This week in the Branding Interview series, I’m featuring Lix Hewett and her blogging and branding journey!
Lix’s Blogging Backstory
Lix Hewett started off as A Classic Notion — a blog meant to showcase my poetry (the title comes from a poem by Maryann Corbett, a favorite of mine) and photography that I started when I opened an Etsy shop to sell prints of my work. I honestly had no clue what I was doing, and I started doing link-ups here and there, I tried to get a clothing line off the ground (unsuccessfully, forever in the back of my mind), and then I realized — I liked this blogging thing. I’d been terrified when I first decided to do it, used to hanging out on LiveJournal with its friends-lock and its fandom focus. But I needed to do something with my life.A friend took the leap with me, and we jumped on a Dreamhost offer and two domains. I’d been struggling with blogging because free WordPress was so limited, and I wanted to get my fingers in the damn code. Now I could. In a very short span of time, I moved my blog and started a design business. Then I moved to London, from Spain, and then I moved back home. It’s been quite a ride.
A friend took the leap with me, and we jumped on a Dreamhost offer and two domains. I’d been struggling with blogging because free WordPress was so limited, and I wanted to get my fingers in the damn code. Now I could. In a very short span of time, I moved my blog and started a design business. Then I moved to London, from Spain, and then I moved back home. It’s been quite a ride.Deep down, I want to be a photographer. But visual arts come in many forms, and what I do with design + what I do for my blog — all those outfit photos, all that travel work — are one way to satisfy me.
Deep down, I want to be a photographer. But visual arts come in many forms, and what I do with design + what I do for my blog — all those outfit photos, all that travel work — are one way to satisfy me.
Did you create a vision or mood board?
The first time I designed my blog, all I wanted was a space I didn’t hate so I could get started blogging. I had a backlog and I didn’t feel I could give it the time it deserved. Years later, for my rebrand, I’d developed questionnaires for my client, and I felt silly not, at least, giving them a go. That doesn’t mean I gave them a go, though. But I had trouble laying out my color palette, and I thought: this is what mood boards are for. (I don’t always use them, even for clients.) And I’m very glad I decided to make one. While not all of the colors made it onto the final palette, the main ones did, and it was a great place to start.
How did you find your voice?
It was always there. I’ve always had trouble pretending, but I’m also easily influenced, so having a consistent voice is an issue of trusting that I’m really pretty weird and that will come across. Not every post is the same, and like most writers, I can bend and mold my voice to fit different situations. But underneath it all, I’m still this ESL chick who learned English from American TV and has a habit of using incredibly complex run-on sentences that her editors tell her to goddamn cut. And that’s not going anywhere.
Pick three words that describe your brand.
Genuine, Aware, & Smart
How has your brand evolved over time?
It’s become more focused. There’s a lot about me that’s been there from the get-go and will never change; my feminist views, my openness on social media, my blunt honesty. I prize myself on these traits and I won’t water them down. But I had to learn how I work best, how I’d have the best possible blog, and I learned that: I needed to post less; I needed to let go of the things that were hardest to write about, leave them for potential pitches to other publications; I needed to figure out what I most enjoyed.
I like the joy and awe of new places; I like prancing around in front of a camera and looking at the resulting self-portraits afterward; I like telling people what to do. I love photography and want to do it full-time. I like design and want it to get me to a point where I can do photography full-time. It’s hard for me to think long-term, because I’ve spent so much of my life just trying to get through this one day, and my blog evolution, I think, reflects the widening scope of my future.
What was your favorite part/experience when developing your brand?
It was awesome knowing no one was going to try and get a refund if they didn’t like something. I have some nightmare stories, y’all. But I basically got to take a style I’d wanted to play with (a Voguesque, magazine-like style, but for a lifestyle blog) and go to town. It was lovely.
What was your biggest struggle with developing your brand?
I’m very bad at killing my darlings. I want to embrace everything I like, and my decision-making is severely lacking. It’s a lot easier to choose what’s best and stick with it when I’m designing for someone else; I can tell them what’s working, ask questions, and determine the best course of action. But when I design for myself, my judgment is clouded by my passion. I love so many things, but I have a limited amount of time, a limited amount of energy, a limited amount of skills. My rebrand was based in large part on wanting to streamline my blog as much as possible, and make it something I could keep up with. I recategorized everything many times, and eventually settled on life + style (I could write about my every day, I could do fashion), travel (for the photos and opportunities), and advice.
But I kept a window open for interiors and pop culture, because interiors are all I pin and pop culture is all I ever want to talk about. I had to listen to my heart at least a little.
My brand is a work in progress, and I don’t think it will stop being one for a long time – maybe ever. I always focused on the visuals above the more psychological aspects, because visual creativity comes easier to me, and doesn’t feel as restrictive. It’s been a journey trying to apply aspects of statements and marketing to what I do; it doesn’t always feel natural, so it’s baby steps, and I only take the steps that feel right.
How many times have you rebranded? What made you decide to rebrand?
Really just the once, unless you count moving from wordpress.com to self-hosted. I don’t really think of my time on free WordPress as anything much; I was sort of figuring out what the hell blogging even was. My latest rebrand had been coming for ages — possibly since I started my blog. I just hadn’t been able to justify taking the time to do it.
The best part of working with a designer was having a professional who was able to take my unorganized thoughts and a mood board and create something beautiful that represents me and my business. Having someone else do my branding allowed me to focus on getting organized and writing posts for my launch!
What were your favorite resources while designing your brand?
I tried to approach my new design as professionally as I could, because see above re: struggles. My fonts are google fonts, my logo is my handwriting, my photos are my own. I found Pinterest helpful, of course; my own boards were full of things I like, and that was a good place to start! But it was a fairly self-contained process. I mocked up the design from scratch on Photoshop, and found a theme (on Restored316) that had the elements I’d have a hard time coding, then customized the heck out of it.
Do you want to be featured in The Branding Interview Series or have someone’s branding story you want to hear all about?