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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

in the studio | Behind the WP name

Aeolidia is a branding studio that I was introduced to years ago and they are undoubtedly my gold-standard for everything brand-related. They are a fully-custom studio that turns words into actions specifically for boutique-style creative businesses online, and I'm in awe of all they can do. More than that, Arianne (the founder) shares a lot of her wonderful knowledge on the Aeolidia blog.
Last week I was having a read online and - you know how you fall down those rabbit holes? - I can't explain how but I found myself on Aeolidia's blog. I started reading through all her posts last week and haven't stopped since. All her thoughts and recommendations and ideas and encouragements are really resonating with me. I feel like I have a flame under me now (however small it is).

I wrote more about it in my personal blog 

One of the most important Ah-Ha! moments for me was realizing I should be more transparent, and have a personable voice on my site. I erroneously thought that I should not have 'me' on the blog. Just write about the papercuts I do. As a result my blog became a really boring space. No sense in denying it, I am aware. Beautiful papercuts for sure, but with nothing personal to add to them, my updates became little more than the photos. In deciding this I forgot that part of my brand's appeal is the handmade, artisan concept of it - and that I shouldn't remove the artist from the craft. I know that when I look at artisan shops I want to see the artist and learn about their studio as well as the product they sell. It's adde value. So now I'm working on getting back to it.

I'm reintroducing myself, and I'm starting from the beginning. I picked up the idea for this post from Besotted - who wrote about how they came up with name to their new venture. I think the thought process is really interesting, and I wanted to share my own process of naming my studio with you - WOODLAND PAPERCUTS by Naomi Shiek.

How did I come up with that name? No big mystery, I wanted a short but memorable brand name that would include the product for recognition sake, and describe my style at the same time. Not a big ask, right? I love brand names that are mysterious enough so the name itself becomes a descriptive for the products but have one noun enough to give you an idea of their area of expertise (and easy googling). Think Rifle Paper Co., who are now synonymous with happy folky illustrated papergoods and textiles. I'm sure I agonized over it for a number of days - it's like naming a baby! - but now it feels like it came together so fluidly.

PAPERCUTS had to be part of my brand name, just for the ease of identifying what it is I do. I still have people gently asking me what is 'papercut', but in my world at least this art form has caught on. The hard part was picking something associated with me. Something my friends and family will recognize as relating to me and my work. I thought Deer Papercuts... Stag Papercuts... (I love deer) Actually, now that I think of it My Deer Papercuts would have been a great name...damn it!

OK, I reserve the right to use My Deer Papercuts in the future... *Deep breath*, moving on. WOODLAND came around when I was looking for an association that would be broad enough to describe my style as well as the feeling it evokes, and be reminiscent of Fairytales and love stories. Why Woodland does that for me, I can't tell you. But if you look at my portfolio I think most would agree it is fitting.

BY NAOMI SHIEK was an easy addition. Maybe it's a tag line more than the name? Either way I wanted people to know it's a handmade business led by one. Easiest way is to attach a person to the studio (see, I had the right idea at the start and somehow forgot it!). Maybe I should have went with a fancy pseudonym, but my name means pleasant and kind which I thought was good enough. Though I am sorry I spelled my name in Dutch instead of the more appropriate French Chic. That simple spelling change would have associated my brand with elegance and style effortlessly! Learn from my mistake, folks.

For the logo I knew even before I decided on the name that I wanted to use deer antlers. (Have I mentioned my love for deer one, twice, three hundred times before?) I am actually a bit embarrassed with how I handled that aspect. I hired Studio Three Fifteen to do the work, but eventually through the process of emailing and conceptualizing with the designer Ravyn I became so fixated on it that I took over completely. Though I never used her logo I know without her insight the finished product would not have turned out this good.

Even when you think you're done, you're not. For two or so years I only had the antlers in the logo, believe it or not. I realized it didn't make me distinct enough from the thousands of other antler logos, so I had to rethink the design. I added the scissors far too late, and they complete the logo narrative so well I wonder how I ever thought the logo was done without them! I don't actually use scissors to papercut (I'm not that talented!) but they are an icon so readily associated with cutting paper (much more than a scalpel, that's for sure) that it would be silly not to use them.

Through the years I played with the antlers a bit for no reason, and as a result the logo does appear in its different versions across my product & branding images - even here! (I should probably get to fixing that sometime). But all in all it has kept its cohesive look and I'm very proud of it.

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