Working with a designer should be a fun and engaging experience. All design is a process of research, sketching, designing, refining and redesigning sometimes, until you reach a suitable product. Graphic design like logos and websites are a product of a relationship - you can definitely tell when its good.Read More
So, you started a business - YOUR PASSION - and you have a spankin new logo to slap on everything from stickers to hats to can coozies. That's how you market, right? Sort of... When I meet with small business owners, we start by having a conversation about their business, logo, website, photography and marketing. The latter, in my mind, are the elements of your Getting the Word Out Kit. Each has its own complexities and processes, and all work together to paint a complete picture for your audience and customers.Read More
With all the technology, access to great design ideas and computers at our fingertips - it's easy to cave to the urge of going it alone. I applaud all the DIY you can get away with. When it comes to your business logo and branding, do you have the design knowledge it takes to come up with something original that stands the test of time?
I've come up with 5 reasons why I have the skills to get it done, son.
Reason 1 - Passion
I spent a lot of time in school in my 20's learning how to use my ADHD to my advantage creatively. All jokes aside, I have invested both time and money becoming an expert at graphic design. I have a deep passion for making things really awesome. I cringe at horrible fonts while driving, comment on every new sign on our small town main street, and basically live my life observing design all around us.
I spend my "down time" pursuing other creative hobbies like letterpress printing, screen printing, book making and collaging. I live a life dedicated to making things beautiful around me. When a person hires me to do their logo design, I apply this same passion to find the right solution.
Reason 2 - Education
I thought about not putting this one in there, because sometimes it seems elitist or braggy. In all honesty it's an expense I will live with the rest of my life. Art school. I went to one of the best. This reason isn't enough on its own, because plenty of people went to school for something and totally suck at it.
I went to school for graphic design, and spent about 8 years studying things like Cultural Semiotics and History of Graphic Design to get the foundation I have. At art school, you aren't always just drawing naked people and sipping latte's. I mean maybe some art schools. I spent time learning skills off the computer that help me come up with better, more creative solutions than other people. I spent 60% of my time researching concepts and ideas, which is the true basis of all design. Information. It's just a bonus that growing up I spent all my time organizing boxes of crayons and doing all the art I could get my hands on....
So when you hire me you get a total package - artist, researcher, designer and (sometimes) business counselor. The education from the last ten years working for others and being in business for myself has provided an additional education. Meeting business owners and learning about their unique businesses has provided me with insight to so many different industries. I have worked with people in automotive, entertainment & events, food service, art & cultural institutions, small businesses of all kinds, government agencies, schools, colleges & universities and more.
Reason 3 - Research
The word research is an umbrella term for a few different things. I research your competition, design trends of the industry, the meaning behind your name, the website design that is best for you... Research gets me to solutions. I research what most people don't want to spend time looking into. The work I do upfront has almost nothing to do with art, and yet it provides the connections I need to make the work I do sing.
Reason 4 - Practice
I've had the pleasure of practicing art for my whole life. I've focused on designing things for the last 12. I've made a thousand logos probably, sketched a million doodles, had a trillion ideas. I practice this every. single. day. What takes you 6 hours (designing a flyer, for instance) probably takes me 1. I have tools, expensive tools, and I know how to use them. My tools are on and off the computer.
It takes practice to think creatively. My brain is trained to go there on command. Haha. Okay not on command because let's be real, creativity can be like a fickle cat sometimes. Practicing every day makes me primed for production.
Things I practice every day: the internet, drawing, composition, creative thinking, software mastery, research, seeking inspiration to feed the creative beast, coffee drinking, blogging, social media marketing, business stuff like invoices, fine art things like block printing... It varies day to day but you get the idea.
Reason 5 - Tools
The obvious tools like computer, software, pens, pencils, tracing paper - whatever you imagine a graphic designers tools to be, I use those. I also use things that aren't as obvious. I've used coffee grounds to stain a paper background. I have hand water colored bouquets of flowers. I've carved my design into a linoleum block to get a textured design instead of buying one on adobe stock.
I spent the last month making books, printing prints, carving blocks, letterpressing book covers, drawing every place I've ever visited... This feeds the creative beast and opens me up to tools that someone who lives on a computer is never exposed to. I use things in a new way to create the feelings that attract people. I use all the tools available to me to achieve something totally lovable and original.
