Mirador is a powerful neoclassical font family designed for various usages — ranging from editorial and corporate design to web, interaction and product design. It is a contemporary take on high contrast typefaces that have never gone out of style — defined by elegance, tradition and timelessness. Although Mirador seems to be a display font at first glance, its proportions and design reveal a powerful and characteristic workhorse when set in smaller sizes. Mirador comes in 10 weights with matching italics. It is equipped with ligatures, a large set of alternative glyphs and many more opentype features. Y’all know I love to share a font sale and this one is big! Mirador is 86% off until November 1 so grab it now!
Social media is an extremely powerful tool for business marketing and promotion. One reason for that is because it has the ability to provide a massive amount of organic traffic–something that we love as bloggers and website owners. Free traffic? Heck yes, we’ll take it!
However, including a social media marketing budget as a part of your strategy helps to make this tool even more powerful. There are many different avenues for what to spend your social media marketing budget on. Maybe your budget will go towards outsourcing. (Time = money, people. If your time is better spent on your business, outsource or hire someone to do your social media.) Or maybe your plan is to do your social media yourself, so your budget will go towards social media ads and things like that. (Don’t fret if this is your plan–it’s totally cool! I write an entire blog helping solopreneurs, small business owners and bloggers to DIY their own social media marketing.)
But whatever you choose to put your budget towards, it is important for you to first have a budget. Follow these steps to determine your particular social media marketing budget.
Who does your marketing?
I touched on this just a bit ago, but if you still weren’t sure who was going to be doing your marketing, now is the time to decide.
If you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, it’s probably wisest to do your own social media marketing–especially if you don’t have enough revenue coming in to hire someone. If you’re a small (or maybe larger) business owner, outsourcing to a social media manager/agency is always a great idea. Or, if you have the funds to allocate it, you could even hire your own dedicated marketing director.
Determine your online platforms
Your main social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn. (Don’t forget YouTube if video is a big part of your business!) If you don’t know which platforms will best benefit your business, check out this post here.
You also need to decide which other online marketing avenues you will allocate a budget to. This could be things like AdWords, email marketing, SEO, and content. (However, I believe that content and social media really can’t work without each other.)
Calculate your budget
If your business is just starting out, then your entire marketing budget should be 15-20% of your sales/revenue. More established companies can reduce the amount to 10-15% of sales/revenue.
Think about your marketing strategy. How much of that is going to be online? In 2013, companies allocated about 35% of their marketing budgets to digital marketing. However, over the past couple of years, 74% of businesses have been reducing traditional advertising budgets to make more room for the power of digital and social media marketing. So if you want to devote 50% of your marketing budget to digital marketing, that’s fantastic! Even 75-80%.
However, there are a few traditional marketing channels that you want to keep open, so leave at least a little bit of your budget for those. Here are a few examples:
- Business cards
- Networking events
- Referral cards (i.e., small cards sent with physical items)
- For those who sell items, decorative packaging materials
Determine which of these traditional marketing avenues you need to budget for and subtract those costs from your overall marketing budget.
Your digital marketing budget will be split between email marketing (Mailchimp subscription, etc.), SEO (virtual assistant/SEO specialist), AdWords (or other PPC marketing), and social media/content. If you will be using any other digital marketing avenues other than social media, determine the cost and subtract that from your budget. You have two avenues now:
1. Outsourcing your social media.
Now you know what you will be able to afford if you plan on outsourcing. You can find a virtual assistant, freelance social media manager, or social media agency to help run your social media.
2. DIYing your social media.
Depending on which social media platforms you use most for your business and which are most engaging/beneficial to you, that will tell you where you need to allocate your social media funds. A common breakdown of a social media budget can look like this:
- Facebook: 40%
- LinkedIn: 25%
- Instagram: 25%
- Twitter: 10%
You can determine if this breakdown will work for you or if you need to move platforms around. For example, if you sell a product, LinkedIn and Twitter might not be as important to you as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Know your most popular and beneficial platforms and allocate funds accordingly.
Download the Free Worksheet!
Use this download to help you calculate your own social media marketing budget.
About the author: Chloe West is a blogger and social media manager who creates content meant to help bloggers and small business owners learn how to DIY their own social media marketing.
Summer might technically be ending, but down south it stays forever hot until late October. In honor of that, my team and I wanted to do a summer-y ice cream shoot with more moody tones and deeper hues.
I wanted a downtown, relaxed, cool-girl feel for this concept. I met our model, Isabella, at a local café called Magpie. I immediately wanted her for the shoot—she had the right vibe and perfect nails for our detail shots of the sherbet.
