I’m so excited to tell you all about Elevate, the mentoring programme I’ve been taking part in and led by the brilliant Fiona Humberstone, an inspiring brand consultant, author and visionary entrepreneur. To start with a bit of background… when I was rebranding my own business last year, I found both of Fiona’s books “Brand Brilliance” and “How To Style Your Brand” so useful in understanding and articulating the magic in my business, who I am, what I do, and how I can best help my clients. So, when Fiona created this programme specifically for brand designers to elevate our work, nail our portfolios and refine our skills, it was an opportunity that I wasn’t going to pass up.
I have learnt so much over the past six weeks… it’s been incredible. My process and approach has gone to a whole other level and I’m already creating more intentional, valuable and commercially impactful work for my clients. I’m able to confidently take my client’s brief, take it even further than they thought possible, and ensure that each and every element of the brand identity has the clarity, meaning, thought and care that it deserves.
I’ve seen the power of intentional design, colour psychology and owning your unique style, and the positive effects that this can have on your business. By knowing exactly who you’re talking to, and understanding what sets you apart, you can more effectively communicate with your dream customers, elevate your message and be the only possible choice for them. You can more effectively cut through the noise in our increasingly chaotic world, by finding your unique voice and knowing what you do better than anyone else. And with a considered approach to colour, typography, visual style and imagery, you’re able to create the right impact and expectations, and be remembered for the right reasons. You can charge what you’re worth, and can position yourself as an expert for a focused niche. It’s so powerful.
This programme has given me the confidence to make branding the main offering within my business. Working with my clients, and going through this process with Fiona has really shown me the power of having solid brand foundations in place before starting on your website, and I’m so excited to hone in further on this concept, by starting with my client’s brand first, and their website second. I’m feeling empowered and inspired for how this is going to grow my business in a way that works for both me and my clients.
In Fiona’s words, “Elevate is a six week mentoring programme for brand designers committed to excellence. It’s for entrepreneurs ready to take themselves, their business and their brand design seriously.” A quick run down of how it works is that every two weeks, Fiona releases three briefs, I’d choose the one that inspires me the most or that I think most suits where my business is headed, and then create a brand identity for that particular brief. At the end of each week, I’d submit the work from that week and Fiona would feedback based on nailing the brief, having an inspired vision and creating a brand identity with flair and exquisite attention to detail. Throughout the programme, I treated Fiona as though she was a real life client… so deadlines were never missed, presentation was key, and communication was everything.
The deadlines were extremely tight. I’d managed to move a few projects around to make space to be able to focus on Elevate, but six days to create a brand identity is a pretty intense turnaround by all accounts. And yet, I grew to love the pressure, which required me to have ultimate clarity on the brief from the client before starting on any of the creative work, allowing me to run with an inspired vision, and making sure I didn’t overthink things too much. It showed me how much I can achieve within a week when I’m truly inspired and motivated. Upon receiving the briefs, I’d choose the one that most suited my creative flair, ruminate on it for a while, and then start immersing myself in the industry that the brief was for. Only once I was absolutely clear on what the business was all about, what they stood for, what their uniqueness was, and what impact they needed to create did I start on the creative elements. It’s so important to have this strategy and clarity behind a brand in order to create the right impact.
Throughout the programme, I created three brand identities:
- BREEN - An immersive hotel, rooted in nature, on the edge of one of Norway’s most awe inspiring fjords.
- Jasper Khatari - A timeless tailoring brand for the high flyers and big thinkers of the world.
- The Litvinjov Academy - A ballet, contemporary dance and performing arts school which nurtures and guides exceptional talent.
I’ve planned in more blog posts taking you behind the scenes of each project and how I approached them, so keep your eyes peeled for those!
Fiona’s art direction and mentoring have helped me to build my confidence, refine my skills, create more intentional design choices, develop clearer visions for each and every brand that I work on, and ultimately, given me the permission to run and grow my business in a way that suits my unique style, approach and creative flair. I feel so empowered and ready for this next evolution of my business following this programme and I’ve never felt so inspired for what’s next. The learnings throughout the programme have been immense. It’s been one of the best investments I’ve ever made in my business.
One of my favourite parts of the programme was seeing all of the incredible work that the other 19 designers created for each brief, and seeing how we each created brand identities that suited the brief, but in our own unique styles and way of approaching the project. I loved how Fiona continually added timely and relevant content to the course based on common themes she was seeing in our work, as well as having access to interviews where Fiona gave her valuable insight on numerous topics such as nailing the brief, vision and excellence, and presenting with flair. It felt amazing to be part of a community of like-minded people, all with a common goal to elevate our businesses and brand design skills. It can be pretty lonely running a company of one, so I’ve loved connecting with the other designers and sharing in the journey together with them too. Fiona’s signature lovely things in the mail, being featured in blog posts on her website and in Instagram posts, as well as receiving the “star baker award” (Great British Bake Off fans will know!) in the final weeks of the process were delightful moments that certainly didn’t go unnoticed.
I hear that Fiona is doing another Elevate programme in January, so if you’re a brand designer, bookings open on Monday 11 November 2019. It’s been one of the best investments I’ve ever made in my business and I wholeheartedly recommend it. This isn’t an affiliate post, just my personal opinion and thoughts on what has been an incredible time for me and my business.
And if you’re an entrepreneur ready to create an intentional brand that’s aligned with where your business is headed for 2020 and beyond, I’d love to hear from you!