Come Party With Made In Mind and Death To Stock Photo!

Party With Death To Stock and Made In Mind

If you are in the New Orleans area you should totally come party with me and Death to the Stock Photo this Thursday at Bellocq! We are delighted that they have partnered with us as a part of their 2015 road trip! As always we are excited to catch up with our creative friends and celebrate our progress so far with PursuitWe have been putting in some serious overtime to produce a creative conference like no other. Come hang out and enjoy:

  • $6 happy hour drink specials
  • a mixology demonstration
  • fun raffle prizes
  • light bites provided by Tivoli + Lee

RSVP TO THIS FREE EVENT!

Death To Stock is a lifestyle image resource with a fresh approach, built for dreamers and doers smashing the mold. A percentage of their premium memberships go directly back into helping people who want to create or take risks with their work – and they are doing just that as supporters of New Orleans’ own Pursuit ConferencePhoto via Death To Stock | Design by Ciera Design Studio

6 Simple Ways to Brainstorm Blog Post Ideas + A Free Worksheet

Free Worksheet to Brainstorm Blog Post Ideas

Blogging can be a great tool for small business owners. It provides a way to connect with your audience, share your expertise, and even help convince people to work with you. It can also be a fun creative outlet or provide a needed break in your daily routine.

While the pros are easy to count, that doesn’t mean it is always easy to come up with new blog post ideas! Especially if you’ve been blogging for a while, you may feel like you’ve hit a wall with new post ideas. Luckily, there are several simple ways to generate some quality post ideas.

Why do you blog?

The first step for any blogger is to identify who you are trying to reach. Many bloggers get overwhelmed or feel unfocused when they aren’t sure who to write for. If you are a business owner, you might be writing to attract potential new clients. If you have a personal blog, you might be hoping to connect with fellow fashion lovers or food connoisseurs. When you identify this, it makes your focus that much clearer and the ideas easier to form.

What are some of your favorite blogs?

Think about the blogs you read, and make a list of ones you can’t wait to dive into when you see a new post. What about their posts attracts you? Perhaps they share knowledge, share personal stories, or use a unique voice to tell their story. When you identify what attracts you to your favorite posts, it will help you write your own!

What is a problem you recently had and then solved?

People love reading free tips and learning from their peers. A great way to connect with your readers and contribute to your community is to share something you learned. Not only might you help someone with the same problem, it helps you relate to others by showing you are human and don’t always have all the answers right away either.

What is a question you get asked all the time?

Do you find yourself receiving similar emails, tweets, or queries often wanting to know the same things? Make the answer a blog post! Not only will this help position you as an expert with the answers people are looking for, it will make your responses oh-so fast by simply directing people to your post for an answer.

 

What is something you wish people knew about your business, industry or passions?

Is there a misconception about the industry you are in? Share your perspective and experiences! Do you find yourself running into the same problems with clients or customers? Write a post sharing your advice on dealing with the issue. Instead of feeling frustrated, use the energy to share a positive post and help others who might be fighting the same battles.

What resources or tools that you’ve found could help someone out?

Making a list of helpful resources is a great post generator. You could include tools you use to run your business, people in other fields that could be resources for your clients, or even podcasts within your niche that you love. As with many of these points, being generous with your knowledge not only builds trust with your readers, it will bring them back time and again.

To make this even easier, you can use this free brainstorming worksheet to get your creative vibes flowing. There is also space for those moments when you have a post idea and need to jot it down somewhere before you forget! Try setting aside a small amount of time each week to knock out your ideas, and writing will become even easier.

Download the Free Brainstorming Blog Post Ideas Worksheet

While blogging can seem overwhelming, it is a great tool for connecting with others in your industry, with clients, or with your community. When you look at it as a way to share and have fun, it won’t seem like a daunting chore anymore! Need even more help getting started? Check out Ciera’s new e-book, Blogging With Intention.

 

Stock Photos and Great Design To Help Nepal

Help Nepal With Great Design

Y’all know that I am a big fan of Creative Market, both for purchasing stock imagery and graphics and also for selling some of my own goods. And now there is even more reason to shop with them! Throughout the month of May, participating Creative Market shops will donate up to 100% of their earnings to Nepal disaster relief. And in partnership with the Autodesk Foundation, they’ll also match the first $20,000! These funds will be sent to All Hands, a non-profit organization that addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters. I’m donating 50% of my sales, so if you are in need of some stock photos go check out my shop and join us in our efforts to help Nepal!

