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Why Your Full Brand Identity Matters

by Arianne Foulks

May 20, 2014

Robert Mahar brand identity

One thing people (who haven’t worked with us) don’t realize about an Aeolidia logo project is that you’re not just getting a logo. Far from it! The logo is the tip of the iceberg, as they say. And you know what’s underneath the water? The whole, huge, hunking, beautiful, solid, ICEBERG.

That’s what we’ve been striving to do for our clients this past year. Rather than just creating a standalone logo, then leaving them lost as to what to do with it, and stuck muddling around with a disjointed brand identity (or no united vision for their brand as a whole), we are taking steps all the way back, to zoom out and view everything that makes a brand unique. We’re then providing a comprehensive suite of branding design, applications, and materials that can be carried into packaging, stationery, marketing, and more.

What can a brand identity include?

  • Logo (multiple versions)
  • Color scheme
  • Font families
  • Illustrations and patterns
  • Photography styling
  • Marketing materials, signage, business stationery
  • Packaging design
  • Tone of voice for writing
  • A plan for how the customer is treated
  • The products themselves

Our clients often come to us with part of their identity nailed down, as they’re usually creative types, or even designers themselves. Maybe their tone of voice (particularly true of bloggers!), their style, their ideal customer, their gorgeous photography. We then build on that, picking up where they left off, and supporting them in making sure that their identity reaches to all that they do.

Robert mahar photo treatment

I have a little story to tell you today about a favorite recent logo project.

Robert Mahar, Craft Icon

Do you know Robert Mahar? You should know Robert Mahar – he’s one of our favorite folks around here! He likes to tell people:

I’m a fella who is craft driven, design inspired, vintage obsessed and cake possessed. Professionals are being brought in to exorcise the cake situation, but all of those other descriptors are running rampant. I’m an arts and crafts professional with an education in studio arts and art history who has been fortunate to work in creative fields all of my life – from appraiser of modern and contemporary art for 13 years to web video producer. I now produce and present on-camera DIY tutorials for the YouTube audience, inspiring people to tackle creative projects in the lifestyle arena.

We got to know him in 2005 as the proprietor of Mahar Drygoods, the best online shop for handmade toys at the time. I designed and developed his site, and I think of Mahar Drygoods as one of our flagship Aeolidia sites. It was a joy to support him in his current venture!

Simply put, Robert’s videos are some of the best crafting videos I’ve seen. They’re clear and understandable, but needfully brief. He’s hit on the perfect balance between content and attention span. Check out a couple of them below:

Perler Bead Cookie Cord Organizers
Perler Bead Cookie Cord Organizers
Homemade Lotion Bars
Homemade Lotion Bars

Building a Brand

Robert made the investment in a brand identity, though he does have some graphic chops of his own. I realized that we haven’t been making it clear exactly what you get with one of our logos when we passed the final files over to Robert, and he commented:

This is AMAZING! Thank you so much – the Brand Identity Guide is so much more than I thought I was going to receive. Can’t wait to show you how I end up using the beautiful branding work you’ve created – I’m very grateful. 🙂

Now, I can’t show you his full brand guide here, but I can show you a peek – the quick reference guide we pull out for all of our clients as the Quick Brand Identity Guide (or the QBIG, as we’ve been calling this guy among ourselves):

Robert Mahar identity design by Mariah DeMarco for Aeolidia

The full package that Robert received from us included most anything he would need to bring his brand to life across everything he touches.

How Do We Hit on the Right Design?

Robert’s logo designer was Mariah DeMarco on our team, and below I’m sharing a small part of what she discussed with Robert during the initial logo design phase:

I was really inspired by these bits from your design preferences:

  • “What sets my YouTube videos apart from many on that platform is their production value. The videos show simple accessible projects, presented clearly, beautifully styled and lit with natural light.”
  • “I draw inspiration from traditional, old-school arts and crafts projects and strive to rework them with my own modern and updated twist. I want my new logo to fit this idea of ‘modern vintage’.”

Robert Mahar alternate logoThe above two lines were so inspiring to me… simple, clear, beautiful and of course the idea of modern-vintage… what a beautiful feeling those ideas create. When I watch your videos, there is a feeling of clarity and thoughtful restraint that really does make the craft you’re showing accessible, simple, beautiful and very well done. I worked hard to be sure I was showing the same clarity and thoughtful restraint in your logo designs, to continue the vibe and create a cohesive, strong brand identity for you.

You also described your idea about perhaps using an image of an old vintage style camera and some open scissors forming the legs of the camera. I loved the idea, it’s the perfect mix of clarity and cleverness. After you described it, I had a hard time getting it out of my own head, so, while I did play with some other ideas, yours was just so perfect, and it ended up being my favorite (by far). So, once I knew this was the right illustration, my challenge was in how to draw it in a way that will make sense to the eye and to find the right amount of detail to keep things from getting too fussy or complicated and then keep it all cohesive with the perfect fonts.

For the camera/scissors, I decided on two of the more minimal versions I drew. One is a simple black silhouette. The other, has a bit more detail (though still kept to a minimum). I noted that in  a lot of the images you pinned featured a stamp like texture, so I created one solid design and one with a textured look.

Robert Says:

Robert told us that it was such a relief to have the new site up and to be able to knock that item off of his to-do list!

I’ve worked with Aeolidia since 2005 and this is the 3rd site I’ve built with them – needless to say, I am a very happy repeat customer. What keeps me coming back is their high level of professionalism, their ability to identify project goals, map out a plan of action and ultimately deliver a great product on schedule. My previous sites focused on kid-centric content, and I wanted this new portfolio site to retain a certain level of that playfulness but in a grown-up way that potential employers and collaborators would embrace. Mariah bridged this gap beautifully with my new logo and branding, and Lauren and Shoshana made certain that the structure and functionality of the site worked in harmony with this. I honestly couldn’t be more pleased with my Aeolidia experience.

Let’s Not Forget the Website!

Robert’s web designer was Lauren, who’s been part of Aeolidia almost since the Mahar Drygoods days. She took Mariah’s logo, and artfully extended the brand identity to a website that she describes below:

Hi Robert! Yay—I have been having SO much fun with this lean, clean concept. Super excited to share with you!! You gave some great inspiration sites and keywords for me to reference. Here’s what I kept in mind while designing:

  • modern and clean in functionality
  • almost spartan and understated in design/appearance
  • simple black and white or possibly dark grey and white
  • cohesive hub for online work—aid in building a cohesive brand
  • displays presence on social media platforms


Robert Mahar website design by Lauren Hardage for Aeolidia

About the website, Robert told me:

While one of the primary functions of the site is to feature and promote my video tutorials and my YouTube channel I also wanted it to serve as a hub for information about upcoming in-person workshops (which I feature on the blog) and a place to see all of my recent social media activity – Lauren and Shoshanna did a great job melding all of these in a cohesive fashion. I’ve had a really warm response from my viewers/followers in response to the site, although it’s too early in its launch to give much more feedback.

Would You Like to See More?

If you’re curious about seeing what you get when we create a logo for you, please email me to ask! I’ll send you an example brand identity guide, a list of the files and assets you’ll get, and pricing information. No obligation, of course!

Robert Mahar logo sketch

Enjoy a little crafting yourself? Please visit Robert Mahar’s site, or check out his videos below:

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