Currently, Kat Mariaca Studio features three card, gift & art print collections. When I decided to introduce the studio, one of my biggest decisions was whether I'd open with just one collection and then slowly introduce the others, or whether I'd go for it and release them all at once.
There are a lot of pros and cons behind each of these decisions. The biggest was whether I'd have the time and energy needed to commit to each brand and whether I could juggle three distinct collections.
Another biggie - for me at least - was if I could stand releasing just one at a time. I'm not someone who can put something exciting on hold.
In the end, I decided to compromise. Instead of rolling out all six of my collections at once, I decided to open with three. Yes, it's true, I have three other collections waiting in the wings which I'll begin to roll out later in 2017.
The funny thing about this decision is that the three collections I decided to open my new studio with were in no way the three I began with when, years ago, I began designing card lines for myself.
The decision to sideline my original card collections - Taken Literally, Wife As, and Alli's Fair - wasn't easy. After all, I've spent years playing with these lines, jotting down story ideas, sketching out illustrations, rounding them out. But I had been writing/illustrating them for my own amusement. I hadn't been thinking of them in terms of greeting cards and gifts. Eventually, I had to accept that they'll need total over-hauls, both in story and in visual design.
My three current collections - Postal Notes Greetings, Let's Pretend Laugh-Out-Loud Story Cards, and Sage Street Greetings - were all designed, bottom up as cards, with the option to expand into gifts and art prints. And because I feel that each is distinct and strong, the option of introducing them all at once made the most sense to me.
I've learned a lot along the way, especially since I've been moving into wholesale so that my cards, gifts and art prints can be found in shops and boutiques around the country. One important lesson was that I had to figure out a way to express each brand's identity within Kat Mariaca Studio, but in such a way so that each could shine - and would be recognized - on its own.
Up until today, each brand had its own font, its own colors, its own message and its own overall design. What each lacked, however, was its own logo. Today I'd like to introduce you to the logos for each collection, and to point out some of the reasoning behind each of the elements.
Postal Notes Greetings is my flagship collection. It is bright and colorful, fun and funky, snarky and suggestive. Its name suggests a lot of things: going postal, post-it notes (I use a million of them a year), and snail mail being the three biggies in my mind.
Because Postal Notes doesn't take itself too seriously, it couldn't have a serious logo. I think that the hand-drawn mail box and flag express the line's silly side, while its hand-drawn font tells you that it is down-to-earth, accessible and cheerful. The colors are fun takes on the colors of the U.S. Postal Service, which happen to be the same colors as the U.S. flag. Go figure.
Let's Pretend (it didn't happen) is a line that makes fun of itself. It exposes the stupid things we (people) do and say that we wish everyone would forget we ever did or said. But, because these are exceptionally stupid events, you know from the start that they will forever be seared into people's memories.
Each Let's Pretend card is a story, which is why I call them Story Cards (pretty clever, right?). And they're funny. If you can get past some of the story lines. So the logo had to let the viewer know right off the bat that this collection is a little off-kilter, not at all serious and willing to laugh at itself (notice the wry smile hidden in the design?) The black splotch background represents the feeling of "aaaaaaaaarghhhh, did I just do that?" that the collection exposes.
Sage Street Greetings is the most serious of my collections. At least it tries to be. It plays with words and on words. It offers up alternate definitions of life events, new ways of viewing things. It's not shy about addressing things like addiction, death, and divorce. But it is equally up to the task of discussing baby poop and how a new puppy can destroy your house, if not your marriage.
Because Sage Street Greetings - Real Cards for Real Life - deals with some uncomfortable, and even painful, life events, its design had to be more serious. Its gray oval background, the soft sage color of the hand-drawn-but-still-pretty font, and the sage leaf itself all offer up a more serious mien than the logos of my other two collections. But then there is what I call the "fleur" (French for "flower" but by no means ooh-la-la).
You'll see the fleur (or a variation thereof) in a lot of my Postal Notes designs. Hell, you'll see it on the back of each and every one of my cards, no matter which collection you are looking at. It says fun and whimsical and hand-drawn. And it adds a pop of color to anything I wan to add color to.
When I was thinking about these three logos, I knew I needed to find an element that would bind all three together, one that would tie into the whole Kat Mariaca Studio theme. And it really couldn't have been anything but the fleur because I use that element on the back of all my cards.
It's also a great filler in my catalog in all the spaces I didn't want to leave a big white area. Just pointing that out.
So now you're in the know. You've seen my new logos, have read a bit about the hows and whys and wherefores of their designs. And I hope you like them.
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