Our location was the Spanish Moon, a local music venue. The Walls Project, a nonprofit in Baton Rouge, does these amazing murals on the sides of buildings around the capital city. Each is unique and playful with bright colors and interesting shapes. I thought it fit well with our concept—it helped warm the colors in each photo as a composition.
PSA: Don’t try this at home. It gets very messy. We were so sticky and gross after pouring melted sherbet on the white dress and shoes!
When my best friend told me she wanted to host a bridal shower for me I was so excited. Normally, I would design my own invitation, (because hello, that’s what I do) but with so many other wedding things going on, I forced myself to take a back seat on design and instead turned to Minted. I started by choosing an invitation design that I liked and my friends and mom went above and beyond with all the other details. My new last name is going to be White so my mom even made me custom “Mrs. White Wine” labels, how cute and clever! I’ll let the photos do the talking but everything was amazing, the decor, the food, the games, the company. This shower was so special to me, I’m a very lucky lady!
- Floral Canopy Bridal Shower Invitations
- Foil-pressed Table Confetti
- Foil-Pressed Table Runners
- Wanderlust Food Labels
- Paper Straws
Floral Canopy Bridal Shower Invitations, Foil-pressed Table Confetti, Foil-Pressed Table Runners, Wanderlust Food Labels and Paper Straws courtesy of Minted. Wine labels, signage and other decor courtesy of Graffiti Graphics and Crescent City Graphics.
Kelsey came to me looking for a chic, sophisticated and bold look to represent her high-end event company on Martha’s Vineyard. She wanted her brand identity to showcase what makes her company special, which is her deep dedication to each of her clients and a commitment to execute each event as if it was her own. Kelsey has strong community ties and a drive to make each event completely unique with very meaningful and personal touches.
After I collected inspiration on Pinterest, we moved on to finalizing the color palette and designing the main logo along with a few variations for different applications. As you can see from the moodboard we decided to go with a neutral color palette so that it leaves room for growth when the company starts to expand.
If you need a new logo, brand identity or a refresh for your business I only have ONE space left for this year and then I’ll begin booking for 2016.
I’ve got some fun news today! Remember these DIY Geometric Coasters that I created a while back? Well, now you can grab all of the supplies, templates and instructions right from my Darby Smart shop and get them sent straight to your door! And more great news, I’m offering this kit for 25% off for the next 7 days, just use code “npucuc25” at check out.
When you are ready to start a new project, it is easy to get swept up in the excitement and reach out to a designer right away. Whether it is a new business that needs a logo and branding or even a new e-book or e-course offering that needs an identity, it is imperative that you take a moment to get organized and prepare before reaching out.
Here are five things you should be sure to do before hiring a graphic designer:
1. Know the mission of your business and understand the target audience
You may have a stellar idea, but until you have a deeper understanding of why you exist, who you are trying to reach, and what those people are like, it will be difficult for your designer to create a brand that accurately represents that. If you try to have your brand identity designed before you truly know what you are offering and who you want to reach, you might run into the trouble of going through a redesign shortly thereafter.
2. Have a list of all the places your new design might be used (both now and in the future!)
You want to have a logo, color palette, and system that will make sense in the ways you want to use them and will suit your future goals. Perhaps you run a food blog but have a goal to have a product line in Target someday – your designer needs to know that your logo could be used this way! Not only will it help build an expansion-proof design, but it will also help you visualize where you see your business going.
3. Determine your timeline
Do you have a date you want to launch a new website by? Do you need to go to print with business cards in time for a conference? Items like these are ones you need to think about before searching for a designer. Many are booked weeks or months in advance, so you may need to prepare to wait for an open slot or decide that you need to find someone who can work with you right away. Also, know that good design takes time to develop, so don’t be looking for someone to design an entire e-commerce website in just a few days – that’s simply not feasible if you want quality.
4. Prepare all of your content before the start date
It makes a world of a difference when a designer can see what your photos and copy are before beginning the process. For example, it’s pretty hard to design a logo if you haven’t settled on a final business name. Or, it is much easier to design a website when you can see the personality and colors of the photos that will be on the site. Above all, it is much more respectful of everyone’s time if you are ready to go when the project begins rather than asking everyone involved to wait around while you finish writing your web copy.
5. Look at a designer’s portfolio before hiring him/her
This might sound like a no-brainer, but very often we look to friends or colleagues for a recommendation and go with that person without seeing if the designer is a good fit for you first. Someone might be fantastic at designing feminine and bohemian brands, but if you want something modern and sleek, you’ll never be on the same page. It’s just like dating – someone may be a wonderful person, but if you two don’t click in style, it won’t be as successful. Along these same lines, have a grasp on the styles, colors, and aesthetics you do like, using other sites or brands as examples. You don’t want to copy anyone of course, but this will help guide to the type of style you are seeking.
