Small Biz Chats: Lindsay Humes

Small Biz Chats with White Oak Creative | Dotted Design

 

For this edition of Small Biz Chats, I’m chatting with Lindsay of White Oak Creative. She is a stellar designer and developer who builds beautiful brand identities, offers pre-made blog themes, and does custom web work. Plus, her blog and site are full of awesome resources for bloggers and creative entrepreneurs that you should definitely check out! Read what insights she has to share with us today:

What is your business, and why did you start it? White Oak Creative is a boutique design studio and online shop specializing in branding and resources for creative entrepreneurs, content creators, and lifestyle publishers.

 

What were you doing before you launched your business? Before I launched my business, I taught Special Education for 4 years, and then I found a job as an account executive at an advertising agency. During the time of teaching and at the ad agency, I taught myself how to design and code. My undergrad degree is in Visual Anthropology and Art History, so I wanted my career switch to get me back to what I studied in college.

WOC_2

 

How did you find your first paying clients/customers, and what really helped you to grow your business? My first clients were friends, family, and people familiar with my own blog. When I started out, I did not have a huge online presence. However, I was able to make a sustainable income based off of referrals. It seemed like each project led to two or three new referrals. I’m incredibly grateful for my initial clients (mainly for their patience), but also for their role in helping my business grow.

 

WOC_1

 

What tools are most important to help you stay organized and on task? I really love to schedule things and build a bank up! I like to set aside buckets of time to really work on a project, and scheduling helps free up that time. I really love CoSchedule for social media scheduling, Tailwind (specifically for Pinterest), and Dropbox for sending files and organizing files. I just recently started using 17Hats to streamline my workflow and lead process. So far, I’ve been pretty happy with it!

 

WOC_3

 

What aspect of your business is your absolute favorite thing that you do? I love the challenge. Each project is full of problems that need to be resolved. The client has a brand and a purpose, and figuring out what brand identity best conveys that to a potential customer/reader is huge. I love that I work with a variety of clients because it allows me to grow with each project and understand different target audiences.

 

What do you think is the biggest challenge that creative small business owners face today? How can we handle it? In my opinion, the biggest challenge that creative business owners face is the market (at least in my field). So many people are self-taught (myself included), but just because I’m self-taught does not mean I’m a worse designer and programmer than someone who went to school for it, and vice versa. A lot of my clients have been burned my previous designers in the past; they often tell me how easy it is to work with me compared to their past experience. I know what makes my work good, but someone not familiar in the field might not (aka your potential client). You can’t explain to every potential client what good design is and why quality code is important; it took me years to study that! However, you can let your work speak for itself, and you can try to build an honest tribe of existing customers and clients who speak highly of your work.

 

Small Biz Chats with White Oak Creative | Dotted Design

 

What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to launch his/her own business? Talk your idea out with experts in the field, whether it is a mastermind group or friends. Occasionally, I run into a situation where a potential client has an idea, but they have not thought through A thru Y of the process. Z is the design step! Sometimes, in steps B or C, the idea is significantly flawed. That’s why it is important to collaborate and work with others (mentors) to help you prepare for your business launch. Once you launch, it is so difficult to make changes, especially from a time perspective.

 

And finally, what is your favorite mid-workday snack? Apple with peanut butter.

Thanks to Lindsay for sharing her story! See all the Small Biz Chats posts here.

Find Lindsay online: Website • Instagram FacebookPinterest •  Twitter

All images are property of White Oak Creative.

0
0

Introducing the Learning Library!

Learning Library | Dotted Design

 

I’m so excited to share this project I’ve been cooking up for you! When I was starting out, I had lots of questions about where to start with my business. I looked to lots of blogs for answers, and now that I’ve been full time in my business for awhile, I want to share some of that knowledge with you.

The completely free Learning Library will be a resource center for all kinds of tips and tricks when it comes to design for your brand (especially great when you’re not ready to invest in a designer yet!), worksheets and planning guides for your business, and free downloadable print items like calendars, cards, and art prints. I’ve taken all the questions I am frequently asked and put them into one resource center.

