design

4 tips for choosing colors for your brand

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Do you ever struggle with choosing just the right combination of colors for your brand, a client’s brand or an individual design project? There are literally countless colors that exist, in different shades and tints. Even just increasing the darkness or lightness of a particular color can change how it looks within a design, entirely.

How many should you even use? 2? 6? How do you piece together what works and what doesn’t? What do certain colors mean?

There is a ton of psychology involved with colors — and they alone play a huge role in your branding or any design project — because a palette is one of the aspects that someone remembers the most. It hits on certain heartstrings, can alter a mood and evoke a specific emotion, like happiness or anger. It can really set the overall tone for a design — like a logo, a website or a poster.  

Today, I want to break down how to even begin in general when it comes to pairing a collection of colors together, to create a palette that looks really professional, attractive and timeless. It’s important to note that I’ve even seen lovely and successful brands that just use black and white. The secret is in simplicity, using colors that are visually-pleasing and therefore, memorable — along with considering emotions associated with individual colors.

  1. Decide on 2-4 colors — It’s easy to get very overwhelmed when looking at all of the different colors that the world offers us. If you’re just starting out, stick with planning to choose a minimum of 2 or a maximum of 4 colors. For example, I’m sure that Target uses other colors within their official brand standards, but I (as a consumer) only think of two specific ones — red and white. And remember, you can always add more to your palette later, or if it’s for a brand, you can create a secondary palette that can be used in special circumstances. Extra pops of accent colors can always enhance a brand.

  2. Consider your audience — Different people may feel differently about certain colors, but overall, there is a general science behind most colors. Keep in mind who you are communicating to or trying to reach. If it’s an entirely male-dominated demographic, you might not want to use pink and purple, as they tend to give off more of a “feminine” vibe, but you might try using a mix of blues, greens and greys. If your audience is something related to children (like a school program) you could play with colors that are more youthful and exude a fun, bright and youthful flair. If your audience is professionals in the wedding industry or brides, you could consider colors that are softer or more pastel-based — over ones that are bolder and harsher. These are just general tips to follow — of course, men can like pink and some brides use darker and moodier colors for their weddings. To each their own!

  3. Consider emotion. On the other side of that same psychology coin, it’s important to think about how certain colors will evoke emotions, within a particular group of people. Colors have universal and basic associations to specific feelings, moods, thoughts and are big stimulants. The below descriptions might seem simple enough, but they’re crucial to remember. Again, think about not only WHO you are trying to attract, but also HOW your brand or design might make them feel, when they respond to seeing colors. Below is just a quick breakdown of a few, to illustrate what I mean:   

    • Red: excitement, anger, energy, heat, loud, meant to grab attention.

    • Blue: corporate, professional, cool, peaceful, serenity, calmness.

    • Green: health, fresh, nature, environmental, growth.

    • Purple: bold, unique, royal, power.

    • Orange: similar to red, but on less of an “alert” or “anger” scale. More bright, fun, hopeful and positive.

    • Yellow: similar to orange. Youthful, happy, positive, cheerful.

  4. Use online resources — I personally like finding inspiration in everyday things or out in nature. I even like going “old school” and taking a look at the Color Wheel to consider colors that are analogous, complementary, monochromatic and more. However, in the essence of time, it can also be quicker and easier to use a few handy websites that will automatically generate palettes for you. These are important when creating a few, so that you can compare them all and see what colors you like together and which ones that you don’t. Here are a few of my favorite online tools to use:

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5 steps for designing your visual brand

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Have you ever wondered how a visual brand identity comes together, from concept to completion? From finding inspiration for the brand itself, to the first sketches and drafts of logos, to piecing together just the right combinations of colors and fonts, to creating the secondary logos, icons and assets that get used on a website, social media graphics, slide decks, printed materials and more?  

It can be a challenge to know when and how to start the design process in an orderly way that allows certain ideas and concepts to naturally develop, evolve and flow from one step of the process to the next. A lot of time, revising, refining and hard work goes into a visual brand that will look professional, be relevant and stick around for a while, but the framework can still be simply broken down in ways that are easy to implement and execute.

I have refined my design process over the years and nowadays, there is a simple, 5-step framework that I follow each and every time someone signs on to work with me. This way, my workflow is consistent and systemized — and I can give someone the same quality process over and over. Follow these for yourself and discover the amazing results.


1) Create a Mood Board: I go through a "brand personality assessment" with the client to nail down the style, vibes and emotion behind the brand — that then translates into a mood board that sets the tone for the brand "at a glance." The mood board is a collage of imagery (that consists of photos, colors, textures, patterns, icons, quotes, etc.) and it's digitally-generated. Only meant to serve as inspiration for the overall visual identity that will soon be built.
   
2) Design Logo Concepts: While many designers take the "1 concept" approach and maybe I'll be brave enough to try that one day, I personally like to give my clients a variety to choose from. Sometimes this is 4, even up to 6 — if I'm feeling really inspired and creative. We go through revisions + tweaks until we have a final design that is "the one." If we already have a set color palette to work with, then I design using those colors and format the final logo files in the proper sizes, formats, resolutions + color systems. If we need to explore palettes a bit more, then I will design the concepts in black and white for the moment. This way, the focus is really on the design and clients aren't as distracted by the initial color drafts.
    
3) Choose Colors + Find Fonts: Next, we move onto exploring different color palettes and font pairings. If particular fonts used in the logo happen to work for the regular brand fonts (to be used across the board of various materials and graphics) then we roll with those. As long as there are serif + sans serif options. If we used a more decorative, handwritten or unique typeface in the logo, then I offer a mix of font pairings that I think will complement the brand and the client can choose which ones they like the best. Usually, a client will have a general idea of the colors that they like, so I will keep those in mind and generate 3-5 palettes that reflect those. Sometimes, if necessary, I will throw in a "wildcard" — just to give them something different to consider that they otherwise wouldn't have and to compare others back to.    

4) Build the Brand Assets: Here is the fun part! Now that we have a beautiful logo, colors and fonts all solidified, we get to build out the rest of the brand identity! This includes whatever assets are needed. I will create anything from textures and patterns, to a secondary logo to an icon library — it just depends on what the client plans to use for their collateral, website, etc. I then piece it all together and design a brand board. This is a single display of all of the assets organized and how they can work together, to give a quick preview of the entire identity. It's helpful to share with other client partners, vendors, printers, etc. so that the brand visuals stay intact and are used cohesively and consistently across various platforms.