How to Create Color Palettes in Adobe Illustrator

How To Create Color Palettes

When working in Adobe Illustrator, I find that shortcuts help streamline my process, and make for a more efficient use of my time. I love discovering useful productivity tips, so I thought I would share one that has helped me stay both consistent in my brand and save production time. Here are three essential tips for working with color palettes in Adobe Illustrator.

Create a Color Palette

There are several resources online to help create unique color palettes, including Design Seeds, Kuler/Adobe Color CC and Pinterest. By far, my favorite tool to use is searching through color inspiration boards on Pinterest! They provide a great starting point for developing your color palette.

To create a color palette in Adobe Illustrator, you will first need to create a color swatch for each specific color. Select the color you want to add to your palette, and then select the “new swatch” tool in the swatches panel. After you have added each of the color swatches, you can select all of them at once (by clicking shift or command + clicking the swatch) and then select the “new color group” button on the swatches panel. Now you have your color palette in its own group!

Save the Color Palette for Future Use

Once you have your color palette established, you might want to save this palette and reference it for future Illustrator projects. This is especially handy if you have a blog or a brand that uses the same specific colors throughout multiple projects. I even have a color group of semi-neutral colors that are great for muted background tints. The possibilities are endless!

To save your new color palette, first edit the swatches in the swatches panel so that it only contains your color palette you want to save. Select “save swatch library” from the swatches panel menu, and you are good to go! You can edit this swatch library anytime you want by choosing File > Open, and locate the swatch file in your library (by default this is located here: Illustrator/Presets/Swatches folder). Edit the swatches, then click save.

To reference your swatches in a new file, you click “swatch libraries menu” from the swatches panel, and then select “user defined.” There, you will find the swatch palette you created in any future Illustrator file.

Convert Color Swatches to Pantone

When working with logo files, or large print runs, you might need to convert your color swatches in Illustrator to Pantone swatches. To do this, simply select the objects you would like to switch to Pantone. Then select “edit” > “edit colors” > “recolor artwork”. Select the swatches icon to limit the colors to a specific Pantone color group, and select the specific Pantone color book to limit your illustration to spot colors. Click “ok” to close the dialogue box and convert the CMYK colors to Pantone colors.

Speaking of shortcuts, Ciera and I are both sharing our favorite keyboard shortcuts over on Brigette Indelicato’s blog!

Amsi Pro Poster Style Font

The impulse to draw Amsi Pro, according to designer Stawix Ruecha, was an encounter with the simple, expressive display faces of the early 20th century — in the German style known as Plakatstil, or Poster Style. The Amsi familiy is an ambitious interpretation of the historical Block Berthold Condensed, extrapolating a dark, condensed display style into a huge family. With three widths and eight weights, from Thin to Heavy, and Italics (actually: oblique romans) for all, it totals 48 styles. The Narrow and Condensed styles are good choices for compact headlines; the middle weights of both the normal and Narrow versions will work well in longer text settings.

Amsi Pro Font Sample by Stawix Ruecha

DIY Wine of the Month & Free Printable

This thoughtful wine of the month printable is a great Mother’s Day gift that gives all year!

Champage and Cards for Mother'sDay

Wine of the Month Free Mother's Day Printable

For Mother’s Day a few years ago my sister and I gave my mom a wine of the month gift. But instead of buying it from an online store, we decided to do it ourselves. I designed the card and tags that go on 12 bottles of wine, one for each month. I thought the design was due for an update so I’m here today with this special free download for you!

Wine of the Month Free Mother's Day Printable Card and Tags

If you live close to your mom, it’s fun to hand deliver the bottle and maybe she’ll even share it with you! It also makes for a great last-minute gift since you can just print at home and grab the first bottle at a store that is convenient to you.

So pretty! DIY Wine of the Month (click through for free printable)

Directions

Download and print the pdfs below (available in both the pink shown here and orange incase your mom isn’t into pink). Trim the cards out and then each month you just pick out a wine for her to enjoy and attach the pretty tag for that month. A gift that gives all year!


