Determining the five key elements to keep your business focused and allow you to create a trusted brand within your niche in the marketplace.Read More
I don’t know about you, but March was a whirlwind here. My word for March was determination and I got a lot done, but the list of big things I want to do for my business still has a lot on it. Therefore, I’m sticking with DETERMINATION for April. I’m determined to get some big things accomplished like regular blogging and keeping up with the business end of my business. A big part of that is building a stronger customer experience for the amazing people that trust me with their brands and invitations.
MARK'S EMPLOYMENT UPDATE
After a year of searching Mark finally settled on a new job! WOOHOO! If you don’t already know his firm in Virginia closed last January (hence our return to Denver) where he ran the trading desk for an investment management firm. Since we arrived in Denver he’s been searching for “something new”, but didn’t know what that was. Finance is still his thing and although he tried to look in another direction, studying for his real estate license, buying a restaurant or other small business didn’t excite him. Over the last few weeks he’s had clusters of interviews with different firms and was offered two great gigs. The “winner” came down to most potential, matching beliefs, flexible lifestyle and long-term happiness over immediate stable pay. It’s going to mean a lot of work and sacrifice like anything that’s worth working for, and I’m so happy he had this last year to relax and realize what he wanted for the next phase of his career.
There are a few licenses to take and other things to learn. Once he starts I’ll share more about what he's doing.
There is a pile of books (mostly business + motivation related) on my nightstand. I’ve been trying to spend a half hour a day reading before I start working. I’ve been pretty good at sticking to this. Maybe it’s because I’m reading some great stuff. By the end of April I want to finish reading:
Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads, by Luke Sullivan and Edward Boches
Later this week I’m speaking at Denver’s Freelancers Union monthly Spark meet-up. This month’s topic is Fundamentals of Project Management. I’ll be sharing how I manage my projects and interact with clients. It’s been awhile since I’ve spoken in front of a group. Luckily some familiar faces will be there and it’s a topic I love and an area where I’m (almost) always refining. Despite all that, wish me luck!
There’s more to be done, but this is a good start to kick things off for April. I’d love to hear what you’re doing in April! Tell me about it in the comments and sign up for my newsletter to get updates on some bigger accomplishments I’m working on.
This invitation project got off to an odd start. The couple was referred to me by another designer who didn’t have room in her schedule to help the couple. Then, the night before our meeting the bride, Meghan, suffered a back injury so her mother and I met to discuss Meghan’s vision for her wedding invitations. It’s not uncommon for mom’s to attend the initial consultation, and I often find the bride and her mother aren’t on the same page when it come to the style of the wedding invitations. Bride’s want something that reflects the vibe they’re bringing together with for the special day such as the location, colors, flowers, and food. Mom’s prefer the simple classic style with only the smallest hint to the details. The dynamics in these meetings is usually strange so I was worried when Mom was the only attendee. From interacting with Meghan prior to the meeting I knew she had a specific style in mind for her wedding invitations that was in no way traditional. Lucky for me, Meghan had clearly articulated her ideas and mom was on board!
Meghan wanted to incorporate her vintage style and theatre background the couple shares with scenic backdrop of the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Using photos of the gorgeous red rocks and the backdrop of Pikes Peak taken by the bride’s family inspired the color scheme that included rusts, greens and sky blue. Her eclectic tastes and love of vintage materials we obvious from the start.
Using the wedding mood board, the photos from the bride’s uncle and vintage playbill samples the couple shared along with their specially crafted invitation wording I collected a variety of fonts and began playing with the invitation layout. This invitation style is like putting together a puzzle. It reminded me of my first design job organizing financial reports. I loved it! Then I focused on making the new photos look like a collection of vintage postcards. Meghan and I met again to review the layout and how the invitation would fold and close for mailing before sending the it to print.
The Weekend Welcome + Wedding Program
These pieces were just as fun to design as the invitations. The bride’s quirky style of text and complementing design plan for the wedding weekend ‘playbill’ that guests received when they checked into their hotel and similarly styled wedding program that was passed to guests as they arrived at the Hillside Gardens in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Lucky for me that original designer was busy! I loved designing these invitations for Meghan and Buba and seeing how they complimented the details of their wedding celebration.
5 Podcasts for Creative Business Owners
Let me be honest, I consider podcasters my “invisible” co-workers. Most days I’m in my home studio solo, and these folks inspire me to stay focused and their insights help me grow my business. They’re a great way to start the day and pump you up to get the sh*t done. I often listen while sketching out new designs for invitations or reviewing my brand client’s Pinterest inspiration.
