THE DILEMMA: KEEPING UP WITH AN
Justin & Mary Marantz: We had launched
our first brand back in 2008, and it was
perfect for who we were then: quirky and
playful. The problem became that we weren’t
really getting seen for our work the way we
knew we could be. If you held up our brand
and our latest work side by side, they looked
like they came from two different people.
And in a very real way they did, from the 2008
version of us just starting out and the people
we’ve grown into since then.
With this new brand, we wanted a
sophistication, elegance and iconic feel that
had definitely been lacking, something that
would not be different just to be different, but
a site that would really get people’s attention
and also get them thinking about what we get
to do with our lives as photographers.
THE MISSION: REFINEMENT MAKEOVER
Jen Olmstead: Justin and Mary came to
me with the most exciting email I’d ever
received—an introduction, a commission and
a heart attack all in one: “It’s something like
London at night in the fog, black & white
images, with lots of gray tones, possibly
browns & leathers (but not necessarily),
romantic, yet moody images and text.
Lots and lots of fun text! Think Restoration
Hardware meets Burberry meets Vanity Fair
meets Brooks Brothers. With some quirkiness
of Kate Spade & J.Crew, and a bit of the
romanticism of Tiffany’s thrown in there for
What Justin and Mary really came to
me with was years of late nights and long
conversations figuring out who they were and
who they were not. They already knew what
their brand would look like; they just hadn’t
seen it yet. I took their inspiration, developed
a mood board, and began the process of
developing the J&M crest.
J&M: It was only about an hour after our first
session when we had our new logo. And it
was the strangest thing: looking at it was like
coming home, like finally finding what it should
have been all along. It was the very first time
we were seeing it, but it also felt like it was a
lifetime in the making.
TOP: Marrying photos with words, typography
became a crucial design element throughout
the site. ABOVE: The new J&M crest, with words
they want their photography to represent (plus
a tribute to their love for sailboats).
From both sides of the
equation, here’s what to do
to pull this off right.
THE PHOTOGRAPHERS SAY…
Start with your Why.
Ask yourself what you actually
love. The rest has a way of falling
into place, and our creative
decisions were made so much
easier as a result. The things that
didn’t “feel right” were clear, and
we knew what components were
needed to resonate with our
Eliminate “supposed to” from
Stop worrying about what’s popular
or successful right now because
that can change on a dime. Carve a
path that isn’t there yet, because in
doing that, you’re creating a market
Hire a designer who is amazing at
the specific style of brand
Just like a bride shouldn’t hire
us if she doesn’t love black-and-white photography, we shouldn’t
hire designers who specialize
in a totally different look. Be
willing to go through 47 different
search tabs before you finally find
yourself saying, “Oh there you are!
I’ve been waiting for you.”