It’s great to have clients you enjoy and projects you’re excited about – it’s even better when those projects take you to Key West, Fl. Last week, we spent 3 days in Key West; meeting with a current client & kicking off a discovery session with a new one. We spent the weekend hearing about the future of their companies as well as new and exciting projects that are on the horizon. I’ll give you a hint: cuban coffee & a boutique hotel.
Inspiration for the new branding projects comes from everything – color, texture, experiences, culture and time spent immersed in the environment. We spent our time hearing the stories behind the projects, exploring remote islands, drinking tons of coffee, smoking cigars & taking lots and lots of photos.
Enjoy a first hand look of our time in Key West and get a feel for the places that drive and inspire us everyday!
Thanks for hanging out with us – to see more travels, follow us on instagram or facebook and tag us @heliumcreative!
It’s official! The new + improved website for helium inspires is live.
A new twist on a good thing, the new site showcases our non-profit in a brand new, awesome looking light.
In 2014, helium creative’s President + Creative Director, Christopher, founded helium inspires as his way of inspiring kids through creative exploration and discovery. Three years later, helium inspires has grown to be a non-profit with one very important mission – to inspire creativity by allowing kids to do what they do best – be kids.
Through donations + volunteer work, helium inspires bring the arts to schools and organizations who otherwise may not have the means or budget to facilitate creative projects. In simple terms, we show up with tons of crayons, construction paper, paint + more to put a bunch of smiles on a bunch of faces knowing that art can transform a child’s life for the best.
Ryan, our Art Director, took the lead at the website redesign by first defining + writing the organization’s new messaging. With that all set, he broke up our core message with event pictures. For more than 1 year now, we’ve been partnering with Croissant Park Elementary bringing art projects to classrooms of all grade levels. Through all these projects we’ve accumulated a great amount of heart-warming and smile-inducing pictures. We put them all to work on this new site putting the kids front and center. After all, this all about the kids!
We thought Ryan was done, but he felt something was missing. This is why it’s SO important to step back from your design and give it some breathing room. Ryan had that light bulb moment and realized the 1 thing missing from the website design was – the art! He put paint splatter to paper, scanned + digitized it, and added it as the background to all the areas that used to be white. The result is SO cool!
We also re-launched the helium inspires coin project. Make inspiration contagious by nominating somebody to receive a coin/token of inspiration. Once they log the coin into the website you can watch how the coin hops all over spreading inspiration like wildfire.
Now, go check the site out! And once you’re there, sign up to volunteer, nominate a school, donate or participate in the inspired coin project.
Follow our helium inspires adventures on Facebook!
P.S. We just HAVE to share this sweet letter from one of the students at Croissant Park Elementary. Not only did it melt our hearts, it serves as a testament to how important it is to inspire creativity in our future generations.
One of the key components to a successful brand development project is a company’s website. It represents the brand in the digital space and these days it seems like people spend more time online than in the real world. A website is often the first impression you make with a potential client. And as we all know, you need to make a great first impression. One that makes an impact, accurately reflecting your brand and compelling the visitor to investigate more or even better, make contact.
When clients come to us for brand development we often recommend they invest in a teaser website. A site representative of their new brand direction, one that communicates an accurate brand story + begins to create the overall brand experience we’re working towards.
After deciding on a brand direction, a teaser website can be developed rather quickly, while a full website usually takes months. It can be as simple as sending us a phrase or your mission to get the ball rolling and we’ll create the remainder of the story. With minimal collateral a company can begin communicating their brand story/message online. An outdated website representing a business will result in mixed messages in the initial re-branding phase. Or if they’re new to the marketplace, they may have no online presence at all. That’s like not existing in today’s world and may end up costing the company clients.
A business wanting to target a new audience can start speaking to their desired market with an on-brand teaser website. An off-brand site will continue to attract the clientele they are trying to avoid and possibly repel those they wish to communicate with. Communicating the wrong message online is like wearing jeans to a job interview. We all know that person is not getting the job, even in oh-so-casual Florida. The right image is vital to getting off on the right foot. Only then can you walk together towards building a relationship and creating that one-of-a-kind experience.
The teaser site sets the tone of the brand + drives the design for the full website. Imagery + copy will be repurposed to maintain consistent messaging. Investing in a teaser website is like putting a deposit and getting actual product instead of having to wait for the fully finished product. A client also has a visual representation of what their brand looks + sounds like. Learning to speak their new brand language and selecting imagery for content marketing + social media is a vital component in a successful brand/product launch.
Business relationships are like dating, and we all know that a bit of intrigue keeps your potential romantic partner interested. You notice they’re checking out your Facebook page, sending a random text here and there, wondering when you’re seeing each other again. The teaser site is that little bit of mystery that will eventually reveal the whole enchilada. In the interim people will check back every so often to see if more content has been added; if the full site, the full story is available. And that’s when you know they’re hooked. 😉
The teaser site gives us time to gather + create the assets for the full website while maintaining a consistent brand image. Once we have the assets, we develop the sitemap, wireframe, home page, inner page, and finally the complete website, which then goes to programming and internal testing. When the site passes our QC, we send the client a test link for final approval. The client visits the site, checking all the links and animations. Once they approve the site, it goes live, smoothly transitioning from teaser site to full website. And most importantly, maintains a consistent + impactful brand experience.
