Branding for a Boutique in Charleston – Our Design Process

This past year, I had the pleasure of designing the brand and website for a local boutique here in Charleston, SC.

Bright Smile Boutique, a teeth whitening business, had just set up shop in Mount Pleasant. Owner, Robbie Leininger, initially came to me interested in a website – she especially needed an online presence so that customers could begin booking sessions with her. I recommended that, if we were going build this website, now is the time to also solidify the business’s brand identity and brand messaging.

You see, it’s important not to skip this vital step because we could end up spending quite a bit of time and resources on building a website now, only to have to redo it a year from now. Your website is an extension of your brand, so it should be created with your branding in mind.

Robbie understood the value in this.  We got started immediately so that we could get her business up and running as soon as possible!

If you’ve ever wondered how the branding process works, here is how we approached it for Bright Smile Boutique:

The Branding Process

Step 1: Discovery

I begin each branding project by walking the business owner through a discovery process where we seek to define their brand. I sent Robbie an initial questionnaire to fill out, and then we met at her boutique for a Brand Discovery Session. This took about an hour, as we discussed her answers from the questionnaire and began to define her target customer and develop brand attributes.

We also created something called an Inspiration Board similar to the one you see here:

I asked Robbie to find images on Google and Pinterest that represented the brand she wanted to create. Doing this allows me to understand the way they see their brand from a visual, aesthetic standpoint. I use this collection of images to find themes and imagery that allow me to design their logo, and eventually their entire brand identity!

Step 2: Logo Design Concepts

Having established brand attributes and created an inspiration board, I was able to go and design 3 logo concepts to present to the client.

As you’ll notice, they are not just variations of the same logo, but three unique concepts, drawing from different aspects of what we uncovered in our discovery process. The first concept focused heavily on the Warm & Fun attributes of the brand. The second: Professional & Luxury. The third: Feminine & Confident. Each incorporated a coastal theme.

Keep in mind, at this stage none of the concepts are final. You can think of these as three different directions we can go in.

Step 3: Logo Revisions and Finalization

The client ended up choosing the third concept to move forward with. In my branding package, I offer up to two rounds of revisions, which can be made to the concept that was selected. 

Below you’ll see the final logos developed for Bright Smile Boutique, and you will notice that we ended up doing some revisions to the logo mark. The original logo mark featured the iconic Pineapple Fountain in downtown Charleston. Even though the client initially wanted the brand to be distinctly “Charleston,” we ended up deciding to take a more general approach in case the business was to grow beyond this region. The end result is what you see here:

Step 4: Brand Identity

From this point, I went on to design other visual elements for the business that make up the business’s “brand identity.” A brand identity is your company’s aesthetic. A logo design is part of this, however your color palette, typography, backgrounds textures, images, icons, and more all work together to create this cohesive identity system.

Here are a few examples of these elements:

Step 5: Brand Messaging

Next, I worked to develop Bright Smile Boutique’s messaging. Your brand is more than just “how you look”, it is how you make your customers feel. This is influenced by your aesthetic, but it is also influenced by how you communicate.

Your marketing message, in particular, can drastically affect your bottom line. Most business owners are so involved in the nitty-gritty of their business that they have trouble communicating their message to their customers in a way that (1) is clear and (2) connects with them on deep level.

I use a method called the StoryBrand Framework to help craft a brand’s marketing message. Through this process, I helped Bright Smile Boutique develop a message that not only communicates what they do, but how they add value to their customer:

We help people to show their best self by brightening their smile in just a 1- hour session with us.

We determined that the boutique is not merely selling teeth whitening services. They are selling confidence. By focusing on these internal feelings and desires, we’re able to communicate in a way that is compelling and motivates customers to buy.

Step 6: The Brand Guidebook

Everything we had developed up until this point – the brand attributes, messaging, and identity – I then compiled into a Brand Guidebook.

This document outlines all of your branding, and it exists to help you stay “on brand” throughout the lifespan of your business. It includes things like logo usage details, color codes, typography names, and more. It is something that you can give to a marketing agency or another designer so that they can maintain the integrity of your brand aesthetic.

Step 7: Marketing Collateral

Once we’ve developed the brand identity and messaging for a business, we can apply these elements to marketing collateral items like the business cards we designed for Bright Smile Boutique.

Step 8: Branded Photos

We had the pleasure of working with talented Charleston-based photographer Keely Laughlin and local model Susan Norfleet. I helped coordinate the photo shoot out on Sullivan’s Island, the Pitt Street Bridge, and other locations in Mount Pleasant. We came away with some stellar branded photos to incorporate into the boutique’s website and other marketing materials.

Great photography can really bring a website to life. Just as we focused on “confidence” in the boutique’s marketing message, we also aimed to capture that same feeling in these photos.

Step 9: Web Design

Finally, we developed a custom WordPress website to meet the company’s unique business goals. We built in a scheduling portal that allows customers to book their teeth whitening session online. We incorporated their brand’s aesthetic and marketing message, as well as implemented strong UX (user experience) principles throughout.

If you want to see the live website, you can visit brightsmileboutique.com, and while you’re at it, go ahead a book your teeth whitening session with Robbie!

“Bright Smile Boutique HIGHLY recommends Luke Seavers with One Nine Pro. Luke designed our amazing logo, our beautiful website and helped establish the branding for our new business. He listened to what we wanted & envisioned and incorporated that in the finished product. Thank you Luke for sharing your creative talent. It was great working with you.”

– Robbie Leininger⠀

And thank you, Robbie! It was a pleasure working with you!

To see more of Bright Smile Boutique’s unique branding, you can get a more in-depth look on our design portfolio.

Lastly, if you are interested in going through a branding process similar to this one, please be sure and reach out to us, or click here to book a time for us to discuss your business goals!

Leave a comment


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Headshot - Luke Seavers with One Nine Pro

Hey there, I'm Luke!

I love working with business owners and entrepreneurs to help them reflect success in their brand and grow their business. As someone who is passionate about my craft, it is my joy to empower you to pursue yours!

Copyright 2019 One Nine Pro, LLC © All Rights Reserved | Charleston, SC