5) Apply the New Brand in Real Life: Now that we have the entire visual brand created, it's time to "apply it in real life." Through the creation of social media graphics, business cards, PDFs, a website and more — it's important that the same elements are used over and over — to again, ensure consistent and professional applications of the brand. Whether someone experiences you online or offline, through your blog, a podcast, a sales page, etc. — they should always see the same identity. I always refer to Starbucks as having an obvious strong brand awareness — whether you walk into a shop, use a gift card, visit their website or follow them on Instagram, you will always have the same visual experience. The same should be true of any professional brand!

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6 best tips for making a mood board

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Crafting a mood board can be a crucial aspect of any pre-design process because it’s a quick and effective way to set the graphic and emotional tones of a project.

In case you’re not sure, a mood board (or vision board or inspiration board) is simply a collage of imagery that conveys the overall look, feel, personality and identity for a particular collaboration or event — very handy when you’re having a hard time presenting or expressing your vision and ideas. Most people use a mix of photos, colors, words/quotes, typefaces, textures, patterns, illustrations and more to showcase a variety of visuals that will inspire and give life to a larger design concept.  

It doesn’t matter whether you are focused on your branding, a website, a brochure or ad campaign. A mood board can be created for literally anything! It can even be used when you’re planning to renovate a room in your house and you want to curate the colors, style and vibes before you buy that first can of paint, carpet, trim or fixtures.

Without further ado, let’s dive into 6 best tips for making a mood board for your next big project!

  1. Physical or digital? Mood boards can be crafted either way — that’s the fun part! Decide what works best for you and the particular project that you’re working on. If you want to go the “old school” route, cut out imagery from magazines and paste them to a poster or canvas, go for it! And, if you want to put your puzzle pieces together digitally, you can use Adobe programs like Illustrator or Photoshop, to drop your imagery into various shapes, organized by lines — in a grid-like format. If you’re not very Adobe-savvy, no fear! I’ve included links to a couple of good online resources and mood board generators that can come to the rescue:

    Canva Mood Board — Canva offers countless templates that you can play with. If you’re not already using Canva, you can sign up for a free account. It’s easy and user-friendly!

    Milanote — This is another website through which you can grab a free account. You can use their pre-made templates or design your own, as well as use their pre-loaded imagery or upload your own. They take it one step further and even allow you to upload videos and animated GIFs, so that your boards can be really modern and dynamic!

  2. Plan with Pinterest — If you’re designing a digital mood board, you can create boards and save pins that resonate with you, save them to a folder on your desktop — and then add them to your mood board(s) later. (Or, print them off for your physical board!) Pinterest makes it easy to find specific types of images, so that you’re not spending a lot of time searching Google (even though, you can totally use Google, too.) Again, try to collect a mix of photos, colors, quotes and textures that will really capture and express the essence of your design’s identity.

  3. Think emotional, not just literal — Something important to keep in mind is not just using images that physically represent your brand (or any other design initiative.) Think “mood” after all! What feelings do you want to express? Colorful, youthful, vibrant, bold? Light, whimsical, fresh, airy? Sleek, sophisticated, elegant, chic? Whatever the direction, especially be sure to include colors that speak to these emotions — that will make someone truly feel something.    

  4. Consider your audience — Don’t just create a mood board with no clear direction or messaging in mind. Think about the project that you’re using the mood board to inspire and think about the audience who will be experiencing it. Don’t just put a collage together of random photos, text and colors that don’t make any sense. Have some rhyme and reason to the overall “puzzle” that you’re piecing together. This idea goes back to thinking about the emotional aspects of the board — be clear on who you’re speaking to and what about.

  5. Create at least 3 — There really are no rules, but I like to create at least 3 different mood boards initially (all using the same overall look and feel) and then take the best combination of imagery from each and make (1) really strong one. Tweak your board until it’s a good representation and expression of your design vision.

  6. Only use it for inspiration — Remember that if you’re pulling images from Pinterest, Google and even from publications — they have copyrights. Putting together a mood board should be strictly kept for the “conceptual” phase of your design project — and not for anything that is publicly distributed, shared or published. For example, I would be careful about not sharing it on your blog or website. I normally only share a mood board 1:1 privately, with a client. I’m not a lawyer and suggest consulting one if you have questions! Just be aware of the legal and illegal uses of imagery that belong to other people.

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4 ways to refresh your brand

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Refresh vs. Rebrand – a never-ending debate in the life of a small business owner!

How do you know when it’s time to add some spark back into your visual identity or wipe the slate clean and start from scratch all over again?

Sometimes, we can get ahead of ourselves. It’s easy to want a new logo or website when we stare at these major components of our brand day in and day out. I get it, we tire of them. I feel the same way about my own print + digital materials.

However, the point of branding is to establish consistency. You need a cohesive look and feel to everything that represents and expresses you, so that people become familiar with and trust you. On the flip side, sometimes a logo can become outdated and after years of looking a certain way, it’s OK to take the leap and go through a full rebrand. However, before you step off that ledge, think to yourself – what if I just refreshed my brand in a few small and easy steps? You might be surprised at the simple ways that you can enhance it and add extensions – to make it feel new – but without the time and expense of executing an entire facelift.

1. Add a font to your typography collection.

I don’t recommend using five different typefaces throughout your branding, but if you have one or two that you consistently use (and hopefully they’re a serif and sans serif combo) it’s OK to add in a third option. Maybe this is a script, handwritten or more “fun” font that you use for some headlines, quotes, social media graphics, highlighted blocks of text, etc. Something to add additional interest or flair to your content and design.

2. Add a color to your palette.  

In a very similar and really easy way, introduce a new color to your existing swatches. I believe that you can have 4-5 different colors working together for your brand (unlike fonts, I cap those off at 3 max) and it can be fun to add one more to the mix. Even if you don’t add something super vivid and different, it could be as simple as a neutral option like a grey, ivory or beige. This can also add a sophisticated touch to your branded materials. And, here is what I have to say about choosing the right combination of colors.

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 3. Introduce elements like a secondary logo mark/icon, textures or patterns.

