Welcome to the (New) Wild Side!
Guys, I’ve been working on this project for almost a year. Any designer will tell you that creating your own brand is the harder than any client work, because it’s just so close to the heart. And this has definitely not been an exception.
So without further ado, I’m ecstatic (and relieved, to be honest) to present the sparklingly new Wild Side brand!
The story behind the rebrand
As with any company, Wild Side has gone through a LOT of phases over the years. Sometimes (that’s a lie, it’s actually like all the times) I look back and try not to cringe looking at some of my initial designs, when I was first getting started. Granted, I was completely self-taught and just learning the ropes of, well, pretty much everything in both brand design and online business in general, so I’ll cut 19-year old Kelsey a break.
But seriously, with each brand redesign I felt like I was getting a little bit closer to my vision…but not quite there yet. I went back and forth a lot about my own positioning and finding my audience, both by studying the type of people who wanted to work with me and the most successful projects, and also by getting feedback from the people on my mailing list (how’d we get to over 15k already? jesus, time flies..)
I also went through a pretty serious spiritual awakening this year, which was full of upheavals, big moves, moments of crisis and of intense joy. A little recap, for those of you who aren’t on my mailing list; here’s what 2018 looked like for me (I’ll do a complete blog post about this later, in case anyone is interested in the details).
In 2018 I….
- Moved from São Paulo, Brazil to Colorado Springs, which was a weird, eclectic mashup of military, religion, hippies and one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. And although gorgeous in its rugged way, it was overall wayyy too cold and stark for my tropical greenery- and beach-loving soul!
- Eloped with the love of my life! All the money (and family drama) we saved by not having a wedding, we’re going to travel and invest in our businesses. I’m so grateful to have such a great partner in life, adventure, and entrepreneurship
- Started my shamanic practitioner training, which opened my eyes to so many things I always knew deep down, and so much that I still have to learn. I’m now in the process of infusing that knowledge and those universal principles in my work and my (upcoming) educational content
- Lost many thousands of dollars because of one quality-check person who decided a completely faulty product was, in fact, perfectly fine. And then had all those hundreds of products shipped to my 1 Bedroom apartment because they couldn’t be held in the FBA warehouse. Now, people in Goodwills across the nation are buying my planners. Definitely the low point of the year!
- Decided to move back to Brazil, because America = taxes, prejudice, and an uncontrollable need to buy things you don’t need from Amazon because free 2-day shipping. And Brazil = açaí, so…
- Moved back to the mountains outside São Paulo, where a pair of toucans now live in my backyard and legend has it sloths are rescued while trying to cross the road and carried back to safety in the trunks of passerby cars. I want to pinch myself every day (and am seriously considering forming a sloth patrol)
So yeah, it’s been a whirlwind, not to mention the fact that my now-11-year-old Swiss Shepherd is now better traveled than most Brazilians. #truefact
Now that I’m back in Brazil where my soul has some time to finally take a breather, I knew that it was time to focus on Wild Side. The feedback I was getting and what I knew in my heart was just not meshing with the current look and feel of the brand. It was too travel and adventure focused, too much fire, and missing that more subtle and soulful foundation, that contrast of water that I had been working with in my shamanic practice.
And so I started brainstorming. Here’s the original Pinterest board where I sourced the images from.
Through the looking glass
Since I was a kid, I was always in love with the imaginary, the liminal, the just-beyond-the-corner-of-your-eye. I’d spend hours building fairy houses and hoping to find the rabbit hole that Alice fell down to get to Wonderland. On the other hand, I’ve also always obsessed with faraway places, adventure, and travel. After getting an atlas for Christmas one year, I used to play “what’s the capital of…” and pour over those pages until I knew every country.
I’ve always struggled to reconcile those two sides, the adventurous, fiery Sagittarius that is my sun sign, and the deeper, more mystical Scorpio of my ascendant. As you can probably guess, I love the celestial divination that is astrology too 🙂
And that’s the culmination of this rebrand. I went deep; like Alice I went through the looking glass and gathered my courage to do something bold. I no longer was going to try to please everyone, to try to be things that I’m not. I was simply going to be me, and that is what I wanted to be reflected in the brand.
With that, I started diving deeper into archetypes and archetypal branding. Ever-obsessed with Jung as a teenager, I had never considered actually combining that with brand strategy. But then a lot of research and a few books later, my mind was turned upside down and everything clicked into place.