I chose the name “Library” because libraries are one of my favorite places. I love that they are for everyone, and you can find information on any topic. I love being able to borrow books, especially in subject areas that I’m simply exploring and don’t want to invest in a purchase yet. My goal is to make the Dotted Learning Library a great resource for you and your business that you’ll want to visit again and again.

I’ll add new content at the end of each month, and I hope to collaborate with some other awesome biz owners to contribute items. I can’t wait to see how it grows! If there’s something you’d like to see, I’d love to consider your suggestion – get it touch!

All you have to do to access it is sign up in the box below. You’ll get an email with the password, and I’ll have your info so that I can let you know any time new content is added. I hope you find something useful!

 

0
0

5 questions before starting your website design.

before you design your website | dotted design

 

 

The prospect of having a new or redesigned website can be exhilarating. You daydream about the visuals, how well it will function and attract clients, and the new people it will reach. But, how do you get from point A to point B when you’re ready for that site now?

I see so many small businesses try to dive into website design before they are truly ready. For most people, your website is your most powerful tool in getting people to hire you or purchase your product. Why would you want to rush something so big?

Whether you are just starting out and going the DIY route, or looking to expand and hire a pro, the same process can shape your approach. Ask these 5 questions before you embark on a web design project!

  1. What is the single main purpose of my site? Sure, you want people to sign up for your newsletter, follow your social accounts, comment on your blog, etc. But, if a visitor could only take one action, what would you want that to be? View your services and hire you? See your new arrivals and purchase that product? Whatever it may be, make sure that action is front and center. This purpose should be on your mind as you develop each page and consider the site’s navigation. Make it possible from every page and not something a potential customer has to search and search for.
    .
  2. What is my brand’s personality? Before you build the site, you need to understand your brand’s values and point of view. This includes designing your brand’s visual identity, which is items like your logo, brand colors & fonts, and style. Your brand identity is your base, and the site is built up from this style foundation.If you are redesigning your site, you might instead ask, what about the personality of my current site isn’t working or do I want to change? Having a grasp on these concepts will also make it easier for you to find a web designer that matches the style and aesthetic you want to achieve in your website. (See this post for more on defining your brand!)
    .
  3. What content do I need to prepare? This one is a biggie. Before the web design can begin, you first need to consider what pages you require and how they will connect. Then, you must have all your copy written or updated, photos taken, videos recorded, and any other content that will be part of your site.Many people get eager and want to work on the design and layout before these pieces are all ready, which requires patience. I know you’re excited, but designing a site without having the copy ready is like trying to bake cookies without the flour. Sure, you can mix up the rest of the ingredients in preparation, but nothing will come together into batter form until the flour is added. Plus, seeing the copy and photography will help the designer get a better sense of your overall brand style and then reflect that in the design.
    .
  4. What outside accounts will I need? Beyond the site itself, you’ll need to consider what outside accounts you want to set up, like your mail server (MailChimp, Infusionsoft, etc.), social media, etc. People will most likely find these on your website somewhere, so you’ll want to be able to consider how to incorporate opt-in boxes or links to these important accounts. They are usually a way for someone to stay connected to you after they leave your website – oh so important!
    .
  5. What are some examples of websites that inspire me? When you are ready to work on your website, start paying closer attention to the websites you visit. What makes you want to stay on a site? What makes it easy to navigate? What makes you yell ackkk!! and close the tab? You’ll start to see patterns in the styles and layouts that you love, which will help in determining the direction of your own site. Using several inspiration examples will help you stay away from straight up copying another site and instead use the bring the best elements together that will be uniquely yours.Make sure you are also staying away from anything that feels extremely trendy. While there may be a new standard in functionality that you want to be sure to incorporate, make sure you are singing your own song when it comes to your visuals. If you start to see everyone’s homepage display a marble background with pink flowers on top, perhaps you should try a photo that won’t blend into that crowd quite so easily. A great test is if your photo is pinned onto a Pinterest board, would anything distinguish it from all the other visual noise?

.

Though this process requires more thought and planning, it will help you immensely down the road in the web design stage. Staying thoughtful and purposeful will help your business grow in the long run, and who wouldn’t want that? In a future post, I’ll be sharing how you can plan more of the nitty gritty parts, like what pages to include, how do you find a photographer, whether or not to post your prices, and more. Stay tuned ; )

Are you embarking on your own web design journey? Download this free Web Planning Worksheet to get started!