Adding some visual elements that can be used throughout your website, social media graphics and print stationery can be a great way to bring a new dynamic to your branding, without doing an entire overhaul. No matter how great your logo is, you do have to look at it every single day. You probably think of ways that you would tweak it or what you want your next one to look like. Instead of going that far, though, why not add a secondary version of your logo to be used for special occasions? Many businesses use icons and monograms as simplified versions of their logo, when they don’t want or need to use the original version. These smaller marks can absolutely be consistent with your brand and use elements, fonts and colors from your logo, but in a new and unique way. You can create some icons to be sprinkled throughout your website, to help break-up page sections or represent your services or social media handles — that still match your brand. You can also introduce some nice textures and patterns as extensions to your color palette, to add more visual interest to your graphics. I especially like this step because it allows you to add some new elements to your brand, without doing a full-blown rebrand.

4. Invest in brand photography.  

This is a step that I took myself in my business this year and it’s such a game changer! If you’re using the same stock photos over and over again or you don’t have any actual photos of yourself and your working space, now is the time to invest in a professional photographer! At the beginning of the year, I found a photographer whose style I really liked on Facebook and who was located in my city. We met at a local studio/co-working space that is a renovated warehouse and spent the morning capturing headshots and shots of me working with my “tools” – like my laptop, iPad, sketchbook and journal. We incorporated two outfit changes and some different backgrounds — and they turned out perfect, exactly as I envisioned. She gave me around 100 to keep, so I use them regularly on my website, in blog graphics and social media graphics. I feel so much more professional with them — and, I like posting them knowing that nobody else in the world as the exact same shots. I highly recommend investing in unique photos, rather than the same stock photos that everyone else on the Internet is using. **Sidenote, you can also go to a craft store like Hobby Lobby, buy up some paper textures to use as backgrounds, office supplies and fun props — and style your own photo shoot of flat lays to freshen up your blog and Instagram feed. Again, this way, you’re at least using your own photos!**


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
I got a question for ya. How is your branding looking? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!

6 questions to ask yourself before you DIY your branding

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In my downloadable freebie “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” I talk a lot about how branding is so much more than just a logo, a website or the way you talk to your audience. I say that it’s an ever-evolving and changing process — and a brand will only grow bigger, better and stronger with time. Branding isn’t just a collection of material things, either. It’s the experience someone has when they come into contact with your identity.

You need to know who you (as a business owner) are, what your business stands for, who your audience is, what you want to deliver to them (service/product-wise and experience-wise) and how you plan to stand out from the crowd. You should know these things first, before you even begin to develop the look and feel of the brand. Once values, strategy and messaging are in place, visuals can follow. Being a designer, this is sometimes still hard for me to grasp. I’m all about the type, colors and imagery — but I know that other things have to come first, to enhance the experiences that “my favorite things” provide people.

When you know that you’re ready to start figuring out your branding, how you want it to make your clients feel, what you want to say and what you want everything to look like, here are (6) important questions that you need to ask yourself:

1) What style of logo do you see yourself using on all of your materials? 

2) What colors, fonts and imagery best represent the look and feel of your business?

3) How do you plan to stand out from your competition? What do you offer that is different from anyone else?

4) Are you selling services or products? Will you run your business entirely online, need a physical storefront or a mix of both? Will you be able to maintain an online shop?

5) What emotional experience do you want a customer to have when they come into contact with parts of your brand, think about buying from you and after they do?  

6) Who is your dream customer and what is the best way to reach them? Are they on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all over the world or right next door in your hometown?

As I mention in my free guide, everyone is at different stages and budgets. It’s perfectly okay to design social media graphics in Canva, customize a free website template and write your own content. You might think that you don’t have the money at the moment to hire someone. But, remember, having a designer handle your branding will help you grow your business and gain customers quicker when you really look the part. It’s just as important to invest in it, as it is any other aspect of your business. You might be able to temporarily fix a leak under your sink, but if you’re not a professional plumber, you’re going to spend more money down the road fixing it again later, rather than having it done right the first time. The same principle applies to visually appearing professional and making a good impression on your clients — do it immediately.

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Once you have decided that you want to DIY a few things, hire a professional for the rest or hire a professional for all of it, it might be good to reference my free guide and keep it handy near your desk. Branding is one of the biggest secrets to a business attracting followers and paying clients — and achieving overall success. Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more! 

6 color palettes for spring

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It’s sure been chilly and muddy here in southern Indiana for the last month, but the sun has finally decided to come out and show its shiny face the last few days. Alas, spring is just around the corner — I can feel it!

To celebrate bluer skies and warmer temps, I’ve been inspired to create a few go-to color palettes that are perfect for some fun designs, with the help of Coolers. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s a great website that allows you to quickly generate palettes. Whether you’re a bolder/brighter kind of person, you like the fresh and clean look and feel, or you prefer the traditional “Easter egg” pastels, there is a collection of swatches below, just for you.

Feel free to use any (or a mix) of these for your own branding (if you like any of these color combos year round) or for a special spring project! Share this post with your fellow small business bosses and friends. And, be sure to tag @untethereddesign on Instagram so that I can see your designs using my color palette(s)!

Whether you’re using these for print or digital platforms, or a website/blog, I’ve provided the specific Hex codes for easy and quick references to start. If you like a particular color, enter the Hex code (#xxxxxx) at Color-Hex, a website that will generate the other color codes (CMYK, RGB, etc.) for you. Just type in the code at the top and click “Get Info.” Voila! And, in case you need to remember the differences between each color system and when/where you need to properly use them, refer back to one of my latest posts that gives the exact breakdown!

Happy Designing (& Spring!)

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SPRING PALETTE 1

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SPRING PALETTE 2

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SPRING PALETTE 3

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SPRING PALETTE 4

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SPRING PALETTE 5

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SPRING PALETTE 6

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Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more! 

7 elements of design to always keep in mind

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It doesn’t matter whether you’re designing (or working with a designer on) a sales page, brochure, logo, Facebook graphic, poster or even a billboard — the original and basic elements of graphic design apply (and should always apply) to any and all types of design — print, digital and even traditional fine art. The seven elements are the foundation of good design and span centuries back. These same elements can even be applied to other art forms like photography, painting and sculpture.

No matter how modern and digital that design gets or how much that technology changes, these simple elements will always be the core of design. They need to be considered throughout all phases of a project, in order for a design to be thoroughly executed with the highest quality. If you aren’t already familiar with these, think about each one the next time that you open a design file and ask yourself if each one can be applied to and is present in your design.  

