BRANDING: The Republic of Cute®

This was a tricky category to narrow down, since technically EVERYTHING in this portfolio is a result of thoughtful "branding." I guess you could alternatively call this "Product Presentations and Graphic Design?"

"Pierogi Pride" magnet and pin (2013 series). As a lifelong resident of Northeast Ohio, I wanted to contribute to the growing sense of hometown pride. While "CLE" branded items were becoming practically ubiquitous at local markets, I felt that many of these CLE-centric products lacked a bit of soul and thoughtfulness. Wanting to contribute something unique and interesting to the mix, I designed a golden pierogi as a humorous, yet relevant Cleveland merit badge. I created the packaging to reinforce my CLE ties, sense of humor and unique branding of The Republic of Cute. This series was a 2013 Editor's Choice for Cleveland Magazine's "Best of Cleveland" issue and event.
I created all of the displays, graphics, and marketing materials, and spoke about the ROC brand in person. The Republic of Cute is all about friendliness, openness, and education, so interactivity and a bit of zaniness has always been part of my booth "culture." I encouraged people to touch and hold the characters and read their stories (bottom pink shelf shows a line of characters that come with their ID cards). 
When I worked in polymer clay (2012-2013), I dedicated a portion of the table to a "sculpting station" so people could touch and sculpt the clay themselves. Later, when I switched to resin casting (2013-2015), I brought my molds and some in-progress pieces to show how handmade toys are created from start to finish.
The mascots of The Republic of Cute were my flagship characters, Pink Pet and Buck. I designed online marketing materials, stop motion videos, vinyl banners, posters, button packs, special character ID cards, vinyl stickers, cloisonné enamel pins, postcards, tee shirts, mugs, and created a comic series based on these characters and their wacky fictional personalities. 
I made a large wooden "Pink Pet" and "Buck" to draw attention to my booth and stand out at crowded outdoor shows. I offered a free button to anyone who took a selfie (or any photo with a person in it!) with Pink Pet or Buck and shared it on Instagram. However, after only a few hours of having these large, bright characters on display, I quickly learned that people NATURALLY gravitated to them for photos, which was great.
There's only so much time that a one-person operation can to dedicate to social media, so I wanted to make my time count! I focused all of my social media attention on maintaining a great Instagram page (this was when IG was still good, haha!!) I created this card to include in every package, and actively promoted my IG page in person and online.
These were the promotional BUCK buttons that I included with Buck figurine purchases and used as "giveaways" to anyone who participated in my Instagram contests at shows (I had Pink Pet versions as well). I loved to use pins as promotional items because they were inexpensive, long lasting (versus stickers) and wearable. The wearability helped to spread the brand image and I felt that people were more likely to keep and see value in a small pin and it would help my brand stand apart from a the typical business cards that other business would surely be using instead.
This was my twitter page banner. I combined the ROC mascots with the Twitter icon.
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