by Susan Cannon

We get a bit giddy to be able to share the creative achievements of women we admire. So we decided to shed a little light on the visionary ladies of DESIGN RANCH, an internationally recognized and award-winning design agency who created our special FINEFOLK branding, and uniquely elegant, yet down to earth packaging.

Finefolk owner Leslie Fraley made the right decision in saddling up to their ranch.

I chatted with Design Ranch co-founder Ingred Sidie regarding their process, philosophy, awards, and the inspirations that make each of them tick.

SC - We're always impressed by your creative wizardry: your incredibly diverse range of forward-thinking concepts combined with a modern, uplifting aesthetic. Please give us a brief synopsis of how your agency came about.

IS - Michelle Sonderegger and I started Design Ranch in 1998. We wanted to build a firm that would never compromise on quality of design, and we’ve never wavered from this approach. We look at every project as a design challenge and go above and beyond our clients' expectations. Over the last 18 years we’ve continued to create strategic, yet unexpected, original creative work. Our team of designers is the best in the business, and we are able to draw upon their strengths and our experience for a unique collaboration resulting in success for our clients. 

SC - Design Ranch has garnered some awards for the Finefolk branding campaign. Do fill us in.

IS - Finefolk has been very well received by the advertising and design community. It’s been awarded by AIGA, the Addys; been published in Communication Arts Design Annual, Print Design Annual, How Magazine, and it has been featured in other various design publications and blogs. We are extremely proud of the brand we created for this unique shop + studio. 

SC - Please describe what your process was for creating the brand.

IS - We came up with the FINEFOLK name quickly, but Leslie wasn’t sold at first. We convinced her that is was a perfect fit (no pun intended). We liked the juxtaposition of the name “Fine" because her style is very high-end and modern, yet classic ... the “folk” added that Midwestern approachability. Conceptually the name and the design have a relationship that most people wouldn’t think about, but it’s something that drove our process and is seen in every detail of the brand and materials. 

The design is simple but when you examine the combination of language, forms, papers, printing techniques… you start to see how much thought went into every detail. Sourcing and designing the library of elements was incredibly time consuming, but also is what made it so successful. We punctuated the brand by adding a strong, smart mantra of "WE AR FINEFOLK.” 

Finefolk is an excellent example of the labor of love and the passion our firm has for all aspects of design. 

SC - Can you speak to the connection you guys have aesthetically and philosophically with Leslie and the business she created? 

IS - Leslie has impeccable taste and had a strong vision for the aesthetic of the shop + studio, and brand she wanted to create. We took our cue from her Wabi Sabi style. Her modern sophistication, mixed with our attention to every detail evolved to become the Finefolk brand. 

SC - What designers or items are you each drawn to in the shop? 
IS - The fashion-forward combination and mix of unexpected elements (clothing, accessories, jewelry, shoes...) is what excites us about Finefolk. The pieces are stylish yet classic, and will last a lifetime. Leslie has the wonderful ability to curate and combine designers/looks to create personal style for all of her customers. It’s truly a unique experience at every touch point from when you enter the space to when you unwrap your new Finefolk clothes for the first wear. The brand supports the product and the product supports the brand. It’s a full circle of success!


Meet the Design Ranch team below (if you can catch 'em):

Co-founders and creative directors - Ingred Sidie and Michelle Sonderegger. Senior designer - Morgan Stephens. Copy director - Claire Gude.

SC - Lastly, we want to hear from each of you individually about the things that make you tick... in other words, your inspirations, loves... any mind-blowing moments that formed your creativity.

Ingred - Balance is what makes me tick. Having passion for the creative process but allowing time to enjoy my family and friends is what makes my life complete… that and a glass of nice red wine at the end of the day.
Michelle - Barcelona, New Orleans, Palm Springs, Portland; Eva Zeisel, Paul Klee, Joan Miro; Night of the Iguana, Baby Doll, Raise the Red Lantern, The Thin Man; Pina Bausch, Ballet Russe; Slaughterhouse-5, The Tin Drum, The New York Times; Alinea, Cal Pep, music, nature and my mom Ruby.
Morgan - Traveling, fashion, modern art and collaborating with other creatively charged individuals.
Claire - My mom is really the inspiration behind my creativity. Growing up, arts and crafts were our finest form of entertainment. We would go on walks, collect rocks, then go home and "paint" them with water—over and over again as they dried. looking back, that's the perfect illustration of my love for the creative process.
Thank you ladies, and congratulations.

March 22, 2016 — susan cannon