It gives me chills thinking about how far Lamplight has come in the last three years. As a business, we have evolved immensely. As a business owner, I feel like I have finally found my sweet spot – the place where I feel most comfortable and confident in my position within the company.
Not only am I the owner, I’m also the Creative Director. On top of running the business and drumming up new clients, I lead a team of Creatives, working directly with them and every client we have. At any one time, I might be working on a dozen projects and communicating with half that number of Creatives who are working on those projects.
It took me a solid year to figure out the best process, another year to fine tune the process, and in this past year – we are FINALLY hitting our stride!
I’m sure this story resonates with you in some way. The reason I share it is because with this milestone came the notion that since Lamplight is a better version of itself today than it was when we launched, we should celebrate in a BIG way.
With this in mind, I decided to update the brand’s colors and logo to better represent our personality. When I forced myself to explore WHO exactly we are, I began to realize that in order to send a clear message about what and who Lamplight is today, some things needed to change.
First, I have a story.
When Lamplight began, I had an idea of what the agency would look like. But I really didn’t KNOW who we were and who I was in the business. I hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface of defining exactly what we were at our core, and how consumers would engage with us:
At the time, I was just leaving a decade-long stint working in a corporate environment and within Higher Ed. For anyone who has experienced either of these things, you know that how you choose to present things ALWAYS matters. HR will be sure to remind you of how to remain objective and inclusive.
This isn’t a bad thing.
But what I experienced was, especially in a corporate environment, that it also meant to suppress your personality and opinions if they didn’t fit into the company mold. Flying the company flag was #1.
These experiences also taught me that if we were going to communicate in a way that was inclusive, it meant we should think about how to create non-bias, non-gendered messaging. Again, not a terrible thing. But from a marketing perspective, this presents some challenges.
Every business and every organization has a particular target audience or demographic, the things that make their audience unique: age, gender, race, location, education, religion, profession, shopping habits, and so on. Part of marketing is honing in on those things and speaking to those particular people.
Fresh out of these environments that had taught me to exclude details that might single someone out, I was not yet comfortable breaking free from that mindset when Lamplight began.
When I originally chose the color palette for the brand, I picked colors that were not gendered, as to not exclude a particular person from wanting to engage with Lamplight. I decided on yellow, two shades of gray, white, and black.
This palette had hardly any pop. No sparkle. No pizazz. It honestly couldn’t be further from how someone would describe my personality.
As much as I didn’t want to not admit it when we launched, I’m the face of Lamplight. Front and center whether I like it or not. I meet with every client. I work closely with them, and we get to know each other. They get to experience the REAL me, with my opinions and authenticity infused into the work we do.
You’ve probably heard me talk about my breakup from corporate. I think I’m finally making a clean break – three years later. Now, I’m comfortable with being ME at work, bringing my whole self every day.
Which leads me back to our color palette.
I added two new colors during our rebrand, got rid of one, and adjusted another. The two new colors I chose are totally me. Purple and teal. They pop, they can sparkle, and they have pizazz.
I took out one of the grays, and adjusted the yellow to have less of an Easter-y tone and more of a mustard. Changing the yellow kept it close enough to our original look, one the community has gotten used to seeing. I didn’t want us to become unrecognizable at a glance.
We also created a new, custom ombré using all our brand colors. This ombré is something I LOVE. It’s feminine, and that’s okay, because I am too. Even though Lamplight serves anyone, anywhere, from any walk of life, I now know that the majority of my clients are women. Knowing this helped me see that I CAN embrace femininity. It actually speaks to my audience!
I’m learning to follow my own advice, advice I would give my clients: Know your customers. Then define who you are to those customers and what appeals to them.
And then there was our logo.
Refreshing a logo is a scary decision. It’s also a bold move. A logo has represented us for a period of time, and hopefully, has become recognizable to consumers. Changing a logo comes with the risk that we might need to retrain consumers to connect it with us.
With much consideration, I decided we should also update our logo.
I considered almost a dozen different ideas, refining some more than others, eliminating those that didn’t make the cut. I contemplated the final few for weeks. I obsessed a little.
I shared some of my favorites with a trusted group of friends and family. It was helpful to get insight from people who know me and my business, and who were disconnected from the decision-making process.
In the end, I decided on a design that made me the happiest. It wasn’t the most popular among my group of confidants but is was MY favorite. Recognizing that part of my journey of becoming an independent business leader is to follow my gut, I made the call.
What I wanted MOST was a mark, an icon, something that could stand alone and visually represent the brand like the Nike Swoosh does. Our new logo is just that, plus modern, creative, and geometrical. Those were three things on my must-have list.
The coolest part of it all is that we used each of the 9 letters in the word LAMPLIGHT to create a mark. It may not be noticeable at first sight, but nothing represents the brand more than a logo that is literally designed using the letters in our name!
To me, this new logo is deeply personal, unique, and powerful. Just like my business is to me.
To read Confessions of. a Business Owner: Part 7, click here.