You don’t have to have all the answers when you approach a designer – that’s why you are choosing to hire one. But, it’s your job to understand the part you are bringing to the table: your business. Don’t be afraid to ask your designer questions, and together you can create design that benefits your business in spades!
Download the Free Worksheet!
Download this free worksheet to help you plan your project and get the most out of you time with your designer.
About the author: Laura is a graphic designer who loves working with small, creative businesses to build thoughtful brands at her studio, Dotted Design.
Jenny came to me after seeing my safari themed baby shower invitation on Etsy. Shed loved the look but needed it customized for her son’s first birthday party. She also needed some matching items, like signage and labels for party favors. Jenny had so many great ideas for the party, and well deserved, it was just featured on Hostess with the Mostess! I’m so happy to have played a small part in making Jenny’s dream party for her son a reality. Here are a few details of items I worked on and you can see the full feature over on Hostess with the Mostess today!
Photos by: Dowoo Lee
Running a blog can be a lot of hard work, so today I’m sharing my favorite WordPress tools and plugins to help improve your site and simplify your life!
This is the easiest way to get more shares for your content! This free plugin allows you to easily create tweetable snippets for your readers right from WordPress. Whoever clicks on the link will have the message automatically added to their Twitter status box. This makes it easy for people to share your content and grow your traffic.
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. It’s well-coded and well-supported. The Genesis framework uses child themes so you can update without losing your customizations. It’s inexpensive with tons of possibilities and dedicated plugins. It comes with built-in features like multiple layouts, custom body post classes for each post, breadcrumbs and numeric navigation. Unlike other theme companies, StudioPress’s Pro-Plus Package is a one-time fee for life-time membership. You’ll get every theme they make, now and in the future.
I know I’ve mentioned CoSchedule here before, but it is one of my favorites and worth mentioning again. CoSchedule is a drag-and-drop editorial calendar for WordPress. With it, you can schedule blog posts and automatically send messages to your social. You can use this plugin to view the posts you have published for the month, posts that are in the works, and the posts that you have planned. My favorite part is that you view your content and social media schedule all on the same calendar.
Ever wish the visual editor in WordPress offered more options? Well, this plugin is for you! It will let you add, remove and arrange the buttons that are shown on the visual editor toolbar. It includes 15 plugins for TinyMCE that are automatically enabled or disabled depending on what buttons are chosen. I’ve had this one installed for so long I can’t even remember what the original Tiny MCE looks like.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, I bet you have tons of broken links in old posts. Dead hyperlinks are not just annoying to your website visitors – their existence can result in a negative impact on your website’s SEO rankings. This plugin will monitor your site (blog posts, pages, comments, etc.) looking for broken links and let you know if any are found.
Google Analytics Dashboard gives you the ability to view your Google Analytics data right in your WordPress dashboard. Sure, you can open up Google Analytics every time you want to look at your stats, but if you just want a quick glance, this plugin is certainly convenient. You can also allow other users to see the same dashboard information when they are logged in.
Optimized WordPress is a new hosting platform from HostGator that is specifically built for an optimized WordPress environment. Packages will come pre-loaded with PHP 5.6 by default (the most recent PHP version offered). HostGator will handle all of the core, theme, and plugin updates without the need for any action on your part. In other words, you won’t have to worry about logging into your WP-Admin panel to handle common updates. Additionally, Optimized WordPress does not provide cPanel access, allowing you to install and access your WordPress sites without needing to access or navigate an extra control panel to do the things you want to do.
I hope these resources enable you to simplify your processes and improve your site!
Thank you HostGator for sponsoring this post and thank you for supporting this blog by allowing me to post occasional sponsored content. All sponsored posts feature products or services that I truly feel would be of interest to you. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Happy summer! The heat is sweltering, per usual, and all I want to do is take a dip in a pool with a nice, big margarita. Lucky for me, after we shot this, I got to keep the big kiddy pool we bought—so that’s where I’ll be the rest of the summer.
The inspiration from this shoot came from the Solange’s Instagram. I loved the colored water and wanted to incorporate it into a more urban glam shoot.
I always need to have a hint of vintage in everything I do. Time Warp provided the awesome 60’s polka dot bottoms and french floral swim suit, as well as that killer Egyptian tank. I need that in my life, pronto.
We gave the ladies complimentary cocktails that matched their distinctive color schemes. Vanessa, our pink lady, and Sydney, our tropical warm-hued goddess. I loved the way these two different themes looked next to each other.
You can try this at home, too. Just buy food coloring and mix the primary colors until you have a shade you want to splash in!
I’ve been mentioning Pursuit Creative Conference casually around here but now the project has finally gotten to a point where I have some pretty exciting news, so I want to share how it all got started!