 

0
1

5 design resolutions to make this year.

5 design resolutions to make | Dotted Design

Ah, the feel a fresh new year. It seems like everyone is making goals, getting healthy, and getting their hustle on in their businesses.

Whether or not you subscribe to the tradition of resolution making, January is still a great time to reset and evaluate what you are doing in your business. No matter what you do, implementing great design can only take you further.

When setting your goals, there are lots of ways that design can elevate your brand, product, and documents. I challenge you to make these 5 design resolutions this year:

  1. Strive for consistency. Nothing says “I’m a stellar business” like consistent design. Give your clients a beautifully branded experience. Bring a cohesive look to everything from your social media post graphics to your proposal docs, invoices, emails, packaging, and more. You want someone to see your graphic on Pinterest and instantly know it is yours! A cohesive look in all your output will do just that.
  2. Stick to a defined color palette. Not only will this help build the cohesiveness mentioned above, it will help you feel intentional about what you are putting out into the world and bring a professional look to your materials. Color has a huge effect people (see this post on color here!) and you can easily use that to your advantage with a carefully selected color palette.
  3. Use pro typography. Want to look silly? Choose a font that is hard to read, juvenile, or trendy. Everyone knows not to use Comic Sans, but it’s just as important not to use a font that has the wrong personality for your brand. (See this typography post here for reference!) Instead, make readability a priority (not just something pretty) and use those carefully selected fonts in everything you put out. Surprise, surprise: this ties back to the consistency tip above!
  4. Make your design your own. No one likes a copycat. You may love the branding that someone else developed, but making a mediocre copy will only make you look silly and unprofessional. For one, how can you stand out in the crowd if you look just like someone else? Plus, you want something that truly reflects the heart of your business, which by definition is unlike anything somebody else could offer. Making it yours will make it both timeless and unique.
  5. Hire a professional when needed! Make this the year you stop struggling with DIY design and hire a fab designer for those projects that are out of your ability range. You may be able to put together a blog post graphic, but think how lovely it would be to have your logo looking awesome, get your website into shape, or spruce up all those digital downloads or lead magnets that you offer. Not only will you look oh-so professional and serious about your business, you’ll get back all those hours you spend tinkering around with Photoshop to use in something more productive for your business.Maybe this is the year you hire a copywriter, photographer, biz coach, or assistant as well! Make good investments and you’ll see them come back to your business many times over. Do what you do best, and delegate the rest.

What are you hoping to achieve this year? Think about how great design can help make that happen!

 

0
0

new work: Out of Office Notes

OON-logo

I’m excited to share another recent project today, and this one is for the ladies. New mom Allie came to me looking for a brand identity for her new site, Out of Office Notes. Allie is an HR professional, and after searching for advice on her own career path once she learned she was becoming a mom, she never found something that made her feel like she could be both mama and boss lady. Her blog is intended to be a space for all career-minded mothers looking for that right balance between motherhood and career, who don’t want to lose themselves in either one, and who are interested in keeping up with industry trends and keeping their professional side polished. Sounds like something all women could benefit from!

This project was fun to start because I already knew that our styles are definitely in sync. She wants to build a space that is meaningful and inspiring, as well as soft, modern, and sophisticated. We started with this mood board as a way to summarize the visual direction of her branding:

 

OON Moodboard

 

 

From there, we went through some logo options, and eventually landed at this beautiful set:

 

OON brand board | Dotted Design

 

 

If you are a woman looking for any sort of career balance, whether it’s with your children or even something else important in your life, you should check out this lovely lady and Out of Office Notes!

 

mockup

2
1

Small Biz Chats: Kory Woodard.

Small Biz Chats: Kory Woodard

 

For this edition of Small Biz Chats, I’m chatting with Kory Woodard. She is a brand and web designer with a simple, chic style, and writes a great blog with tips on business and design, and she’s all about creating a community. Today she has some great insights to share: take it away, Kory!

What is your business, and why did you start it? I run a design business where I help passionate, driven women create brands and web based designs (think: blogs and websites) that help them accomplish their goals and work towards their dreams! I started my business in college to sort of see if I could do it long term. I saw my peers online with the freedom to determine how much money they made, when they worked, and what they did. It seemed like the ideal scenario. At the same time I knew my parents weren’t happy with their jobs, so I was really trying to see if I could make a business happen where I was doing something I enjoyed and that made me happy! Lucky for me, it’s really worked out!

