Twice Sold Tales

How might we create a new brand for Twice Sold Tales that conveys the brand personality in a consistent and impactful voice?
Project Overview & Problem Statement
Twice Sold Tales is a local, Seattle-based used bookstore with an extensive collection, dedicated & knowledgeable staff, and live-in cat residents. Many who have spent time there consider it to be a hidden gem, offering an affordable and accessible, wide inventory of books to all.

Twice Sold Tell’s current branding is limited and inconsistent across outdoor signage, print, web, merch, etc. The existing logo does not represent the store’s rich history (about to be 35 years!), or the in-store experience. A stronger visual identity would present opportunities for increased reach, and would gain consumer trust through consistency and authenticity.
My Contributions
This was a highly collaborative project, where Danika and I constantly gave each other feedback and iterated frequently. The development of the concept board and the brand guidelines were at the core of our collaboration. My contributions included:
  • Entire logo and stamp development
  • Responsive website
  • Motion elements such as logo animation and Instagram ads
  • Creation and development of illustrated patterns and hand-drawn brushes
  • Design of gift cards, totebags, and bookmarks
Current logo
Inside of the store
Owner outside of store
Twice Sold Tell’s current branding is limited and inconsistent across outdoor signage, print, web, merch, etc. The existing logo does not represent the store’s rich history (about to be 35 years!), or the in-store experience. A stronger visual identity would present opportunities for increased reach, and would gain consumer trust through consistency and authenticity.
Our primary audience values:
  • Sustainability (reusing books)
  • Paper over digital experiences (at least to some degree)
  • Rare books and especial editions
  • The adventure of not knowing what you will find
  • Supporting local & independent businesses
  • A touch of whimsy
  • Research
  • Brand territory and positioning attributes
  • Brand Promise
  • Tonal Territories
  • Refined concept board
  • Style board
  • Logo Development
  • Further deliverables & Marketing
Branded bookmark
We researched the history of Twice Sold Tales and found useful interviews with current and past customers, and with the owner herself, Jamie Lutton. We also visited the store several times. There we had conversations with the employees about their experience and what they think is important to customers. 

Additionally, we researched the origin of book store cats, one of the most special characteristics of the store. We learned that bookstore cats are tasked with the main role of pushing out vermin, which can damage the prized books. There are records of this practice as far back as 1745, with Empress Elizabeth of Russia. Jamie Lutton states “their main function is to keep mice out. So far, they've served only as a deterrent. They mostly just cheer us up! We have a cat in our lap when we're working, and we like to see people regress to 5 years old when they come in”. So while the initial reason to have bookstore cats was a pragmatic one, the magic and emotional value they bring to the store is just as important. We made sure that the new brand reflected this nuanced aspect of the experience. 
  • Local, Independent, Used: Magus, Third Place Books, Left Bank Books, Horizon Books
  • Local & New: Elliot Bay Books, Queen Anne Book Company
  • Nationwide: Barnes & Noble, Half Price Books, Amazon

Tonal Territories

Brand Promise & Tonal Territories
We believe everyone should have access to quality literature and information, at an affordable price. We strive to preserve the physical and sensory experience of finding a hidden gem. That's why we have an ever-expanding collection of unique and used books with a knowledgeable staff to help you find exactly what you want. We make sure our prices stay competitive by selling gently used books. As you browse our overflowing bookshelves and enjoy the company of our live-in cats, you are guaranteed to find unique treasures.

The four key brand character traits are: inviting, whimsical, resilient, and authentic. Each brand trait has a visual tone accompanied by an inspiration board that includes examples of texture, color, type treatment, and photography. The tonal territories were refined for weeks, as we refined and got closer to the core ideas and feelings of each one.
Brand positioning attributes
Out of the five major brand positioning attributes (offer, approach, skills, and mission) most of our brand attributes fell under the “offer” and "approach" territories so we focus on showcasing our products and services, and how we do things that set us apart from our competition.
Animated gif of logo solutions and process
Logo design iterations
Concept and Style Boards
The concept board was the most essential reference material we created in the process. As we came up with ideas for deliverables and refined their look and feel, we kept referencing the concept board: does it belong there? Is it a harsh departure?

We created an internal style board to have a quick and short reference for typography, color, and texture. This ensured that we had consistency across all deliverables.
Logo Development
When first creating the logo, we came up with easily more than 40 initial concepts. I took the lead after that, and over a few feedback meetings, I centered on the concept of a gateway.

Our brand is both welcoming and a bit mysterious, it lures and invites you into a world of adventure. Therefore the gateway became a central shape throughout our brand.

Concept board

The experience of Twice Sold Tales is inherently a sensorial one. The view of the labyrinth of books as you step into the store, the touch of the pages and covers (and maybe a cat), the sound of laughter and conversation.

For our deliverables we wanted to create elements that added to this experience: that is why our wayfinding elements are made of natural materials and highlight the texture of wood. The labels for book sections can be traced with a finger. We also created crafted bookmarks and stickers that can be takeaways for customers to remember their experience.
To survive in the current world, Twice Sold Tales needs to embrace the possibilities of the digital world. That is why we created Instagram advertisements with motion elements that will quickly captivate an audience and invite them to explore our brand and visit the store.

Branded merchandise, environmental elements, and print advertisement

Outcomes & Lessons learned
Diving deep into the branding journey showed me the joy of finding a project’s voice, its identity. It was a dynamic and fascinating process, that made me appreciate the time it takes to craft a powerful and solid branding that will withstand the passage of time and trends.

Our rebranding is successful because it presents a stylized, organized approach with a human touch and whimsical tone. The brand balances the original quirkiness, heart, and integrity of Twice Sold Tales with a consistent and clear voice.

A revelation we had in the middle of this project is that seemingly small adjustments make a huge difference. We removed one color from our color palette, and simplified our typography. While we worried that limiting our choices would limit our expression, the limitation did just the opposite: it simplified the process and freed us to focus more clearly on the design, and sharpen its quality. 

Our concept board is the lighthouse that guided our path through the design of all the deliverables. This is part of the incredibly helpful advice we received from our teacher. As we developed different ideas, we kept testing them against the concept board - do they fit well? What needs to be adjusted?. The concept board was an incredibly helpful tool throughout the process, and it is one I will aim to bring to similar projects in the future.
Next steps
I would like to create a full indoor wayfinding system that includes a map and floor decals, as well as window displays.

Overview of website

Animated Instagram Ads