Image is everything, especially when you are talking about branding a business. Here are expert tips on how to design your brand with style, sass and class

Growing up, we did it. Sadly, our kids will do it, and if they’re lucky, small businesses will do it also. If your business evolves, outgrowing its former scope and demographic, chances are your space will grow also and you may need to evolve your brand and image along with it.

A perfect case in point is Amy Brookes, owner and chef of Cake Envy. Amy has been baking cheesecakes for 14 years and supplies many restaurants, including Eat Honolulu, Il Lupino’s and Wolfgang’s Steak-house’s Thanksgiving cheesecakes.


Amy was planning to open her first brick-and-mortar cafe when she came into Cathy’s Marketplace last year and purchased our amazing Hudson silver chain chandelier. Later, she asked me to design her cafe. When I saw her space I quickly realized two things: one, the chandelier would be perfect; and two, with the growth Cake Envy was about to experience, Amy would need branding as fabulous as her cheesecakes!

You may be wondering what this has to do with interior design and decor. When thinking of brand identity, most people think about a business’s logo or color scheme. While there are companies that offer services like Affordable Business Letterhead Printing that will help boost your brand’s consistency, this must also extend to the space the company operates out of. My point is that your image, collateral material like packaging, menus and business cards, and your branding all need to work in concert with your space.

I told Amy I would take the job on the condition that I would be in charge of her new space, as well as brand identity. Her name, cheesecakes and tagline – “Cheese-cakes so fabulous they make other desserts jealous” – remained, but now her space and brand would have to exude that same amount of sass and class.

Amy had a logo and was considering a cartoon image of a woman holding a cheesecake as her storefront identity. It was cute. But we’re going for fabulous, aren’t we?

Taking our cue from that rock ‘n roll chandelier, we enhanced the logo to give it an edgier vibe. This became the signage outside the door.


Then we created a simpler brand identity for her window showing off Cake Envy’s colors and initials.

Next, the packaging. The cheesecakes’ cardboard boxes were tied with a gauzy leopard-print ribbon. Again, cute. But we needed to project the fresh, edgy direction the brand was going. We went for a clean, crisp look: a white box, a heavier weight pink / black ribbon and a new black label, overall a much stronger statement.

Hopefully, I’ve whetted your appetite, and you’re now dying to see the space and other branding we did. I’ll share photos and details with you next week.

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. reStyle Hawaii, her new-concept furniture and home accents store, is open daily at 420 Keawe St. in Kakaako. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects visit