For more design, brand development + inspiration follow @heliumcreative on Instagram.
We recently shared about the process of creating the brand for Backpacks.com.
It is absolutely no secret that we fell in love with this project from the get-go. Now that the site is live and ready for your shopping pleasure [seriously, get out your credit card – so worth it], we are doing a little Part Deux and walking through the design process of the Backpacks.com website. We set out to create an online experience for a company with plans to dominate the backpack category space. Oh, and they are doing just that.
When shopping for a bag, the primary motivator is an actual functional need. Whether it’s a way to carry a laptop, school supplies or hiking gear – our approach to categorize the backpacks by lifestyle set the tone for a focused + seamless online shopping experience. Active, Outdoor, Fashion, Everyday, Business, and Student categories became opportunities to offer color identifiers to the brand experience. An easy way for the shopper to immediately identify what they’re looking for.
Colors were selected based on their category relation. Business, for example, is a rich blue to convey trust and professionalism. Active is red, vibrant, and heated. Outdoor is a deep forest green. The color tonality remains rich to compliment a sophisticated brand while communicating an exciting journey.
Our primary objective was to set the bar for online backpack retailers, ensuring backpacks.com owns the space. Custom lifestyle photography is woven throughout to support the brand story, look and feel. Product imagery is unobtrusively dispersed to promote sales without overwhelming the customer. We subtly showcase featured backpack brands through photography, hover options, and specific brand pages as well.
The Life Journey concept is the foundation of the Backpacks.com brand. A video produced by our partners, The Guild 5 Forty Five, opens the website communicating the story of the unique lifestyle of different life travelers – hikers, businessmen, parents, children, teenagers, skateboarders, surfers. In the end, they are a large market sect with one common thread – they each have the perfect backpack for their lifestyle.
We are thrilled to introduce you to the e-commerce website of Backpacks.com!
For more website design, brand development + inspiration follow @heliumcreative.com.
We were pretty psyched when we were contacted to create the brand development + website design for the next major e-commerce brand + website for backpacks; a lifestyle brand to stand behind the name Backpacks.com.
We equated this brand development project to our favorite coffee brand. When someone wants coffee, it is known that a Starbucks run is on the horizon, without thought of going anywhere else. Not that cute cafe around the corner. Not even that old donut shop, I mean, Dunkin’ Donuts. Sorry double D.
When consumers think ‘backpack’ we wanted them to think Backpacks.com. The company got started on the right foot, seeing they owned the domain backpacks.com. With this strong foundation, helium had a solid platform to position the concept, create the story, define strategy, design the identity, set a tone for photography + videography, coordinate copy writing, then design the website. Backpacks.com was off to become the next big lifestyle brand with a tailored online experience and curated selection of backpacks to carry on your journey through life.
During our discovery meeting, a Backpacks.com team member told us his backpack was like a best friend. It traveled the world with him, carrying his most prized possessions. The necessities of life, the things he did not pack in a suitcase for fear of losing them.
The Backpacks.com story and its audience began to shape like the congealing of jello in the refrigerator. Nice use of simile, huh? We realized the root of this brand is the relationship a person has with their backpack. Throughout life transitions the one constant, the one continuous resource along the way is a backpack. Always there for the adventure; to support and carry the load so you can enjoy the ride. More than a backpack, it’s a companion for life-travelers.
Once the narrative was composed, the brand strategy fell into place. We positioned Backpacks.com as a brand for life-travelers seeking the perfect backpack to accompany their journey. Backpacks.com offers a curated selection of top brand products through an online tailored customer experience.
Backpacks.com is a timeless brand set to stand strong as the top online backpack retail experience. A refined brand emphasizing the idea that a backpack accompanies you along the journey through life, from childhood to adulthood.
Naturally the identity followed these footsteps. The logo was designed to pay homage to the patch found on so many backpacks throughout history. A functional design element one thinks of as inherent to the traditional backpack, this diamond shape became our icon. The goal was to own the backpacks space, so why not own the symbol associated with it. We paired the logo with: Along For The Journey. This tagline speaks to our initial story that the backpack is with your on your journey through life, it is the constant accessory that ‘has your back’. And the Backpacks.com brand is with you on that journey.
We drew visual inspiration from all over. A mood board was created to dictate future brand photography, the overall brand mood and style, color palette, language and typography.
With six lifestyle categories, we identified each with a corresponding name and color. The intention was to keep the color tonality sophisticated with the brand while speaking to the individual category. The Outdoor sector, for example, was assigned a deep green to resonate the feeling of nature.
Taking a cinematic photographic approach to visually tell the story of the Backpacks.com lifestyle, we asked our photography + videography team, The Guild Five 45, to make the audience feel as if they are watching a film, peering into intimate life moments. The tone is timeless with a sense of wanderlust + nostalgia. Gray, desaturated cool undertones juxtapose vibrant warmth for visual and verbal imagery that is cinematic. The images below are from the photoshoot for the Backpacks.com brand + website.
In the end, we crafted a unique, curated e-commerce brand experience designed to support a brand with aspirations of dominating the online backpack category, a brand competing with the likes of Amazon.com + Ebags.com. Strategy, identity, still imagery + video, and website design = a brand development + design project we are mighty proud of.
For more design, inspiration + brand development follow @heliumcreative on Instagram, Facebook + Twitter.