 

What were you doing before you launched your business? I was in college! Some people may not know this about me, but I launched my blog and my business while in college. My business came a little bit later in the year, but before I launched my business I was just a plain ol’ college student. For about 7-8 months I was the editor-in-chief of an online art/music/lifestyle magazine. That really propelled me into this online work of Twitter and blogs and it was my first design job (though it wasn’t paid).

 

How did you find your first paying clients/customers, and what really helped you to grow your business? Ah, so I’ve told this story before, but I love sharing it, especially with people looking to get started in my field. I don’t know what made me think of it, but 3 years ago I looked up the #blogdesign tweets. I don’t remember if I was hoping to find work or what, but I found this gal from the UK who wanted to get a new blog design. I remember, I responded to her and said hey I can do this! We emailed back and forth and I ended up doing the project for about €50. From there, I started responding to almost every single person who mentioned that they needed a new blog design. Through doing that I was able to start establishing that I was doing that, so some of the people who’d been following me online already started reaching out, and it just kept growing from there!

 

Kory Woodard

 

 

What tools are most important to help you stay organized and on task? Oh, goodness! I have been trying to keep things pretty simple, lately. I use my WD My Cloud to stay organized with my client work. It helps me be able to work from either of my computers at home or out at a coffee shop. I’ve been going back and forth as far as planners/to-do list apps are concerned, but I’m currently using an Emily Ley notepad + the Simplified Planner to keep track of what’s going on all week and getting things done. I love the notepad because I jot down everything for the whole week on one sheet (guest posts, to-do’s, dinner, random notes) and the planner to keep track of what happens each day.

 

What aspect of your business is your absolute favorite thing that you do? Two things: My favorite part of my process is probably branding. I absolutely love working on moodboards and working with my clients to create a whole new identity for their brand that will help them accomplish their goals. In general, though, my favorite thing is to help women who are passionate about what they’re doing. It’s so encouraging and it really warms my heart to see my clients move forward in their businesses or blogs and really start accomplishing their big goals and working toward their dreams.

 

Kory Woodard

 

 

Do you have a dream project type or client that you’d love to land someday? In college, several of our projects were packaging, including two big personal projects I took on for my final classes. I had so much fun thinking about physical designs instead of just web based work like what I usually do. It was so much fun to start with branding and thinking about different types of packaging for certain things. I think one of my dream projects would be to do that for real products. I don’t know if I have a preference for the type of product (my college products were tea + dog food), but I think regardless of the product it would be fun!

 

What do you think is the biggest challenge that creative small business owners face today? How can we handle it? It’s information overload, no questions asked. As blogging has changed over the last couple of years to less lifestyle posts and more advice posts, it’s become really hard to decide whose advice to take and what to move forward on. I can see it in my community, and it’s really frustrating. The best thing I can recommend is to pick a few people that you trust their advice and then shut out the rest of the noise online. You don’t have to read every single post about branding or every single tip on growing your business.

 

Kory Woodard

 

 

What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to launch his/her own business? I know so many people get stuck in the wishing and hoping phase and never actually get around to making the leap. I was fortunate enough that I went straight from college to being a business owner, so I didn’t really go through that. I can commiserate, though, as I know a lot of people in my community are trying to make that leap themselves. So, my advice would be create a plan and then just do it. If you need to work a little more at a 9-5 to save money, if you need to build up your client base, whatever it is, just create a plan to transition and then do it. Otherwise, you’ll never make it happen.

 

And finally, what is your favorite mid-workday snack? Ooh, my husband and I discovered this pumpkin spice bread at the grocery store a few weeks ago, and it’s absolutely amazing. I usually have a couple of toasted slices as a snack!

Thanks to Kory for sharing her story! See all the Small Biz Chats posts here.

Find Kory online: Website • Instagram  Twitter

All images are property of Kory Woodard.

