This is about colours, fonts, consistency, a style, a way of talking to people…
I immediately decided to just use my favourite colour for my branding, a kind of teal. I then went on https://coolors.co/ and started playing around with combinations. This was a reasonably long process and I had a LOT of variations. In the end settling on a kind of wild mix of teal, yellow, purple, green and white. Was it logical? No. Did I care? Not really. I didn’t want it to look like I’d stolen it from somewhere else. I wanted it to be fun and a bit quirky. I wish I still had all the variations but eventually I deleted them.
Often now, it’s just the teal/yellow/white combo in use. But I feel so bored locked into only 3 colours so sometimes the others get to come out. 😂
I spent some time with Erin and Tarryn from Pet Biz Creatives trying to come up with a name. This was one of the hardest parts but I think it’s MUCH easier if you’re just doing photography. Just use your own name. I talked about this in a branding lesson somewhere too.
Since my brand was always so wrapped up in me, I knew immediately that it couldn’t really take itself too seriously. If I tried to do things seriously and professionally, I would never get anything done.
So this kind of culture of relaxed anti-perfectionism came out of that, and in everything I do: my captions, blog posts, mailing list emails, I try and write in my voice (I love writing and used to write novels for fun so copywriting isn’t a hard task for me in terms of voice… more in terms of “I don’t wanna!”) so that I can joke around a bit, or sound sincere, or open up, or let you experience a bit of my world.
We also picked the fonts, and made the logo: based on Journey, which is probably due for an upgrade but that’s something I don’t have the energy for.
For me, brand identity is something that starts with the superficial: colours, an aesthetic, fonts, a feeling…
And develops into something much deeper. How you embody that aesthetic. Is your brand identity fun and carefree? Ok, how do you show up like that in your copy, in your captions, in your stories, in your videos?
Less so now because life is a bit boring, but in the past people would reply to my stories saying how much Journey cheered them up, or how my sense of humour about something made them laugh. This was building my brand identity (whether I realised it or not at the time!
Below are some things I found from back in the day.
Emily Abrahams Photography Branding Ideas
Inspawration branding notes
I don’t have a heap of notes from when Inspawration was in its creation stage. I think I moved so quickly from photography to giving tips and teaching that I barely had time to think about it – and the brands were so intertwined at the beginning that I wasn’t even thinking of them being something separate… until I was.
This is the earliest note I could find where I was starting to think about them as two separate businesses and trying to figure out a name.
Again, have a look at what’s changed and what hasn’t!
Honestly, the more I’ve done this, the more I believe that what you need, your style, your ideas, the things you’ll end up doing are all there already. You just mightn’t realise it yet.
Notes from creating inspawration:
Mission statement. WHY do I do what I do?
We all have phones and cameras, and the convenience of being able to snap a quick picture of our pets means we have so many opportunities to capture memories. But I want to help people take photos of their pets that are more impactful, something they can really cherish in years to come. I do this because I have so many photos of my dogs now, that it’s hard to choose which ones to get printed! But if I look at the photos of my old dog, there’s so much I wish I’d known about settings and composition and light. The photos are fine and I cherish them… but they aren’t AMAZING. I see people’s photos on Facebook and know that with just a few small changes, they could have photos that are really special.
For people who already have a grasp of the basic concepts, either semi-pro photographers or hobby enthusiasts, I want to take their photography to the next level, to help them find their style and create art, to inspire them to create and explore and play with their images, and for them to therefore be able to bring that gift to THEIR clients. I am so inspired by photography, by turning a photo into something more, and I want to share that with people. I want people to make work they’re proud of, and for us to all work together to support one another and build each other up, rather than seeing It as a competition
Next is an email I wrote back to Erin & Tarryn after they had brainstormed and sent through a HUGE list of names for me. Beneath that are a bunch of my own name ideas/preferences/things I was considering as contenders.
Initial name thoughts:
Great list! I think it’s great as a guide to start getting a feel for what I like or am drawn to, and what I’m not..
