BUSINESS BRANDING, MOMMY TIPS, GRAPHIC DESIGN, ART & VARIOUS OTHER THINGS.

GROWING IN MY GARDEN

I have been busy the last month or so tending to my very first garden. I have waited my whole life to have my own garden. I grew up learning about plants and tending to them with my mom, but at a nursery. My mom instilled a love for plants, gardening and the earth from a young age. I figured I should try and do the same with my children. So, I have taken on the very big task (I had no idea it was so much work) of making my very own Garden.

THE RALEIGH HANDMADE MARKET 2017

I thought I would share with you some of my favorite artisans from The Raleigh Handmade Market. Take a peek!

6 TIPS FOR BUILDING YOUR HANDMADE BUSINESS

Dont get frustrated about branding and marketing your handmade business. Take a breath, be authentic, make mistakes, and keep trying.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: PROJECTS FROM MY PAST

 I have been going through some old hard drives the last few days and thought I should share some projects that i have created in the past. some of them are random illustrations, client work and even a few from college projects. It is so fun to look back and see how much you have learned, changed and evolved as a designer. It gives you a great perspective.  ED Hardy Inspired Illustration.When I worked at OneUpWeb I was asked to create an Ed Hardy inspired illustration that incorporated elements you might find in Traverse City, Michigan. Salmon, birds, cherry blossoms and water were elements we wanted to represent the beautiful location where we worked. This illustration was used on coffee mugs, tshirts and other online marketing campaigns. I definitly have changed since illustrating this.    A doodle for my stepdaughter.My stepdaughter was in her sophomore year of high school and she loved to draw on her clothes so I decided I should design something more fitting for her. I designed a doodled pair of shoes for her to flaunt at school and she loved them. I believe she wore them out. She got multiple inquiries on where she got them and I got a number of calls from her friends.   Network Traverse City LogosI created some logo options for a small networking company based in Traverse City, Michigan that helped local small businesses with their social media and connect them with other small businesses. I focused on the many areas of interest in the area and drew a lot of inspiration from the food, culture, and atmosphere of the region.     Unconventional Calendar - Tea For EverydayOh college, those were the days...days I could sleep in (if I didn't have class or a lunch date). Days when I didn't have a million things to do or kids to drop off or lunches to pack...or boogers to wipe. I miss college. I miss working on projects just for the fun of it! I should probably get back to doing that. This project was given to us to create a design on our own. We were told to take a font to showcase and create an unconventional calendar. We had to showcase the different type styles and create a unique calendar. Some of my classmates created wall hangings, lamp shades, and other fun ideas but for some reason, I wanted to try a package design...so I created the calendar using a different flavor and type style for each month. The font I was given was Helvetica Neue. I had a great time picking out the flavors based on the connotation of the different type styles and weights. What a fun college project this was. I think I may go have a cup of tea...    Frederick Meijer Gardens BrochureHere is another throwback to college. We were given the task of marketing an event at the Frederick Meijer Gardens. My event was a showing of the plant Arborvitae...and If I think back far enough I think it was mostly used for shelter-belts and for shielding farms and driveways from unwanted wind or neighbors gazes. This was a made up project but it sure was fun. I think If I were to do it now I would photograph the actual leaves and plants instead of using a hand illustrated approach. I would do some different image making techniques to show the intricate patterns on the leaves. I still think this was one of my favorite college projects.       Family Reunion InvitationAnother college goodie! This is possibly my favorite college project. We were tasked with creating a family reunion invitation to showcase our family traditions and style. My family just so happened to be called the HAZARD family. Yes, you read it right, the Hazards. We love outdoors sports and if there was snow at Christmas time we were outside sledding or snowmobiling or skiing...or blasting someone with a snowball. We lived up to our name and I thought I should showcase our love for the outdoors and our love for the snow. I created this invite to resemble a Geschmossel which is a german ski race...anyway so I could imagine 77 of us (we have a bigger family now) all tangled up in a mad dash to the bottom of the mountain. It really sounds like a Hazard to me!       It is so weird looking back at these old projects. I can't believe I have been a designer for almost 17 years (including my education in vocational school in high school. Thanks, Mr. Jensen!) I am beginning to feel a little old. That's ok, along with getting old you learn, and that's most definitely what I have been doing. I am so blessed to have spent the last 17 years doing what I love to do. ​

LUMBERJACK BIRTHDAY PARTY

My son turned 1 in December and I finally got to have his birthday celebration after a crazy winter storm passed through.

