I started EXCESSORIZE ME. about 2 years ago, because I’ve always been curious of all the products on the market and have always had an urge to try them. The issue with that is the same issue I had with my dating life a few years ago – I’d be interested to try it out in the beginning, but shortly after, would want to move on to try something else. Dating aside, I wanted to avoid wasting all the time and money spent on the products and find a way to make my purchases meaningful. So, I decided to write my own product reviews.
When I first started, my ultimate goal was to grow my reputation enough that companies/brands would want to send me products for free. So that was when I took the plunge and paid for a server, bought the domain name excessorize.me, and setup WordPress with a default theme. It was difficult to write thorough reviews let alone spend the time to just sit down and write. Being in school and having an addiction to video games didn’t help either – there was always something better to do with my time. The blog started slow, posts were rare, and I didn’t feel any obligation to have to write. I never lost the interest in the idea of reviewing products, I just lost the motivation to write them.
I’ve changed the theme of the blog twice, from the Twenty Twelve WordPress default theme, to the updated Twenty Fourteen WordPress default theme. I’ve been meaning to update it, but I justified my inaction by convincing myself that I was focusing on content first. As long as I produced great reviews, it shouldn’t matter what the site looked like! I thought this for a very long time and a part of me still thinks that. But it’s been two years, I’ve written 35 posts and produced 6 videos in that time. I’ve recently graduated and have moved into a full time job in display advertising. This blog was never meant to be a full time activity, but as a side project, it still deserves the attention and enthusiasm I had for it when I initially started 2 years ago.
It’s time to think ahead, with a short term and a long term plan for this project. So this is the start of my rebranding efforts of EXCESSORIZE ME., the first being that the title is now all in caps and there is definitely a period at the end of it.
My biggest concern with the blog is when I want to contact brands and when brands contact me, I don’t have a logo to legitimize my blog – it was simply the text “Excessorize Me.” on the top left corner of the blog. This was a default font and style based on the theme. I had tried several times to create a logo, but nothing ever stuck, nor did I put in the effort it deserved to complete one. So I didn’t touch it for a very long time, until now. So here is the new logo:
There’s a variation in colour from a dark gray on the “EXCESS” to black on the “ORIZE ME.”. If you ask me why there’s a transition in colour, my answer right now would be that I didn’t like that it was all black and wanted some variation between the black and the white background. Purely visual aesthetic on that decision. Maybe some day down the road I’ll come up with a meaningful reason behind it.
Like most people, I’ve never done a whole branding campaign, so the process was very go-with-what-I-felt-portrayed-my-blogging-style. I fired up a Word document, typed out “EXCESSORIZE ME.” and “Excessorize Me.” and started copying and pasting the name, each time with a different font selected. This is what it looked liked in the end:
I knew I wanted a block letter style, no serifs or too many curves, the brand is about accessories and technology, and nothing says technology like straight edges! So just by feel, I went with Microsoft Yi Baiti. That is now the official brand font.
I’ve decided awhile back to focus on 2 platforms, WordPress (for written reviews) and YouTube (for video reviews). In my opinion, a main factor that can ruin your channel credibility on YouTube is having a shady or amateurish looking channel page. The main visual factor that uniquely distinguishes your channel is the cover photo. Since I started the channel, I had this as the cover photo:
That was a filler at a time when I didn’t know the direction of EXCESSORIZE ME.. So I spent a weekend brainstorming and word mapping to help me come up with a way to uniquely identify myself. That’s when it hit me – and it was in front of me the whole time – the cover of all my YouTube videos, all my product photos included them, and it should already be recognized as the style of my work – hands. I started out with hand sketching my ideas, trying to storyboard across all mediums:
So I planned around that and outlined my creative branding that way and about 200 photos, with several hand positions, angles, and lighting conditions later, I came up with this final image:
With the final banner for YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter as (in their respective resolutions):
This hand is now the brand. It’s my logo. It’s what EXCESSORIZE ME. stands for. Is there some meaning behind why everything was done that way? No, I just think it looks good and relates to my previous style – sometimes it’s best not to over think it.
Introduction segments are another way brands uniquely distinguish themselves, some people have a little animation, or their logo pops up, so this was another effort I focused on, as I plan to heavy up on video reviews. This is what I came up:
It will be consistent in every video review moving forward.
I asked myself several questions, such as “what value do you bring to your users?“, “why do users visit?“, or “are you only providing product reviews or is there more that users are taking away?“. And in it’s current iteration, I want EXCESSORIZE ME. to be about cases. I want users to think to visit EXCESSORIZE ME. when they’re at the Apple Store staring at a wall of cases and wondering which case to buy, I want to be the guide to beat all guides when it comes to cases. I want to start a community of people who admire cases as much as I do.
I have two blog (potentially video) series in the works:
- What The Case – an awareness series, where I highlight the best new or unique cases for you to discover. This isn’t meant to be a review, it will include my thoughts, but will not give any experience into how the products are used.
- Best Case Scenario – a newer series meant to assist you in your buying process. It will help you decide what case is best for your athletic friend or what to look for when buying a battery case. This series will guide you in making the right decision when it comes to buying the right case.
Future plans include being the directory for all the iPhone cases – a complete database of all the cases to ever be available. You could search for a case by function, purpose, brand, etc.
The difficulty now is starting to build a schedule and pushing content in a consistent manner – again, a way to build trust and authority within the community. This means dedicating time to just sit down and write or record a video, which I still struggle with. It’ll test my time management abilities and in the end my ability to focus on the bigger picture.
What’s not part of this rebranding is a redesign of the site. The following months will be focused on rebuilding the information architecture, aesthetics, and layout both on desktop and mobile devices. Here’s to companies sending me free stuff.