Insititution to me is like a “mental institution” – mad house or like… “the institution of marriage” 😬😅
Club? (This shouldn’t have the “free” connotation since you often have to pay to join a club)
I like “School” or even “Learning”
I like the term “Learning Journey” a lot, even in terms of the courses. Instead of referring to them as courses on the site, I could use that, as I’m really into the idea of a growth mindset when learning…
I think from the list, I’m much more drawn to not pun names (even though I LOVE puns, I feel like they’re a bit “tacky” for a brand name? And though I want to be “fun” it’s maybe more like “whimsical” fun? If that makes sense? So some of my favourite names have been Chasing Wonder, Canine Creatives (doesn’t work if it’s more of a pet focus though I guess), and ones that I came up with a while ago which were Fetching Light, Journey Wild (doesn’t work for this project but I’m keeping it in my back pocket cos I love it so much). The idea of joy/happiness/wonder/light are some of my favourite things (Journey’s registered name is “n’Joy the Journey”.) and I guess it gives a sense of that “whimsical” kind of name. I wrote down Fetchworthy once, which I think is cute. And “Snouts and Tails” in terms of the idea of making heads or tails of photography, but snouts make me think of pigs 😂 Wet Nose Wonders from your list is cute too (it’s that kind of whimsical thing again).
I wonder about some ideas around “Bright Eyes” even? Eyes are the window to the soul and all that, and there’s such a focus on the eye in pet photography.
The other thing I think could be interesting is using bright/light or something somehow… one thing that’s quite distinctive/well known about my photos is my “pretty sparkly lights” as people tell me 😂. Obviously not suggesting “Pretty sparkle light photography school” but the use of light is super important to me (and can also fit that kind of whimsical idea). Can we turn “bokeh” into a pun? 😬 I also like Tails/tales play on words too.
Something like: “Wagging Tails & Wet Noses” is cute… we could possibly do something with the idea of two things, eg., “Muddy paws, Bright eyes” but… better than that, cos it doesn’t roll off the tongue 😂 If it’s any help, Journey has a Spotty Snout/nose and legs (naughty spots) and Loki has perfect triangle ears.
Things like Teach a Dog New Tricks is fun from a “learning” perspective but I would think it’s a dog behaviour school, instead of photography, same as dog ate my homework… I guess if it’s going to be a sort of saying or a pun, there should be a photographic element maybe? Something like “Pets in Focus”? “Pets Exposed” (ahahaha sounds like a scandal).
Rule of 3 could also be interesting maybe? Eg: “Sit, Stay, Snap”? But I’ve never liked “snap” as the photography part given negative connotations with dogs biting.
Definitely could have it more pet related than specifically dogs – I think confining it to the niche of dogs only is too narrow, I would like people interested in cats and horses to join. So maybe this will help, but also, if we’re adding the “Pet Photography School” (or whatever afterward) the name itself could be a bit whimsical and photography related without necessarily being specifically pet related I guess?
You mentioned on the Loom about being able to branch out into in-person courses and this is 100% my intention, to do quite a few in-person workshops around Europe and even back in Aus when I go to visit family.
Re: the boys’ names in the name, I’m not so wedded to this idea. I don’t know if there’s a way to get both in (especially Loki) without it being weird. But you did give me an idea for some monthly member’s bonus session with “Professor Loki” so I’m just gonna jot that down for future use. Not sure what it will be yet but it sounds bloody cute.
Something to do with Guide/GPS/Map, eg., Journey/adventure/learning theme…
“Snouts and Tails” eg., making heads & tails of photography
An Acronym? Eg., LEAP – Learn w/ Emily Abrahams Photography
Licks & Snaps
Lick, Snap, Grow
Spots and Snouts
Snap & Wag?
Flash, Snap, Woof
Joy of the Journey
Joy in the Journey
Lead me to wonder
Photography Is a Journey
Something about light.. chasing light
Leading to Light
Lead into Light
Journey The Light Fantastic
Inspawration (I’m actually not sure why this is on this list, I must have added it after the fact because as soon as I had this name I was 99% sure it was the right one)
Inspawration in Focus
Illumi-nation (“nation” as in the membership thing)
Paws in art?
What the Snoot
Snoot & Spots.
Paws to Focus
Fun, but not cutesy
Sophisticated but not sterile
About the brand:
Teaching people to delve into their art and their photography in a way that encourages exploration while also telling a story with the photos