Project Spotlight: Gala Darling

Nubby Twiglet | Project Spotlight: Gala Darling

Today, a project Branch partnered up with Gala Darling on went live. A full year in the making, this was the most comprehensive project we’ve ever worked on to date! You can click through and see even more of the process here but I also wanted to take the opportunity to talk about the more personal side of things.

Gala and I met on Live Journal back around 2002, both in our early 20s, both not quite sure where we were headed. I was working in a mauve wallpapered corporate office during my summer breaks from college, helping the accounting department with their filing. Shortly after that, I moved onto working in a shoe store. Gala was working a string of unfulfilling retail jobs. I loved reading her posts oversharing every detail of her life, which at times sounded like a made for TV movie.

I didn’t really know anything about blogs outside of Live Journal at that time and in 2006, she was the first person I knew who made the leap over to her own, self-hosted domain. If I remember correctly, she even linked me in her first-ever article about fashion advice for recovering goths (haha).

Still not quite sure where things were going for me (I had just started my design program), I read her blog religiously every single day while standing around at my shoe job, killing time. It kept me inspired and gave me hope that I could find a way to just maybe get into design studios and ad agencies and find my spot in the world.

During the spring of 2007, I flew to LA for a Courtney Love concert (oh, the stories I have!) and spent the afternoon hanging out with my friend Star, who also knew Gala. Star said blogging was going to blow up big time and I needed my own domain. I mean, I had that already but no self-hosted blog. Star happened to be the best developer I knew. Thanks to her persistent pestering, this blog was launched later that summer.

Gala and I read each other’s blogs but we’d never met. Finally, we were going to be in New York at the same time. We spent an afternoon exploring the city together and it was so natural, I felt like I’d known her my whole life. We had different accents and were from opposite sides of the world but everything else was basically the same.

Nubby Twiglet | Project Spotlight: Gala Darling

We both had other friends that were into blogging. To be fair though, we weren’t just “into blogging”…we were full-on obsessed to the point that our nonstop discussions around the subject would have driven anyone else completely nuts. We found that bond with each other and carried that through our friendship.

I watched Gala’s blog take off and flourish and evolve. When we first started blogging, most people didn’t yet view their blogs as a full-time business. We came from the era where blogs were a place to share personal stories and snapshots — they weren’t the slick money-making, marketing machines we often see today. And because of that, most of us quickly cobbled together our own branding, if you could call it that. There wasn’t a whole lot of thought behind it at the time.

For Gala, things really started shifting when she began launching digital products a few years ago. I saw her business grow way beyond “just a blog” and when that starts to happen, there needs to be more consistency.

Last Spring, we finally started discussing what she needed to do to have that added polish while keeping the branding feeling rooted in her personal style which included a love of fashion magazine-inspired type, fuchsia and an obsession with “snail mail.”

It’s been inspiring sitting back and watching Gala put all the pieces of her new look to use, from the branding to the blog to the product graphics — she’s always had such strong content and cohesive branding is the ultimate cherry on top.

Congratulations, Gala. I am so proud of you!

More visuals can be seen here.

22 Responses to Project Spotlight: Gala Darling

    • Shauna says:

      Kelly Brito: It’s always all about all those little details, isn’t it? It’s always challenging to think of how to give something so basic a unique twist…but I love it when everything works out.

  1. alicia says:

    Awww, I loved reading this. It’s so nice to see how you have such solid friendships with both Gala and Star and how you are all making it big together now :)

    BFF’s for life <3

    Oh yeah, and obviously Gala's new design looks wayyyyyyy good, so classy!

  2. Shauna, you really did great with Gala’s new brand! I love how perfect it fits with her personality! I love all of the heart’s and bringing in the aspect of snail mail. Great job! :) Of Course the colors are FAB!

  3. Pearl says:

    I’m in love with Gala’s new branding. You did such an amazing job Shauna! It’s my dream to have you re-work my blog design one day. The business cards are also gorgeous. xx

  4. Melinda says:

    This was just beyond what I was expecting for Gala’s site, and in my imagination, I think I saw glitter and sparkles! I was so excited to see the update! The overall look is super Fashion-y, Classy and Gala(-y?)!


    • Shauna says:

      Melinda: Hahahaaaa! Best comment! Glitter and sparkles are okay as wardrobe accents but the first thing I think about when designing a site is clarity — is it easy to navigate? Is the content easy to find and read? Do all the parts and pieces make sense? Will it look dated in a year or two? It’s so easy to go overboard with design but Gala is at a point where she’s evolved a TON since her last blog incarnation and it was time to strip things back to her core essence.

  5. Ashley says:

    OMG. I am in love with this! Great job! It’s different, but not totally different where her readers will think it’s a different site! Good job, as always!

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