0
0

new work: Cyndie Spiegel

Today I’m excited to share the new branding and website for one sassy lady, Cyndie Spiegel. Cyndie is a business strategist and coach who works with creative entrepreneurs and has consulted with big brands like Nine West and Coach. We did a bit of design work last year for her site, but she came back to me over the summer ready to take her brand and website to the next level.

Color is a big part of Cyndie’s life and persona, so she wanted to be sure to include a bright palette. That being said, she also wanted to convey sophistication, no-nonsense, and confidence, so having a clean, white space-filled website was important to her.

We started with the mood board to focus in on a vibe and color palette:

 

Cyndie_Moodboard

 

Some of the initial logo versions had more color and more detailed icons, but in the end, simplicity won. We landed on some clean, sans serif type along with a graphic, bright icon. Check out the final logo and brand board!

 

Spiegel-Style-Guide

 

 

 

We also worked on some graphics for her newsletter and social media posts:

Cyndie_graphics

 

And finally, we spruced up that website. We were so fortunate to work with Phyllis Sa of Phyllis Sa Design to help us build the site in Squarespace!

Spiegel Website

See the live site here. It was fun to work with Cyndie on such and bright and cheerful project!

 

.

0
0

how to get organized by the end of the year.

get your business organized

It’s normal to want to start the new year with fresh goals and a renewed mindset for your work or business. However, with only a single-digit number of weeks left in the year, now is a great time to get everything organized! Start evaluating what has and hasn’t worked for you this year so that you’re ready to reset after the holiday rush.

It can be daunting to sit down and attempt to evaluate everything that’s happening in your business – where to begin? I recommend breaking it down into manageable areas and take a small chunk of time each day to tackle each category. Items to consider:

Website

Is your current site serving you the way you want it to? Things you should evaluate:

  • Purpose: A question you should be able to answer is, “What is the main thing I want people to do when they land on my site?” Of course, you likely want them to do several things, but most people will have to visit you a few times before opting-in to everything you offer. Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? Do you want them to purchase your latest product? Do you want them to book a consultation call? Whatever it is, make sure it is front and center on your site pages.
  • Language: When was the last time you spruced up the copy on your site? Or even read through it to make sure it matches the tone of your business? Take some time to read your entire site and either punch up your copy, or make it a goal to hire a stellar copywriter to help.
  • Visuals: Just like your copy, when was the last time you updated your visuals? Could you benefit from updated photos? Do you need some updated graphics? A big thing to check is that everything on your site feels cohesive and purposeful.

.

Social Media

Are you being efficient and thoughtful with your content? Things to consider:

  • Platforms: Where do you currently have accounts? Are you posting consistently on all of them? If not, it could be time to drop the ones you ignore and focus on consistent, quality posts on the others. Just because Periscope or Facebook exist doesn’t mean you have to be there. Where does your audience hang out? Where can you form meaningful connections? Place your efforts there.
  • Content: Do you have any sort of strategy, or are posting whenever something comes to mind? What is your goal for your social media presence: connecting with clients, sharing industry news, sharing your work? Establishing a purpose and a schedule, whether it’s once per day or once per hour, will make it much easier to create quality content.

.

Processes

How do you handle new clients? How can you streamline your communication? Consider:

  • Client Acquisition: When someone reaches out to you about your services or product, do you have a set process? Do you have canned answers to common questions, or a media kit that further explains how you can work together? Make it simple for yourself to respond to those inquiries you get.
  • Client Onboarding: Once someone wants to work with you, is it easy for them to understand what happens next? Create items like a welcome packet, a list of resources, or project outlines for simple ways to keep your clients in the loop of what you expect and what happens next. It will give your clients a seamless experience. Happy clients = more referrals for you!
  • Client/Project Management: How do you keep track of everything you have going on? If Post-Its scattered around your desk is your current to-do list method, it’s probably time to consider new tactics or look into those systems you’ve been putting off exploring. Check out online apps like Trello, Basecamp, or Asana. Invest in an awesome planner. Make an effort now, and it will pay off in future time saved!
  • Finances: Are you good at keeping up with your accounting, or are you all over the place? Are you paying quarterly taxes, or do you need an accountant’s help? This is a pretty serious aspect of your business, so take the time to get organized or get help now so you’re not crunched come tax time!
  • Delegation: Are there any small tasks that you’d like to stop taking up your time? Maybe you need a VA to help with social media or email. Maybe you need a designer to work on branding your digital downloads or ecourse materials. Find those things that take up too much of your time and get some help. More time on your end = more client work!

