Brand Development

Nathan, as luck would have it, happened to be a graphic design student for a year in college. He’s a great artist (one of the many things I love about him) so after I officially started my photography business, he got out a sketch pad and started sketching logo ideas with me. I knew I wanted something that suggests the natural world since I love the outdoors, and that used my name. First I said, how about a logo that incorporates the business’s initials – HBP – and that somehow connects the letters with the silhouette of a mountain?

Okay, good start… I also like the idea of using a globe, since I am a globe trotter and many of my fine art images are from around the world.

Hmm, okay, well what about one that uses the letters H, B, and P somehow embedded into a mountain range? 

Nathan’s take on my rough sketch (bottom, above) was the image in the middle, with the squares suggesting photos. The one at the top – of the tree – was his own unique idea. I scanned all of these ideas, and sent them off to our friend Ryan Rabbas, who is a graphic designer in Las Vegas.

Ryan immediately rejected the “globe” concept – he said as a rule he never creates logos with globes because it is so overdone and not unique at all as a brand. I appreciated his honesty. We further decided that the mountain/square image was too complex and that we needed something simpler, more recognizable. And the HBP design wouldn’t work because it wasn’t immediately recognizable as a photography business. We all liked Nathan’s tree concept, especially because my maiden name, Baumann, is derived from the word for “tree” in German: “baum.”  So, Nathan went back to the drawing board to create additional concepts, and came up with this:

About this time, we got bad news from Ryan – he had been diagnosed with lymphoma – at 30 years old. He wouldn’t be able to complete my logo because he was immediately beginning chemo. We found this out the same weekend that Nathan and I got engaged, and his bad news occurring simultaneously with our good news put life into perspective. 

I sent all of the sketches, and all of the ideas to my high school friend Chris Copley, who runs a graphic design business from her home in Tennessee. Her company, 4108 Designs, makes custom photo cards for all occasions. She’s an extremely talented – and incredibly FAST – designer, and she ran with our ideas, first creating this version of Nathan’s rainbow tree sketch:

I wasn’t a fan of the rainbow color scheme. Also, I wanted the more natural looking tree versus the block-ish design above. 

Finally, we settled on all lower case letters and the color scheme of lime, black and white. 

The final step was creating a watermark that I could use on my online images and blog. Chris lifted the tree from the logo and we reduced the size of the file so it would work as a watermark. 

And that’s the story of how a brand was born. 🙂 Thanks to Chris and Ryan and Nathan for their stellar contributions! Oh, and BTW, Ryan is healthy today – he kicked his lymphona’s butt! We are so happy for him and thankful he’s okay. Thanks, team.



About Holly Baumann Photography

I am Holly Baumann Ambuehl, a commercial and portrait photographer based in Central Illinois. My blog posts feature client work, but I just love to write, so I also write about owning a business, food and drink, travel, and my personal life! I am always honored when clients trust me to capture their vision, and equally so when my readers converse with me about what I've photographed or expressed here. I hope we'll have an opportunity to collaborate professionally and/or become friends. I'd love to hear what you think! - Holly
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