Brand junkies, we are indeed!!

How does a brand influence people?! A loaded question, to say the least, but we are going to attempt to dive right into it.

To begin with, we need to briefly discuss what a brand is. A brand is essentially ones company identity, vision + mission all mushed together. It manifests itself physically, psychologically, visually, acoustically and so on. A strong brand carries consistent messages and can tell a story. It has the ability to tap into your memory formation and make a lasting impression and respectively receive a life time commitment from others. 

Typically, when one thinks about the concept of branding, images of logos or words to tag lines come to mind. Although a logo as is its tag are important components to saying who 'you' are, your brand goes way beyond those layers.  If created and maintained well, a brand will make it's way (and should) into every part of your company's being. It becomes visceral.

So, how does this happen?!

Treat a brand like a thesis statement, the claim you make in the first paragraph you write in a paper. When writing, all the information you gather and research you've done is filtered by the thesis statement. Does it support the message you want to convey? Or, does it negate your thought process? Every time a decision is made, be it how the 'front of the house' of a business, the staff in a hotel, restaurant or retail environment behave and treat clients, should run through the critical filter of the brand identity. Am 'I' formal, poised and accommodating? Or, am 'I' fiesty, casual and good at winging it. Your brand will tell you what you are.

Your service, product or space... Again, does it reinforce and stay in line with your identity,  or does it communicate a different message and confuse your users and customer base? Continuity is the key !!

Design Shop is passionate about branding. We understand and respect the power behind it, but also make it our mission to use it responsibly and educate our clients on all layers of brand we design for them. It's not enough to have it created, one needs to understand what the branded layers mean, how to implement and maintain them so the 'story' isn't lost or miscommunicated.

When working on a commercial space, we deconstruct the company's identity, then translate key messages into the built environment. It is our job to ensure that when your client/customer walks into your space it screams 'you'. We analyze the function of your space down to the most minute of details. How will your customer enter your space? What is that they first see, feel, experience, etc.? Where can we add impact? 

The following is one of our favorite snack branded environments... Love cupcakes (who doesn't) ? Sprinkles Cupcakes is a great example of a company who knows their stuff and who they are! Their brand has successfully been translated it's into every inch of their space. Their interiors are inviting, clean lined, bright and playful. They and their designer ;) perfected the introduction of little details to create large impact, drama and they know how to suck you in and more importantly keep coming back! Their cupcake displays are not only functional, but so visually appealing, they have become almost iconic - like to who they are. Display = Sprinkles Cupcakes... Pretty much carrying the power of a logo.  Sprinkles hasn't missed a beat. Their exterior facade and storefront,  menus, website, stickers, bags and logo all speak their brand language. 

Do you get the message? We do! Come brand with us :) !

Photo by others...

The Design Shop Girls


Bathrooms on budget with colossal personalities !!

We all have been told repeatedly that the most involved, expensive and pay it forward renovations for the home are the kitchen and bathroom spaces. But what is rarely spoken of, is that if planned creatively and proactively (wink, wink.. hire a seasoned INTERIOR designer), your renovation can stay on track and you can avoid bankruptcy, foreclosure and emptying your wallets !!

So, with the above statement said, How the h*ll do you update said spaces while still infusing massive personality and innovative design moves into your new and improved space !! Brilliant question you / we ask ...

Here are a few steps in the process that will keep you and your designer on track with budget vision and timeline...

1. BUDGET -  TALK ABOUT IT! Don't be afraid to communicate this integral baseline to the entire project. Do your homework. Think hard about your needs (and wishes) for the space. What are your expectations? What's your vision? What is your timeline (are you securing an interior designer at the 11th hour and rushing everything)? Are you satisfied with your current floor plan and layout? Is there anything in the existing space you are open to salvaging? And, on and on.... Don't worry, it's not that daunting of a task and your designer will help facilitate this dialogue... But the end result will help your designer know if your expectations are indeed in line with the budget, or if you are completely out to lunch... Design Shop will say this politely of course .

2. Keep as many mechanical, plumbing and electrical locations in place. Every move of said system can add dollar bills to the final construction costs. Wee moves or slight adjustments are typically not the biggest deal, but a complete reconfigure of the plan WILL add up.

3. Concept - the design story!!  Yeah, yeah... the perceived "hooey hooey" part of the design process, but this is where and when the magic happens with the overall vision of the design (please don't use the word theme - a decorator may be ok with this "term", but an Interior Designer will throw up in their mouth.. Just a heads up!).

The concept behaves like a thesis statement when writing a paper. It filters ideas, decisions and the body, ensuring the overall "story" is consistent and uniquely yours!
When it comes to staying on budget it allows you and your designer to choose the appropriate finishes and materials, fixtures, etc., that are congruent but most importantly we can make decisions about when,  where and how much you can splurge with your selections! There is always a way, you just need to have the right brain power to put this creativity to work.

4. Form should always follow function, specifically in a bathroom space, and one should allow for a variety of tasks to be performed in this multifunctional space. Your designer may ask you seemingly odd questions... ie: (sorry Ben Hopper), do you shave your legs in the shower? Show us how? These question may lead to your designer to suggesting a bench detail or an elongated or segmented alcove in your shower wall. Maybe one alcove storage opening is intended for shampoo and whatnot storage and maybe another segment is perfectly placed for you to prop your foot up to shave your legs!! If you are going custom - truly make it yours.

Enough Design Shop verbage for today... Now it's your turn, let us know what you think of our blog entry. Share, comment or hit the cute little red heart !!

The Design Shop Girls 



How serendipitous to be introducing our blog today, which is Valentines Day!

Why? Because we at Design Shop Inc. absolutely LOVE what we do.  And how many people can actually say that? And, like, really mean it when they say it?

In case you didn’t already know, we’re Amanda Minuk and Debbie Golub, two precocious, ambitious, and sometimes (if you catch us on a bad day) facetious Winnipeg women with an eye for design, and a vision all our own.

We’ve built this business on one core belief, and that’s the importance of balancing accessibility with aesthetic.  Yup, we believe that great design should be available to everyone, at every budget, in every space, every day.

When you think of an interior designer, what comes to mind? Remember “Franck” (played by Martin Short) in Father of The Bride II? With his hoity-toity accent that bared no resemblance to any nationality whatsoever? And his ridiculous outfits? Flamboyant demeanor? Condescending manner?  Well, that’s the opposite of who we are.

Gone are the days of pretentiousness in the industry. Gone are the days of technical speak, and down-talk to clients. We believe that every project should be a true collaboration between designer and client. We believe in an open dialogue at all times. We believe in a healthy combination of tradition and innovation. But most of all, we believe in ourselves. And we believe that every space, no matter the size or scope, deserves to be beautiful.

The name of our blog is Gin + Diamonds. You might be thinking “What? I thought you just said you’re the opposite of pretentious! How much more pretentious can you get!?” Well STOP RIGHT THERE! We said we’re not pretentious, we didn’t say we weren’t fancy. And, see that’s the point, no one said high end always means high cost, and, friends, we’re as high end as they come. Think a Lamborghini for the price of a Camry. A Rolex for the price of a Swatch. Agent Provocateur for the price of Fruit of The Loom. We believe that what we offer is more than just a facelift for your space, what we offer is an upgrade for your lifestyle.

Join us as we embark on this journey through a commercial, residential, and branding wonderland, and visit weekly for tips on quick fixes, complete overhauls, and everything in between.


Until next time,

Debs + Mandy