Introducing: The New ActivKel
Hey friends! So I know this isn't fitness related, but it has to do with ActivKel and one of my favorite hobbies and I think you'll enjoy this little behind the scenes look at what I've been doing!
Ever since I got serious about blogging about 2 weeks ago I decided I needed to seriously update my blog’s brand. It was seriously lacking some pizzazz if ya know what I mean. I told my subscribers through my newsletter (you should totally go check it out :) ) what I’ve been up to and now it’s finally time to let you all know as well!
In case you didn’t know, I use Squarespace as my blogging platform. While it has it’s own cons, I absolutely love Squarespace. I have used Wordpress before, but I don’t think I’ll go back to it. Squarespace makes it easy to create a gorgeous website and, while it took some time to get used to it, it is very customizable. I was inspired by many different blogs by their clean and well designed websites - Elle and Co. and The Nectar Collective to name a couple. I spent probably a total of 30+ hours re-designing ActivKel and that includes researching, designing my logo from scratch, etc. Below I’m going to walk you through my process and the final product of my re-branding and re-designing.
First thing I did was find blogs that inspired me. As I said above, Elle and Co. inspired me a lot. She has many tips for Squarespace as well, which made me even more obsessed with her blog. She also designs websites for her clients and after looking at almost every single one, Lauren became an instant inspo for me! I felt the same way towards The Nectar Collective and Jessica Says. I wrote down what I loved and what I thought I could do without for each blog I was inspired by. This helped me later when figuring out my website design.
I also created an inspiration/mood board. I personally think this is essential for branding and designing so that you can always reference back to it to ensure you're sticking within your brand. I basically created a secret board on Pinterest and went pin crazy! I pinned anything and everything that spoke to me and what I thought fit my brand the most. I wanted my brand to be inspiring, fun, bright and cheerful. I kind of got addicted to this and ended up with over 100 pins (oops hehe). I then went into my secret board and looked through everything to find similarities. Similar colors, textures, even the brightness of the photos. I found a lot of purples, golds, pinks, bright photos and flowers. I deleted the pins that didn’t seem to fit in with the rest and I was left with about half of what I started with. I kept weeding out pins that didn’t completely fit until I had about 20 pins. It’s funny because as you do this you’ll find the pins really reflect what your brand will look like. Here’s what my secret board looks like now:
I then went on to create the actual inspiration/mood board in Illustrator:
From this board I was able to pick out the kinds of colors I’d use in my website and brand. You can see some of these colors, or a variation of them, in my category icons.
Next, I went onto re-designing my logo. Before my decision to go pro blogger, my logo was just the name ‘ActivKel’ written with sharpie and then uploaded via my phone haha. It didn’t stand out and it was anything but pro. So, I opened a notebook to a blank page to start sketching and… I just sat there. I had no idea what I wanted it to look like! This is where the inspiration/mood board comes in handy (wink, wink). I looked at my inspiration board and noticed many of the objects, if not all, were circular in shape, so I decided to incorporate that into my logo somehow. I started brain storming and I knew that I liked “stamp” designs, so I started to create something off of that. If I were to give any advice at all when it comes to designing your own logo, it would be to just start. Just draw something and the creative juices will start flowing and that light bulb will go off and you’ll create some cool stuff!
I sketched many different ideas. By the way, my sketches weren’t artistic at all! I filled pages of different logo ideas until I decided on one, went into Illustrator and started to bring it to digital life. And no, the first logo I made in Illustrator was not the one you see on my website now. I designed about 8 or more logos in Illustrator and asked for opinions of friends and people in Facebook groups that I belong to before deciding with the one you see. Here are some of the other logos I came up with:
As a person who loves to design it’s hard to know when to stop making different logo ideas. I spent probably 10 extra hours on designing three other logos for my blog that I’m not using, but it’s experience right? I learned a lot about Illustrator in those 10 hours, actually! So, enough of all this talk, let’s see the final logo! Here it is:
Brand style board
Next, I created a brand style board, which is basically what it says - the style of the brand or in my case, it's also the style of my blog. You’ll find the final logo, logo variations, fonts used on the logo and throughout the website, category icons, etc. Here’s what mine looks like:
Finally, after hours of creating a logo and a brand style board I went onto updating the design of my website. I was actually kind of doing this at the same time as creating the logo and finding blogs that inspired me, so most of this was already done by the time I finished the logo. I re-designed all of my blog main images to make them correspond with one another. Here is what they looked like before:
They’re not horrible, but you can’t exactly read what the images say and they’re pretty random. Here’s what they look like now:
Ahh, much better! Clean, easy to read and they all have a similar look - plus they’re pinnable!
I also went through all of my blog posts and updated them to look cleaner and make them easier to follow. I deleted a few that didn’t go with the blog and didn’t bring in much traffic. I finally updated some of the blog pages, created an archives section, updated my blog category pages and cleaned up the sidebar.
After all of this, it is my pleasure to finally introduce to you the new ActivKel and I really hope you enjoy it!