutely adore.
If you think the Plankton team could help you re-brand your business, or improve your digital footprint, check out their website here - www.plankton.agency. They’re working with loads of great Welly businesses and maybe they can help you too!