Two envelopes of Change Is Nature laundry detergent sheets propped against a wicker basket filled with freshly laundered white towels.

In this interview, Brittany and Stacy discuss how print is used to build brand recognition and longevity. 

Building A Brand With Print

An Interview With Brand Designer, Brittany Pickrem

Stacy:

Today I am interviewing Brittany Pickrem. Brittany runs Brittany Pickrem Branding and Design here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She supports top leaders and changemakers with world class branding. That includes everything from brand strategy and design through to wardrobe. 

Today, Brittany and I are going to be exploring the intersection between print and branding. And Brittany is going to share with us how she’s using print to build her new brand Change is Nature. 

Brittany, last time we spoke, you mentioned that there’s no better way to build a brand than print. Can you expand on that a little bit?

Brittany:

In the era we live in, it seems like digital is an ever expanding landscape. Especially with Facebook bringing VR into the mainstream. It’s easy to wonder, “Where is there a place for print in the world?” 

I find as we go deeper into the digital world, we crave more of the analog world. 

More of the things we can actually touch. Things that we can put our hands on and really experience. 

I was originally trained in and started my career in print. You might say I’m a little bit of a design dinosaur. A design-asaur. But in the best, coolest way possible of course!

I can be a little “old fashioned” in my approach to branding. I think about tactile and in person experiences. Even in this digital age and with the added challenge of physical distancing, print provides something you can touch and feel. You can even smell it. Print creates those memorable in person experiences. 

Yes, online is still a major component of every brand I build. But your offline presence is equally important. That’s where you really get the sense of someone’s energy. As part of my services, I coach my clients on wardrobe. Because wardrobe is another part of the in person brand experience.

Wardrobe, business cards, workbooks, holiday cards. These are all intimate in person brand experiences you’re creating. They’re harder to forget because you’ve put your hands on them.

There’s a really clever marketing quote about “those who get closest to their customers.” And print brings you really freaking close to your customers. You can even personalize print with your own handwritten message. 

With print, it’s like you’re creating these powerful pockets of in-person brand experiences. Now, I’m not here to denounce digital. Both mediums carry equal weight in developing a brand. But print is often seen as passe, and that’s really not the case. We need print now more than ever, because it creates connection. Especially where we can’t meet up in person. You know, send a beautiful branded notecard. It’s like extending a big hug to your clients.

Stacy:

Oh, I love that! And you’re right, when we talk about print, it’s not a replacement for digital. It’s about finding that balance. Print and digital marketing serve different purposes. When you can marry the two mediums, that’s when the magic happens. 

What’s your number one tip for someone considering print assets to support their brand?

Brittany:

Of course, visual branding is my arena, so I’m always looking at things from that perspective. So my number one tip for anyone considering print assets to support their brand would be that it’s really, really important to have a brand style guide. 

I preach about this. I may even sound like a broken record. But the purpose of your visual brand guide is to keep your brand looking consistent across all mediums. It provides rules around what colors, fonts, imagery, and logos to use in your marketing. And how to put them together in a way that conveys the experience you’re offering. And you want that experience to always be consistent. 

It’s like when you go to McDonald’s, you’re expecting a certain quality. You’re expecting to have a certain hamburger. When you bite into your McDonald’s hamburger, you want it to taste the way it’s always tasted. It’s the same for your visual brand. Your customers want to see the same elements from you every time. That’s how you build trust and recognition. That’s how they know to get excited when they see something in the mail from you. 

With a visual brand guide, you’re not reinventing the wheel every time you create a marketing asset. You’re elevating your brand experience by having rules to work within. People think of creativity as this abstract idea. But creativity loves constraints. You can really create those unique, memorable print assets – or any marketing asset – when you have rules in place for a consistent visual brand. 

Stacy:

You really hit the nail on the head there. I teach about the three foundations of effective print design, and consistent visual branding is number one. And you’re right, having those constraints is what allows us to get really creative in our problem solving. 

I like to use the example of receiving a parcel in the mail. 

Imagine you open your mailbox and there’s a box in there that you weren’t expecting. You immediately start wondering where it’s from. 

You’re thinking:

  • Who sent this?
  • Did my partner order something? Did I?
  • Was it put in my mailbox by mistake?

There’s a lot of questions and uncertainty. 

Now imagine you open the mailbox and you immediately recognize the colours, fonts, logos, etc on the packaging. It can be as simple as a branded sticker or as elaborate as a custom printed box. But either way, you immediately know where the package is from and you move to excitement. You can’t wait to get home to open it up. 