Line: This is the simplest and most basic element of design. It is quite literally, what you imagine it to be — a line. Lines can be placed in any direction or orientation (horizontal or vertical) and can be straight, crooked, broken or curved. They can also be thin or thick and any width or length. They connect any “point A” to “point B.”

Shape: A shape is a defined area or dimension that stands out from what is around it. For example, think about a poster that has a big, bright circle placed off to the side, with text placed over the top of it that reads “Special Discount!” The circle is meant to serve as a little, extra “pop” on the page that stands on its own, to display a unique and separate message from the rest of the text in the design. In fact, all objects are actually made up of other shapes. Shapes can be specifically geometric (like a square, circle or triangle) or abstract (like a starburst or organic shape that is made up of uneven lines and multiple sides.) You can use shapes to help different pieces of your design stand out — just like the circle on the poster referenced above.

Space: Similar to shape, space is also a defined area around the other elements in a design. You can use it to separate or bring together pieces of information and other details. You can use it to control what your audience sees or reads first and to illustrate bigger or more important information, or smaller details that can be consumed later.

Value: Value is simply how light or how dark an area of design looks. It can be very dark or really light. The value that you place, similar to space, will help your audience to read and see important aspects of a design right away. Value can help to create contrast, brightness and saturation. Obviously, you will notice something that is darker and bolder in a design a bit more quickly than you will something that is lighter and smaller.

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Size: Quite simply, the size that you apply to an area in your design will determine how important it is. If you create a headline to read in large, bold print across the top of the page or you place a photo that is dominant and it takes up a large portion of the design, those larger size pieces of your design are going to be seen first and as the most prominent.

Texture: When it comes to the surface of a design, you can add extra graphic contrast by applying a texture or pattern to the design or even to an area of solid color. It adds some visual interest and can make a design feel like it’s 3-dimensional or even coming off of the page. It adds a layer to design that none of the other elements can do — to the point of making someone almost feel it if they were to touch it.

Color: Color might just be my most favorite element of design. I love the simplicity and contrast of a black and white design or photo, too, but you just can’t beat a color palette that is visually-pleasing and engaging to a viewer. Color can generate emotion, designate an area of the design and either separate or bring together other elements on the page. For help deciding what colors to use in your branding or in any simple design, refer to this blog post.


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more! 

5 ways to keep prospects on your website longer

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In the midst of this crazy, digital age, you might hear the argument that as long as you have a Facebook business page and are on social media platforms, you don’t need a website. First, that is totally untrue. If Facebook pulled the plug and disappeared tomorrow, all of your content, photos and followers would go with it — and what would you be left with?

A website is an absolutely necessary marketing platform to have. It’s a space that gives prospective clients a chance to learn more about your brand and what you can offer them. You also look more professional, legitimate and credible. Often, it can be tough enough to drive traffic TO your website — to check out all of those great things about you and your services, products, or both. Because of this, it’s even more important to KEEP those individuals on your website for as long as possible.

Here is a list of 5 easy ways that you can make sure that they stay:

1. Make it really clear who you are and what you do.
In the first few seconds, if it’s difficult for someone to figure out what your website (or business or blog) is about, they’re going to make a quick exit. Make sure that your logo and name is one of the first elements that they see — as well as some quick hits about your offers. For example, when someone visits my website, they should be able to quickly figure out that I’m a graphic designer, that I offer branding and monthly retainer services and that I primarily focus on working with feminine brands and female-driven small businesses. If someone isn’t looking for what I offer, we might not be a good fit in working together and that’s OK. But, if a female business coach is looking to go through a rebrand and she needs a quick turnaround, then I will probably be the right girl for the job. She will see that — and continue to click through to other pages — to learn more about me as a person, my pricing — and what months I have open to book package jobs.  

2. Provide a call to action — in more than one place.
A call to action is crucial if you want prospects to either keep following you or contact you in some way. This can be in the form of an email newsletter sign-up, an opt-in to download a freebie that will offer them some help and value — or something as simple as a link to your contact page. CTAs keep people interested in and in contact with you — even after they leave your website. They’ll take action if they like what they see and want to talk to you about a possible hire — and they’ll take action even if they don’t have the need or budget to afford you right now, but they might in the future. Or, they want to learn more about or from you. You can sprinkle these in a couple of different spots on each page, or at the end of each blog post. There really can never be too many! They can be a mix of embedded forms directly on the site — or pop-ups. You want to encourage them to call, email, subscribe, share, follow, download or buy.  

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3. Keep the design simple.
As a designer, of course I can’t stress this point enough. Simple design is always the best kind, whether it’s a logo, website, PDF, social media graphic or anything else. The less busy that a page is, the quicker that a visitor will be able to scan it. If the branding is on point, navigation is easy to follow and the visuals are engaging, people will definitely stay around longer.

4. And, the content short and sweet.
In a very similar way, keep the words simple as well. Make sure that sentences and paragraphs — and any blocks of copy — are easy to read and to the point. And, make sure that you’re not just throwing around fluff. Utilize the space for copy in a smart fashion — and make sure that you’re not saying things just to impress a prospect — language that might actually be over their head and difficult to understand. Let people know who you are, what you do and what you can offer THEM (it’s all about helping the client, after all) that they’re not going to find anywhere else, with anyone else. Let the words on the screen pack a punch that can be quickly absorbed — and leaves someone thinking, “I HAVE to talk to or work with (her)!”

5. Integrate photos + videos!
Just like good and simple design, photos and videos can help to greatly elevate a page’s dynamic, look and feel. People relate to people and like to see photos (or videos) of them. This is why I find that posting a photo on Facebook creates so much more engagement than just a status made up of words. People would truly rather read a couple of quick sentences about you and then literally SEE you. It’s just human nature and simply a golden rule of design — to keep a healthy balance between copy and imagery. And, although there are many who would still rather read books than watch movies, I’m a big believer that someone will watch a quick 2-minute video of you over reading an exceptionally long blog post or 4-5 paragraphs of lengthy copy about what you can offer them.   


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
It's 2018 — how is your branding looking? Would you like to give it a bit of a makeover or refresh? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!

Adobe Overview: When you should use Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator and what are the differences?

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The Adobe Creative Suite is an all-encompassing software platform (that is strictly cloud-based now) and is absolutely the industry standard in today’s design and branding world. Whether you need to create social media graphics, a mockup for your website, a downloadable PDF to host on your website or a logo identity, Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator all have you covered!

