Creating differentiation in an overcrowded market

The Client: Louise Thomas Skin Care

Details: Launching Spring 2020

  • Digital Design
  • UI and UX Design
  • Brand Discovery
  • Discovery Workshop
  • Market Focus
  • User Research
  • Competitor Benchmarking
  • Visual Identity
  • Brand Assets
  • Packaging Design

The Challenge

Louise Thomas Skin Care is a new skin care range that will be launching into the UK in mid 2020. Louise Thomas-Minns approached me to come on board as Creative Director for the entirety of the project and to create and oversee the implementation of the Louise Thomas Skin Care brand across digital, print and product packaging.

Louise herself has over 24 years experience as a celebrity skin therapist with highly successful skin lounges in Kensington and Norwich, she creates bespoke prescriptive facials for each individual client and changes their lives with the amazing results. The range itself was developed literally out of years of development, research and experimentation, and like Louise’s sought after facials it offers a tailored prescription to the individual’s specific needs. The products are made from carefully sourced, highly effective ingredients with minimal environmental impact, the whole range is vegan and cruelty free, and all of the packaging is recyclable.

Louise’s main challenge was launching a new skin care range into an already over-saturated marketplace. But after thorough market research and an in depth discovery process we established a brand strategy that differentiated Louise Thomas Skin Care from the crowd.

The Solution

One of Louise’s unique strengths is building long term relationships with her clients many of whom have been visiting her for years. She has a large loyal following and always has a long waiting list for her treatments. As part of the discovery process we floated the plan for Louise’s own skin care range with this large group of loyal followers and they were all excited and wanted to be a part of the process.

This became part of our brand strategy from the get go. We wanted Louise’s customers to feel part of the brand, to have ownership, in the same way her clients had felt for so many years. Inclusivity and accessibility was an important part of her mission and values.

As part of our discovery stage we conducted user testing with a group of 40 volunteers from the large list of clients Louise had at the her skin lounge ensuring we had a wide range of ages, ethnicities, and lifestyles.

With a carefully constructed set of targeted questions we conducted online research over a 4 week period resulting in a database of invaluable qualitative data. From this data we created user personas including challenges that many women face, such as acne, ageing, hormonal changes, and rosacea. These personas would become an integral part of the language we use, the brand tone of voice, the visual identity, and the brand communication.

Creating the Brand Assets

The brand began to come together around its core values:
  • Inclusivity
  • Accessibility
  • Positivity
  • Empathy
  • Trust
  • Expertise
  • Quality

Louise’s own story was at the heart of the brand storytelling – her own struggles with acne that she eventually solved through years of research and experimentation – the very thing that inspired her to create her own skin care range. Louise was to be more than just a name but the face and relatable story at the heart of her skin care range.

Testing the strategy and brand at every stage with our team of 40 testers I began by creating a soft and modern colour palette, Louise was passionate about having white and dark grey as the main brand colours and we added in a beautiful soft, yellow-toned pink to be used as an accent colour.

The typography choice was an important part of the visual identity. I took a digital first approach to all of the brand assets including the wordmark design ensuring I chose typefaces that would lose none of their impact and line weight when viewed on smaller screen sizes. The wordmark is made up of two fonts – the iconic Futura sans serif typeface and Nixie One a beautiful typewriter font that pairs with Futura beautifully to create a strong, yet soft feminine feel.

I design a separate logomark that is flexible in its use. An icon that can be used in place of the wordmark when appropriate, one that represented the science based research that has gone into the products and that could be used as a pattern within the cartons and on selected packaging. It also works well on social media at small sizes.

Digital Design

Using the personas and discoveries I made during the qualitative research and brand strategy I moved on to the digital design. Working closely with Stuart Elmore – a UI, accessibility and interaction specialist – we created initial sketches to plot user journeys and work on the UX. With functionality at the centre of everything we did we established user intentions and preferred outcomes. I then created wireframes which we tested and amended as necessary.

Once these had been refined and tested I moved on to creating the digital designs and the LTSC design system. Stuart then built a prototype of the site and we put it out to user testing and made amendments and refinements from those results.

The site is still in development stage at present, whilst products are in the final stages of production. Once the range is ready to launch we will conduct further rounds of user testing and tweak any areas we need to. Then the site will be launched.

Packaging Design

From the start it was really important that the packaging was the best possible quality as well as being fully recyclable. We shied away from excess components in the packaging such as leaflets and applicators which through our research we found tend to immediately get thrown away. It was imperative that there was as little waste as possible.

The design of the packaging is simple and eye catching, we wanted our customers to feel proud of having the packaging in their bathroom or sponge bag. The main bottles and jar are white with grey caps and black lettering, the boxes are white and black with a pop of the LTSC pink inside with a repeating pattern of the icon.

We worked closely with Vetroplas packaging to ensure we had the exact bottles and jars we had envisaged.

Imagery and Videography

The Louise Thomas Skin Care imagery and videography again echoes the brand values – inclusivity, accessibility, positivity – we wanted customers to see themselves within the imagery.

Part of the brand strategy is to have customers feel ownership of the brand and feel part of the company – to be seen and heard. We therefore used real people as models – real LTSC customers – it was important to us to use a broad range of ages, ethnicities, sizes, and skin challenges.

Louise Thomas Skin Care imagery is natural, candid, and beautiful. We filmed the video and photography work over a few days on location at the beautiful Fishley Hall in Norfolk. It leant a warm and a welcoming feel with natural light throughout.

Video will be prevalent throughout the site, connecting Louise with her clients on a more personal basis. Each product page will have a short video with Louise explaining the key ingredients and how to use the product.

Results

Louise Thomas Skin Care feels unique within the crowded market place of skin care. There is a human story at the heart of it which has created customer connection and loyalty even before the products have launched.

Creating such a strong and unique brand has meant that Louise has been able to go forward and secure her second round of investment, she has already secured relationships with leading distributors and has embarked on relationships with high profile social media influencers – including Sam Chapman of Pixiwoo – who are endorsing the skin care range.

What Louise Thomas says

Liz was excellent at helping me to establish the branding and tone of voice before embarking on the design and identity. She has a real flair for understanding the key messages that need to be portrayed and considers longevity when it comes to producing effective branding

Louise Thomas-Minns, Founder of Louise Thomas Skin Care
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