After running Made In Mind together for a while, Kristy and I started thinking about what would come next. The idea of a conference came up and I remembered that another local designer, Justin Shiels was thinking about the same thing. We reached out to him and immediately decided to go for it!
Since we didn’t want to use either of our brands, we had to start from the beginning – coming up with a name, logo, website, bank account (on and on) all before we could even start thinking about the actual conference. But after 6 months of planning, our trio team is making some serious headway. We now have a conference date, venue, a crew of volunteers, have launched our Kickstarter campaign (which is how we are selling tickets) and are finalizing our speaker list this month!
The whole point is to provide creative entrepreneurs the tools and insights they need to either jump start their business or continue growing their venture. It will be a day full of speakers, panelists, collaborating and hashing out new ideas.
Whether you run your mini empire outside of regular office hours, have a home studio or set-up shop at your kitchen table… The Pursuit Creative Conference revolves around supporting your unique needs and your unconventional ventures.
Growing your business to a sustainable level is tough and often frustrating. There are so many things that you should do and it’s hard to find clarity and focus on what matters. While it’s easy to get pulled in a million directions, it’s also hard to find traction.
We want to provide the business tools for you to thrive in addition to the support of camaraderie. We want to create something that is bigger than our individual business… Pursuit is about Community. We are so thrilled about our progress so far, here are some of our exciting updates and ways for you to get involved:
CALL FOR SPEAKERS
We are currently inviting proposals from creative entrepreneurs, visual artists, illustrators, designers, photographers, bloggers, coaches, writers, and makers that have ditched the 9-5 and are making a living from their passion. Our attendees are looking to be inspired and to leave the conference with tangible next steps to help grow their creative businesses. We’d love for you to apply if you have an idea for a presentation or panel. The deadline is Monday, July 20 at 5:00pm central.
Pull up a chair and let’s talk shop. Join us for a Twitter chat on Tuesday, July 14th from 6-7 pm central. This conversation will revolve around Instagram and how to use the platform as a business tool. You can find us at @hellopursuit to dive in and follow the convo using the hashtag #PursuitChat. Never been part of a Twitter Chat before? No worries. It’s really simple and you can even attend in your pajamas. Sounds like fun? Mark your calendars and hop on Twitter to join in.
Have you been meaning to make a trip to New Orleans? Well this would be the perfect time! October is the best time to visit and we still have some pre-sale discounted tickets available!
Purchasing a ticket for the Pursuit Creative Conference is an investment in you + your business. Have you ever stepped into a room filled with others that share your same mission and facing the same highs and lows? It’s powerful.
Insights from our experienced speakers and panelists will leave you with a fresh perspective and reinvigorated you to take action. By connecting with our community of ambitious creative types, you’ll always have a crew to hold you accountable and will spark the motivation to take your business to the next level.
Want to get your business in front of awesome creative entrepreneurs? We have sponsorship opportunities ranging from $349–$5,000 including placement on our web site, ads in the conference program, logo & signage placement at the event, social media promotion and more! Get all the details through our Kickstarter campaign!
SPREAD THE WORD
If you know anything about Kickstarter, you’ll know that we have to meet our total goal in order to get any of the money and make this event happen. I’d love if you could help spread the word a little bit! We have a media page full of images to download and ready to go tweets!
You can’t make it to the conference, but you still want to support our ambitions to empower other creative entrepreneurs and make this conference a reality. We have some lower levels on Kickstarter where you can scoop up some cool swag!
If you have worked with printing projects, you most likely have felt overwhelmed by the entire process. What paper to choose, color modes, setting up your files, the list goes on. Today I wanted to share a few simple steps to double-check once you are ready to send your file for print! I hope these steps to set up your files for print are helpful for your process, and ease that overwhelm!
Pantone Spot Colors
If you are printing with a limited amount of colors (1-3 colors) or have specific brand colors that need to match exactly, then printing with Pantone colors is most likely the best option. Here is how to locate your pantone colors:
InDesign: Select a new swatch, then under “color mode” select which Pantone library your swatch is in (typically either Pantone Solid Coated or Uncoated, depending which type of paper you are printing on).
Illustrator: Under the “swatches library menu” on the color panel, select “color books” then select the Pantone color book your project uses.
If you do not have a need for specific Pantone colors, than your file should always be set up using CMYK colors, instead of RGB. If you print something in RGB, your images will most likely not match your intended color. They often turn out dull or darker. This is how you can check to make sure your file is set up in the CMYK color profile:
InDesign: Select the swatches that you want to convert to CMYK (spot or RGB), select “Swatch Options” from the drop down menu on the top right. Change the color mode setting to CMYK, and click ok.
