Soul Flower is an apparel and gifts brand of ethically-produced and eco-friendly goods. The company is a small business, founded in 1999 by a husband and wife team in Minnesota. They started as a retail shop and drew their own first logo. That colorful flower logo was used at the store until closing in 2004, and online thereafter.
The logo and wordmark had been altered throughout the years, but nothing that strayed too far from the original hand-drawn flower. The logo has a personal history to the owners, but they ultimately decided it doesn’t fully represent the company they are now. So in 2016 we completely revamped it.
Our mission was to elevate the Soul Flower brand while keeping a nod to the company’s history and roots. Soul Flower started as a boutique carrying funky hippie goods, but over the years have committed to manufacturing environmentally-friendly and ethically-made items only. They evolved from selling bohemian goods at music festivals to creating product lines that are Fair Trade Certified or USA-made, using high-end materials like G.O.T.S. Certified organic cotton.
We wanted branding that looked professional and modern, and that would better reflect the high-quality, sustainable goods that Soul Flower produces today. The logo and wordmark also needed to be versatile enough to be applied to a wide range of surfaces, including garment tags and labels, hang tags, the existing website storefront, and all printed and digital marketing materials.
I worked with a team to define the creative direction, and then I designed the logo, drew the wordmark, and updated all branded print items. I created and documented new brand standards for everyone in the company to follow.
We completed the branding refresh project entirely in-house. The art printed on Soul Flower clothing is also created internally, so it was important to the owners that we do our own re-brand, too.
The logo itself started with discussions with the owners and branding team. We started by creating a customer persona; someone we could create for. We defined what Soul Flower is and the qualities we want to express to our retail and wholesale customers and the world.
We referenced the history of Soul Flower logos and stakeholders created a wishlist of what the logo should encompass. Together, we decided that instead of just a literal drawing of a flower, we wanted to capture the idea of “letting your soul flower”, a key phrase used in marketing.
Working from this concept, I sketched on paper to construct a logo with a strong composition and symbolism we wanted: circles, petals, plants, sun, interconnectedness, symmetry, and balance.
It was important to the owners that all employees be given the chance to offer feedback about the new logo before we finalized it, so we presented a few options and asked everyone for their thoughts and feedback.
The final design has roots in the original Soul Flower logo, but with an elevated and modern spin. Instead of using a typeface for the wordmark, I drew the letters by hand. This helped add a “hand made” quality that balances with the super clean lines of the badge, and reflects the creativity of the art on Soul Flower products.
We rolled out the new logo on all branded items, including catalogs, garment tags, on the web, and on social. I updated and completed new brand standards, which are documented in an internal wiki site and followed to this day.