Refresh & Re-Design with Restraint: SheLa Boutique Branding

It's no secret that RDQLUS CREATIVE is a fan of style & fashion, regardless of the target gender or demographic. The identities, branding, marketing, and of course the products themselves are all something that resonates in the RC camp. So when RDQLUS was approached by She•La—a well-known, high-end women's boutique with a loyal following—for a re-design of their identity, I jumped at the opportunity. But therein was the rub; refreshing a brand with a loyal following always makes me take a step back and ask, "Is this necessary?" Indeed it was, but not in a destructive manner, so on what vector would I approach this problem and offer the proper solution?

The most important thing was to modernize the look, but not by throwing the previous identity away in lieu of something totally new, nor by gaudily adding more "look" to the mark and brand. In this case there were simple things that I believed would keep the loyal following almost unaware of any major changes, yet drawn in even deeper to the brand by enhancing their connection to it.

 

top: previous logo, bottom: newly refreshed mark

The approach revealed itself, starting with very simple changes. First, we established a relationship with one person, one voice in the shop to avoid having too many cooks in the proverbial kitchen. Not that all opinions in the shop didn't matter, but streamlining the communication would help the work flow better. Through this, I found that the staff had planned to use reusable woven nylon bags in an effort to be a bit "green" and have a cost savings on ordering bulk disposable bags. That was the only major initiative but that revealed the second change which was pivotal; the identity needed to be cleaned up, simplified. It initially had an illustrated lady with a shopping bag and French subtitling. It just needed to be the name—boldy stated, purposefully and confidently positioned. The logo to that point was a simple, typeset wordmark. I reset the type with much tighter spacing, losing all of the extra non-essential parts for a more succinct, strong look, but "losing" nothing in brand recognition.

 

From there, the appointed brand manager—the very smart and talented, Jaime Chamberlain—and I worked together to rollout stationery, stickers for binding the tissue-paper wrapping of items, and (2) reusable bags with high carry-around visibility that will have people noticing and asking, "who, what and where is She•La?"

The full reveal came as I was sitting in the neighborhood Starbucks, having a coffee and waiting to have a meeting with a potential client. In walk a couple of cute older ladies, giddy from their recent shopping excursion… to She•La. They waved the bags about, dug into them carefully as they showed off their wares, re-packed them with care and set them beside their chairs as if to put the name of their favorite boutique on display. Yeah, we liked this—very much.