What’s in a Brand? Elisa Bonora from Millefolia

Today, we talk with Elisa Bonora, the owner of Millefolia Translations. Elisa is an English and Spanish to Italian translator and editor. A lover of nature, Elisa specializes in natural sciences, wildlife and environment, as well as in music, travel and tourism, creative texts and social/cognitive sciences. You can find her on her blog or on Twitter.


Hi Elisa, and thanks for being a part of this series. I remember the first time we were in touch through email, the first thing that stood out to me was that you chose to put your logo and slogan at the top of the email. This can be considered as quite bold, but I think it really works. How is branding important to you for your business?

First of all hi and thanks for having me in your blog! Well, that’s funny because I think your logo near your signature in your e-mails looks great too 😉 I’m glad you like mine.

As for branding, for me it’s important because it presents and sums up my business – how I feel about it, what I offer, how I want the world to perceive it – and makes it memorable. It also shows that I am taking my work seriously and I am proud of what I do. That’s why I care about my professional image.

But while your on- and offline presence is very important, I’m not a big fan of branding and marketing at all costs, like squeezing your name and face and logo into any conceivable corner with a flashing “Hey, look at me!” attitude. I’m no branding expert, but I instinctively believe that while we’re all worthy, the world doesn’t revolve around any of us and, instead of pretending so, it’s extremely important to be able to get offstage sometimes and listen to others, acknowledging their value and sending out a message of “I never stop learning”; this comes across as more reliable and professional than just aggressive, know-it-all marketing, I think.

This also reflects my view that we freelance translators are team mates rather than competitors, so I want my brand to reflect my own quality while leaving room to my collaborative approach, rather than feeling like I’m anxiously running a race.

I also believe that your best marketing tool is still your actual work – how you write in your own language, how you identify and deal with linguistic issues, your ability to come up with creative ideas, your customer service, your business and time management, your professional and personal attitude; in short, how you concretely make the difference. I call it my “practical business card”, and it works better than any gadget!

How did you decide your brand name? What does it stand for?

There’s quite a brainstorming behind it! First of all, for my brand I wanted a name that was as distinctive as possible, and that could work across languages. Now, being a green girl, I have always loved leaves. So I came up with the idea of playing on the double meaning of the word folia in Latin – “leaves” and “sheets” – having noticed that they can represent “vital force, growth” and “communication” respectively. Which is exactly my aim as a professional linguist: Grow your communication, as my tag line says. This is also reflected in my logo, with leaves growing out of book pages (sheets). The word millefolia is Latin for “thousands of leaves”, and it is the scientific name of some species of plants. And natural sciences is one of my specializations – how fitting! 🙂

You say on your website that you are a vegetarian and that you are committed to a green lifestyle. How and why did you decide to include this personality trait in your brand?

It just came very naturally. If I have to think of something that represents me, something about nature and wildlife just has to be there. It has always been part of me, and I’m happy I found a way to fit this in my brand! To me, all things green represent healthy growth, vital force, genuineness, deep roots and high-reaching branches. That’s how I chose leaves to symbolise my professional contribution to communication.

What about the logo? Was it designed by a professional or did you do it yourself? How satisfied are you with it?

I came up with the idea of this design to match the brand name I had chosen, then I asked a professional studio (the graphic designers at mediabook.net, who are friends of mine and great guys!) to develop it based on a couple of drafts I had sketched out for reference. I am very satisfied with the result, I feel it grasps the concept. And it’s getting great feedback!

Do your colors stand for something? Are they important?

Colours evoke feelings and images in a powerful way, so yes, choosing them well is very important. Of course for my brand I wanted colours I always feel comfortable with, and that hopefully convey positive feelings to my audience too. I have already talked about green representing health and growth, as well as a trait of my personality; I can add that this colour is also associated to relax. I chose a bright shade because it’s more in tune with myself. I think light blue (which has always been one of my favourite colours) is a good match to it, because it conveys a sense of security and trust and it is also said to represent communication.

Do you feel represented by your brand?

Yes, I do! For all the reasons I have outlined. My brand name still sounds brilliant and cheery to me, which is essential of course, and I think my logo works well with it.

Oh, by the way, I’m also having some fun with it by adding holly leaves in my logo for these Holidays!

If you had to describe your brand in three words, which ones would you choose?

Fresh – In order to help my clients grow their communication, I like to offer a creative approach, to add value, and to have new ideas and solutions springing every day like fresh new leaves 🙂

Trustworthy – Growing leaves have roots. Likewise, my linguistic services have sound basis. I am qualified, I research and I keep cultivating my interests and skills with continuing professional development.

Genuine – I chose this profession because I am passionate about it, and it shows. I love exploring the hues of words and their meanings, and I am extremely meticulous about getting them right. I work with a smile and I aim to produce texts that read naturally. Communication is key in what I do – and I think the leaves growing out of book pages represent this whole idea of spontaneity.

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