Illustrator: Go to “File” > “Document Color Mode” and check CMYK.
Remove Unused Colors
This step is not necessary, but it does help clean up your file and make your printer happy! When I am ready to send a file to print, I always clean up my colors by removing the unused colors. This helps to make sure you aren’t using two similar colors, when you could combine it to one color.
InDesign and Illustrator: In the swatches panel, click the drop down menu and check “Select All Unused” and then delete the unused swatches.
All photos in your file should be converted to CMYK prior to handing off to the printer. To do this, you simply open the photo in Photoshop and select “Image” > “Mode” > “Convert to CMYK”. If you have several images in your file, you can create an action in Photoshop to convert to CMYK, and then batch process those images. Make sure you don’t save over your original RGB photos, and instead create a new file with the added “-CMYK” in the file name. This prevents you from overriding the original file. Once all of your images are converted to the proper color mode, you just need to make sure they are linked up in InDesign or Illustrator through the “Links” panel (Window > Links).
Set up Bleeds
If your project has an image or color that goes to the edge of the file, you will need to set up bleeds. Bleeds allow for additional space beyond the trim mark, to make sure that when the piece is printed it has a bit of tolerance for the edge of the paper. To set up the bleeds simply click “File” > “Document Setup” and adjust the bleeds there. Typically 1/8” will suffice. Once you have the bleeds setup, make sure all of your artwork that goes to the edge extends to the bleed lines.[Tweet “Learn how to make your printer happy with these simple steps to prepare your files! #graphicdesign”]
Once you have your file ready to send to the printer, you are ready to package. A packaged file includes the InDesign or Illustrator file, the IDML (for InDesign: compatible with older versions), linked files, fonts and the output text file.
To package your file simply click “File” > “Package”. Double check the “Colors and Inks” as well as the “Links and Images” to make sure you have the correct profiles and didn’t miss any RGB images or wrong color settings.
If you are sending your project to a printer, they typically prefer the packaged InDesign or Illustrator file, however it is nice to include a PDF for reference. If you are printing from a vendor online, they will have specific instructions on how to export your PDF for their printers. For a reference PDF for the printer, I typically export as a Press Quality PDF, and include trim marks and bleeds.
Notes to Printer
Once you have your packaged file, and are ready to send to print, you can create a zip folder of all of the files in the folder. Depending on the project, you might want to include a diagram showing how the printed piece should look. This is great to have if your project has complicated folds, die cuts, etc. You can also include any notes specific to your project in the email with your final zip file.
I hope this tutorial was helpful for you, and eased the pain of setting up your files for print!
About the author: Jamie is the designer and blogger behind Spruce Rd., an independently run boutique design studio specializing in crafting brand identities and websites for creative entrepreneurs. When not collaborating with awesome people, she can be found whipping up a new dish in the kitchen, or exploring local coffee shops. She loves all things chocolate, Wes Anderson and Rifle Paper Co.
It’s pretty unbelievable to think about, but I have been running my business for five years now! I have learned a ton along the way, but it never ends, I’m continuously striving to improve both my work and my business. Today, I want to look back and share a few key things I’ve learned as a business owner and entrepreneur over the years. I hope they can help you build or grow a successful freelance business.
1. Find a Supportive Network
In the beginning, I tried to do everything myself. I filed my own taxes, started to learn web development, and basically just created stressful situations and wasted a lot of time. I realized I should focus on what I’m passionate about, visual brand development for creative businesses. I’m not passionate about learning code or figuring out how to file taxes.
Your support network can include many different types of people from your family and friends to fellow freelancers and blog buddies. Check if there are any local communities that you can join. If you don’t have any local meet-ups, you can start your own or participate in online networking like twitter chats, Facebook groups and resource centers for freelancers. Just because you work for yourself doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone!
Your support network can include many different types of people from your family and friends to fellow freelancers and blog buddies. Check if there are any local communities that you can join. If you don’t have any local meet-ups, you can start your own or participate in online networking like twitter chats and Facebook groups. Just because you work for yourself doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone![Tweet “Just because you work for yourself doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone! #freelance”]
2. Create an Effective Portfolio
A portfolio should showcase the work you want to do more of and NOT everything you have ever created. Don’t make the mistake of trying to show off too much of your work. Potential clients don’t need to see everything, be selective. Focus on your best work and consider the sort of projects that you’d like more of in the future.[Tweet “A portfolio should showcase the work you want to do more of – NOT everything you have ever created.”]