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5 mistakes Businesses make with their branding 

FOCUSING ON YOUR BRAND BUILDING COULD LEAD TO UNEXPECTED WEBSITE TRAFFIC AND ULTIMATELY A RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT. PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS ASKING ME WHAT AM I DOING WRONG WHEN IT COMES TO MY BRAND? "WHY CAN'T I SEEM TO REALLY GROW AND ESTABLISH MYSELF AS A LEADER," YOU ASK? FIRST, BRAND BUILDING TAKES TIME...LOTS OF IT. BUT IT IS FUNDAMENTAL TO YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESS. THE TWO WORDS ARE SYNONYMOUS, BRANDING AND SUCCESS. YOU CAN'T HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER. I THOUGHT I WOULD TAKE A FEW MINUTES AND OUTLINE THE 5 MISTAKES BUSINESSES MAKE WITH THEIR BRANDING. TAKE A LOOK AND TELL ME WHAT YOUR BRANDING CONCERNS ARE IN THE COMMENTS. 

 

  

1. 

Understanding the power of a brand.

 

Do you really understand the power of a brand? Many don't and that's why their business never really becomes what they imagine. When someone thinks of Potterybarn they think high-end furniture and expensive candlesticks. At least that's what I think of. Well, what Potterybarn has done is create a definitive relationship with their customers. Now I don't really buy Potterybarn, just saying, but I do like to buy nice furniture and unique candlesticks. I am a stickler for handmade as many of you know. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that a business has to understand that their customer relationship is important. 

 

From an SEO perspective defining your brand is hugely favorable. Google likes to  in its organic search results because customers are more likely to click on them. Google likes it when clients are happy, and more clicks = happy clients for them. Focusing on brand building could lead to unexpected website traffic and more awareness of your brand.

 

2. 

Did you forget to establish a visual brand?

 

So you know that your company is in need of developing a brand but what exactly does that mean? Well not only do you need to think about the under clothes of your business like your target market, competition, brand purpose, etc. you also need a visual brand. Establishing a set of brand guidelines will help you create a consistent visual look for your business. This list is just the basics but will help you get started in the right direction when creating a brand identity. You will want to establish defined guidelines that cover all of the following elements (plus others that might fit your industry). Here are a few that you might want to consider: 

Logo (both an overarching logo and any secondary logos your company uses for individual product lines)

Brand colors

Taglines

Fonts and typography

The “voice” used in your branded materials

Imagery/photography styles  

 

3.

Keep it simple my friends.

 

Don't let it get to you...keep it simple and you can't go wrong. Meaning you don't need multiple iterations of your logo, hundreds of colors or multiple font styles. Keep it simple is always my motto. Here is an example:Although my husband is a die hard Dodge fan (sorry babe) I love the history behind . Being from Michigan myself I often think about Ford and their iconic branding. They have been around more than 100 years and have pretty much stuck with one simple logo. The last logo update for Ford was in 2003 and is called the Centennial Blue Oval for the company's 100th anniversary.

 

Ford

 

 

 

 

 

4.

Don't be vague or obscure.

 

Don't let your customers down by not revealing what your company is and what your brand propositioning is. You have to establish a set of brand guidelines that reveal who and what you are. The less known your company is, the better value proposition you need. I am sure you have seen this in generic logos or in what I like to call the "blah Blah's." You know the language I am talking about. For example, "Best-Selling" books, "award-winning" chef, "New", "Natural" Ingredients, and "FREE!" Gosh, there are millions but they don't really mean anything. Be sure to have a logo and visual brand guidelines that say something about who and what your company is. 

 

5.

Don't cheat yourself.

 

Why go to the lengths of figuring out your brand position, establish a brand guide and make yourself known by sabotaging your business. Every time you create a new ad or brand touchpoint and use a different color or font you are lessening your brand value. It would be great if we could use a new font or color every time we created a new ad but when you do that, when you deviate from your stated brand guidelines you dilute the power of your brand. Now I'm not saying it's not ok to do this sometimes, but so long as the benefit outweighs the risk of diluting your brand.

 

Header image by Kaboompics / Freepik.