The idea here, is that I live, eat and breathe design. It's always a good idea to hire people that are invested in what they do, that is why I hire a plumber to fix my toilet, a lawyer to fix my legal life, an accountant to fix my accounting... I don't have time or desire to learn the ins and outs of any of those things! I'll leave it to them, the same way people should leave designing to designers.
You need a logo, I need something to work on - let's get in touch!
12 Ways We Can Work Together
I do a lot of different projects for a wide range of businesses and people. Things like logos, websites and merch are common. I love learning new things and taking on challenging projects. Here are 12 ways we could work together. Got an idea? Let’s chat!
New Website (or an update!)
Maybe you have never heard of websites or maybe you need an update to a site you’ve had for 10 years. Either way there is usually something I can do to help get you current on the internet. I like to make new sites in Square Space or Wordpress for the ease of handing it off to the client.
I have a lot of experience making posters and other event advertising collateral. Print, social media, websites and merch are some of the things I’ve designed for events, musicians, and city governments alike. I can design you a poster, or we can work together to come up with an entire campaign strategy.
Pitching a new event or idea can be stressful, and making a good impression is imperative. Having a well designed pitch deck can be the boost you need in a presentation. I can provide a print or digital deck experience, you provide the content.
Sometimes what we do is more complicated than a simple tagline and needs a good explanation to really sell it. A well written e-book designed with simple to follow formatting can help you seal the deal. A designer can make sure your content sticks with whomever reads it by creating interesting page designs.
Picture this: you’ve got pages of great stats and info in a Word doc. Are you sleeping yet? Jazz up those little info snacks with some icons and pie charts for more impact. I can make your info come alive with original illustrations, icons and other fun design elements.
Logos are a major investment for any company, and its best to get it right! My process involves getting to know you and getting to know what you do. I become your biggest fan and your logo becomes my personal mission.
Letterpress Business Cards
I own some big huge antique presses and can make your business card a unique experience. We can pick paper and get a plate made of your logo. It could be printed in gold. Just saying.
Illustration & Lettering
Hand drawn style isn’t for everyone, but it does lend character to whatever it’s used for. If you are looking for illustration, you probably have an idea. Share it with me. I’ll draw you something magical. Also, I like lettering enough to dedicate a couple sentences here. Need a hand drawn logo for your band? Just say so. Need some fancy script for a chalkboard? Let’s do this.
Editorial & Publication Design
I have a considerable amount of experience in this department. Do you need a visitors guide? I used to design official visitors guides for over 25 US cities and states. Updating your official state map? I can handle the task. From brochures, to catalogs, to editorial design — I have the skills to get it done for you.
I have a ton of actual food service experience (bartending & serving), and happen to love great food and cocktails. Those experiences make me an expert at menu design. Making menus organized and creative is one of my favorite things. A well designed menu can elevate the experience for the customer and increase sales!
Screen Printed Posters
Screen printing adds character to design that digital and offset printing doesn’t have. My studio can handle 2 color prints and up to 11 x 17 poster size.
Between the antique printing presses and my fine art handmade book making skills - I can make the invitations of your dreams. Let’s make those letterpress invites and hand sewn program booklets you always dreamed of. It’s your day after all...
There are countless other ways we can work together to help your business, band, conference or festival. I want to make great experiences for customers everywhere using my design and art skills. If you like what you've seen and read, let's connect!
5 Things to Ask A Designer on a Free Consult Call
Hiring a graphic designer can start to feel like uncharted territory if you have never worked with one. There are things like price and timing that are maybe obvious questions, but you may think, how do I ask about design services without knowing much about it? You may want to know you can trust them, you want to make sure they are credible and maybe make sure you understand what happens during a logo design process.
Here are five questions you can ask your designer that will get you talking the same language.
1. Have you ever designed for my type of company before?
This question will help get the ball rolling and hopefully open up the conversation for you to explain about your company. It might not matter if they haven’t done specific design for your industry yet. For me, it's part of the process to hear as much about your business as possible. I draw inspiration from the niches of your business.
2. How long have you been designing, what is your design experience?
It's always good to ask a designer what their experience is. This is important to feel someone out if they are experienced enough to give you what you are looking for. You can get more specific with the question as you know more about your project. If you are looking for a poster design, and you want it to be an original illustration, you need to ask if the designer can provide that type of service. I do illustration and could offer that service, but its a specific thing you need to ask me for.
