New Work: Live Oak Films

When Zach, a co-owner of Live Oak Films, first reached out to us late last year, I was blown away by his demeanor. Zach is talented and creative, as one would expect within the industry of film, but he's also kind and thoughtful and highly driven as well. Here at Rowan Made, we choose to cultivate strong partnerships through the idea of like-mindedness, a connection we felt early on with Zach.

Up until the point we met, Live Oak Films was not yet a thing. Cullen Studio was the name of Zach's first solo business, a business that continued to grow steadily over the years to come. In fact, the expansion allowed him to bring on another partner, Gabby, as Zach could no longer do everything himself. Soon after, they both felt an urge to shift. To take that next big step.

That's where we came in. Zach knew that Cullen Studio needed to rebrand, but he was also tossing around the idea of renaming the business as well. During our first "get to know you" call, I told him about the story of how Rowan Made came to be, while also giving a handful of suggestions in terms of naming a new business. Towards the end of the call, I reminded Zach that he didn't need to rush through the decision, and that we'd be here whenever he was ready. Zach said that he'd take a week or two to think about the idea of renaming his business and would let me know of any updates.

Then, about an hour or so after our call, I received an unexpected email from Zach. Not only were they ready to sign on, but they had already decided on a name as well. Turns out, the story I shared about developing the Rowan Made name resonated with Zach and gave both him and Gabby a sense of confidence in an idea they were already fairly certain about: Live Oak Films.

It felt right on so many levels and I was reminded of the power of like-mindedness and working with clients that you connect with on a deeper level. So, we happily moved forward and sent through our client questionnaire.

Through this, it became clear that the typography for Live Oak Films needed to be both classic and timeless, so that it could grow alongside the brand for years to come. From there, we dove into tone and color, two things we knew would bring in a sense of approachability if done right. As filmmakers, both Zach and Gabby thrive on shooting a balance of cinematic and candid moments. And with a focus on family, the idea of warmth was established. That, plus some leaves, because the name "Live Oak" begs for some sort of natural touch. Here is the moodboard we created to achieve all of these things, visually:


Next, the project went into my lead designer's hands. Phalen took everything I'd outlined thus far and went all out in Illustrator developing concepts, chatting things over with me, and finally refining before the initial presentation. Looking back, the first concept wasn't far off from where we landed, which is always fun to see ...


Zach followed our feedback guidelines extremely well and made sure to keep subjectivity at bay in order to refine from a place that's best for the brand. In fact, he said that if it were up to him, the initial designs were very much inline with what he'd be personally drawn to. This reminded him to take a step back and put himself in his audience's shoes, which more often than not, is brides.

While the composition, color, and leaf illustration were on the right track, the weight of the type, juxtaposed with the minimal marks, came off a touch too masculine. This is the kind of information that we can run with, so Phalen went back to her artboard and worked on striking a more feminine / masculine balance in the form of thinner type. It's crazy how big of an impact such a small (yet thoughtful) change can make, but that's exactly what happened ...


Our base branding package includes one collateral item, so we went ahead and built out business cards for Live Oak Films as well. Zach and Gabby are currently working on putting together a website and will hopefully be launching real soon. And we can't wait to share that with you all once it's. In the meantime, CHEERS on another wonderful collaboration in the books! Zach and Gabby, it was a pleasure.