If you don’t already have the programs downloaded, you can download free trial versions here (good for one week): http://www.adobe.com/downloads.html

As stated by Adobe, Photoshop is meant for image editing and compositing. InDesign is intended for page design, layout and publishing and Illustrator focuses on vector graphics and illustration. Below, I’m quickly breaking down specific documents and materials that you can create in each one (that you might not have already been aware of) — and also when and why you should. Each program serves unique purposes and all can play well together.  

Photoshop: As you can probably guess, this is the go-to tool for editing photos. Do what you need to do when it comes to cleaning up a photo before you print it or use it within its sister programs, InDesign or Illustrator. You should know that it’s a raster editor, which means it’s perfect for working with an image that is made up of a certain amount of pixels — which changes the quality when it’s resized. Beyond all of the ways that it can alter photos, it’s also handy for creating web-based graphics. I create all of my social media images (Facebook cover photos, Instagram posts and more) as well as blog graphics and any web banners, icons or online ads. I also use it to create website mockups or email newsletter layouts that I will then pass off to be coded by a developer. When it comes to creating graphics that will be printed, however, I open InDesign.   

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InDesign: Think of this program as your desktop publisher. I have designed everything imaginable in it that can be printed (or downloaded/viewed digitally) — magazines, newspapers, newsletters, brochures, multi-page PDFs, business cards, banners, billboards, menus, pocket folders, notepads, invitations, stationery, album covers, books, posters — you name it. The list is endless. Mainly, when you’re looking at designing something that involves a lot of text, automatically plan to use InDesign. Aside from its print purposes, you can also create digital graphics, e-books and more — just make sure that when you initially setup and export the document (as a PDF or JPEG) you choose web/interactive options, not print ones. So now, we’ve covered editing images and creating graphics for print and web. Where do you turn when it’s time to design a logo or create an illustration? You guessed it, Illustrator!

Illustrator: This is a program that I was introduced to and took classes in years ago, after I already started finding my way around Photoshop and InDesign. Although I’ve known designers to use Photoshop for creating logos, Illustrator is absolutely the only go-to for me. This is because unlike Photoshop (which is raster-based) Illustrator is vector-based — which means that the images you create in it are going to be scalable to literally any size (no matter how small they’re reduced or how big they’re enlarged) and not lose their quality or resolution. For example, if you scale a photo that doesn’t have a high resolution to begin with to fit a large space (like a 4x6 photo blown up to fill a billboard next to the highway) it will appear very fuzzy, unclear and pixelated. However, if you enlarge a vector-based logo that is originally 5”x5” in size to fill a 500’x500’ space — the design will stay perfectly intact. Aside from logos, I also create illustrations and brand icons in this program. If you are tasked with creating a design that involves some text (but not multiple pages of it) you can also create PDFs, business cards, posters and basic templates. However, I still personally use InDesign for those.  

Leave a comment below if you still have a question about the proper program to use when creating a certain project. I would be happy to answer it!


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
It's 2018 — how is your branding looking? Would you like to give it a bit of a makeover or refresh? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!

How to enhance your branding in 1 day

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If you could improve your business today, you would, right? As business owners, we are always looking for the next best thing — the most popular online courses to help us book more clients, the quick fix to grow our email list, how to come up 56 different blog post ideas in an hour, how to increase our organic reach on Facebook — and the list goes on. I’ve downloaded my fair share of freebies, opted in to multiple email lists of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and even hired a business coach + joined a mastermind group this year. It’s wonderful to keep an idea mind, always be willing to learn and grow and see what’s working for those who are truly successful and earning multiple six figures a year.

While we really know that setting ourselves (and our businesses) up for success still takes a lot of time and hard work — nothing is as easy as it seems or is advertised — I’ve got a few quick tips for you to follow today, that will most definitely improve your current branding. Can you say that you’ve done all four of the following? Ask yourself now…and you will learn a little more about your biz and what you need to keep working on. And, go!

1) Know who you are

You can’t solve problems for others and know what you’re truly passionate about or good at, if you don’t truly know yourself. What do you do? What do you WANT to do? What do you want to be known for? Do you see yourself doing it for a long time? If you know the answers to these questions, then jump to #2. If you don’t, you need to figure out the answers. Realize what you really enjoy doing, if you can provide a service or sell a product around it and if it will truly benefit someone’s needs. 

2) Know your audience
After knowing yourself, what you do and what you want people to associate you with, ask yourself who your ideal client is. Do you appeal to fellow entrepreneurs, mid to large size businesses, corporate companies, non-profits or a different group? You can’t sell to someone if they don’t need what you offer. There has to be a specific audience that wants what you can provide, so make sure that you’re marketing to them. Find them, they need you!

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3) Review your visuals + content
If you know who you are, what you enjoy doing and can sell what someone needs directly to them; you can have a very successful business. But, in order to look professional, you have to play the part. If you don’t have a strong logo, website, social media graphics, marketing materials and messaging in place, you will not be taken seriously by your clients. The more consistent you are with all of the aspects of your branding matching and flowing together cohesively — and your content is delivered in a complementary way with the branding — you will look more sophisticated and legitimate. Your branding is a reflection of your personality, your style and how you serve your clients. If your visuals connect with your words and they communicate well together, your brand will be expressed more effectively and resonate better with your clients.

4) Show up consistently everyday
Along with ensuring that your branding is professionally in place, it’s up to you to always show up. Show up for your brand, your client and the work that needs done. At the end of the day, as an entrepreneur, you have to hold yourself accountable. The harder you work at making sure that your branding is strong, the client work gets done and your business development is taken care of each week — the more consistent your business will be. And, consistency is KEY. Without it, as mentioned above, you won’t be taken seriously. Work hard every single day. It WILL pay off.

5) Outsource what you’re not good at, you don’t enjoy doing or you don’t have time for
Since I just mentioned working hard and holding yourself accountable, an important thing to realize when running a business is also knowing what you’re good at and what you’re not — plain and simple. As a business owner, you will often start off running around, doing everything. I’m a graphic designer. I enjoy designing, writing and client + project management. I don’t love basic admin tasks like email management, posting blog and social media graphics or accounting. So, I’m going to spend my time and energy on being productive with what I love to do and am good at and I’m going to delegate the other work to someone else. It’s better to put your focus on positive energy and hire professionals to do the “other” work that you don’t have time for or like to do. There is nothing wrong with that!


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
It’s hard to believe that we are nearing the end of another business year! Are you ready for 2018? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more! 