Brittany:

You’re touching on something huge here. Branding is all about positioning. Finding the place in the market where you can shine brightest. And when you’re sending custom print assets in the mail you are going to shine. Because what do people get in the mail? They get junk mail, coupons, bills, notices from the government and bank. It’s not fun stuff. Then all of a sudden, you show up in your client’s mailbox with this gorgeous tangible experience and it creates so much excitement.

It’s like I was saying earlier, you’ve just created this powerful pocket of connection and excitement between your customer and your brand. Showing up in your client’s mailbox is a really easy place to shine. Especially when you can customize the experience. Brands often overlook the power of that physical connection. 

I recently ordered some jewelry from an  online shop called Juniper Curated. They’re in New Brunswick. They sent a handwritten card with my order and it felt so special. 

I could see the artist writing. They used a custom seal of their logo. And my product was presented beautifully. It was a whole experience. 

She did a beautiful job with her packaging and it made the experience memorable for me. I enjoyed the experience of opening it. 

Stacy:

That experience is so important! And small business owners are crushing the delivery experience. They think of the handwritten cards and the presentation of their packaging. That’s one thing I’ve noticed through the pandemic as we shifted to more online shopping. Small business owners are thinking about an end to end experience. They’re making that special for their customers.

So you’re getting ready to launch your new brand, Change is Nature. What is the story behind Change is Nature?

Brittany:

I took  a lot of time last year thinking about where I’m going and the impact that I’m creating in my business. The clients I work with are change makers. What I mean by that is these are brands and leaders who are daring to create positive change in some way. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with the best and brightest brands locally and internationally. Brands that are creating big change. Ive worked with the IWK Foundation, the Halifax jazz festival, and even Lionsgate Entertainment.

Folks that are creating this needed change. With Lionsgate, the project was around representation of visible minorities. Which is a really important issue. 

I’ve been inspired by my clients and i thought, “I can create positive change as well.” Enter, Change is Nature. We are a plastic free, plant based, household goods company. 

I live in Nova Scotia. We are surrounded by the ocean. It’s a beautiful coastal region. But I cannot go to the beach without seeing some type of plastic pollution. Plastic releases phosphates into the water. Which leads to increased algae growth, oxygen depletion, and then loss of species.

And I feel it’s my responsibility as someone who’s been born and raised in Nova Scotia to help to protect our oceans.

It can feel a bit helpless because the environment is such an immense issue. You might wonder “What can I personally do to make a difference?”. But every small change matters.

Of course, big companies have a huge responsibility in creating more sustainable practices in their production. But as a consumer, you can choose plastic free, chemical free, and natural products.

Household practices were much more natural before plastic and chemicals took over. So Change is Nature is really bringing nature back to our household products.

And introducing these products that are better for the environment is where I can start to create a positive environmental impact in Nova Scotia.

I’m stepping into this changemaker role with Change is Nature. And I’m so excited about it!

Stacy:

So inspiring, Brittany! 

Change Is Nature Fresh Linen Scent packaging.

As a plastic free brand, how are you using print to enhance the Change is Nature brand?

Brittany

As a product based business, print is a really big part of the Change is Nature brand. Our products need to be presented beautifully and sustainably. 

I’m choosing recycled papers and plastic free substrates. No plastic whatsoever. 

And as a new brand, we’re starting from ground zero. Nobody knows us yet. So how do you start to build excitement? 

As a physical touchpoint, packaging plays a huge role in creating excitement and trust.

Like we said earlier in this conversation, a strategically thought out visual brand creates trust, recognition, and excitement. And when you apply that to your packaging you have the added benefit of enhancing your brand through physical touch, texture, and even smell.

There’s honestly no better way to present a brand than through print. I truly don’t know what I would do without print and paper for this project. 

One day, I’d like to offer our products without packaging. But again, to establish that initial brand, to establish that initial trust, print is a key component.

There can be this perception that print is wasteful, you know, “think of the environment before you print this email.” But with a little research and care you can find sustainable papers and print processes.  

That’s something I would challenge anyone reading this to do.

Where can you use print in a really clever way to keep things low waste, but still create a big impact for your brand?

Stacy: 

The materials that you choose are part of your story, they’re part of your brand experience. So when you’re designing any print product, choosing the paper you’ll print on is an important step in the design process.

Brittany: 

Yes. People will hold your product and packaging in their hands. They will be bringing it into their homes. So be mindful of how the paper you choose will translate your message and align with your brand ecosystem.

Change is Nature is launching in March 2022. Check out @ChangeIsNatureCo on Instagram and visit them online at changeisnature.com.

Let’s keep this conversation going. 

Where can you use print in a really clever way to keep things low waste, but still create a big impact for your brand? 

Drop your comments below.

Brittany supports top leaders in developing world-class branding. Encompassing everything from your logo to your wardrobe. Brittany Pickrem Branding & Design is based in Nova Scotia, Canada.  

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