The Making of Canna Reign's Logo
The Struggle of launching Is Real
If I sit and think for too long about all the struggles I went through last year trying to launch Canna Reign Studios, I can drive myself crazy. BUT, just in case there are any other entrepreneurs out there navigating their way through this the same sort of battle, I just thought I would share what I’ve been learning so far on my journey; Clarity comes to you by doing, like the physical doing of the thing, even if it’s outside the realms of your comfort zone. And let me tell you, clarity is a beautiful thing. A confidence boosting, empowering, make-shit-happen thing. Read on to see how I overcame some my indecisions and insecurities and gained a whole new perspective on entrepreneurship.
Attempt after attempt to launch my company just continuously failed. It felt like I just kept falling down with each new step of the launching phase.
I had every problem in the book (now I see them as opportunities, but we’ll get to that later). My clay wasn’t compatible with my glaze, I was after the gorgeous cobalt blues and celadon greens. My production costs were seemingly way out of my reach because I was trying to start production with way too many (10 too many) pieces instead starting small. And I just couldn’t get certain pieces of the puzzle together. Which only attracted more chaos.
A ceramics manufacturing business is a lot harder than I had imagined. I’d been a ceramic artist for the past decade, operating my own at home studio, firing my own kilns. But slip casting, which is how a lot of ceramic companies manufacture hundreds of pieces in a single day, is a whole other ball game. I had no idea of the challenge I was in for.
On top of the clay delay, I wasn't having any luck with my mold maker, nor with my graphic designer, plus my videographer had to take a sudden trip back to Argentina for a month. Not to mention, I was moving out of my ceramic studio/home/gallery event space of 8 years.
That alone was a two month long ordeal. I then had to hook up a new building’s electrical system, thank God for good electricians, to get it kiln ready. At night, I was spending my time on Youtube watching tutorials on Photoshop. I already knew I would need to sharpen my computer skills. I can keep listing the many tedious steps that comes along with a luanch, but that would drive me up the wall, plus you already know this. Life moves for everyone the same. Over 1,000 miles per hour depending on where you are in the world. Literally. And to do something really well, you have to commit, buckle your seat bealt, and repeat the same few things every day no matter what other forces are at play.
Around July of 2016, I realized I had to push off my launch date yet again, that’s how much things were just not getting done. Yet in my head it was done. I could picture everything so clearly, my logo, my brand, my online store, my new studio layout, the gorgeously glazed ceramics wares ready for shipment, the shipment area... So why was I facing so much resistance? I had to do some soul digging. So I started to question every decision I made, every piece of mail I wrote. I believe in the law of attraction, and like attracts like right?
Make Some Moves
I decided to stop what I was doing in the studio and focus on one thing at a time. Since my logo design was to be the face of Canna Reign, I chose to focus on that first. This logo, I knew, was to be a part of the design of the pieces, I was planning to add that imagery onto the work itself, applique style, slightly raised off the clay’s surface so it becomes a 3D element to the piece. So, basically, it just had to be perfect. In. Every. Way.
I’d had this idea tumbling in my mind for a while to create something that would branch two industries together that I love. I mean it's already happening all across the US. Cannabis hospitality is a thing.
I also wanted the logo to reflect the name I chose. Canna Reign. I wanted imagery that would evoke a sense of royalty, which is what my tray designs aim to portray as well, with their regal points and decadent attention to detail.
That is a lot to ask for, I know. But it was what I wanted. I was determined. I researched the two international hospitality symbols. There’s the pineapple, my longtime favorite, and the fluer d’lys. Both are so pretty. The Fluer is easier to draw, but the pineapple is more me, I'm from the Caribbean. Not to mention the infamous Pineapple Express Strain.
And then there’s the beautiful cannabis plant. I mean that five, seven, or nine pointed leaves is such an epic design. I love the whole plant and the way it looks growingand I also wanted my logo to reflect that. With great detail too, so as be easily identifiable to cannabis connoisseurs.
So as you can imagine, starting off with such a specific plan was not easy when it comes to working with designers. Everyone is so different and has such unique creative ideas and style. Also, working in 2D makes it hard when I’m trying to explain how certain areas of the logo were to protrude outward, they would look at me as though I’m speaking in Korean. Communication is key when working with others. At this point I hadn't yet done a single drawing, and so I didn't have any visuals to show.
