Designer Talk: Paula Lee

Branding & Identity

The Posting

Paula: The client was looking for a brand image that expressed their business mantra — a company that is willing to explore to get the best results. Making something delicious means it gets a little messy sometimes!

The Possibilities

Paula: During the design process, I explored with both dip pen calligraphy and brush lettering. After a few drafts, we were all unanimously drawn to the imperfectly perfect look of brush lettering.

The Process

Paula: When it comes to starting a project, I always look forward to meeting my clients for our initial interview. I ask a series of questions to hear what they’re all about. It’s absolutely inspirational to watch their passion exude from them as they talk about their business. Then we talk about the nitty gritty – the look, colours, paper, etc. This is where the gears in my head get going and my hand starts itching to draw. After the interview, I work with my client over a few rounds of drafts and revisions only to end with a brand new identity that they absolutely love. It’s my goal to live in their world from beginning to end so it becomes rather bittersweet to say goodbye!

The Preen

Paula: I am mainly a wedding stationery designer, which consists of all things pretty, soft, and ethereal. So when I was approached to create something “whimsical, fun and cheeky”, I initially hesitated but the challenge of working on something outside of my world was exciting and I just couldn’t turn it down. I believe that willing to be versatile in your work keeps things fresh and makes you better and sharper as a designer. I am really proud with how they turned out. They have actually become one of my favourite projects – ever!

The Pain

Paula: The client wanted to include their slogan “two girls, one messy kitchen”. I find that slogans can be difficult to include seamlessly without it looking tacky or just too copy- heavy. While designing, I came across the idea to weave their slogan throughout their contact information, which turned out to be my favourite part of the business card.

The Present

Paula: This was actually one of the first few branding projects that I took on and the reception of this business card just blew me away! At this moment, it has been pinned 4.5k times and I am regularly receiving branding inquiries, despite the fact that all of my work that I mainly promote is wedding stationery! My favourite comment has been, of course, from my clients who throughout the process ended every sentence with an exclamation mark. When you are told that you translated the heart of a business onto paper, you can’t help but be over the moon about it!

The Potholes

Paula: As a designer, I tend to gravitate towards making my work straight, aligned and centred but I had to somewhat fight that mindset in order to truly capture a “messy kitchen”. During the design process, I actually had to start with dip pen calligraphy just to “get it out of me” before I moved onto the brush!

The People

Paula: A loud and resounding yes! Like I mentioned previously, I find it extremely important to fully immerse yourself in your client’s world while designing. That happens when you and your client understand and trust each other. When you have built good chemistry, you know your client well enough to capture who they are and display their passion for their business through paper. I would often replay moments from the interview while designing to ensure that I was staying on the right track.

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Business Card Specs:
Digitally Printed Cards on Kraft Paper

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Many thanks to the talented calligraphy artist, Paula Lee for talking with Carda.

To look at more of Paula’s amazing work, check out her Instagram and website.

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