Behind The Brand: The Opposite of Being in Front of the Scenes
Lights off old Brllnt, lights on new brllnt.
Melanie Charlton (MC): We started off as Brilliant Collaborations and decided to shorten it to Brllnt on the belief that good design takes the minimum needed to communicate. We took out the vowels and made the L’s an illumination device.
Galen Lawson (GL): Once it was decided we were going to do a brand refresh, I took the philosophy behind the original Brllnt logo and pushed the idea further.
MC: Get nerdy about it, Galen. Typographically, what did you do to the logo?
GL: There’s only so much you can do to letters before they’re not letters any more. You can take a quarter of a circle away, part of a “b”, chop an “r” and still recognize it because it joins in the middle.
With the “n”, I took away the left side so it didn’t look like the “r”. I increased the x-height to fill out space and give it some air. Started with a lowercase “b” to balance it out.
We took out the unnecessary and let the most powerful elements do the talking. I think that says something about the Brllnt brand.
Color Me Like One Of Your French Girls
MC: Color was an exploration of epic proportions.
GL: We talked about: what is a brilliant color? And BAM! Something that looks like a highlighter.
MC: We got out the Pantone book and looked at their brights, which are brilliant colors. Literally brilliant.
GL: Then from there we started adding on colors.
MC: And we realized, “ok this might be a little too garish,” so then we asked ourselves, how do we preserve the essence of the existing brand, the teals, the tones that we all do like, but expand on it? We added this neon pink that became our main color, but realized a lot of other brands were in that same space and we felt it was trending girly. We didn’t want to hit people over the head with “women-owned!” — even though we are 100% women-owned and we’re proud of it. We worked a lot on the color palette to get a palette of eight colors.
GL: We ended up taking the bright and darker teal from the original palette.
Cameron Ridenour (CR): The great thing you guys did with the palette is that all the colors work with each other. Every combination makes duo tones, which is really hard to do.
GL: That’s my favorite part. I’ve never seen a color palette like it before, it’s pretty great.
[MC takes a bow.]
MC: It was a collaborative effort.
GL: You’re the go-to for colors.
MC: I love my colors.
GL: Whenever it’s color palette time, I’m like “I’m going to leave this on Mel’s desk and I’ll be back later to see what she’s got.”
MC: I’ve got that painterly background. Literally mixing colors to figure out what the actual undertones are. I mix them in my mind. My brain paints. They just live in there and I summon them when necessary.
Website Magic In A Hat
CR: It started in our full team brainstorming session with this concept of Marketing = Design. And the equal sign looks like the L’s in Brllnt. That informed the website because we got the idea to make the homepage function so you could type in anything to see a different gif. Like: Everything is Design is Marketing is… Cheese. Anything you make is marketing.
MC: And it’s design. There’s a form factor, size, a weight, all the things.
CR: We took it to the next level with the website by making everything fit on one screen and be linear. So the website in and of itself is infinite. You can cycle through it theoretically forever. If you want. If you’re into that.
MC: We had a conversation about how all websites are the same with blocks of content stacked on top of one another. So we asked ourselves, how do we use the space of the internet and differentiate ourselves?
GL: I think you had a mobius strip going at one point.
CR: It’s different. And it’s designed to translate to mobile very well. I think we did a great job of making it work.
MC: You did a great job.
CR: We all did.
MC: But mostly you.
GL: We talked a lot about who’s coming to the website and what do we want to tell them. The assumption was that people know what marketing is so we don’t totally have to educate them so we could focus on being and presenting ourselves.
MC: It’s what it feels like to work with us. It’s fun, it’s quirky, it’s a little bit weird. People don’t want to just read for days on a site. So we made it simple and engaging, and scattered some Easter eggs in there.
CR: And if you want to read for days, you can go to our Medium page!
MC: Because it’s a Medium where people go to read.
It’s A Brand In A Box
MC: Materials was like a six-month process, figuring out what our identity package was going to be and where we were going to print it.
GL: By Halloween, we had one iteration and by the time it was Thanksgiving the Brllnt brand was something else entirely.
MC: We ordered the cards in April. But we did design kind of a Rolls-Royce. And I do mean specifically price-wise.
CR: What kind of car would that have bought?
GL: A car with a dye-cut.
CR: You could buy like a Kia.
GL: You’d think we had spec’d some sort of aqueous coating like Yak fur from Tibet with truffles ground up.
MC: With an extraction from the horn of the only white rhino left in the world.
CR: This is what happens when you let designers do what they want. So we went with a much cheaper alternative.
MC: We picked out Plike — plastic-like paper. It felt really nice, velvety, synthetic, and rubbery.
GL: Like, if Prince had a business card, it would have been this Plike stuff.
MC: And we decided to go with our trusty Moo. Soft touch.
GL: Then you just went ahead and BAM! You had a design for a box ready.
CR: And then ordered it. You came to me and were like “here I made a box thing” and I was like “cool” and you were like “good because I ordered a ton of them.”
MC: I couldn’t take it anymore so I just made the box. And then we had so many boxes.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Pictures
CR: The first photoshoot was an awful failure because we didn’t have the things we needed. For our team photos, as agencies do for their company website, we tried to have a photoshoot in front of the two long LED lights that are our logo. illumination. Brllnt. Also because I didn’t have the time to think about it, we took those suckers to the green screen and were like, everyone get in front of it let’s see what happens.
GL: I was like “woah, these lights are taped to the floor.”
CR: The picture quality was really bad because we needed more lights — and an actual photographer. When you want something done right, pay a professional to do it. So we called our buddy Elliott O’Donovan and he worked us into a photo shoot quickly. We’ve worked with him in the past and he makes us laugh so we knew it was the way to go.
MC: And we were all in there, doing our thing, and then Cam jumped, and then Galen jumped.
CR: I was trying to do my N’SYNC thing.
GL: We were all trying to do some version of emoting. And it worked.
MC: Shout out to Lightning Fruit for bringing Cam’s website dreams to life.
GL: The country’s about to fall in love with Brllnt. That’s pretty much guaranteed. So we have to prepare for this.
CR: I definitely thought you were going to say, fall apart.