River House Studio Brand Development | Skillshare Projects

Heather Peterson

Designer. Artist. Canadian.



River House Studio Brand Development

"Goooooooood Morniiiing, Campers!"

Okay. So, while I'd never start a corporate thing with something like that, I've always wanted to sing out that greeting. I figure, if you can't do that on SkillShare, where can you do that?

In any case, my name is Heather and I'm a designer based in Canada. I'm working on creating a design and marketing studio that specializes in digital and print branding and, as I better figure out how (I'm still experimenting), in creating transmedia stories for brands willing to push the boundaries of classic marketing techniques.

I'm using Faye's Branding Your Creative Business series of classes to help me better walk through the process myself. So, here's what I have so far:


This is my mind dump. I circled quite a few more words than necessary, partly because I'm really bad (when it comes to myself — for some reason I have no problem doing it with clients) at narrowing the field. Still, the major concepts that pull me are these:


creative artist and storyteller who helps clients get their brands organized so they can present ethical and effective images to their target market.


I'm starting with fairly traditional digital and print offerings — brand design, websites with the requisite supports (SEO, social media, content plans, etc.), and business printables. However, my goal is to branch out into transmedia storytelling for brands. That's the heart of what I actually want to do.

(Want a better sense of transmedia? Check out Coca-Cola's content strategy for the next 5 years.)


I want to work primarily in my local region, to start — my city and the surrounding county, perhaps the nearest couple of states in the US (just across the river) — because I think the most effective way to present the transmedia aspects of my business is in person. That said, with the advent of Skype and other such online technologies, I'm not going to outright close myself off to areas beyond my own backyard.


Word-of-mouth is tough to pull off when you're just starting out, so I'll need a strong website, too, with the usual social media and blog channels. However, I'm also thinking I'm going to need to get involved in a couple of small business and/or entrepreneur associations, and investigate the viability of advertising in local media to potential business clients. And I'm pretty sure, partly as a way to validate and prove my own product, I'm going to need to work up my own transmedia campaign, too.




I haven't gotten to the point of mood boards, yet. Ironically enough, given I'm a designer, I'm often better with words when I'm in the earlier stages of a project than I am with visuals. In any case, I'm not entirely certain how to capture these client brainstorms in a mood board. So, I've created the descriptive key cards, instead. Perhaps I'll add mood boards later.






I'm still working through how the brand questionnaire will help me come up with the shorter mission statement, though it's certainly helpful to get a sense of how the brand connects to who I am. I'm torn, truthfully. In my head, I have a certain image of a successful, national marketing brand. But, I'm not really much for toeing the corporate line. That's why I'm freelance, after all! I think I want something marginally more casual than the image in my head. More like "coming home" than "going to work", although there's no question there's work involved.

I spent a lot of my early career in government and NGOs. That's given me something of a stiffness, I think, when it comes to business language. (I'm really good at "corp-speak".) I want to break things down and be a little more fun, a little more casual, but without sacrificing the perception of quality.

This is, actually, seen in the brands I admire. Photojojo is awesome, playful, and friendly. They stick toy dinosaurs in every order they ship, and send messages to their customer as if they were the "goodies" that were ordered. (So, effectively, the new camera lens you ordered writes you a letter to say, "Hey! I'm on my way, and I can't wait!" It's just cool.) Amazon is focussed on a great customer experience that extends to the content creators and other sellers it partners with. And Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz is never anything but herself — fun, rough-edges included.

Work hard, play hard... 


Actually coming up with a brand statement of any sort is, so far, the hardest step of this whole class, I've found. I'm not sure that "storytelling solutions" will be easily understood by potential clients, which means I'll have to spend some time on education. But, perhaps that's the first "story" I should try to tell as part of my own transmedia storytelling campaign, eh?




Morgan Creek Productions has this really nifty stylized creek in their logo that I quite like. Meanwhile, The Wilderness Society has this great logo that combines a sense of mountains, rivers, and trees in a compact, stylized fashion that I really love. It even shrinks down to make an identifiable favicon for the browser tab. The way the words are integrated into the bottom of the logo is also a technique I've always quite liked. I'd like to see a logo that emulates a lot of that.





'Nuff said.

For now. :D


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