Fall + winter color palettes for seasonal graphics

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Although we are experiencing an Indian summer here in southern Indiana, the leaves are changing and the temps are dropping. I’m arranging pumpkins and mums on my outside porches. It’s official: fall is finally here.

With the changing of the seasons, as a designer, I often like to read up on the emerging color trends that accompany them. While it’s obviously important to stick with your brand colors for consistency purposes, I’m a big believer that it’s OK to experiment with some different palettes if you’re creating or launching something that is seasonal or holiday-specific. As you might know from one of my past blog posts, colors have such power in evoking certain emotions and feelings. Add the magical transition of a new season to the mix and you can have a lot of fun with graphics for social media use, blog posting, sales page layouts and more — whether you work with a designer or DIY it.

With that, take into consideration these unique colors + combinations and leave a comment below with a link to some of your seasonal print + digital pieces!  

1. Fall into the warm + cozy

To me, the popular fall palettes this year that seem to work well are mixes of warm colors. Think along the lines of burnt oranges, wines and caramels — with some blue + green hues thrown in to add a touch of “nature.” They’re all inviting and derived from the outside environment.

2. 50 shades of…

Clearly, grey is the perfect neutral tone that isn’t just meant for winter. It’s a great choice for a secondary color to be used with almost any brand palette (I use it constantly.) However, it’s an obvious choice for a classic, timeless and clean look. Combine grey with with shades of lilac, navy, tan, gold and blue — and you have the ultimate winter palette!   

3. Links for inspiration:

To dive in further, I’ve provided links to more detailed palettes that I briefly touched on above. Which ones are your favorites?

Color Trends (this includes a palette for this fall + past seasons’ as well)

Winter Colors: 9 Palettes for Web and Print Designs


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
I got a question for ya. How is your branding looking? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!

4 ways to refresh your brand

Refresh vs. Rebrand – a never-ending debate in the life of a small business owner!

How do you know when it’s time to add some spark back into your visual identity or wipe the slate clean and start from scratch all over again?

Sometimes, we can get ahead of ourselves. It’s easy to want a new logo or website when we stare at these major components of our brand day in and day out. I get it, we tire of them. I feel the same way about my own print + digital materials.

However, the point of branding is to establish consistency. You need a cohesive look and feel to everything that represents and expresses you, so that people become familiar with and trust you. On the flip side, sometimes a logo can become outdated and after years of looking a certain way, it’s OK to take the leap and go through a full rebrand. However, before you step off that ledge, think to yourself – what if I just refreshed my brand in a few small and easy steps? You might be surprised at the simple ways that you can enhance it and add extensions – to make it feel new – but without the time and expense of executing an entire facelift.

1. Add a font to your typography collection.

I don’t recommend using five different typefaces throughout your branding, but if you have one or two that you consistently use (and hopefully they’re a serif and sans serif combo) it’s OK to add in a third option. Maybe this is a script, handwritten or more “fun” font that you use for some headlines, quotes, social media graphics, highlighted blocks of text, etc. Something to add additional interest or flair to your content and design.

2. Add a color to your palette.  

In a very similar and really easy way, introduce a new color to your existing swatches. I believe that you can have 4-5 different colors working together for your brand (unlike fonts, I cap those off at 3 max) and it can be fun to add one more to the mix. Even if you don’t add something super vivid and different, it could be as simple as a neutral option like a grey, ivory or beige. This can also add a sophisticated touch to your branded materials. And, here is what I have to say about choosing the right combination of colors.

 3. Introduce elements like a secondary logo mark/icon, textures or patterns.

Adding some visual elements that can be used throughout your website, social media graphics and print stationery can be a great way to bring a new dynamic to your branding, without doing an entire overhaul. No matter how great your logo is, you do have to look at it every single day. You probably think of ways that you would tweak it or what you want your next one to look like. Instead of going that far, though, why not add a secondary version of your logo to be used for special occasions? Many businesses use icons and monograms as simplified versions of their logo, when they don’t want or need to use the original version. These smaller marks can absolutely be consistent with your brand and use elements, fonts and colors from your logo, but in a new and unique way. You can create some icons to be sprinkled throughout your website, to help break-up page sections or represent your services or social media handles — that still match your brand. You can also introduce some nice textures and patterns as extensions to your color palette, to add more visual interest to your graphics. I especially like this step because it allows you to add some new elements to your brand, without doing a full-blown rebrand.

4. Invest in brand photography.  

This is a step that I took myself in my business this year and it’s such a game changer! If you’re using the same stock photos over and over again or you don’t have any actual photos of yourself and your working space, now is the time to invest in a professional photographer! At the beginning of the year, I found a photographer whose style I really liked on Facebook and who was located in my city. We met at a local studio/co-working space that is a renovated warehouse and spent the morning capturing headshots and shots of me working with my “tools” – like my laptop, iPad, sketchbook and journal. We incorporated two outfit changes and some different backgrounds — and they turned out perfect, exactly as I envisioned. She gave me around 100 to keep, so I use them regularly on my website, in blog graphics and social media graphics. I feel so much more professional with them — and, I like posting them knowing that nobody else in the world as the exact same shots. I highly recommend investing in unique photos, rather than the same stock photos that everyone else on the Internet is using. **Sidenote, you can also go to a craft store like Hobby Lobby, buy up some paper textures to use as backgrounds, office supplies and fun props — and style your own photo shoot of flat lays to freshen up your blog and Instagram feed. Again, this way, you’re at least using your own photos!**


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
I got a question for ya. How is your branding looking? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!

The differences between 4 major file formats

When you’re not a designer or working with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator on a daily basis, it can be difficult to differentiate between various file formats. Which ones are best for print or digital platforms? Which ones have a higher resolution and which ones tend to be lower? In what format should your logo be formatted?

Today, I’m giving you a quick and simple breakdown of the best practices and applications for four major and popular file types. I took these as an excerpt from a guest blog post that I wrote a few months ago, which you can find here. There are several other formats to consider as well, but these are the ones that I tend to come across and work with the most. Comment below if you find my tips helpful or if you need any information regarding a different one!   

1. EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)

You’ve probably heard the word vector thrown around quite a bit. A designer loves to work with vector files because they’re scalable. You can literally enlarge them to fit any size or format in the world and they won’t lose quality. It’s the perfect file format for logos and illustrations. (Word of advice—when sending your logo to a designer, send them a vector file.) An EPS can contain both graphics and text.

2. JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

This file can be printed (think photos) but should be used primarily for the web. It will be pixelated when you try to enlarge it too much, and it will always print with a white box background behind it if placed against anything other than white. Some quality is lost when it’s saved because it’s compressed.

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3. PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

This file type can be printed, but it should also be used more for web purposes. I prefer to use these over JPEGs, as they tend to have a little higher quality and transparent background (meaning you can place them against any background and they’ll translate clearly against it). It’s now the most popular lossless image compression format used.

4. PDF (Portable Document Format)

This is a universal file type that everyone knows and uses. High-res PDF files are standard for printing, but they can also be viewed digitally. They, too, will have a transparent background, when you’re using the PDF format of a logo.


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
I got a question for ya. How is your branding looking? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!

3 big design trends (that will impact summer 2017)

I’m keeping this week’s blog post short and sweet. Quick and dirty. Easy peasy.

If you’re a designer or a business owner about to hire a designer, you need to be up on a few things (like in any industry) — if you want your artwork and marketing to be successful and relevant.

Each year, trends come and go. Just like with fashion, certain colors and styles are either “in” or “out” — but with time, usually come back around. With graphic design and branding, there are a few elements in particular that have made their comebacks in a really big way. And, for me, they are particularly important to implement into your summer work. I think that they will help certain designs to stand out and be remembered — which of course is the goal of any good design. They bring good vibes, fun times and that “endless summer” youthful feel that I think most of us really love and long for. Leave a comment and let me know if you agree!    

1. Bright and vibrant colors

Neon has come back from the ‘80s, y’all. The louder, the better. Think hot pinks, sizzling oranges and juicy yellows. With a palette like this, the sun is shining all day. 

2. Bold fonts

The last few design seasons have preached the importance of clean and minimal design. And, while that is definitely my style and one that will never go away, it’s OK to let your hair down, bump up that point size and experiment with some thicker/heavier typefaces that you normally wouldn’t use. Consider arranging typography differently — enlarge the size, stack, run it down the sides or all the way across a page. Go big or go home!

3. Raw and original photos

Who doesn’t still love Polaroid-style instant snapshots, capturing candid, real-life moments? I know that we live in the world of perfectly-filtered selfies now, but it’s time to get back to the basics. AND – stop using generic stock photos that everyone else is using, too. Hire a photographer to take actual brand photos of you — and your products. Or, go to your local dollar or craft stores and find items that you can use to style within flat lays for homemade shoots using your smartphone. No matter your method, the more original, the better. Quite literally, get real! 


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
I got a question for ya. How is your branding looking? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!

4 quick tips for a successful client/designer relationship

Time is money and we certainly never seem to have enough of either, right? To save you time today, I’ve crafted what I consider a “mini post” — something short and sweet, but most importantly valuable and useful — to help you manage your current and future business partnerships. Whether you are a designer, or you’re on the client end who has just hired a designer, the below tips will help you manage not only time, but also expectations, that will result in the development and delivery of quality work that leaves both parties feeling happy and satisfied at the end of the project. These tips stem from my own experiences in working with different client personalities over the years and also from issues that I still struggle with today (and can still work on!) Comment below and let me know if you can relate, if these will help you or what other issues you have battled with before — I can’t wait to hear them!

Whether you’re working together for the first time or not, these practices should be considered and executed carefully. They might seem like no-brainers or even slightly tedious, but they are the little details that if taken care of in the beginning, will save a lot of time and headache in the end.

1) Schedule an initial meeting or consultation.

Duh, right? If you’re both local, setup an in-person meeting. This doesn’t have to be formal; it can even be a 30-60 minute chat at a coffee shop. Or, setup a phone or video conference/consultation that allows you to meet and get to know each other. Because most of my clients are spread out across the country, I use a free account with Zoom (similar to Skype) to setup calls that usually last 30-45 minutes. This allows the conversation to be a little more personal and “face to face.” The client will get a more visual experience that they just simply can’t get on the phone. Sometimes these are organized, where I stick to a script (or they’re more off the cuff and relaxed) and I let the client talk the most, to tell me about who they are and what they need. I let them know what I do and the benefits of working with me. We don’t even always talk about pricing. But overall, you just need to organize some kind of meeting that allows you to get a feel for each other, processes, expectations, timelines and turnarounds — to see if you’re even a good fit.

2) Sign a contract or setup a timeline/outline of expectations and deliverables.

If after the initial consult, both parties decide to work together, some paperwork needs to be squared away. It’s the smartest thing to do legally and really, it just allows both of you to know what to expect and when. Beyond the basic legal jargon you’re signing off on, it’s a good idea to setup a timeline of deliverables. If I’m working on designing a brand for someone, I might setup when they’ll receive logo concepts, a certain number of revision rounds, when website development starts, when they’ll receive files, etc. This way, we are both on the same page.

3) Give the designer ONE point person.   

I can’t stress this one enough! Over the years, I’ve dealt with clients who are apart of teams and I will get 10 different emails from 10 different people about 10 different things — and I get easily confused and ultimately waste a lot of time trying to decipher the messages. If the client has other partners or team members involved, regardless, make ONE person the point of contact for the designer. All emails and calls should come from them. This allows the designer to know exactly what is going on, what to create and when, who to send it to and receive approval from. I promise that it makes their life MUCH easier! Also, it’s important to try to stick to emailing within one message chain — and for the designer to not be sent emails and files piecemeal. Again, five different email threads about five different things can get really confusing, really quickly.  

4) Create an organized workflow and final delivery system of files.

This is one of the most important aspects to keep in mind — how are you going to actually communicate and work together? Will it be done primarily through email, Google Docs or should you setup a project within an online management tool like Asana? Again, in order to stay organized, manage time and expectations, it’s important to setup a system that works for both of you. This comes into play with general communication, sending proofs, making edits, giving/receiving approval and crossing items off the task list. It’s also important to figure out the way in which the client will receive final print and digital files. Will they go into a Dropbox folder, be saved to another cloud account of some kind or even be delivered the “old-school” way via a USB drive? No matter the systems, they just need to be setup and properly used. Create a game plan and stick to it!


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
Here we are, 2017! How is your branding looking for the new year? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!