3. How much does the graphic design I want cost? Is there an estimate and contract process?
Lets address the first question.
Graphic design is a broad term for many specialized services. So you should expect the cost of a logo to differ from the cost of a 24 page e-booklet. Their purposes, timelines and files are totally different. Graphic design by a professional is a service like any other. The graphic designer is charged with finding a unique solution to your specific problem. I am well trained for a wide range of services, and they all start from a basis of $75 per hour. I also offer project pricing for larger projects.
Second question, is there an estimate and contract? You should ask this because if there isn't a process in place, they might not be the designer you are looking for. In short, an estimate makes sure you are on the same page for deliverables, pricing and timelines. A contract protects both of you in the rare time that a project relationship goes south.
4. What is the timeline for this kind of project?
Every project is different. A small website could take 2 weeks or three months. There are outside variables always, feedback gets held up on one side or the other. Still, get an idea of a timeline. This also lets you know how busy your designer already is, because they will likely have to work you into their schedule.
5. Will I need to prepare anything?
So you’ve worked out a bunch of the fine details, but where does the content for a website or e-book come from? The designer makes the words and images look gorgeous on the page. If you are working on a website, the words and images are typically supplied by you, the client. You’ve had photos taken professionally or are working on it, and you’ve had someone work on copy (because you’re way too busy for that!). If it's a logo project, you may not need to supply anything but feedback. But definitely no matter the project, be prepared to take an active role in the creation of your project!
It's always a good idea to be prepared, and if you find yourself more prepared than the designer on the other end of the phone - you may want to run the other way. Here are a few more tips to making sure you are a perfect client before you get on the phone.
- Check out the designers website and dig into their projects. You may love what you see and you may also find that their style isn’t a good match. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, and a designer's site should be full of nice ones.
- If you want an idea of their customer service style, check out their social media. If they are responsive and nice you may find a winner. If they never answer any Facebook posts or Instagram comments, it may be an indication of how they will interact with you.
- Go on Pinterest and start collecting what you like. Its never a bad idea to show a designer what you like or dislike. Never expect a designer to copy anything you’ve found, it's likely protected by an artist's copyright. Pinterest can offer some visuals to talk about, but it shouldn’t go further than an idea sparker!
If you found this helpful and are ready to start your project today, use my contact form and let's get started!
What are your experiences as a freelancer or client? What would your 5 questions be? Comment below!
A logo is a first impression and a lasting piece of your business that people recognize over time. They associate that imagery with what kind of business you are. Its a marketing tool that is sprinkled across print media, online media and every day physical products. Its the first thing people see sometimes, and that image can evoke positive or negative feelings.
A logo tells people a lot more than just what you do. Its who you are as a person, its what kind of quality service you provide. All of us, no matter what business we are in, are selling ourselves. We are usually the driving force behind what we present as our business. We are why things get done, why people come back and why what we do turns out so well.
The value of a logo, when done right, is immense in how much it can help your business. There are countless brand names that have logos that we remember. Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple - all have very powerful logos that evoke emotions, memories and feelings for us. Lets look at some things that great design can achieve.
Investing in great design can make your product more desirable.
Lets compare some soda brands to illustrate this point. So I mentioned Coca-Cola above, the single most recognizable brand in the world. They over time have upgraded the branding to reflect current looks and trends, but have never wavered from the iconic script text. They also have some imagery like the signature bottle shape that helps keep marketing fresh. They are a brand that has always been about uniting people. Getting the world to sing in perfect harmony and stuff.
Now, lets think about the major department store brand cola. Its generic in its design, it probably tastes mostly the same. It costs less, and mimics the major brands design... But you are at the store, and you are making a quick choice… You opt for the TRUSTED, the RECOGNIZABLE, the RED BOTTLE OR CAN YOUR GRAND PAPPY DRANK. You grab a Coke within less than 30 seconds of interpreting your decision. *Mic drop. Coke slowly sips a coke.
Investing in great design can make your customers feel more satisfaction about their choices and purchases.
For this point, I’d like you to think about the brands that make you, you. For me its all about those outdoorsy brands. The brands you see in Outside Magazine. The brands that are kayaking, stand up paddling, camping, saving the earth and recycling in their advertisements. Lets think about what brands evoke those kinds of values. REI, Patagonia, The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Kleen Kanteen, Camelbak, Nalgene, Keen….
