I'm going to tell you a secret... you ready?... I am not proud of every project I worked on. There, I said it! When I started designing, I thought i was the cats pajamas, but let's be honest, I was not. It takes time to learn and develop a taste level. Illustration was always my passion, until I discovered design... so I taught myself how to use the necessary programs and BAM I thought I was this ish, boy was I wrong.
Here is the first card I ever designed for myself. What was I thinking you ask? I will tell you. I probably was thinking that distressed fonts were the end all be all (not only 1 but 2 distressed fonts!), and that if I used a gradient in them that they were pure gold. Yup, that must have been it. The only thing this card had going for it was that it was wood. Actual, lovely to touch, wood. Yup, they'r expensive, but who cared, right? I was the best designer ever and I would make TONS of money to pay for them.
I woke up one morning and realized that it was time for a redesign. I didn't want to abandon ship completely, I loved my wood cards, and had invested time and money into the look I had, so I modernized it by making it 1 color, took away one of the awful fonts and replaced it with DIN. The result was sleeker and definitely moving in the right direction. I still like these cards, and will keep them in rotation (I have about 300 left) but it was time to create a brand, and one I was sure I was 100% proud of.
My original thought on the design for 128johnst was to keep the 2nd card, but use DIN as the glue to hold everything together, but as I started designing things evolved. I no longer felt an emotional connection to the above card.
I have been inspired by many different brand and design projects I have seen over my career as a designer, I was torn. Did I want something bright and colorful? Did I want something simple? The possibilities are endless when you are designing for yourself, we are our own worst nightmares. As you read below, 128johnst. is a place I call home, and I wanted it to feel like home.
I miss the days where I (we) used to create with our hands (when was the last time you used a glue stick? Colored with marker? Colored at all? Be honest, I won't tell!) so I decided I wanted to go back to basics and make the branding. I stayed simple in the main logo, and then decided to make some secondary icons and wordmarks for the different parts of the brand. I used the 128 to tie them all together. I overlapped and flipped and rotated until I found a shape that felt right, then took it apart to make each secondary icon.
A while back, I fell in love with stamps, which felt like a perfect match with the idea that I want to start making things again. Using stamps as the key element in the branding forces me to make every time I needed something! I had been pinning to my Pinterest Board all kinds of stamps, I saw that a blogger I like making some fun stamps, stamps were on my brain...so I used Simon Stamps like she recommended and I am extremely excited about the outcome. I may have gotten a little stamp crazy, ordering a grand total of 10 stamps (luckily Simons is crazy reasonable!). I just couldn't decide! I played around with different combinations of information and different sizes (for hours & hours & hours & hours). If you are interested in getting some stamps made, be sure to try out different sizes, print and cut them out. I cut out many (probably a variety of about 30 different ones!) and placed them on the different envelopes, papers and misc items I may have to use them on before I was certain.
The color palette is neutral, but warm and welcoming, and allows the prints and graphics to speak for themselves. I assigned a color to each branch of 128johnst, and bought ink pads for each color. I went to a variety of paper stores in NYC and practically felt every paper and envelope that was the palette I was looking for. DONE & DONE. Time to get my hands dirty!
Overall, I am in love with what I came up with. The overall look embodies the feeling of handmade that I wanted. The logo is simple and strong and will stand the test of time. I wanted it to feel like home, and it does. Don't you just want to snuggle up with it?!