I realized that the wild success I’d had with Wild Side was (unconsciously) thanks to the Explorer archetype I had instilled in the brand, long before I even know what that meant. With the rebrand, I wanted to bring out my secondary archetype of the Magician to bring the mystical, magical wow factor.
And so in a burst of inspiration, I came up with the mantra that makes up the ideology here at Wild Side:
I’m a lover of the wild ones, the free spirits, and the untamable souls; the ones with bare feet, messy hair and big hearts. My mission is to help the trailblazers of tomorrow, those determined to challenge the status quo, make a difference in the world, work and adventure on their own terms, and live to do what they’ve been told is impossible.
And after months of thought-forms, dreams, visions and brainstorms, I started refining, chipping away at the raw stardust that I had conjured until I shaped and polished it into the vision that was in my mind.
And that was real magic, because I got to see my dream come to life before my eyes. The Magician archetype was already at work!
So you want details?
I’m not going to be all, sorry I can’t tell you what font I’m using here. Please – you can sit with us. For those of you who love how the aesthetic turned out I’d love to share my magic with you. However, please don’t infringe on my copyright – it’s taken me a really long time to create this brand identity and stealing sucks!
Now that that’s been said, here are the details:
For my color scheme, I wanted to keep the light, dreamy blue that’s been the signature of Wild Side for a long time, but just refined it a bit. I also wanted to add some light neutrals, something that wouldn’t detract from the content or the illustrations, and pair it with some classic black and white. Finally, I added a touch of vintage gold for that magical element, reminiscent of the sacred symbolic and spiritual significance it held for the ancient peoples of South America.
For fonts, the headers are Goldenbook, the subheaders are Tenor Sans, the quotes and accents are Cormorant Italic and the copy is Quattrocento Sans. I actually tracked down the designer of a specific logo on Pinterest to ask her which font she used, and that’s how I found Goldenbook. Luckily it was available in my Adobe Fonts subscription (which is a win, because I can easily use it as a web font too). I just love how it looks so elegant on its own, but isn’t so fancy that you’d need a formal occasion to use it. It added the perfect touch of refinement to my roughhand sketch style illustrations.
From there, I added Tenor Sans with lots of kerning to give a contrast to the header serif, and chose Quattrocento Sans for the copy because I love the fresh, airy feel it has. I’m super picky about copy fonts, but this one was just love at first sight and I knew I had to use it. Both of these are available for free on Google Fonts. Finally, I added an italicized quote font that matched Goldenbook but had a little bit more intrigue: Cormorant Italic.
The last element was a handwritten script font, and I spent a very long time (like 8+ hours, I kid you not) trying to find the perfect one. I changed my mind at least 4 times before finally settling on Augusto, by Sinikka Li. All her fonts are amazing, so even if you don’t choose this one you should try some of her others! What I loved about this one was it didn’t look “trendy” or like it would go out of style – it felt like a quick note I might jot down, if I had actually practiced calligraphy since 4th grade and had nice handwriting (fun fact – my handwriting is the WORST).
Finally, the illustrations are a near and dear collaboration with a fellow designer and artist friend. I had the exact vision of what I wanted to portray, the symbolism and story behind each one, and she was able to bring that vision to life better than I could have. It was important for me to step away for the illustration portion because I was getting design paralysis – inability to even start drawing because I was afraid it wouldn’t be what I wanted. So yes, I completely support collaborating with other designers during times that you need a subjective perspective on what you want to achieve. Sometimes, we’re just to close to the matter to do it ourselves!
The new website
Of course, with the new brand design it was time for a website overhaul as well. My old site was a bit clunky and lacked that crystal-clear direction that I was looking for. With the new site, I went back to the drawing board with the copywriting and overall content flow. I didn’t want to leave any ambiguity – I knew my target audience and built the new site with them (you, reading this post) in mind!
And with the new website comes all kinds of new goodies – new freebies, new resources, new items in the shop, and new (updated) portfolio. This has honestly been such a long time coming that there was a LOT to update!
In addition, I reworked my whole email welcome series and even switched over from Mailchimp to ActiveCampaign.
So, all in all, this has been the most massive brand (and business) update I’ve EVER done. And I’m SO damn happy and proud to finally push it live. Like, tears in my eyes right now.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Here’s a final peek of everything together. If you love it, pin it!
If you liked this post, here are a few more that I think you’ll like even more!