Okay I know I probably rattled off more than I needed to, but I feel strongly that these brands are overall doing the right thing. They have the earth in mind. Quality, adventure and living life are major themes for them. These are all ideologies that I strongly prescribe to. When I buy these brands I feel good about my choices, and feel like I am living my best life. Powerful stuff when you start thinking about it.
Investing in great design will lower your costs.
This is my favorite. I seriously love saving people money. When I am able to really do my thing and make some pragmatic, strategic designs for people its where I am at my best. The reason that investing in a great logo or brand identity saves you money is that when its done right, a branding kit can last you YEARS. DECADES. If a designer has been given the room to really research your business and all of its pieces, she can come up with a plan and graphics to dominate your market.
This saves you money because a proper foundation for a system of design that targets your audience has been put into place. When that system is used properly, you have the tools to market across all media and mediums for a long time. A logo is just the beginning, and when you have the colors, fonts, imagery, voice, and system in place it becomes a matter of focused branded show and tell. You build it up, you use the kit and your brand loyalty grows day by day. Before you know it, people are tattooing your logo on their body because they are that loyal to your vision. Because your vision is now their vision.
Definitely if your business has horrible customer service, deep seated organizational issues or passion problems a logo isn’t going to help you get your business any more money. Appealing to your audience and sharing values doesn’t happen on its own. It takes careful planning. It takes understanding your customers. It takes being grounded and running your business. Sometimes you have to share things for free and help educate people. I know, crazy.
Also, a quick note about business ideas - ideas are a dime a dozen. Execution is what separates ideas from businesses. Having a freshman in design school bang out a logo so you can just get past that item on the checklist isn’t a great start to something you are about to put your whole life into. Just saying.
So what does a logo cost, you ask? I say that its an investment. And it may cost you more than you thought. Just like any other service based profession, you get what you pay for. I liken the design process to the phrase “measure twice, cut once.” If you spend the time upfront with a designer, and she works out all the possibilities, makes you think of parts of your business you never thought of and makes you something that feels epic; you won’t have to go back to another designer to get a new logo next year. Quality takes time, costs money and usually isn’t easy.
No surprise here, folks. Facebook is constantly working to update their platform, and some changes may be coming down the line for you, as well. Staying current on these changes are essential for getting properly sized images that aren't poorly spaced or cut off by Facebook's cropping. There is a new cover photo size, that is 828 x 315 pixels - or just a slightly more square dimension. I imagine that scales better for mobile.
So it seems they are rolling this change out slowly, but the main things to note are:
1. Unobstructed cover photo.
You can now see the whole image without the title, buttons or anything else obstructing the view. Designers rejoice.
2. Compact Info bar: Goodbye tabs.
I'm totally in favor of this design update. They have cleaned up the information that has been lingering over the cover image into a compact bar that houses your immediate information needs. In my opinion the profile photo for a business page should be your logo anyway, so the fact that they made it much smaller is okay with me. So everyone, put a nice clean logo in that space and let your cover photo shine with all the personality your business encompasses. The former tabs of info have now moved into a responsive parallax right hand navigation.
3. Flip flop of left and right navigation for desktop.
So they redesigned the left and right page navigation for the better. I like that you have the minimal responsive (formerly "tab" info) menu on the left, and then photos, events, videos, reviews and more scrolling down the right side of the newsfeed. Makes more sense for our left-to-right reading and natural information separation, and for my OCD. This change isn't as noticeable on mobile, but you can tell that they have moved a lot more of the "right hand column content" and insight info to the top of the page, and you have to scroll further for the newsfeed.
Along with these visual changes, there are sure to be other less visible updates. But as your neighborhood designer, its my duty to keep you current on the visual changes! So update those profile pics to clean logos, and adapt your cover photo to fit the new sizes.
You’ve seen her around town: running between grabbing latte’s and press checking at the local printer. She’s hip, always laughing and tweeting the day away. Using hashtags and embedding images. You envy her savvy. You dread the day that you have to call her up for some social media consulting, her and all her tech savvyness.
Agonize no more, small business owner. This glossary is for you.
In these info-snacks lie the key to decoding all those mysterious technology related words you quickly act like you know in conversation. No more Google-ing the latest slang, you can “bye Felicia” those urban dictionary definitions foreverRead More