RIVTAK Handmade

River Takada-Capel is the artist behind RIVTAK Handmade, a brand dedicated to creating environmentally responsible goods using only salvage and remnant materials. River’s work is maximalist, handcrafted, sometimes messy, always beautiful, and made with care. We wanted her branding to encompass many disparate concepts: earthy but otherworldly, old but new, colorful but neutral. Ultimately, we decided on a cohesive brand identity that felt modern, but still connected to tradition.
Scope of Work
Branding & Squarespace Website
Industry
Handmade Goods
An overhead photograph of RIVTAK business cards laid on top of indigo cloth and kraft paper, showing RIVTAK's cohesive brand identity
An overhead view of RIVTAK marketing collateral design, showing RIVTAK's cohesive brand identity
RIVTAK brand & marketing collateral design - a flatlay photograph, showing RIVTAK's cohesive brand identity
RIVTAK brand design, showing RIVTAK's cohesive brand identity
A postcard design which reads "RIVTAK Handmade" with a photograph of two women arranging fabric for a photoshoot, showing RIVTAK's cohesive brand identity
RIVTAK responsive web design - the RIVTAK website on a laptop, iPad and iPhone, showing RIVTAK's cohesive brand identity
RIVTAK responsive web design - iPhone screens arranged in a grid showing the RIVTAK website, showing RIVTAK's cohesive brand identity
The RIVTAK logo on two hangtags, showing RIVTAK's cohesive brand identity
Shoppable website on an iPad and iPhone, showing RIVTAK's cohesive brand identity
A photo of RIVTAK's marketing collateral postcards, showing RIVTAK's cohesive brand identity

I finally have the confidence to print all the stickers, tape, packaging, etc, that I use to support the handmade products I sell! It’s hard to express how validating this is for me!

River takada-capel, founder of rivtak
The RIVTAK website on an iPhone and MacBook, showing RIVTAK's cohesive brand identity

River Takada-Capel, the artist behind RIVTAK Handmade, is a friend of mine who reached out in the summer of 2019 about rebranding her business. She’s been selling her own clothing, accessories, art prints and other handmade wares for more than 10 years. In that time, her business had evolved in many ways.

Like many solopreneurs (and especially those in creative spheres), most of River’s brand identity was DIY’ed and put together piecemeal over the years. When we first met up for coffee to talk about her project, it was clear that she was ready to have a more consistent and cohesive brand identity. River wanted to really sit down and approach her branding with intention.

This can be a hard task when you are running a business all on your own! Finding the time to focus on business development out of your busy day-to-day is difficult enough. Especially for a creative business owner, figuring out your brand identity be a real inward journey.

A thoughtful rebrand provides an opportunity to slow down, assess your work, and think hard about the things you love about it and the clients or customers you want to invite into your life – as well as the things and people you’d like to spend less of your energy on.

Strategy & Inspiration

River and I began collaborating on a shared Pinterest board pretty early on in the process. Pinterest is an awesome tool for bouncing around ideas, and in River’s case, we definitely had no shortage of ideas.

In fact, this was probably the most challenging (and most fun!) part of the project for me. Working with a fellow creative meant that every time we met, we shared tons of images, concepts, and art with each other. So, narrowing down the brand to a single, easy-to-digest concept was tough!

Consequently, we started by creating three fairly different moodboards. From there, River was able to decide which of the moodboards best aligned with her brand vision.

Brand Design

River’s work is maximalist, handcrafted, sometimes messy, always beautiful, and made with care. Therefore, we wanted her branding to encompass many disparate concepts: earthy but otherworldly, old but new, colorful but neutral. Ultimately, we decided on a brand identity that felt modern, but still connected to tradition.

Web Design

With a solid set of logos, brand guidelines and assets in place, we moved on to re-designing the RIVTAK website. First, we started by identifying the most important things a visitor to her site should do:

  1.  Learn about RIVTAK workshops
  2.  Purchase RIVTAK products
  3.  Learn more about River’s process, values and past work

With these goals in mind, I began by updating the site’s design to match her new brand identity. Then, I re-structured the site’s content and navigation to provide a more easily navigable user experience.

River’s site was built on Squarespace, which made the task of re-designing all of her pages at once a simple one. Tweaking the site’s design styles updated all her content to match, site-wide. (Yet another reason why I love and often recommend Squarespace for small businesses.)

However, figuring out the best way to re-organize the site was the more challenging part. River and I met several times to narrow down the purpose she needed the website to serve before I began to make any changes.

The result is a cleaner and more user-friendly website, putting River’s workshops and products front and center. The site also educates her visitors on what sets her brand apart (namely, her use of upcycled and salvage materials, and her dedication to community building and inclusivity).

Marketing Collateral

River and I were able to create a wide assortment of new marketing materials using her new brand identity. We created everything from product tags to postcards to custom packing tape. Subsequently, we worked with Kristin Austin of Studio Aray on a gorgeous brand photoshoot to highlight RIVTAK’s fresh new look.

Now, RIVTAK Handmade has the beautiful and functional branding that River always imagined, and her business is set up to move forward with intention. 

Certainly, branding a new business or re-branding an existing one is a big investment – of your time, money, and mental energy. Creating a brand identity that actually works for your unique business takes research, honesty and a collaborative relationship with your designer to really get it right. 

But once you do get it right, there are few things more rewarding (financially and otherwise) for a small business trying to stand out.

 
ABOUT RIVTAK HANDMADE
RIVTAK, short for founder River Takada-Capel’s name, is the progression of River’s creative heart and mind. All products and packaging are made from remnant and salvage material, so most items are completely waste free. River is always experimenting with new projects, products and workshop ideas; embracing the spirit of re-use by investing in high quality materials that are left behind by factories (pre-consumer remnants), giving them a second life to serve a function in our everyday lives. 
 

The brand is a collaboration of things River loves & her fascination for crafting with her hands: sewing, dyeing, screen printing, vintage shopping and mending, creating mobiles and jewelry, etc. River carefully crafts each piece around a purpose… adornment and awareness.

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