Thursday, 15 August 2013

A Shop by Any Other Name...

Now that I have changed my shop name and posted these new banners and the new logo, I can post this story behind the name and logo change - as well as my tips for others planning the same thing.

Several months ago I decided that I wanted to change the name of my Etsy shop to something more general, since I wanted to expand my products beyond just crochet. In particular, I wanted to add wire jewelry and these glass stones that have pictures or words embedded in them.

I started trying to come up with names that would be both original and meaningfully connected to me. I came up with a few, mostly inspired by my field work with hummingbirds a few years ago. Once I had some ideas, I posted on my Facebook page to see what others thought, and I got a few suggestions (one of my friends added Dream Nest to my original poll, and clearly it took off):

I decided that my friends and family were onto something with Dream Nest and decided to start working on logo ideas - and then I got a full time teaching job! For the next few months it was all I could do to keep up with the few orders that came in, and I even had to put my shop on Holiday mode to keep from being overwhelmed. Once summer rolled around I decided to finally get working on this transition to a new name. I started working on some new items in the wire and glass categories, and returned to thinking about a logo.

Back in January I was thinking about using a photograph or a real wire and yarn nest as the basis for my logo, but the reality of making such a nest was much harder than I had imagined, so now I decided to give in an have a graphic designer make me a proper logo. I searched etsy for a likely designer, and found one (StyleGraphicDesign) who would do all the design work first and then only charge when the logo is ready and the customer is happy with it. All at a reasonable price of about $50.

I described what I wanted:

"I'm thinking of a bird's nest, ideally made to look like it's made with wire (silver or coloured) and yarn with round pieces/balls of glass embedded, if that doesn't look too busy. Not sure if I want a bird to be near the nest or not... maybe. If so, it should be a hummingbird in rusty red with a white breast patch (I used to study rufous hummingbirds) - or the silhouette of a hummingbird is probably easier. "

and over a couple of days of back and forth, I was quite pleased with the logo, and went for it. Here is the finished product - nice huh?

There's always a catch...

If you've been following my blog I'm sure you are well aware that nothing ever goes exactly as planned for me, so of course there was a minor hang-up.... I had forgotten to Google the name before finalizing the logo! (In my defence I really thought I had done this back in January... Now I realize that I had searched for the name on Etsy, but not on the rest of the web!) Turns out that if you google "dream nest" or "the dream nest" you get a bunch of real-estate related hits! I guess that makes sense, now that I think of it, but it hadn't occurred to me before. I also tried "dreamy nest" which came up with something called "dreamy nest designs" - clearly I couldn't use this name without confusing my customers and getting folks lost along the way!

If I had only done this crucial google search before finalizing my logo order, it would have been no big deal, just one more edit in the consultation process. But since it was already finalized, I had to request a change to the finished logo, which cost me another $20 - a stupidity tax I guess!
After some more careful web searching and double checking on Etsy, I decided on Dream Nest Creations, which yields much less confusing search results, and is actually more descriptive. I requested the name change from the graphic designer, and after one more round of drafts and feedback, I finally had the logo I had been looking for! I am actually happier with it than with the original, so I guess it was all for the best. Sure is annoying when life catches up with you and gives you a smack upside the head for being silly though!

Next on my to do list before unveiling the new logo and officially changing the name was to make myself some banners and profile pictures for Etsy and Facebook, and all that good stuff. With such a lovely logo to start with, this should be easy, right?

Back when I made my first Etsy banner, I found this post on the Etsy forums about making an Etsy banner with Powerpoint. This appealed to me because I have actually used Powerpoint for formatting and creating layouts that combine images and text before - this is how most academics make their posters for conferences, which I've done three times now, and I've also used it to make snazzy photo collages as well. That's how I made this first Etsy Banner - looks not too bad for a program almost everyone has, huh?

So I tried to do the same process again for the new banner with the shop name and logo - and I realized that no matter what I did, the text came out looking quite bad - look at how pixellated it is!

Actually... I guess it doesn't look that bad here... but at normal size it does look really pixellated, and that was NOT how I wanted to debut my new shop name! Especially after I had spent so much time finding and downloading new fonts so it would look just right.

After some fighting with GIMP (a piece of image editing software I already have, but as it turns out it is not at all intuitive to use), then some Google searches and finally some discussions with some much more graphic-design-savvy friends, someone (thanks Ryan!) suggested that I try a fairly simple editing software tool called Acorn, which has a 14 day free trial, and is WAY more reasonably priced than Photoshop if I end up deciding to buy it in the end.

I downloaded the software one morning, by the end of the same day I had made several versions of a banner that I am much happier with, as well as a Facebook cover photo, profile picture, and an ad for the Handmade Saskatchewan blog. It is actually really nice to use, and I am loving the results. I'm certainly making the most of my free trial, and I may actually break down and buy it when the trial is up.

My new Etsy banner

My new Facebook profile picture

So, after this whole ordeal, I have the following tips to share with the Etsy/Online Shop community:

1 - Google your shop name! Even if you think you did before, make sure you try it again before you finalize a logo!

2 - Ask a nice graphic designer on Etsy to make you a lovely logo. You should be able to get one for about $50, and try to find someone who will do the design and feedback process before you buy. I used StyleGraphicDesign.

3 - Get some cool original fonts rather than using the basic ones everyone has - it will help you stand out. I recommend Google fonts. Plus I love their new preview sentence that includes all the letters of the alphabet: "Grumpy wizards make toxic brew for the evil Queen and Jack" - isn't that way more fun than the old one about a lazy dog and a fox? Once you've downloaded the fonts you will need to install them to be able to use them -

4 - Ask a couple of helpful friends to give you feedback on the fonts and layout - It's hard to be impartial and to choose between all the different versions you have come up with. My friends' feedback has been invaluable.

5 - Choose your editing program - If you have InDesign or PhotoShop and know how to use them, then by all means, use one of them. For the rest of us, I suggest trying Powerpoint (see the tutorial here - but make sure to read at least the first 3 posts as there is a correction), but if it doesn't produce the results you are looking for (text tends to be blurry or pixellated) then I suggest downloading the free trial of Acorn and see how you like it.

I hope this is helpful to some of you out there.

Keep crafting!

PS: If you haven't seen my new shop name in action, you can visit it now - plus for the next month everything in the shop is 10% off - just use the coupon code NEWNAME1

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