In the farming world, it is common practice to brand livestock to identify them to one particular owner and branding has been used for hundreds of years to denote ownership with a particular mark that stands for something.
Nowadays, the terms brand building, brand identity and brand values are more commonly associated with corporate marketing and they are widely considered to be intrinsic to business success or failure. A company brand still denotes ‘ownership’ and the mark defines and positions the organisation.
Differentiating any business from others in the same field is obviously key to getting noticed and getting sales. So, after 12 years in the marketing world and 15 years after starting my initial garden design business, I wanted to ensure that my new company look and positioning was just right!
The logo and look of my existing business was clean and relatively contemporary when we designed it back in 2000 but it did not adequately describe or associate with the new services I wanted to introduce in 2014.
Researching the market and defining how Caroline Davy Studio was going to be different to other design practices was key in deciding how the new brand would be shaped.
Mixing garden design and floral design as services in one studio seemed relevant to current trends and it combines my passions. It has become very popular to create cutting gardens in the last few years with the ‘Sarah Raven effect’ filtering through our psyche. Sarah is of course a horticulturalist and a flower arranger and the process of planting a seed and then weeks or months later, using the result inside the house – as food or as an arrangement – is a natural process and the foundation for a booming business! Of course, this is not a new concept and significant designers over the years including – one of my inspirational flower heroes, Constance Spry and Gertrude Jekyll are widely recognised as gardeners, designers and flower arrangers.
I began arranging flowers at an evening course in north London back in the 1990’s and loved the fact that I could bring the outdoors into my small, first floor Kilburn flat. My lack of gardening space and outdoor life was made up for, in part, by the fact that I could decorate the house with as many flowers, wreaths and natural materials as was physically possible!
Floral arrangement is all about designing with texture, colour, movement and in manipulating the space around the piece; mix time as an important element and a larger scale and you have garden design. The two include the same basic design skills and involve creating atmosphere or character to a particular space.
In deciding to mix the two services as one business, my first decision in the branding process was defining a suitable name.
The word Studio denotes a creative environment; it suggests a place of work and it represents an umbrella term for the source of artistic disciplines. I felt that this word clearly described literally where I work from and neatly defined the process of specialist, artistic making that I wanted to present.
My logo came from a fairly lengthy process which involved briefing a brilliant graphic designer and distilling the company’s core values and messages.
My work is unique, it is hand-made and it is natural. It mixes the classical with the contemporary, it has a natural, yet sophisticated appeal and it is rich in texture and colour yet unfussy and unpretentious. I wanted a strong typeface without being too corporate or losing the personal approach and an overall suggestion of rugged texture, rich sumptuousness and underpinned with a natural beauty!
A mood board was put together that encompassed images, colours and textures that I am naturally drawn to and that, I felt, translated this brand essence. This was useful when briefing the graphic designer and was also used when speaking to a web designer about the look and character of the web site.
I spent time defining my ideal customer based on the past 15 years of design experience. I looked back at my most successful projects and profiled the customers who I’d worked best with. Our business is all about people and the best results come when a customer comes to you because they like and trust your style and approach and this promotes good partnership and the most successful outcomes.
We chose a handwritten font that was contemporary yet natural and that I felt looked personal and creative. Mixed with the distinctive, rich tonal backgrounds, the business identity was born!
Caroline Davy Studio is now up and running providing a design-led service for your indoor and outdoor spaces. This Journal will be updated on a regular basis and I intend to use this space to discuss floral decoration in relation to garden ‘produce’. If I’m using a particular flower or foliage in an arrangement, the Journal entries will go into detail about the cultivation of the plants, the seasonality and their design potential. I will make the entries seasonal and expand upon gardening techniques that make production more successful. I will also use the Journal to write about design in the fullest sense and reference gardens and floral arrangements in the discussion. Inspiration for design decisions will also be covered and idea generation and insight will be revealed! Where possible, I also intend to suggests links to further reading to expand on themes and to discuss the history and cultural significance of some of my favourite garden ‘ingredients’!
Mood Board photography: Katie Spicer Photography (www.katiespicer.co.uk)
Logo design: Ruth Balnave
Website: Janet Bower Online Sunshine (onlinesunshine.co.uk)