On Brand: Resonance Acupuncture
Discovery calls are an important part of my process for any project -- whether it's brand design, web design, content strategy, etc. Once I've responded to a potential client's inquiry form and they move forward with booking a call, I know they're serious about the project and I'm even more excited to chat. When we hop on Zoom and talk for a bit, I get a sense of their personality and can see if we vibe or not.
After all -- I only want to work with people I ACTUALLY LIKE, collaborating on projects that REALLY light me up.
So it's always extra awesome when I click immediately with a potential client on a discovery call. And that's what happened with Carmen.
Carmen reached out and let me know she had gone to school with my client, Katie, who owns Kismet Acupuncture + Apothecary. A few years ago, Katie hired my company to redesign her website, and we've been working with her ever since on branding, design, marketing, social media, and all kinds of other fun stuff. Katie rules and she refers lots of folks my way, and people often reach out and mention that they love the work we've done w/ Kismet. I am very grateful for these connections! Have met several new clients via this pathway. :)
Carmen let me know that she is an acupuncturist with her own practice based in upstate NY and she was looking to make the leap into launching her own, true brand and really wanted a custom designed logo and identity suite. We talked a bit via email and then hopped on a discovery session via Zoom.
We instantly clicked and I knew I wanted to work together. I especially loved her dry, sarcastic wit. At the same time, I knew she was very serious and passionate about the work that she does for others. One of the first things she told me was that even though she sees herself as "the dude of the office", she wears her heart on her sleeve. Helping others find healing is her life's calling.
We also talked about music, Gen X shit, and nachos -- so I knew she was a great fit. The contract was sent & signed!
Once we officially began our collaboration on her brand design, it was awesome that she shared some initial ideas on imagery and symbols she was inspired by -- such as geometric hearts, acupuncture needles, interesting angles, and sacred geometry. She explained how she didn't want her branding to feel "too spa-like" or "too zen", or overly feminine-leaning.
She wanted her brand to feel unique and bold, but also hinting at what she offers, and who she serves. She wanted it to feel authentically her.
Something that's very important to me on any of our design projects is that a brand or website feels like an extension of the person who runs the business. I believe that you ARE your brand. Injecting the owner's personality and vibe into the design work is something I love to do.
But inspiration can come from anywhere.
One of the things that stuck in my mind from my first chat with Carmen was how she talked about being a Gen-X'er. I knew I wanted to explore that more. Gen-X was a big part of Carmen's personal identity, so I wanted to try and honor that when we worked to design her brand identity, too.
After pulling some research together on photography, art, and pop culture moments from that era, I found myself getting a burst of inspiration from the color palette from the movie poster for Reality Bites. I really liked the unique combination of blues, greens, and reds that surrounded Ben Stiller, Winona Ryder, and Ethan Hawke.
I can't fully explain it, but things automatically began taking shape in my mind.
Another part of my design process is the moodboard phase where I gather images, patterns, colors, clippings, based on discussions with my client and research I conduct on my own. I present the moodboard as a way of helping my client understand the vibe and emotional feel of where I see their project pulling inspiration from. This is before I start any actual design work, and it helps set the stage for what's to come. It's not to say, "this is exactly what your branding will look like," but more of an opportunity for me to say: "this is the visual world we have created as a starting point and your branding will be born out of this space."
Sometimes, I also incorporate photos from my client's existing websites, marketing materials, personal life, etc. into the moodboard to help them better visualize themselves within the experience. When I was digging through some of Carmen's existing photos, I was particularly struck by this photo she was using as her profile pic at the time, showing her aiming a bow/arrow:
I loved how badass it was, and how it symbolized her vibe as a person -- and I especially liked that it hinted at her ability to hit a target with precision (such as acupuncture points). Oh, and it also pulled in some of the colors from the Reality Bites art I was already inspired by.
I started to play around in Pinterest to create my moodboard to present to Carmen for feedback. I like to choose a selection of photos, colors, quotes, patterns and graphics that can help point us in the right direction. Here's a sneak peek at what I pulled together initially:
From there, I started to build a possible color palette for her brand -- partially inspired by the movie poster, as well as Carmen herself:
Carmen was intrigued by the color palette I suggested and gave me and my team the approval to move forward into pulling together actual branding concepts. Our next step was to create a style board that got a bit more specific with color, vibe, and potential imagery:
Using this style board as a guide, we designed 3 initial concepts (haha, can't show them all here) and presented them to Carmen. After a bit of back and forth -- she chose option 1, which we then worked on refining, to land at this final design:
The concept features a geometric 'heart' shape, with asymmetrical acupuncture 'needles' criss-crossing the emblem. In many ways, the needles symbolize actual acupuncture points, as well as the connection Carmen has with her patients. But if you picture the heart symbol as a 3D object, you can also consider the space in between the 'needles' as being the many facets of Carmen's practice and the modalities she utilizes to treat her patients.
She absolutely loved the finished product (yay!) and told me she can't wait to get shirts made as well. I reminded her of our early conversation, where she told me she wears her heart on her sleeve -- and I told her now she can order shirts, and literally wear her heart on her sleeve.
She was even kind enough to leave me a Google review. Thank you so much, Carmen! It was a blast working together.
So: ARE YOU NEXT?
I'm currently booking projects for 2022. Let's collab!
PS: Looking for a little guidance first?