3. Go the extra mile
This is one of my top pieces of advice. Word of mouth is powerful, nothing can help you or hurt you more. While I still had my full-time job, I started getting connections by doing pro bono work for a few New Orleans non-profits. When I decided to make the leap out on my own in 2010, I let them know that I would not be available to work pro bono any more, and guess what? They decided to continue working with me anyway and I still work with many of them five years later! Just because I was doing the work for free in the beginning, I was never lazy and I did my best work. These clients have recommended me numerous times and continue to reach out even when they move on to new positions or totally different fields![Tweet “Word of mouth is powerful, nothing can help you or hurt you more. #freelancetips”]
4. Learn to Say no
In business, what you DON’T do is just as important as what you do. Knowing your ideal client and the type of person you enjoy working with can make a huge difference in the success of your business and your sanity. Turning down work is scary but saying no to something that isn’t a good fit (or you just dislike) gives you the time and energy to do the things you love!
When I first starting freelancing, I said yes to just about everything but I quickly learned that there’s just not enough time for that. Take a look at your business. What is it that you LOVE doing? For me, it’s branding, art direction and invitation design. They’re my favorites, so that is what I want to make sure I have time for. You may not know your ideal client immediately, it can be a slow process and can also evolve over time.
[Tweet “In business, what you DON’T do is just as important as what you do. #freelancetips #smallbiz”]
People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” – Steve Jobs
5. Establish Systems and Processes
When I first started, I thought I could just jump right into freelancing since I had design experience in the real world. I didn’t really think about the business side. How I’d have to spend less time designing and more time networking, pursuing new work, meeting with clients, invoicing, updating my portfolio, accounting and lots of other things that I don’t necessarily enjoy doing. I didn’t know anything about business and I am still learning as I go.
I slowly created processes (client questionnaires, invoicing, contracts) as things came up. I didn’t even have a separate business bank account for my first few years. It would have saved me lots of time and headaches in the long run if I would have spent some time up front to get all of this in order. A lot of my processes get updated as time goes by, and that is okay! For me, the most important is to always use a contract no matter how large or small the job is, whether it is your best friend or a complete stranger. It is the only way that both designer and client can be on the same page.
I hope these tips can help you if you are thinking about ditching your 9-5 or looking to grow your own small business!
Do y’all have any other tips that I left out?
Wedding planning and the Pursuit Conference have once again been the major things on my mind the past two months. I guess it’ll be that way until October when they are both over! Zander and I have been engaged for a year now (crazy!) so we celebrated by going back to the restaurant where he popped the question. My puppy Scrappy has also been a top priority, house training her and making sure she gets enough play time! Besides all that, I have tons of client projects in the works that I can hopefully share on the blog soon! If you are interested in hearing more personal updates like these on a regular basis, you can follow me on Instagram for a more day-to-day glance into my life. Here are some snaps from the past two months.
IN THE STUDIO, SHOP & BLOG
- I quietly launched a new ebook called Blogging With Intention – it’s only $6.75 and you can get a free preview of it by signing up for the Pursuit email list!
- I updated my portfolio page with some new work including this brand identity design for a health & wellness advocate
- I also updated my Etsy shop! You can now get my art prints as digital downloads so you can print yourself.
- Our May Made In Mind Social was super special because we got to announce some fun Pursuit news and Death to the Stock Photo joined us as a part of their 2015 road trip!
- Thanks to Aspen Summit for the nice mention of The Meetup Guide (get 50% off by clicking here)
- I’m sharing my favorite keyboard shortcuts over on Brigette’s blog along with a ton of other creatives!
- Play Party Pin featured my S’more Pops in a round up of 50 Amazing Smores Recipes
- The Blog Market shared two post from the blog, How to Create Color Palettes in Adobe Illustrator and Why Small Businesses and Bloggers Need Private Cloud Storage
P.S. I love to collaborate with brands and other bloggers, find out more here.
Let’s stay home, okay? Just because the pillow said so. I am so in love with our new hand lettered pillow (and the sentiment) and my kiddos are crazy in love with the giant pom poms on each of the corners. I’ve been slowly filling up our new couches with fun throw pillows, and have been admiring some of the hand lettered beauties on Etsy. I decided that I could make my own and add some giant pom poms for a pop of color and fun. If you’re not a hand letterer, that’s a-okay too, I’ve got a free printable template of this phrase for you! You could also take any phrase printed from the web or a font you like to use as a template.
It took me a just a couple hours in one afternoon to create this pillow and I know it will be loved in our home for a long time. I’d originally planned on lettering a bold, adventurous phrase on the pillow, but honestly- the older my hubby and I get (and since having kids) we’re such homebodies! We love to be at home. So instead I chose the cozy, ‘Let’s Stay Home’ phrase that makes me want to curl up on the couch and catch up on trash TV even more than I did before. Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:
To Customize your Pillow
• Fabric paint
• Small paint brush
• Template of your choosing (get ours below!)
