My brand identity was overshadowed by grief

My dad was diagnosed with cancer in January 2017.

My dad died on December 1st, 2018, the day after my 30th birthday.

I created my business brand identity design around 3 weeks after that.

I launched my business in January, 2019.

I’m not callous. It might seem that way, but I found focusing on a creative and professional project to be a good distraction from the waves of grief that surged over me.  My dads death was a pivotal moment that prompted me to reflect on what I had the emotional capacity for and how I wanted to spend my days.  After working as a social worker for 6 years it was time to switch gears (I still practice as a social worker, but on a casual basis). 

Recently, I noticed that although I was loving the work I was doing with my clients I was feeling distant and unenthusiastic about the overall feel for my brand identity.  I was avoiding my Facebook page. I wasn’t enjoying creating content with my themes. To be honest, my overall online presence was lacking.  It was only when I was creating a colour palette for someone else that I scrolled down and glimpsed at the palettes I had initially created for my brand identity.  It was bleak.  While I love a good dark moment, it’s not the feeling I portray as a person or what I would want for my brand to portray.  I looked at the fonts I had chosen and it was the same thing: dark and unyielding.  That’s how my grief was, too.   

Here are my initial designs:

Brand logotype reading “Big Hello Social Co.” in a bold, black font.
Colour palette from left to right: white, grey-pink, soft grey, dark navy blue, and black.

“At first, we have no choice but to think almost constantly of the one we have lost.  An hour does not pass that we are not aware of our loss—remembering the person, recalling episodes and moods of our life together, thinking of what can no longer be.

Then maybe one day we are startled to realize that for several hours, maybe even a full day, our thoughts have been elsewhere.  We are beginning to heal.” -Martha W. Hickman

It has been 8 months since dad died.  I think about him all the time, but the intensity of the pain is different.  I remember happy and joyful things.  I can laugh about his quirks and good memories but also give myself permission to cry and continue to grieve as I need to (like as I write this).

Once I realized how much grief overshadowed my brand identity design I started to work through the process of updating it.  Bright colours, natural elements, and a less intense font have all come together to better represent me and Big Hello Social Co.  It has reignited my entrepreneurial joie de vivre.  Dad would want that.

Here are my new designs:

New logo for Big Hello Social Co. with green laurel and stand out font
Brand colour palette from left to right: soft peach, salmon, golden yellow, medium green, medium green blue

A note to self and  others: we are able to reinvent, rebrand, and come back to our self and our  values both in design and in life in general.  Take a step back, grieve, heal, reflect, reconsider, refocus.  It’s okay.

At first we have little heart for laughter.  Later, when we do, it may seem disrespectful to the dead.  Perhaps we even feel guilty.

But think—which would your loved on rejoice in more—seeing you sad, or seeing you reeling in the memory of wonderful, hilarious times together?”  -Martha W. Hickman

If you or someone you know are struggling with loss and grief consider connecting with the Comox Valley Hospice Society or hospice society in your community for free support.

Recommended reading: Healing After Loss: Daily meditations for working through Grief by Martha W. Hickman. Available at Laughing Oyster Book Shop both in store and online.