How to Experiment with your Brand Style : A Case Study

Doing a bit of a rebrand with a project (instead of an entire product line, website, etc) is a great way to test the waters and see if the new style resonates with your business and your customers.  Restyling one item takes up less time, is less expensive and sometimes it’s easier to place a new item in front of a group of people and see what they say.

I thought I’d share about a rebrand of my own. I hope this helps break down any anxiety others might have about trying a new style. It can be very freeing to try something new with a small item.  If it doesn’t work or you hate, chuck it!  And if you love it, it can be expanded out to other parts of your business.

When I first wrote the book, Twas the Week Before Christmas: DIY Christmas Decor, Party & Gift Ideas for the Last Minute Creative, I was running behind on schedule (oh, the irony).  I hired a designer to create a cover, I didn’t give him a lot of feedback (a big no-no!): a  brief description of the book, the dimensions of the book cover, and instructions for  a cover ‘that was happy and had a lot of energy to it.’  Both “happy” and “lots of energy” are spring-linked characteristics, although I didn’t know that then.

anatomy-of-a-bad-book-cover

The cover he came up with was indeed happy and energetic, wouldn’t you say? And interestingly, the colors in the cover are dominantly spring-linked: bright, light and warm colors. Recall that red in the primary shade (like the one in the cover) is a spring color. A winter red is cool, ranging from reds with a hint of blue (think cherries) to a cranberry red to the other extreme of almost a black-red.  Also note: the bottom part of the cover with the author name on it is a winter red and it clashes with the other red.

The funny thing about mediocre design is that often something feels “off” but you can’t figure out what. Once you understand color psychology, you can identify why the colors or other design elements just don’t “fit.”

And this is exactly where I was two years ago. The cover was not what I had in mind but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was just off. Still, time was of the essence. I sent it to the formatter and went on my merry way.

This past  November  I was looking at the different projects and considering what needed to be done to finish the year well. It came to my attention that ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas had links that no longer worked (I took down my DIY site a while back).  I knew I needed to update the book and add in new links.

It dawned on me that this was the perfect opportunity to redesign the cover and do a bit of updating. Besides not being thrilled with the cover art, the title bugged me. It  sounded a bit frenetic, kind of like a mad dash to the finish line of Christmas Day instead of a more thoughtful, let’s-enjoy-what -we-have and make memories with what the season holds right here, right now for us.

That had been the intention behind the book originally and I felt that more strongly now. With these ideas, a new cover was created, one that I love and feel is a better representation of the book and the ideas in it.

anatomy-of-a-christmas-book-cover

The cover (and the idea behind this brand if I go forward with it) is a Spring-linked feel with a secondary autumn. You can read more about the spring season in color psychology here.

You see the autumn secondary influence in the natural elements of the book, the twiggy wreath, the fruit and other elements. It’s not an overly done cover, there is not a lot of frills, another aspect of autumn.

This goes well with the book’s contents. It’s about both creating a lovely holiday with what you have. Of course, to create a simply joyous Christmas, there has to be some work done and some energetic output involved, especially if you do things a little bit last minute at the holidays.

It will be interesting to see how others respond to it and see if the changed cover helps to increase sales or attract more interested people online. For now, the book is in eBook format only, another way I’m experimenting.  And if you’re interested, I’d love for you to check it out! You can buy Creating a Simply Joyous Christmas on Amazon.

How about you?  Are you considering a rebrand to update but have felt nervous about undertaking a huge project? How could you do a small experiment and try one new thing?

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