When launching a business, I think it's important to choose a name that communicates well. I like to know by its name what a business does, so that I'm not puzzling as I drive down the street: "'Pezo'? What on earth does that mean? What do they DO?" Some business owners agree with this strategy: Sarah Keller Photography or Paws Plus Veterinary Services are pretty self-explanatory. Others... well, not so much.
So when I decided to start a business, ideally I wanted the company name to announce who I was and what I offered, no questions asked. I figured that would be easier for advertising, social media, et cetera. At first I tried to think of clever or artsy names that tied into my love of travel and languages, but that can be confusing as one then has to cope with misspellings and mispronunciations. VETO! One name I really loved and thought would bypass most of those issues was "Bella Scrittura", but that was already taken by a calligrapher in New Jersey! Great minds, huh? (Her name is Therese Swift-Hahn and she is a sweet lady!) As I considered further I realized that I also wanted people to be able to find my website via obvious Internet search terms, even if they couldn't remember the exact business name. Hence, Rachel Miller Calligraphy. (Very clever, huh?)
One thing to consider when choosing a business name is to ensure that you don't pigeonhole yourself. I knew that as I grew into calligraphy I would inevitably branch into other artistic avenues that complement beautiful lettering, and I didn't want to build a reputation as "just" a lettering artist. I wanted to work in any creative role that appealed to me or paired well with calligraphy, so I added "studio" to the end of my business name. That not only rounded out the business name a bit, but also gave me room to grow. Here is my first logo:
Of course, the end goal for any logo is to have it digitized and vectorized; the uneven printed words would eventually be typed onto the image. I thought this was a good start, and I was pleased with how I'd creatively incorporated the descenders of G-P-Y into a fanciful flourish, but I also thought the logo was bulky and imbalanced. Over the course of time, as my skills improved, my knowledge base expanded, and my tastes became more refined, I decided to make a new version. I wanted it to be less cramped, more airy and elegant, and include more technical proficiency. After many test runs and polls of friends, I settled on this:
I really liked this logo (especially the C and the squared off p!), but over the next few weeks I realized that it had one pretty major problem. My brand is "Rachel Miller Calligraphy"... that is my social media tag, my email and website address, my business cards, even my Paypal account. My sweet little logo shouted "CALLIGRAPHY!", but Rachel Miller took a back burner and I felt the logo did not speak to the full business name.
In considering this, I also decided to add "Design" to the business name. The reason for this is quite simple, and it's along the lines of not pigeonholing oneself: I believe that offering digitized work is becoming the industry standard (if it isn't already) for lettering artists, and in the near future I intend to add simple graphic design to my skill set. This will not only afford me the luxury of not having to pay someone else to digitize and vectorize my work (thereby keeping clients' prices lower and lead times shorter), but will also open more doors for me to offer design work from start to finish. (At some point maybe I'll throw "graphic" in there too, just for giggles!)
So I played around some more and came up with what you see now.
I'm sure that, again, as my skills improve and I'm exposed to more of the beautiful world of calligraphy and the creativity it inspires, I'll revamp and redesign and revise my logo many more times. (In fact, I'm quite convinced that an artist is never fully satisfied with their work, so I need to learn to give myself grace.) But for today, I like how far I've come.
Well, it happened. As predicted, I "revamped and redesigned my logo" again, but this time I think it'll stick for a while! So that's a plus, right? Right?
After using the last edition for a while, including a few events where I wrote the logo on a mirror for display, I began to think it was just too long! It was like a mouthful for your eyes... an eyefull? I felt mildly stressed every time I looked at it, and that is NOT a good reaction to one's own business logo!
I considered re-branding altogether, but kept coming back to my original arguments from the beginning of this post. One day, I sat down and sketched a few options just using "Rachel Miller Calligraphy & Design". I landed on something that was essentially a simplified version of my last one, tweaked it a bit, and smiled in satisfaction. Behold:
Yeah, the Y is too close to the ampersand and yada yada yada, but when I look at this one, my eyes find clarity and rest. Which I like. So I think I'm good for a while. This feels right.