It was our pleasure to interview Sunni Chapman, founder and owner of Efflorescence, on the essential components associated with branding a business. Specifically, Sunni shares her web design expertise and illustrates the importance of website design in attracting clients and expressing a clear brand message.
Below is the interview:
1. You recently rebranded. What inspired you to do this, and what’s different about the new company?
After eight successful years under Bella Fiore Art & Design, I decided that I wanted to further hone in on my original intention for my business. A year earlier, when I happened upon the word “Efflorescence” and read it’s definition, I knew the name was the perfect “suit” for my original intention.
Efflorescence, in this use of the word, is defined as:
efflorescence: 1 a: the action or process of developing and unfolding as if coming into flower : blossoming ; periods of intellectual and artistic efflorescence — b: an instance of such development c: fullness of manifestation : culmination c: to reach an optimum stage of development; to begin to bloom ; to blossom : simple concepts that effloresce.
This definition really spoke to me, and I immediately knew that this is what I wanted to further convey to my clients. What I wanted to speak to with my rebranding was the recognition that all of our endeavors and ideas are constantly evolving and unfolding to reach their highest potential. And when it comes to clients’ business aspirations, I believe they deserve no less than the full exploration of how that business will present itself to the world visually.
I believe I offer a unique service and perspective in the web design world as I take more into account than just meets the eye. I am able to get a better sense of the people behind businesses and their best intentions for it, and the energy of what they’re trying to create. I then translate these intentions and visions into a visual piece that is not only engaging to their perspective customers, but that also speaks to them through the subtleties of art and design and inspires them to explore further.
Bella Fiore had the same intention, and in fact means “Beautiful Flower” in Italian—so the developing and unfolding / coming into blossom concept has always been there. But I felt that some of it had gotten lost in trying to be “all things to all people,” rather than focusing on my strengths and what I do best, which is putting all my energy into working with people who recognize and value just that.
I also realized that, on a personal level, I was a little hidden in my old website. Therefore, I felt this was the perfect opportunity to focus on the fullness of my own manifestation, and by putting myself out there, I hoped that I would attract and work with more people who want to do the same.
2. Your designs are extremely unique and stunning. Where do you get your inspiration / ideas for your designs?
First things first, thank you!!
The short answer to that question is quite literally everywhere! I find inspiration in so many things, from the wondrous to the seemingly mundane. The natural world around us is one of my biggest sources of inspiration. The colors and textures and lines and curves found in nature speak to all of us on an intuitive, yet profound level. These are the “grounds” or foundation that I always begin with.
I also draw a great deal of inspiration from the world of “things” and, in particular, the old world of things such as vintages, found items, and antiques. I love imagery, textures, or treatment that evoke nostalgia or a sense of familiarity, and I feel that, when these are coupled with the elements of nature, it creates a powerful response in people. Not that most people realize everything that is happening when they look at a design, but they feel something and that inspires them to explore further.
3. How do you decide what colors and graphics / images to use for each particular client?
I first ask clients what their particular likes or dislikes are, if they have any—but that’s just the first and most obvious step. I next ask them what designs of mine they were first or most drawn to, and then what designs or images of others they are most drawn to. This not only gives me a good sense of their individual aesthetic, but also provides me with more of an insight into who they are, what they want to achieve, and whom they are trying to reach. Once I know all of this, I then go into the design process with that intention in mind and gather imagery, colors, textures, and typeface that I feel will best express their objectives.
For some, clean lines, contemporary colors, and a bold initiative are ideal, and for others fluidity, subtlety, and a natural palette fit perfectly. The diversity and potential each project presents is what I love best about this work! It is always evolving.
4. Who is your ideal client? Specifically, which clients provide you with the most room for creativity?
My ideal client is just that, as a matter of fact—ones who provide me the most room for creativity. The clients that I have not only enjoyed working with the most, but whom I have also seen reap the greatest benefits from my work, are those who came in the door knowing full well what they were about. They knew what they wanted to achieve and attract and what they liked / disliked in terms of design, but they immediately gave their full trust to me in regards to artistic vision and interpretation as a design professional.
Not only do these ideal clients allow the designer to explore the full potential from the vantage point of his or her professional training, these clients also know the value in that and are prepared to make that investment in their business’ most valuable marketing tool—a website. This combination makes for powerful business owners. They have clear directive on who they are and what they want. They believe in their own vision, and they want others to be able to see that vision in the same way they do; therefore, they invest their time and resources in that endeavor wholeheartedly. I applaud all of my clients for having the courage and foresight to follow their dreams and see them through!
Stay tuned for Part II of this post.
Sunni is pronounced “Sunn-e”, but don’t worry, I get “soon-e” all the time. It’s my fault for spelling it that way! It’s short for Sunshine—which you can blame my dear mother for. But even though for the majority of my young adult life I despised the name and its chipper implications, I have come to discover that I do indeed love to shine a little light in this world, in any way I can. So I guess she was on to something. Thanks, Mom.
Having always had a creative spirit and a love of art in all its forms, I serendipitously stumbled into this wonderful field of design while taking fine art classes at a not-name-dropping-worthy, but perfectly located community college. It was here that I fell in love with design, counted my blessings that I had found something productive I could do with my creative aspirations, and earned my degree in Applied Art & Design. After three years as a senior designer for a local design firm, I struck out on my own and opened Bella Fiore Art & Design in the hopes of creating a design firm that is driven by art, rather than functionality alone, and that provides a level of service to its clients that is hard to come by in the web design field.
Fast forward eight years, and I am proud to say that Bella Fiore was and continues to be a remarkable success, and the wonderful people that I have worked for have made that possible. I could not be more grateful for everything that has transpired (and I mean everything), and I look forward to the continuing success of Efflorescence under the same belief and principles.
~ Sunni (& Kita — lapdog designer extraordinaire)
Visit the Efflorescence website here.
If you like this post, you might also like:
- Developing a Brand through Website Design: Part II
- Why You Shouldn’t Brand Yourself
- Building a Unique Brand Message One Pair Of Socks at a Time
- The Evolution of a Brand Message: A Picture Story