• Yarn in colors of your choice
• Embroidery needle
• Round lid the size you would like your pom poms
Before you start, you’ll want to decide if you’d like to make your own throw pillow, or customize an assembled pillow. I chose to make an envelope style pillow out of a piece of drop cloth. I bought the drop cloth to make a pillow before Christmas and have now made 3 pillows, a tree skirt and a couple wall hangings. I love working with them- and they’re so affordable! For instructions on how I make my pillows, you can hop over to this post.
Once you have a pillow cover ready to customize, you’ll need to pick your lettering. You can download and print a free copy of the lettering I created here.
Turn your printed template over and use a pencil to color over the design (on the back). I like to use as heavy as a pencil as available (I used 7B for this) since it transfers without much effort. Lay the design on your pillow and trace over the template, pressing firmly to transfer a light imprint of the design to your pillow cover.
Now you’re ready to get painting! My favourite fabric paint is Tulip Soft Matte Black Paint because it kind of looks like graphite paint if you don’t iron it and it doesn’t have that awful shiny look of most fabric paints. Paint over your template transfer, slowly filling in the thicker lines.
Let your pillow dry and get started on the pom poms! I used two whole balls of yarn (although they weren’t large skeins) for this. I chose to have two shades of green in my pom poms, but you could have one or even three. Choose a circular lid that’s the size you would like your pom poms and start wrapping your yarn around the centre. Keep on wrapping until you have more yarn on than you think is necessary. Slide your yarn off your circular lid and tie a tight piece of yarn around the centre, snipping the loops on each end to create your pom poms.
When your pom poms have been created and your pillow case is dry, you can attach your pom poms using matching yarn and an embroidery needle (the needle with the biggest eye you can find). Tie a knot in a length of yarn and start from the inside of the pillow cover, looping in and out of the pom pom, then tying it off.
That’s all there is to it! I’m so happy I took the time to create my own hand lettered pillow instead of dishing out for some of the ones that I’d found online. If you were to create a hand lettered pillow, what would yours say? And are you a fan of pom poms as much as I am?
About the author: Colleen is the DIY and lifestyle blogger behind Lemon Thistle where she shares printable art and hands on tutorials for DIY home decor, parties and gifts.
It’s time to start planning those summer vacations! I’m sharing some thoughts on using a credit card strategically to help you out.
Y’all are already aware of my love for summer and summer travel. Two years ago I took a trip with my BFFs to Palm Springs and last summer I went to Alt Summit and then on a seven week adventure through Madrid, Barcelona, Marsielle, Nice, Paris, London and Reykjavík (I still owe y’all some travel guides).
Travel, whether it be to a conference or on a vacation, is crucial to my sanity and for keeping my creative juices flowing. You may be wondering how the heck is all this travel possible for a self-employed graphic designer without tons of money or savings.
I’m spilling the beans… I’m just paying off those trips a year later. But I wasn’t prancing around, being extravagant and getting myself into debt that I wouldn’t be able to pay back, this was an intentional plan. I picked a credit card that was right for my needs and figured out how much I needed to pay each month to have it payed off in one year.
This year’s travel plans couldn’t be more different but one thing that stays the same: I still don’t have ton of money saved up. I’m getting married in October so my bachelorette party is this summer in Miami and then our honeymoon will be in October (we are thinking Tulum, Mexico). My favorite travel locations include boats, beaches or pools (as you can tell by the photos here from past trips). If you have any suggestions for Miami or Tulum I’d love for you to share them in the comments!
When it comes to traveling, I like a credit card that allows me to earn miles and doesn’t have an annual fee. Also, when traveling abroad, a card without foreign transaction fees is key! This is exactly what makes the Discover It Miles credit card such a perfect fit for me. You also don’t have to worry about blackout dates, the miles never expire, and there is $0 fraud liability guarantee where you are never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your card. Also, as an introductory offer, cardmembers will now receive double the amount of miles they’ve earned at the end of their first year – with no spending cap. This is huge! To explore all of the rewards and discover more about the card for yourself, just click here.
Thank you for supporting this blog by allowing me to post occasional sponsored content. All sponsored posts feature products or services that I truly feel would be of interest to you. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
For those of you who are new around here, you probably haven’t heard about my side project. The Made in Mind Social is a local group of creative types that gather every other month to meet other like-minded creatives, learn about other local businesses and collaborate on future projects.
Bellocq was kind enough to host us for May and Tivoli & Lee treated us to an amazing cheese plate. We did a fun raffle for some Pursuit themed gifts and Ashlee from Smallchalk created a gorgeous chalkboard for us. It was a super special event because we got to announce some fun Pursuit news and Death to the Stock Photo joined us as a part of their 2015 road trip! It blows our mind how many cool and creative people we get to meet who are ‘doing their thing’ and show up to talk about it!
