a good designer is hard to find

If you've been here before, you may have noticed some changes.  This is something I have been working on for a very long time.  Like eight months long.  And even before that, it was always in the back of my mind that my branding did not really reflect my business, my personality, or in any way convey what I am about and I knew that had to change.  I started looking for a new designer in November, I think.  I contacted a few, some were too busy, some were too expensive, but the real problem was that I didn't yet know exactly what I wanted.  Sometime around the early part of this year I had an epiphany about my brand and decided I wanted a logo that looked hand drawn.  I knew exactly what I wanted and sent sketches to two calligraphers who I hoped would be able to produce something decent.  Neither did and I was really disappointed, defeated, and several hundred dollars poorer as a result.  I was discouraged.  I thought I would be better off just doing it on my own since I had an image in my head of what I wanted, but I didn't have the drawing skills or Illustrator skills to pull it off.  And, since I'm not really a designer, I was second guessing myself the whole way.

Finding a designer is kind of like finding a husband, in that you go through a lot of duds before you find "the one."  And then, when you find him or her, you just know.  There are sparks, butterflies, that feeling of not really wanting to get your hopes up, all that.  But in the end, when you find the right person, it just feels right and it's a great relationship.  Just like in any potential love relationship, the most important factors in the search for the perfect designer, are communication, shared interests, mutual attraction, and a little bit of magic.  I knew I had struck gold when I finally found Kate Forrester.

Of course Kate lives in England, and I had my doubts about pursuing a long distance relationship.  But I just knew we were a match, so I was willing to make it work.  And with very little information she worked her magic and in the very first round, produced these:

Right off the bat I was ecstatic.  At this point I was on my, maybe, 6th designer and I was worried.  No one seemed to understand exactly what I was looking for, or no one was able to follow through.  I felt like none of them got me.  But Kate knew exactly what I wanted.  She took my late night scribblings about wanting something "organic" and "graphic" and "memorable" and "unique" and gave me exactly what I wanted.  I was blown away.  And I loved them both so much I was really torn about which direction to go in.  So I asked her to combine them into one awesome logo, and needless to say, she did:

Ah, love.

Of course this was quite some time ago and it has taken me a while to figure out a way to change the design of everything else—website, blog, collateral, etc—to showcase my new logo.  Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, I got it all together, and am finally debuting my new branding. 

I think it's fresher, cleaner, and funkier, and reflects my hands-on approach to weddings.  I hope you like it.  Feel free to leave comments below with your feedback.

Of course, there is another person who is very special to me who also hugely contributed to my new overall design, and that's my amazingly talented friend, Catherine Walker Hart.  I knew I wanted to incorporate a more textural, hand-painted element, so I asked her to paint something for me that I could use as a background image, and she far exceeded my expectations when she sent me this:

This is just a detail from a larger painting, that you'll see incorporated throughout my branding materials to bring that pop of color and texture.  I love it.

So, much thanks to Kate and Catherine for being awesome and taking my brand to the next level.  I couldn't possibly be happier with how easy the process turned out to be (once I found the right people) and how amazing everything turned out.  Thank you thank you thank you.

UPDATE:  I just found out that Kate also does hand lettered invitations and calligraphy, so if you are planning a wedding, definitely check her work out here.