.

Self Care

If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t do well in your business long term, simple as that. I don’t like using the term “work-life balance” because that implies they are equal parts. Instead, strive to have enough down time that you are rejuvenated for work time. This includes:

  • Take breaks during your day. If you are squinting at your computer screen from dawn til midnight, you’re going to have some serious medical consequences. Take a walk, go to a workout class, or even read a book instead of a screen. Put it right into your daily schedule so you don’t forget. Your eyes and back will thank you! (PS If you really feel like you can’t get away, listen to a business podcast while you walk – it will at least provide some education in your walk time!)
  • Take time off during your week. I can’t tell you what the best schedule is for you, but I do know that if you are working all day long, 7 days a week, you are eventually going to burn out. It’s cool to take the traditional model of no work on Sat/Sun. Or, you can work shorter days, 6 days a week. Whatever you choose, make sure you banish that guilt of taking time away. It can be hard when all you see on Instagram is people posting about “hustle” or essentially bragging about the long days they put in, but I promise you, they are not at peak productivity if they are working 14 hour days constantly. You will feel refreshed and even more energized when you return!
  • Make education a priority. Keeping up your skills and what is new in your industry is imperative. Pledge to do something to enrich your skills over the course of the year: read a business book each month, take a Skillshare class about something you’ve wanted to learn, or subscribe to a new podcast that has tips on your industry.

.

What has been bothering you about your business this year? What do you want to streamline or improve? If nothing else, start a list of these items so you can make a plan to work on them!

0
0

15 questions to answer before designing your brand identity.

15-design-Qs

I love the beginning of new projects: the possibilities are wide open, everyone is excited to get started, and the energy is high. When working on a logo & brand identity project, one of my favorite parts is reading through the client’s answers to my questionnaire. It tells me all about why they started their business, what visions they have for it, who they hope to reach, and what aesthetic styles they love.

My questionnaire has evolved a lot as I identify what truly helps me get to the heart of a business. It is fun to see clients think about their business from new angles! I also always ask for a Pinterest board with some inspiration images so that I can compare their words with their imagery – it’s funny to see how they do or do not line up! In fact, I think asking your clients these questions could benefit you as a photographer, copywriter, business coach, or other similar business.

If you are starting your own business (or rebranding a current one), it is so helpful to answer lots of questions to help identify what direction you should go with your visual brand. You can do this when working with a designer or if you’re DIY-ing it to get started! Here are some of the most helpful questions:

  1. Why did you start your business and what are some of its core values? This provides some background and helps articulate the type of feelings they want to convey.
  2. What is your elevator speech about what you do? It always helps to see a summary of a business, rather than the long, drawn-out version, to see what is top priority to the owner.
  3. Who is your target market? It’s imperative that your brand appeals to the people you are trying to reach!
  4. Who (or what) is your competition? What sets you apart from it? This helps me see who in their industry I should be checking out to assure we don’t create anything too similar to a competing business. It also helps researching what is standard in a given industry.
  5. When people think of your business, what words do you want them to use to describe it? This one is obvious, but it makes is easier to discover what type of look we should be going for to achieve that description.
  6. What are the most rewarding parts of your work? This one is always fun to read! Again, it helps identify the core of why they do what they do.
  7. What was the best feedback you ever got from a customer or client? This also helps show what kinds of things are important to a business so that we can make those qualities apparent in the visual brand.
  8. What do you see happening in your business in the next year? How will it grow in 5 years? This is great from a planning perspective. For example, a business may be online only right now, but knowing they hope to launch products in the future means that their logo will need to be adaptable to a small label – good to know when designing now!
  9. What about your current brand caused you to make changes? What isn’t currently working? Of course, only applicable to a rebrand, but identifying the problems are the first step in finding a design solution.
  10. If your brand were an item in your closet, which one would it be? This one is always fun! The answers reveal quite a lot. For example, saying “black blazer” would mean your business is professional and no-nonsense. Choosing the leopard shoe would mean your business puts some spice and fun in their customers’ lives. Or, the oversized sweater means the business provides calm, comfort, and ease to their customers.
  11. Which other brands do you love visually? What about them draws you in? It is imperative to get some visual examples of what the client loves. They may say, “I love modern design,” but then their visual examples say otherwise! Words can often mean very different things to different people, so backing them up with visuals is important.
  12. Which colors are you most drawn to? Which ones turn you off? I wouldn’t want to base a brand identity around red if that color repulses the owner!
  13. What kinds of typography click with you? Another one where visuals help (since of course a regular person may not know the correct terminology) but here I want to see if they like serif, sans serif, handwritten, block, all-caps/lowercase, playful, or serious, for example.
  14. Where will your logo be used? Like #7, it is important to know what scale a logo will be seen at in order to maximize its effectiveness. Seeing it on a billboard will be a different experience than seeing it in a Twitter profile!
  15. Which adjectives do you want to describe your visual brand? I provide a list of options in this question, words like: modern, classic, sleek, sophisticated, bohemian, retro, bold, playful, soft, bright, feminine, masculine, child-like, energetic, etc. Seeing the gut reaction to those words says a lot!