Downloads

Pink Wine of the Month Card & Tags

Orange Wine of the Month Card & Tags

I’d love to hear your Mother’s Day plans and see pictures if you use these!



Free Mother's Day Printable

Not sure which wines to choose? Gloria Ferrer has great options for white, red, and sparkling, as seen here! The sparkling wines of Gloria Ferrer are a perfect match for any occasion and are arguably the most social beverage. Their wines have earned over 400 gold medals and 50 90+ scores in the last 5 years. Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards is Carneros’ original sparkling wine house, owned and founded by the Ferrer family of Spain. Named for José Ferrer’s wife, Gloria, the winery opened in 1986 in the breezy, now-famous region in southernmost Sonoma County.

They are also having a really fun Spring “Be Glorious” Photo Contest! The theme through May 15th is Mother’s Day, so go share your photo and enter for a chance to win an “all about Mom package”!

P.S. Need more gift ideas? Check out My Favorite Gift Ideas for the Wine Lover

This design is © Ciera Holzenthal. All rights reserved. It may not be copied, resold, made available for download, given away or redistributed elsewhere without my written permission. Please link directly to this page if you would like to share these downloads with others. 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.

Ricotta Toast with Fresh Berries for Mother’s Day Brunch

Hello, Ciera Design readers! My name is Katie Kosaya, I’m a food photographer from New York City, and I’m really excited to be featured here today!

Fresh Berries and Ricotta on Toast

Here’s a fun, springy recipe for Mother’s Day brunch. I’m a big fan of the fancy toast trend, because it’s such a simple idea that can have infinite interpretations. And there’s  something about crunchy toasted bread that never gets old, especially when combined with fresh, colorful toppings.

Fresh Berries and Ricotta on Toast

While savory toast is always good, after a winter of comfort food, I’m very ready to start eating juicy berries and fruit again. You can use strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, pineapple, or anything else in season. Top it all with sprinkled seeds, such as chia, sunflower, flax, or nuts like toasted walnuts or sliced almonds. I also sometimes finish off the dish with a drizzle of honey.

Fresh Berries and Ricotta on Toast

I love this raspberry-blueberry combination with a pinch of citrus and a hint of mint. It’s vibrant, flavorful and bursts with vitamins! Try my recipe below, but really, it’s more one particular arrangement of tasty ingredients — feel free to experiment!

Ricotta Toast with Fresh Berries

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of a bread of your choice (I use ciabatta)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ricotta
  • 1 cup of mixed berries of your choice, washed (I used raspberries and blueberries)
  • 2 kumquats, washed, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint, washed, thinly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp liquid honey

Fresh Berries and Ricotta on Toast

Assembly:

  1. Lightly toast bread in the oven. Let it cool.
  2. Spread 1 tablespoon of ricotta on each slice of bread.
  3. Add berries, kumquat slices and mint leaves on top of ricotta.
  4. Drizzle with honey.
  5. Serve with a cup of hot coffee or tea for a perfect start to your day!

P.S. If you are hosting a brunch, you should probably set up a Bloody Mary bar or a Mimosa bar!

How To Mock Up Your Work With Free Templates

As a designer, I’m a visual thinker, but that doesn’t mean that my clients are. Sometimes they need help actually visualizing the end result. This is where mocking up my work comes in handy. When sending a design to a client, presentation is always crucial. Mockups are also great for showcasing final work in your portfolio like I have done herehere and here. This is great when you can’t get around to photographing your work.

Stationery Mockup

This process doesn’t have to be difficult or too time consuming. You could always build your mockup files from scratch, but there is not always time for that, so I like to use pre made templates. Remember my post Free and Affordable Stock Photo? Well, I have a new favorite resource to add to that list called GraphicStock! To find mockups like these over on GraphicStock search words like tablet, screen, corporate templates and mockup. Once you find a mock you like, just download and paste your own designs in!

iPhone iPad Mac Screen Mockups

Purchasing individual photos and elements can work for the most part, but if you need multiple resources each month, that can really add up. GraphicStock is great since you can get a year of unlimited downloads for one set price! With a library of over 250,000 graphics, icons and vectors, the possibilities for creative output are endless. And the good news, there is a 7-day free trial, where you can have access to the library of images to discover how easy it is to find necessary graphics and designs for your next project.

