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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USER PERSONAS AND Why you should have them

I have been a graphic designer for quite some time now…I think if I only count my formal training it's been about 12 years since I began, and nothing is more effective and increases the efficacy and quality of your marketing efforts than truly understanding your target audience. Nothing is more important than user personas which are also sometimes called “user avatars”. Getting them right and using them helps you with your tone of voice, messaging, and offers. designing and implementing well-crafted campaigns is the result and it lets you focus on what you love to do- CRAFT and DESIGN.

 

Some people think user personas are a waste of time and effort but I firmly believe in the benefit and see the return on my client's investment, almost immediately. Once you establish user personas you can put all of your marketing efforts toward the right place. As a designer, it helps me with my process as well, and I can really focus on creating something truly unique that speaks to the audience directly. I love seeing success from a truly well-crafted campaign or design. 

 

So what exactly is a persona?

User personas provide an easy way to understand and organize demographic research. Organizing and summarizing all of that research into an easy way to digest it. Each “User Persona” is crafted using data we collect and organize and then we just it in a more human way. Giving the data a face, a job, a location and even a name. It really is a cool tool that will help you focus on a character  of a “person” instead of data from hundreds of people. 

 

YES, I EVEN DO IT FOR MYSELF AND MY BUSINESS.

Why would I prescribe something to my clients that I don't even do myself? I thought I would share with you one of my user personas.

User Persona

 

 

WHERE DO YOU START YOU ASK? 

 

Well, you could call me, or you can take a look and try for yourself? Having a real understanding of who your target audience is, who is visiting your website, and who you want to do work with will help create a strong brand and user experience. Making sure that your customers are being spoken to in a way that resonates with them will drive strong conversion rates and help you establish repeat customers. 

The main point of creating user personas is to outline the behaviors, needs and demographic info of your core target audience. 

Let's Get You Started.

 

Really there are two ways that you can craft user personas for your own brand...

 

Research Based

 

If you have the time and the budget, it is awesome if you can develop your user personas based on some kind of research. Some methods can include

 

Surveys of your favorite clients – Take a survey from your current clients or customers. I often do this to my favorite clients because they are the people I ultimately want to work with. You can include a survey on your website email it to customers or newsletter subscribers.

Usability testing 

Focus groups

Website analysis – Take a peek at your analytics and see where and when customers are viewing your website.

Demographic research – Get your hands on some demographic research. Literally look up the research...which you can find on federal, local and municipal government sites. 

User interviews – conduct one-on-one interviews with actual customers or call up your clients.

 

Spider Map Time

 

In college, we often did these at the start of a project to get us thinking differently. It's one way of word-listing or mind mapping. If you don't have the time or the budget to do a more detailed list you can still benefit from doing a simple exercise like a spider map. This simple exercise will help you figure out and understand your customer segments without investing a ton. Sit down for about 20 or 30 minutes and focus on answering a few simple questions.

 

What is at the top of their priority list – What concerns do they might have?
What are they worried about? Feeling? – Think about what they are going through at home...are they busy parents? Worried about there grown kids at college or tired of being woken by a sick baby?

What is important to your customer? 
What is there environment like? - Are they at work or a mall or viewing your website on a cell phone?

What influences them? 

What annoying to them when they are interacting with your brand? 

Why do they buy your product or service? 
Benefits to them after they buy?

What does the user hope to achieve or gain?  

 
Do you feel like your wasting your marketing dollars? Not getting the leads or selling enough product. Perhaps your targeting the wrong people. Understanding your target audience is a huge component to your brand and your strategy. Figuring out your target audience is will help you design engaging, unique, personal marketing campaigns for your customers and will help you establish a long-term relationship with your customers. Understanding your customers is an amazing and priceless component to an effective marketing strategy. If you want help and you think your in my target market I want to talk to you. ;) 

Lets build a relationship. Give me a call 919-375-4366.