Thanks to Kristy and Allison for the photos. Interested in sponsoring an event? Find details here. Not in New Orleans but want to hold awesome events like this one? Start a Made In Mind chapter in your city! OR start your own from scratch with the help of The Meetup Guide.
I don’t know about you, but I can hardly believe that it is June already! The year is certainly flying by, and it is easy to start to feel panic that the year is almost halfway done when thinking about the goals you have set for your business and all that you want to accomplish in 2015.
Rather than panic, use it as a chance to evaluate the goals you set in January and see if they are still relevant. Didn’t set any? Now is the perfect time to gain focus for the second half of your year. Here are some simple ways to set or refine your goals:
Which aspect of your business is most important to you this year?
You may have a monetary goal for the year, or perhaps you want to achieve a work/life balance that suits your lifestyle needs. Whatever your ultimate intention for your year is, keep that front of mind while evaluating and setting your goals!
Which goals have you already met?
Look back at the goals you set at the beginning of the year and see which ones you can cross off. Whether it was a single item, like finding a new office space, or simply something you are ahead of schedule on, such as booking 15 new clients, take a moment to celebrate, then see how you can either update that goal or expand it for the second half of the year.
Which goals are you not on track to meet?
If you have any quantitative goals, such as “photograph 10 weddings” or “book 20 branding clients,” you should be close to reaching half of that value at this point. If you’re not close, it might be time to step up your efforts to meet that goal! Or, you may wish to adjust that goal if it no longer feels right. If you have a certain time of year that is your busy season, be sure to take that into account when calculating anything quantitative.[Tweet “Free download! Keep your business goals in focus with these 5 simple steps!”]
What has changed since the beginning of the year?
You may have had a change in your personal life that affects how much you can work. Perhaps you examined your business and started offering additional or new services. Major changes like these will alter the goals you have for the remainder of your year, so take the time to see how the changes in your life or business are affecting your goals.
How can you streamline your work?
A goal for anyone should be to operate in a way that doesn’t waste your time – or your client’s time. Take a look at your systems and see what items could be refined or made more efficient, such as finally writing those canned email replies, updating your website’s contact form to ask better questions or actually hiring that VA. Make it a goal to accomplish those smaller items that have big impact.
While different businesses require different types of planning and goal setting, it is always crucial to have an objective and develop a plan to get there.
About the author: Laura is a graphic designer who loves working with small, creative businesses to build thoughtful brands at her studio, Dotted Design.
I love sharing new work with you guys and I’m super excited about this project! It was really fun and I’m so happy for it to be out in the world.
From time to time I have the pleasure of working with local design studios and agencies. It’s always fun to collaborate with a larger team! In this case, I got to work with the same studio I worked at full time from 2006-2010! This was a re-brand for a well known health and wellness advocate, speaker and author. Ellen was clear that she wanted her new brand identity design to have dimension and be full of energy. We knew it had to be bold, beautiful and fabulous just like the woman behind the brand! First, we pulled inspiration into a mood board that represented these feelings. Then we moved on to finalizing the color palette and designing the main logo along with a few variations for different applications.
We also did a total overhaul on Ellen’s social media presence. I designed templates for her to use along with posts on her Facebook page so that everything looked completely consistent across all platforms. The next step was the website to showcase all of her amazing content. I created a mockup which was then handed over to the developer to bring to life. It’s so satisfying to bring someone’s ideas to life and to give a visual identity to a brand that really showcases what they are all about!
I have a new favorite script font called Indie that you totally need to add to your collection! Maximiliano first discovered his love for typography while studying graphic design at Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina. As an innocent font hobby turned to addiction, his type design career matured at an incredibly rapid rate, due much to his fascination with calligraphy. He founded Lián Types in 2008 and it took him only two years thereafter to develop his own approach to the art, mixing his interest in calligraphy with a growing skillfulness in digitizing the most challenging of curves. “The truth is that I’m also doing my best to be a good calligrapher, and I don’t like making fonts which I can’t do myself by hand. My letters are me!”
Inspired by many styles of calligraphy, Lián Types is now among the most successful foundries specializing in script fonts and ornamented display type. “Designing script faces is not a game,” he said. “They’re not ‘the easy ones.’ They’re not for beginners, as some may think. A well-made script is like a marvel you just can’t stop staring at. Like history tells us: the written word can be as precious as any other art work.”
Maximiliano has won prestigious awards and his fonts have been adopted by some of the best designed publications around. His best selling typefaces include Selfie, Brand and Heroe and now he has just launched the latest Indie, which may be my favorite of them all. It’s on sale for 30% off until Wednesday night, so don’t miss this sale!