HERE ARE MY 5 FAVORITE PODCASTS FOR CREATIVES
Pinegate Road with Kelsey Kerslake
What I enjoy about Kelsey’s podcast is the natural conversational aspect of the interview. I also like that if Kelsey wants to know about something like personal styling she interviews someone in the field. You learn about their creative journey, their business and where they want to take their career. You’re likely to find me listening to the Pinegate Road podcast while walking laps at the park. I’ve even walked an extra lap to finish. Kelsey is open about some of the challenges she’s faced while transitioning from a corporate design job to working from home by herself. It feels like you’re part of her circle of friends.
Creative Empire by Reina Pomeroy + Christina Scalera
This pair is cheery yet serious about helping listeners grow their small business. They each have their own business; Reina Pomeroy is a life + biz success coach at Reina + Co, and Christina Scalera, the attorney for creatives. Needless to say they have great insights for small business owners building their brands from scratch. They talk about all the aspects of starting and running a business online with great tips on what you need to do to start your business, brand positioning, blogging and many other great topics for building your business. However, my favorite episodes and the one’s I think sets Creative Empire apart from the other podcasts are their mentoring sessions. Listening to them walk through the issues and concerns of other creative business owners on the show is so interesting and a nice alternative to the usual interview style.
Guy Raz interviews Ted Talk presenters for an NPR show I listen while running my Saturday errands. I regularly found myself sitting in my car in front of the grocery store listening to the segment instead of gathering my shopping done. I was thrilled to hear that this podcast was launching. Guy chats with some very successful business owners that started as small businesses. These are big name folks with brands you’re most likely familiar with.
Guy interviews folks that have built businesses, like serious businesses. Inspiring innovators that created what are now big name brands. People like Kate and Andy Spade, yes, THAT Kate Spade, Gordon Segal who created Crate + Barrel, and the pair who started Warby Parker. Guy gets them to open up about how their careers started, what made them take the leap to starting their own business and the challenges they faced as well as the catalyst that propelled their business to becoming well know brands.
They reflect on how dedication paired with a good idea blossoms into a bigger business than you ever expected. It’s always motivating!
Goal Digger by Jenna Kutcher
I’ve only recently started following Jenna’s Goal Digger podcast, and I’m really enjoying it. She’s does interviews like other creative podcasters, but she also talks directly to her listeners giving concrete strategies that you can incorporate into your own growing business. When I start listening to a new podcast I always start with episode 1 and listen to the first several in chronological order. I want to know the history of the speaker and hear them define what their podcast is about. This allows me to gage how relevant the content is and if I enjoy listening to this person. I’m fully onboard with Jenna. She’s got this relaxed vibe, and shares quality stuff. She stays focused on the subject. I also appreciate that she’s categorized the podcast by subject so if you’re interested in a specific topic, say marketing, you can choose an episode about…marketing.
Being Boss with Kathleen Shannon + Emily Thompson
I’ve been listening to these ladies for years now and still tune in every week to hear who and what they are talking about. Kathleen + Emily interview some serious guru’s that you might have heard of. I’m talking about Brené Brown, Tara Gentile, Marie Foleo and whole list other amazing folks talking about life, business and resources to manage things in your business.
Every time I listen to one of these podcasts I’m excited about being a business owner and helping my design clients fulfill their business dreams, and it’s not unusual for inspiration for a new blog post, design or newsletter idea to come to me while I’m listening to them. That’s why most of the podcasts I love are by creatives or interviews with people growing their business, and I bet you’ll enjoy them too.
Did I fail to mention your favorite podcast? Please share it in the comments so I can check it out.
I've worked with Rachel a couple times before to create a logo for her previous blog and new mom calling cards after her son was born. It's always a pleasure to work with Rachel again. It helps that she's got smart, fun ideas and great taste!
This project was no different. Rachel knows her ideal clients are busy families that value clean functional style. They’re a busy bunch that spend loads of time doing activities with their kids while they pursue their own work and passions. They want their home to be a comfortable, well planned space that everyone can enjoy. They are like her and her family!
We started with a fantastic sketch from Rachel of the logo style she wanted executed. She and I talked out the playful color palate that includes navy, chartreuse and the pink of the iconic old school eraser for her architecture firm. When working from afar you get creative about sharing the exact colors you’re talking about. For this project it meant a trip to the Home Depot for paint samples. Rachel picked out the exact colors she wanted from Tennessee and gave me the color names so I could grab the same ones at my local Home Depot. The paint samples made it easy for me to find the right Pantone colors for the brand. This ensured that the colors on the business cards and company thank you notes are exactly what she envisioned.
Once the logo and business card designs were complete the remaining elements of the brand started to take shape making it easy to plan and execute the design of her Squarespace website. The web layout clearly represents the clean and straightforward style of Rachel's Architecture firm.