Monday, 29 June 2015


My last post "What if I did?" struck a chord with a few of other ladies, in a similar position - it seems there is a hidden army of People Pleasers out there, all secretly harbouring desires to take some time, and do something just for themselves. Something they've been pondering, or hankering after, for a while now.

Well, "I did". And it was incredibly rewarding.

You may have noticed the bright shiny new look to Ditsy Bird Designs today - this is the result of working very hard over the past few weeks, updating my branding to bring the style and quality of my online presence, in line with that of the products I make.

I'd been trying to work out why I found it so easy to design and make my products, come up with ideas, and never run out of inspiration and love for what I do. But, at the same time, why I was SO averse to listing these products on my website; or updating my blog with recent endeavours...why I hid in Instagram and ignored my Etsy shop. Why I never pointed friends to my sites when enquiring about designs, but would email photos to them. Why I NEVER carried business cards with me.

Why? Simply - and vitally - because, my online style in no way reflected my design style...or the quality of it.

I realised that I didn't want to list items on my site, because it looked clunky and clumsy. Amateur. Because I felt it devalued the work and effort that had gone into creating the products on there.

I also knew that I did not have the funds to pay someone to design me a logo, or a website, and I wouldn't know what to ask for if I did.

Then I stumbled upon the answer.

After seeing lots of buzz and excitement about it on Instagram, and that people I respect had been singing it's praises, I bought myself a copy of Fiona Humberstone's book How to Style Your Brand.

Best twenty quid I've spent in a long while!

click on the pic to go to Fiona's Pinterest feed

Certainly the best value for money - it is a truly beautiful book (coffee-table-worthy styling and photographs), and is bursting with knowledge, advice, encouragement and enable anyone with the desire to restyle or redesign their brand, to do just that.

So I did.

I worked my way through the book, front to back, reading and rereading each section in turn, and working through the action points that Fiona lays out for you.

With each chapter, it was made very clear what was required of me, so I just knuckled down and got on with at a time.

Now I have to admit that I really did struggle with some areas - the idea of seasonal personalities, for instance - and I confess that the concept of colour psychology blew my mind to begin with!

My little piece of advice? Lay your preconceptions about who YOU are to one side, and concentrate on who YOUR BUSINESS is. Whilst it may be an extension of yourself, it is a separate entity...and has it's own personality traits just as you do. Or, at least mine does. It is not a complete reflection of me as a person.

Once I'd managed to leave any prejudgement behind, and continued on with an unbiased view of my business (and myself to some degree), I found following the process more intuitive and much easier. 

Things started to click. There were a couple of light bulb moments. A 'who knew?" or two.

Some bits I had to leave, and come back to with fresh eyes, after a bout of inking to clear my head and my body of tension.

There was a moment there, that I thought I wasn't going to 'get' the season and colour philosophies, but I dug deep, was really honest with myself, and it did fall into place eventually...satisfyingly so! turns out that Ditsy Bird Designs is a Spring business! I didn't see that coming AT ALL. Though when I was talking it through with my mum, explaining the Spring attributes and colours, she very much in the "well, obviously" camp. It never fails to surprise me, the disparity between how WE see ourselves, and how OTHERS do. Never fails.

click on the picture to go to Fiona's Pinterest feed

It shocked me, just how blinkered I'd become to my own business. To it's look and feel. It's purpose. 

How my longing for a certain look to my blog and website, had blinded me to what my business is actually about, how it is perceived by others, and ultimately, what I want it to give to others.

  • take off those blinkers
  • set aside any specific design lusts you already harbour
  • open yourself up to the knowledge contained in the book - this is what Fiona does for a living, she is the expert, and you are reading her book - so listen to what she has to say
  • ask a close friend how they see your business/your products - what these mean to them, how they look, how they make them feel.
    (I kept going back to comments from friends on my Instagram photos - a cracking source of feedback if you put your business owner head on, instead of friend head (Worzel Gummidge anyone?). It's too easy to brush compliments aside with a "ohh give over" and a blush. But if someone has taken the time to tell you something, then chances are, they mean it. And if a few folk are saying the same's time to listen up!)

I made a brand board. I know! :)

Bright, light and fun - not the chic, black and white, stark Scandinavian look that makes me veritably purr when I see it.

In fact, no black at all. My fall back ink choice every time.

And this was the biggest light bulb moment of all!

As soon as I changed my logo from black and white, to colour...everything fell into place. Oh happy, happy day!

And then I paused, looked over at my messy desk (I type at my neat desk - no ink allowed), and looked at the work I had on there, and realised that I use colour a lot. And bright colour too! Our house may be painted in muted shades, and our furniture may be subtly coloured, but my work is brimming with it.

I'd been so short-sighted. I'd been thinking about me, Sarah, not me Ditsy Bird. Face palm. No wonder I had hated my online look for so and the message I was trying to convey, were completely at odds.

So there you have it - a brand new look to Ditsy Bird Designs!

Well nearly. After spending hours (days?) trying to come up with a new logo, I went back to my original design that I love, and which feels right. I simply redrew it and utilised Photoshop and Illustrator, to get a sleeker, more polished look to it. And to add the all important colour.

The new look feels like a much more natural fit - a branding reflection of the business, it's products, designs, and it's intentions.

I'd love to know what you think? (Please be gentle)

Right, I'm off to get on with designing business cards, and product packaging...



  1. I love this new look Sarah, and it totally reflects your work. I had so many light bulb moments reading your post I think I need to get that book too! I think I need to take a fresh look at things as well. Thanku for the inspiration! X

    1. Oh Helen, it makes me so happy that you enjoyed my post and were actually inspired by it! I'm one happy bird right now :) Thank you for the comments on my new look...much appreciated! xxx

  2. Love, Love, Love this Sarah. I am slowly climbing out of this black hole I have been in and your post was just what I needed to get my proverbial back side into gear again. I am getting so much better with the weight, health side now on with the business side. I am off to amazon to order the book!! cheers my dear. x

  3. Awesome post (and the last one)!! Your new look is fabulous and so coherent, I love your colour choices. Brilliant to have you back in blogworld BTW, weirdly, I was in Burnsall a short while ago and thought of you. Bethx

    1. Hello stranger! Weirdly, I was thinking about you too, the other day, and wondering what you have been up to. I'll have to pop over to "your place' and take a looksee.
      It's so lovely to hear from you, and thanks for the lovely comment...I really appreciate your feedback on the rebranding! It's such an odd thing to do, as you're never 100% sure it's as it should be, but as it continues to make me smile, I'm taking that as a good sign.
      Haven't been up to Burnsall for a while, but the Summer hols are approaching, so George will undoubtably want to go and stay with Nana and Grandad for a few days. Luckily for me, it means I'll get the chance to visit then. Sarah xxx