Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What Inspires You Wednesday: K.I.S.S.

Keep It Simple Stupid

In between the projects currently on my board, I've been stealing some moments for myself to consider, research and work on re-branding for Bates Mercantile Co.  It's part of our mission for the year. You see, when I began this little etsy shop a little over three years ago, it was really to fill my need for another creative outlet, where I could simply create for creating's sake.  Apparently the universe had other plans and in the past year, I started introducing my design services, something I've been doing with my offline business for nearly 20 years. Lo and behold, it's been receive very well and I've been working with people all over the world. Offering my design services has taken Bates Mercantile Co. in another direction and to another level.  As I opened my shop in a fairly spur-of-the-moment, unplanned, not-much-forward-thinking, shoot-from-the-hip manner, I've run into challenges with my own branding. Isn't it funny how at times, we're the last ones to benefit from our own expertise, talents and skills? But that is indeed the case.

This is what my logo currently looks like. It is simple. It is clean. It does an ok job of speaking to my market, but I don't think it truly reflects my sense of design, what the business has become - a sort of modern mercantile for home and business if you will, or the skill-set I employ on behalf of my clients on a daily basis.


It could be so much more and do so much more to reflect who I am and increase my bottom line.  Yes, people, don't say I never told you that owning a business is not just about how happy you are doing something, it's about the bottom line. We all have bills to pay and things we want to do in life that make our souls sing.  Guess what? That's OK.  And having a health bottom line certainly helps with all of that.

So I've gone back to the drawing board so to speak. I'm considering what I want my entire brand to say, what I want it to reflect, how I want it to feel, where I want it to go, and the story I want it to tell to my ideal market.  I'm working with myself the way I work with my clients (see here and here)- answering questions to create a creative brief which include where I see this business now and the future, my design likes and dislikes, how to build on the foundation already laid in branding Bates Mercantile Co., how to create a logo design and brand that can continue to evolve.  I've done some good groundwork on my re-branding and new design, but I still have a ways to go until it is complete. This time, I want to do things right so that I can maximize the impact of the re-brand.

Looking at all that goes into branding a business, is what keeps leading me back to the simple principle of K.I.S.S.: keep it simple stupid.  As I said, I want to focus on building on what is already present, and make changes that make sense for where I want to go. I want to do it in a way that keeps the design and branding simple, clean and classic.  All of which will help me to create a brand that can truly evolve.

I've been reading up on design (does one ever truly stop learning or craving more information about what they love to do?) and have been finding quotes that really speak to me.  

"A designer knows when he has achieved perfection, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."  - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This is something that really resonates with me at this point in my life.  There is so much going on the world around us that it is often mind boggling. If I can be more judicious in my re-branding design, I think it will serve me well now and in the future. 

When I'm working with clients, I often try to steer them in one direction or another because I think it will serve them the best, but in the end, the final design direction is their decision. The final decision is left to me this time- which of course, can be liberating as well as a little intimidating. I've no reason not to create something I really love, which isn't more complicated than it needs to be, and sets me up for growth and success. 

"Our opportunity, as designers, is to learn how to handle the complexity, rather than shy away from it, and to realize that the big art of design is to make complicated things simple." -Tim Parsey

I've also been searching for and discovering design, in all genres (art, packagin, architecture, photography, etc), that really speaks to me.  Of course I've been pinning some and have created a 'clean design board' on pinterest to gather some of the things that are inspiring me on this re-branding project.
 Modern cozy cabin. clean, simple, straightfoward design and lines used in a NEW WAY
 source: alte sage
March Pantry LOVE

 source: MARCH
 source: Pietro Russo

All of these things are helping me to find the direction and inspiration I need to create something that: #1. builds on the foundation already laid  #2.  I'm ultimately happy with/proud of  #. Can grow with Bates Mercantile Co. #4. speaks to the people who make up my dream market and helps move my business forward  

"The only important thing about design is how it relates to people." -Victor Papanek

What's inspiring you today?

Make it a great day. It's a great day to have. 

Ciao for now,



  1. I wish you luck on your journey to re-brand. I'm thinking of rebranding (again) myself, since I was not totally satisfied with the first (or second) logo.

  2. That's exciting!! The atlas image is the one that most speaks to me - something classic, and speaks of the mercantile also somehow. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your process. and seeing more of your inspiration sources.

    What's inspiring me lately.....bamboo and chalk pastels! Colouring in, and random discoveries. And the sense of possibility....if only I had more time and energy

    1. isn't that book gorgeous? so happ you're creating.

  3. p.s A quote for you to work into a poster...maybe..... thought you might like it.

    “The fires of suffering become the light of consciousness.” — Eckhart Tolle

  4. The 'not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away' quote is one of my favorites. I'm so hard on myself as a client, but... I really appreciate my taste. Haha! Looking at package inspiration is one of my favorite things to do!

    1. I think I should print that one off and put it right above my monitor as a daily reminder.


You comments make my day. Thanks for taking the time to visit Mercantile Muse and for commenting. I really appreciate it. ~Pam

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