How to choose the right fonts for your brand

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“How do I pick fonts?” is a really common question that I’ve gotten since I’ve been branding clients, especially the last couple of years. Although your brand can evolve, change and certainly grow with you over the years, typefaces and color palettes are major components by which your audience comes to recognize you. You don’t want to constantly be switching things up every few months.

Branding and design is a big investment. You want to be professional and you want to do it right. Choosing a nice combination of typefaces is one way to help your visual identity stand out and be remembered. Whether you are putting some pieces together yourself or you’re working with a designer, here are three quick and easy tips to keep in mind:

1) Start with at least two: a serif and sans serif

While there are endless options and varieties of fonts floating around all over the world, this is a simple, classic and always solid way to look at and start pairing them together. It’s a rule of thumb that I was always taught in design school. Choose a serif (in “regular, non-design terms” think Times New Roman) and then choose a sans serif to offset it a bit (again, in “regular, non-design terms” think Arial.) You want something that is easy to read, especially in large blocks of copy. And, you want something that can be used to help break up the copy and will give a viewer’s eyes something else to rest on and look at. Also, a big tip is to choose fonts that come from “families” basically meaning that there are different variations of each (like regular, bold, italic, etc.) – this way, they will be more versatile to work with.    

2) Find typefaces that express your voice, personality and style

What is your brand representing? Who are you, what do you do, what are you about and whom do you serve? How do you want to make those people feel? Think about the experience that you want them to have when they come into contact with any aspect of your brand. The typefaces that you use within your logo, website, marketing materials and social media graphics need to tell stories and represent your brand accurately. So, consider if you want that style (and in turn, the fonts) to be light, modern, sophisticated and soft — or big, heavy and bold. Fonts and the right combinations of them can provide you with major impact — and look and feel. 

3) Decide between purchasing and/or downloading fonts for free

It’s usually smart to purchase your font collections, so that you can own desktop and website licenses to use them. Less people might be likely to have them. And many times, they are higher quality and legally safe to use. Creative Market and My Fonts are great resources for purchasing them. Other designers will advise against downloading free fonts, but I don’t totally agree with that. I have downloaded A LOT of free fonts over the years and they’ve functioned perfectly fine and fit the projects that I needed them for. You can use Font Squirrel or DaFont to browse countless options. The downside is that of course, anyone can download them, so they won’t always be as original — although they can still be effective and professional to use. The same can be said for purchased fonts — anyone can purchase the same ones that you do. So, it’s really up to you and whatever your budget is!

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Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
Here we are, 2017! How is your branding looking for the new year? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!

How to enhance your branding in 1 day

If you could improve your business today, you would, right? As business owners, we are always looking for the next best thing — the most popular online courses to help us book more clients, the quick fix to grow our email list, how to come up 56 different blog post ideas in an hour, how to increase our organic reach on Facebook — and the list goes on. I’ve downloaded my fair share of freebies, opted in to multiple email lists of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and even hired a business coach + joined a mastermind group this year. It’s wonderful to keep an idea mind, always be willing to learn and grow and see what’s working for those who are truly successful and earning multiple six figures a year.

While we really know that setting ourselves (and our businesses) up for success still takes a lot of time and hard work — nothing is as easy as it seems or is advertised — I’ve got a few quick tips for you to follow today, that will most definitely improve your current branding. Can you say that you’ve done all four of the following? Ask yourself now…and you will learn a little more about your biz and what you need to keep working on. And, go!

1) Know who you are

You can’t solve problems for others and know what you’re truly passionate about or good at, if you don’t truly know yourself. What do you do? What do you WANT to do? What do you want to be known for? Do you see yourself doing it for a long time? If you know the answers to these questions, then jump to #2. If you don’t, you need to figure out the answers. Realize what you really enjoy doing, if you can provide a service or sell a product around it and if it will truly benefit someone’s needs. 

 2) Know your audience
After knowing yourself, what you do and what you want people to associate you with, ask yourself who your ideal client is. Do you appeal to fellow entrepreneurs, mid to large size businesses, corporate companies, non-profits or a different group? You can’t sell to someone if they don’t need what you offer. There has to be a specific audience that wants what you can provide, so make sure that you’re marketing to them. Find them, they need you!

 3) Review your visuals + content
If you know who you are, what you enjoy doing and can sell what someone needs directly to them; you can have a very successful business. But, in order to look professional, you have to play the part. If you don’t have a strong logo, website, social media graphics, marketing materials and messaging in place, you will not be taken seriously by your clients. The more consistent you are with all of the aspects of your branding matching and flowing together cohesively — and your content is delivered in a complementary way with the branding — you will look more sophisticated and legitimate. Your branding is a reflection of your personality, your style and how you serve your clients. If your visuals connect with your words and they communicate well together, your brand will be expressed more effectively and resonate better with your clients.

 4) Show up consistently everyday
Along with ensuring that your branding is professionally in place, it’s up to you to always show up. Show up for your brand, your client and the work that needs done. At the end of the day, as an entrepreneur, you have to hold yourself accountable. The harder you work at making sure that your branding is strong, the client work gets done and your business development is taken care of each week — the more consistent your business will be. And, consistency is KEY. Without it, as mentioned above, you won’t be taken seriously. Work hard every single day. It WILL pay off.

 5) Outsource what you’re not good at, you don’t enjoy doing or you don’t have time for
Since I just mentioned working hard and holding yourself accountable, an important thing to realize when running a business is also knowing what you’re good at and what you’re not — plain and simple. As a business owner, you will often start off running around, doing everything. I’m a graphic designer. I enjoy designing, writing and client + project management. I don’t love basic admin tasks like email management, posting blog and social media graphics or accounting. So, I’m going to spend my time and energy on being productive with what I love to do and am good at and I’m going to delegate the other work to someone else. It’s better to put your focus on positive energy and hire professionals to do the “other” work that you don’t have time for or like to do. There is nothing wrong with that!


Branding 101 - Free Downloadable Guide
It’s hard to believe that we are nearing the end of another business year! Are you ready for 2017? Do you have a logo, website and more that you absolutely love…or…not so much? If you’re not a design professional, branding might be something that you don’t love to do for your business or you simply don’t have time for, so let someone else take over! Sign-up below to receive the link to download my new and free PDF tool “Branding 101: What it is, what it isn’t and why you need it” — right now! This quick and simple guide will walk you through why it’s important to establish consistent and memorable branding within your biz — and if you can DIY some of it or if you should hire that professional. If you have any questions after going through it, let’s connect and chat some more!