The Labs & Co. for The Deeply Rooted and Wildly Free

Posted on Aug 14, 2023
The Labs & Co. for The Deeply Rooted and Wildly Free

Brands are meant to evolve and transform over time. We get older, times change, our values may change with them–or not at all–or sometimes, we may just need a different way to speak to our audience. Regardless, 13 years after we started our business, we have gone through 3 brand evolutions to reach the core of who we are, and who we are for: the deeply rooted and wildly free.

We’ve done a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong, but if going through a few brand refresh rounds teaches you anything, it’s this:

  1. Don’t do it alone. There is massive power in asking for the right help.
  2. Leave the logo for last. There is much more important business to tackle first!
  3. Moodboards. Do not, under any circumstances, decline making a moodboard.

We started in 2010 with a different name (were you around for the Photo Lab Pet Photography era??) and a logo I whipped up entirely too quickly. I remember that logo perfectly, too, it was based on a photo I had taken of our muse and Canis Major, Corbin–the original “Lab”.

I traced his shape, threw on a green bandana because I L-O-V-E the color green, and it helped separate his head from his body. I chose a couple of fonts and spent a ton of money getting that logo printed on ALL. THE. THINGS… Come to think of it, I still have some stationery items we never even used.

We loved that scrappy logo and brand, it served us well, and helped us get our start, but all done-is-better-than-perfect work expires at some point.

We started outgrowing our first brand about 5 years in.

Our (photographic) style began to change and solidify, we got more experience doing jobs we really enjoyed and that was all the confidence boost we needed to start nailing down who we were and reaching the clients we knew we needed to. So, in 2015 we got serious and did some brand discovery work with J. Nichole Smith.

With Nic’s guidance and her soul-opening exercise techniques, we figured out who our people were (the deeply rooted and wildly free spirits, like us), and how to best reach them…

  • Our brand fonts became more modern while still nodding to our love of nostalgia and all things analog.
  • Our brand colors became more muted, allowing our photography to shine without competition.
  • Our brand name became The Labs & Co. because it better fit our multi-passionate business.

The name alone felt like an instant “glow-up”. This was no longer our bootstrappy “someday” business; this was our living. Things were good, the future looked bright.

Enter 2020, the year that sent everyone to their room to think about what we are doing with our lives. 

We had started to feel restless and disconnected from our brand, our work and the kind of work we wanted versus the kind of work we were showing and attracting. In the face of fear and apathy, we knew exactly who to call to get us back on the straight and narrow…Nic, again!

The entire process of working with Nic was truly mind-blowing. PSA: There’s a backstory to our work with her. Read it, plus ALL the details of our brand refresh work together, here.

“Over the years I’ve had the great joy and honor to advise them [Nat & Bill] on their strategy and brand. Recently, they approached me saying it was time for a little refresh, and for the first time I got to apply the Colour Brand® methodology to their brand. In their case, as in most cases, it came in very handy to answer some core tensions they were facing in the opposites they felt defined them…” – J.Nichole Smith

We quickly discovered that part of the disconnect we were suffering through was due to losing our beloved muse Corbin, back in 2020. We felt a little lost without him, and it was showing in more ways than one. Misalignment and disconnection from your brand can be incredibly disheartening, but Nic discovered a way to breathe life back into the reason why we do what we do: because of a dog that changed everything, and our Corbin was at the center.

Nic had provided to us a moodboard, and in it she paired each of her suggested colors with feelings or heartstrings that immediately forged a connection for us.I found it helpful to create a moodboard myself with a combination of images we created as well as images we love and admire to help us strive for a consistent, cohesive feel. This “guide” has become our canon in terms of how we use color, not just in our brand, but in our photographic styling as well!

So, there you have it. 

We’ve gone through chapter after chapter to finally feel dressed in tones and fonts of all that represents The Labs & Co. We’ve come to discover that the right brand refresh will feel less like a “glow up” and more like coming home to yourself and slipping into your favorite pair of perfectly-fitting jeans.

Interested to see, in super juicy detail, how Nic helped transform The Labs & Co. this last go ’round? We thought you might be… Get all the details, and see our original moodboard, here!