When Katherine first approached me to ask about designing a brand and website for her expat life and travel blog, Bright Lights of America, I couldn’t have been more excited. I absolutely LOVE working with bloggers to bring their dreams and visions to life, so I happily took the project on.

When we met for our discovery call, Katherine talked about how she was ready to take her blog to the next level. As an expat herself, she was clearly passionate about the topic, and wanted a brand and website that showed that passion for adventure, while also being super functional and able to grow with her.

The branding style board for Bright Lights of America, an expat life and travel blog.

I’m absolutely thrilled with how the project turned out! Here’s a step-by-step look at how the brand and website for Bright Lights of America was created:

STEP 1: MOOD BOARD

The first step of my branding process is always to put together a mood board to get an overarching feel for the brand. Katherine said that she wanted a brand that was excited, joyful, and, confident, so I started out by looking for images that matched those feelings. I also wanted to bring in a bit of Americana to the brand, since her blog is all about America, after all!

After a few tweaks, we landed on this mood board:

A bold, excited, and confident moodboard for Bright Lights of America

Katherine’s favorite colors are teal and red, and while I don’t always recommend using your favorite colors as your brand colors, I think it really worked in this instance.

The photos all drew on this teal and red color palette, as well as the idea of adventure and the beauty of America. The geometric pattern played well off of all of these, as did the font.

STEP 2: LOGO CONCEPTS

With the mood of the brand agreed upon, we moved on to logo concepts! Using the mood board as my inspiration, I sketched out a few ideas on paper before transferring them into digital form.

While I usually play around with a few different fonts in the logo concepts, in this case I knew that I wanted to use Serrona, the font duo from the mood board, because it was just so on point for the Bright Lights of America brand. I played around with the mixture of script and bold sans serif fonts to come up with these three concepts that I sent over to Katherine:

Three black and white logo concept ideas for Bright Lights of America, an expat life and travel blog.

Katherine was immediately drawn to the first logo concept, and had no changes to make! So from there, I added in the two main colors from her color palette and we had a logo:

Bright Lights of America's main logo
Does anyone else get some serious Route 66 vibes, or is that just me?

I also created a circular logo variation, for places where the main logo might not fit:

STEP 3: BRANDING STYLE BOARD

With the new logo for done and dusted, it was time to move on to designing the rest of the brand. This is probably my favorite part of the entire design process because it means pulling together different elements that have been floating around in my head to form a cohesive brand.

In the case of Bright Lights of America, it seemed to come together in an instant.

The branding style board for Bright Lights of America, an expat life and travel blog.

In addition to the main and alternative logos I had already designed, there were a few other elements to the branding style board. Firstly, I expanded on the color scheme. I also made a favicon and designed a few fun custom elements like social media buttons. Finally, I threw in a colorful geometric pattern that we both were absolutely obsessed with.

STEP 4: COLLATERAL ITEMS

Now that the Bright Lights brand was set in stone, it was time to move on to even more fun stuff: collateral items! Collateral items are basically just all of the extra designs like Pinterest templates and media kits. The kind of stuff that a brand uses every day. In Katherine’s case, she chose the following collateral items:

  • A business card
  • Email signature
  • Media kit
  • Pinterest templates
  • And banners for Facebook and Twitter

Here’s what they all look like!

Social Media Header

Business Card

Media Kit

Email Signature

Pinterest Templates

STEP 5: WEBSITE DESIGN

The final step of any branding and web design project, is, obviously, the website design! Katherine and I both agreed that, while a beautifully designed website was important, functionality and ease of use were even more so!

With that in mind, I got started by designing the homepage.

We had a few rounds of revisions to get things just right. Then I took the style of the homepage and applied it to the rest of her blog.

The new Bright Lights of America website is really something that needs to be seen first hand. You can check it out here!

This has definitely been one of my favorite projects to work on to date! What do you think about it? Tell me your favorite part in the comments below!

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