One of the most exciting tasks as a designer, developer and brand enthusiast is working with a startup. Where as re-branding an existing company is focused on rediscovery and interpretation, a startup's story is usually the story of the founder or creator of the organization. There is also much more freedom to create something new and to discover where a product or idea can go with startups because you are less concerned with how your decisions may effect existing users or customers.
If working on a startup wasn't enough excitement, this client was far more creatively inclined than your typical business owner. It's always a tremendous pleasure and challenge to work with creative clients. As a designer, you know that your work will be viewed by a far more critical and trained eye, which in turn motivates and produced high quality results. You could easily call this client an artist, except for paints she uses frosting, and for a canvas she works on cupcakes!
Meet Tammie Parnell, a cupcake artist and entrepreneur in Walnut Creek, California. Tammie's story is one of a survivor. A few years ago she battled breast cancer and emerged a changed woman with an invigorated sense of purpose and ambition. This fresh identity lead her to devote to something she'd always done remarkably well for friends and family: cupcakes. Her new adventure would lead her to our door, where we would help her bring to life her great vision!
Artistically, Tammie knew exactly what her cupcake brand needed to be, and more importantly - what it didn't. Working with the ever-talented writer Billy Ivey, Tammie forged an identity in Sinful Bliss Cupcakes. Sinful Bliss is anything but ordinary, leaving the pink, pastels and overly cute designs behind. Instead, Sinful Bliss is hip, modern, urban and accessible. If ever you wished to pair cocktails with cupcakes, this would be the place.
To bring Sinful Bliss to life, we knew that we needed to stand apart from what you would expect in a cupcake shop. Tammie provided us with a variety of visual inspiration pieces to communicate what she had in mind. We focused on elaborate scroll work, with a grunge vibe contrasted with modern application of heavy white-space and styling.
Since Tammie's brand was new, much exploration needed to be done to find who and what Sinful Bliss would be. We created an initial set of four logo concepts which all varied greatly in order to explore many possible design directions.
Ultimately we went back to our inspiration pieces to create a hybrid of what was given, the perfect combination of hard rock and delicious sweet.
For the web interface, we proposed a variety of community building tools that could be balanced and promoted on the homepage. These elements included newsletter, featured cupcakes, flavors and more.
It wasn't until we received the studio shots when we realized that you don't need to dress up artwork like this, it can speak for itself! Our second web interface was far more refined and simplified by featuring the cupcakes in a larger and more visceral full width rotator, with a stylish feature window for promotional text.
After working through the branding and web strategy, we were intimately familiar with exactly what Sinful Bliss Cupcakes was. Therefore when it came time for site design, everything came together in beautiful brand-building harmony.
We added a slightly hardened handwriting font for navigation and headings, as well as a "frosting smudge" to accent actions and current navigation pages.
Results and Beyond
Tammie Parnell came to Leap Logic with the vision to build a stylish, attractive and delicious cupcake boutique. She now has the tools, design, ability and ongoing support to do exactly that.