All in all, I worked with four designers you guys. Four. I know I know, but don’t judge. Months after when I just wasn't seeing my logo in any of my designers drafts, I signed up at this website called 99 Designs.com because I’d heard great things about them. I thought it would be cool to see what designers from all around the world would come up with. Let's just say that they do offer a full refund if you are unhappy.
Three months in I saw that I was back to square one. Back to months ago when I’d initially Goggled the word “pineapple” from my laptop. No one had heard of a cannabis plant merging with a pineapple, it was an absurd idea, to which even I can agree upon.
All in all, I worked with four designers you guys. Four. I know I know, but don’t judge. Three months in I saw that I was back to square one. No one had heard of a cannabis plant merging with a pineapple, it was an absurd idea. They all wanted to use one pot leaf, which give good silhouette, and call it a day.
By this time, I was getting desperate and antsy. I decided to take some time and learn how to draw/sketch a pineapple and a cannabis plant. I just planned on it one Saturday morning, and blocked out time for 45 minutes. I grabbed the nearest notebook and pencil, and Googled 'how to draw a pineapple'and 'a flowering marijuana plant'. I watched about four or five quick videos that popped up, and sketched along, hitting pause often. It took some time, I’m not going to lie, but it was so doable. Just put some good music on and get in the zone, if your drawing sucks no one but you has to see them. I would even do printouts and trace them. If the image wasn't printable, I would literally tape paper to my computer screen and follow the lines. There is no shame in tracing guys, it teaches you so much about space and proportion and I think it even give you muscle memory for when you're drawing freestyle. I can't guarantee that you will create a masterpiece in one day, but what I can guarantee is that you will come to grips with what you’re really going for in your design. You will become intimately acquainted with every line. You will hate it or love it. But you will know.
This practice inspired me, I would dream about my drawings. I was driven to include every last detail. Or not. Once I saw how things were coming together, every detail was like five too many. But I kept getting closer to exactly what I wanted, and man that felt so amazing, I highly recommend it.
I also collected a lot of images from companies I admire, both in my field or not. I would just google 'high end logos' or go through magazines, which helped a lot because seeing something in print is a lot more telling than seeing it online. I love all the high end designer logos like Chanel, Burberry, and Armani. I love the Rolex logo. Armed with these print outs and surrounding myself in colors I loved like green and gold, it just brought it all together. I collected some paint samples from my local Ace Hardware. I moved some lush green plants from my house and all my gold accessories and arranged them about my office. It was like a mood board but a mood room. Yeah I went a little over board. But that's because I am obsessed with Canna Reign. I've wanted my own line of ceramics since I was 19 years old.
This last step helped me visualize way more than just my logo. I knew how I wanted my website to look, my Instagram feed, my packaging. It was like the Gods blessed me with clarity once they saw me doing homework. I'm not sure, but I’ll take it. Choosing that color scheme actually made so many other decisions for me as well, like when we were designing brochures, website banners, or new ad campaigns. There is simply no questioning the color palettes, everyone on my team just knows.
Now with all that said and done, you should know, I’m still not where I want to be, I am just getting started. I mean I'm a few steps in, I've got a few basics nailed down, but I am still trying to execute and perfect all the things I’ve been talking about. My Instagram feed, my website, etc., but what I’m not wasting time on is wondering how I want the design to look.
One last thing I wanted to mention is why any of this matters.
In business, if you hope to get anyone else interested in you and your product or services, you yourself have to be obsessed with it. You have to be so stoked about what you've got going on that it makes us want to be a part of it because what ultimately convinces us to buy all is how much you really stand behind your company. If you've got that contagious love, people can tell. And I think that the more intimately acquainted you are with your brand, the more you will naturally radiate the vibes needed to write great copy, capture peoples interest, know your ideal clients, and make those sales. Because in the end we not only want to have money to pay rent, we want to own the whole building and collect the rent, yes?
Today, I am absolutely in love with my finalized logo. My boyfriend is in the other room helping me stamp it onto paper bags as we get ready for a tradeshow. And later tonight, I will be stamping it again onto my leather hard trays that are in production. Last week I happily paid a local company $75.00 to get it blown up on to a flag that will proudly be on display.
And this is something that I wish for you too. For all you entrepreneurs out there. Peace of mind with how you're coming along. But don't stop at the logo. That professional imagery helps but a company cannot become great without a strong backbone built of integrity, hard work, and sustainable, healthy business practices.
Happy entrepreneuring my fellow warriors!
Below is the one that makes me sleep at night, the one that made the cut.