Stationery Mockup

Features to love:

• Unrestricted usage rights for personal or commercial projects
• Keep what you download and maintain usage rights forever
• Start a 7 day free trial – download up to 140 graphics from the library during your trial

Plus to make this even more fun it’s time for a giveaway!!! One lucky winner is going to win a free 1-year account to GraphicStock (valued at $588!), how cool is that?

1. Sign up for the 7-day free trial
2. Visit GraphicStock website and locate an image you would like to use on an innovative project of your own
3. Comment here, sharing a link to the image that you would like to base a project around

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you find you don’t get any use out of GraphicStock, be sure to cancel your account before the end of your 7-day trial to avoid subscription charges.

Now, get creating!

That’s A Wrap: March and April

Let’s start with the cutest news first shall we? I got a puppy!! Her name is Scrappy and I love her so much! This may seem crazy, but it is my first dog ever. It was very spur of the moment and it has not been the easiest transition trying to train her (I literally just had to go stop her from chewing the couch apart)  but I am so happy we adopted her.

Overall, the past two months have been super exciting, especially on the conference front, we now have a name (Pursuit, The Creative Conference), a date (October 3) and are currently accepting applications for our first round of key volunteers! You can check out all the details at our website!

I’ve been trying to spend as much time outside as possible, as you can see from my Instagrams below, before it gets unbearably hot here in New Orleans. In other news, you may have notices that I’ve been slowly introducing some new contributors around these parts, what do you think?

New Orleans Outdoors on Instagram

 

IN THE STUDIO, SHOP & BLOG

  • Did y’all know that I sell some of my photos on Creative Market as stock photography? AND for the month of May I’ll be donating 50% of my proceeds to support those impacted by the devastating earthquake in Nepal.
  • I’ve been working on a few brand identity projects, which I love and can’t wait to share.
  • I have also been working on some larger campaigns for local agencies which is a nice change every once in a while.
  • We hosted another great Made In Mind event
  • So happy with how the New Orleans Film Society Gala invitation came out
  • My wedding save the dates went in the mail yesterday! One thing at a time.
  • Need a Mother’s Day Card? Why not print your own?

 

ELSEWHERE

P.S. I love to collaborate with brands and other bloggers, find out more here.

Graphic Love: Glitter Mania

Hello Internet, I’m so excited to join the Ciera Design blog as a contributor! My name is Ashley O’Neill, a New Orleans native and current PR student at LSU. I spend my days working and playing between NOLA and BR. My creative team and I are planning to bring you one photo series a month inspired by a graphic or images found in the depths of the world wide web.

The inspiration for this Graphic Love series came from one of my favorite bloggers, DESIGNLOVEFEST. I love her Hand Drawn Love series, in which one of her contributors finds an image and creates a graphic based off of it. I wanted to do the same, but with photography using physical models, objects and other elements rather than graphic design.

We hope you enjoy!

Graphic and Glitter Inspired Mood Board

After seeing the top right image of Italian brand Erika Cavallini’s Fall 2015 couture show, my mind immediately started brainstorming ways to incorporate the color scheme and two main elements into a photoshoot. Inspired by sequins, glitter, 70’s waves and Twiggy’s lined-eyes, I imagined a blonde girl with these features in a long purple sequin shift dress.

Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-1 Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-2

Location scouting led us to Fleur De Lis Pizza, a cocktail bar turned pizza parlor. The coloring and shape of the building were a fantastic compliment to the rich purples and muted tones of our model’s hair.

Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-3 Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-5Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-4

To connect the two ideas of glittered/painted fingers and a pizza parlor, I decided to get a little quirky and imaginative. I ordered a pizza, let it dry out, and spray painted it lavender. Shortly after we drowned it in glitter!

Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-7 Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-8

Here you have it! Our blonde bombshell—the anti-prom-queen—gorging herself on pizza and cocktails to cure her never-ending teen angst.

Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-10

woman eating puple glitter pizza

Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-9

Creative Direction/Styling: Ashley O’Neill | Photography: Malarie Zaunbrecher | Make-up: Meghan Magee | Model: Lacey Berggren | Clothing: Time Warp