Before & After: The Thoughtful Giving App

I met with Misty at a cute corner coffee shop in downtown Bath, Maine, the city of ships. Cafe Creme is the hangout of choice for many of the locals and boarding school students alike. Its intimate atmosphere encourages conversation and camaraderie, and the sea of treats under glass domes at the counter along with row of local coffees along the wall encourages you to stay awhile.

Misty had heard about me from my SCORE mentor. If you are unfamiliar with the SCORE program, its mission is to match entrepreneurs with seasoned business veterans. Misty, a mom with young kids like myself, was a massage therapist by trade, and working on developing an incredible app she called Thoughtful Giving. At the time she had entered the LA Top Gun competition to win funding for her business idea and wanted to connect with me to learn more about branding and design.

I was more than happy to meet with her as one, she was obviously a fellow go-getter, two, I love talking branding and design, and three, my mom ran a gift shop my whole life up until this past year so I felt Misty would be a kindred spirit.

Once we had our coffee and pastries in hand, she explained to me the beautiful idea she had that was the Thoughtful Giving app.

"If you have nieces and nephews and want to get them a gift for their birthday, you always have to ask their shoe size, their clothing size, who their favorite super hero is etc. This app will allow you to share profiles of you and your family members with friends and family so they will always have access to the crucial information needed to purchase gifts," she said. 

"Furthermore," she continued, "it will be connected with banks so you can contribute to their college fund, or make a donation to a cause they support."

As a mom myself who gets invited to birthday parties, this idea sounded brilliant. No more having to interrupt my friends and family members to ask what they or their children wanted for holidays and birthdays. 

I told Misty about the applied color psychology system I use to style brands, and we went over Spring, which she absolutely needed to use as either the dominant or supporting season as it communicates youth and aspiration, and Autumn, as Autumn communicates friendliness and philanthropy.

I sent her home with printouts of the Spring and Autumn style cheat sheets, and wished her good luck in the competition.

Fast forward to a year later, and Misty reached out again to see if I was interested in helping her create a brand identity for the app. She had a developer on board and with Covid, was able to spend more time than usual on forging ahead with launching this oh-so-helpful app. I told her about my Done & Dusted special, and we set up a time for our first meeting to go over the brief.

Now, as we had already spent some time together in person talking about this brand, I felt I had a good grasp on what she was looking for. Our first meeting went more quickly than most. We went through her answers to the questions I have anyone working with me fill out and then I told her I was excited to get to work on the project.

Here is her original logo that she had created for the Top Gun competition. She hired someone on a design site I believe for $25 to get this created:

The colors are not harmonious, and while it is very legible, it feels like someone used clipart to throw together. 

I started with creating a new color palette pulling from Autumn. These colors are so rich and lovely, they unconsciously pull you in. Here is the palette I created for her,

I then worked on creating a logo. Now, I love the raspberry color, and felt it was very festive. So all the logo designs I worked up used this as the main color. Here is one of my first designs also showing some of the different gift images she could choose from:

However, on our next Zoom meeting, we decided to go back to the original main colors of orange and teal as the dominant colors. Orange because it communicates warmth and abundance. And teal because it's a blend of the nice balancing and abundance properties of green and communicative properties of blue. A gift is a type of communication that you appreciate someone.

We spent quite some time both apart and together looking at typefaces. We tried Andika, Arapey, Arima Madurai, Bellota Text, Comfortaa, Harmattan, Mada, Thasadith, and ultimately decided upon Mallanna. It was friendly and simple, easy to read on a very small screen. 

As for the gift, we liked the one with the gradient package, and knew we wanted to keep the heart-shaped bow from the blue clipart gift. I tried doing a small tweak and seeing what it would look like if the ribbon jumped up and crossed the "T" of Thoughtful, but ultimately we decided to keep the gift on its own as it was more legible across applications.

Gift with the ribbon on the "T":

And here is the final logo:

I also created a few different versions that could be used across different applications:

Lastly, I created a mock up of what the phone app image could look like:



Now that we had the logo finalized, it was time to continue with the brand identity creation. 

In order to do this, I find it is easiest to find an application to which you are going to apply the brand style.

Luckily for me, Misty had shared with me a Word document mock-up of what one of the profiles would look like.


We had used Autumn colors, so I knew we next needed to add some Spring elements to bring that lightness and aspect of future aspiration. I created a fun confetti pattern of little repeating triangles in the brand colors.

Next I found some icons on that allowed me to edit their colors to match the brand identity colors.

And I knew it needed a bit of a gradient pop so added this texture:

Then we played with typefaces in a Word document to decide on a fun heading font and a simple paragraph font. Here is the final profile mock-up with our updated brand style elements applied.


This is what the app would look like if you were logged in on a computer, and we talked a bit about how it would be designed differently as a phone app. We did a Google image search around phone app user interfaces and Misty now has an idea of what she likes. Once the developer is ready for a user interface, that will be the next piece to design.

The Thoughtful Giving app now has a one-page style guide, so Misty is able to easily share the styles with anyone working on the project.

Good luck to Misty, and I know I am excited to be able to use this amazing app!


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