 

If you want to work on the questions for your own brand identity, simply download this free worksheet to answer all the questions for your business!

Or, if you’re looking for someone to work with to design your logo & brand identity, I’d love to hear from you! Contact me here.

2
0

color study

DYOB color study

 

Color has always been the element of design I find most challenging. It’s amazing how a subtle adjustment in a certain hue can change a look – talk about pressure!

While there is definitely some standard theory when it comes to color, it remains a very subjective area. I’ll be covering both the science and the subtlety when it comes to choosing your own palette for the first in my new series, Design Your Own Brand.

.

The Basics

You probably remember learning about the color wheel in elementary school art class. Colors are warm or cool, and they fall under primary, secondary, or tertiary colors:

color-wheel_dotted-design

 

Colors also evoke certain feelings and emotions, which can have a big impact on your visuals! Some of the most common:

.

color-emotions_dotted-design

.

Finding Your Palette

While considering the psychology of colors, you still aren’t going to want to choose colors you dislike when selecting for your brand. The place I always recommend starting to identify what colors you connect with is good old Pinterest. Start a board and pin any images that you are really drawn to without thinking too deeply about any you select. When you’re done, I bet you’ll be surprised by the patterns you see! From here, you can select a main color or two to build upon.

A good rule of thumb for a basic brand palette is to select three main colors. This will help you stay focused and not overwhelmed by color choice. The general combinations you can make are monochromatic (several tones or shades of the same color), analogous (colors next to each other on the color wheel), complimentary (colors opposite each other on the color wheel), or triadic (all three equal distance on the color wheel). Here are some examples:

 

color-palettes_dotted-design

If you’re looking for a place to try out combinations or get inspiration, Colour Lovers, Adobe Color, or Coolers are great places to start. You should also think about what neutrals work for you brand: for example, would cream be softer and more appropriate than white? Would a dark greige be more effective than a bold black? You’ll want these on hand for things like text or backgrounds!

.

Other Things to Consider

Once you’ve identified what colors you connect with and have a general palette, you’ll want to think about a few other items.

Target Audience: who are the people you want to connect with? What are they drawn to? Knowing this will help you hone in on great colors. You may be a woman who loves a soft pink blush color, but if you are hoping to target young men, this might not be a great choice. Referencing color psychology for your target audience is a great tool here.

Competitors: You surely want to stand out from your competitors and make your brand instantly recognizable. A simply way to avoid this is by making sure your colors don’t match someone else’s in your industry! If I were starting a home supplies store, I certainly wouldn’t want to pick red since Target has that all wrapped up. Choose hues that will make your brand unique.

Trends: Like many things, colors tend to have rises in popularity. It’s important to make sure that you are selecting a color for solid reasons rather than the fact that you are currently seeing it everywhere. Picking a trendy color will only make your brand look dated in a short amount of time. When you pick colors based on your own brand alone, they will stand the test of time.

Once you have a color palette, you can easily use it as a base to build all of your brand images, such as blog post graphics, social media images, digital downloads, and so on. Have you selected a color palette for your brand? Are you struggling to create one? I’d love to hear your experiences!

 

 

0
0