Thanksgiving is this week (I really can’t believe it!), so it feels like the perfect time to release the 2015 Ciera Design Studio greeting card collection! For 2015, I’ve continued with many of the best-selling designs from previous years, in addition to 6 new designs (seen below) which I am so excited about! These designs are all live in my Etsy shop and ready for you to send a happy holiday greeting to family and friends, include with that perfect Christmas gift or you can even frame and hang on your wall for some festive decor! I’ll be having some amazing sales each day from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. It will be a different sale each day so make sure to follow me on Instagram where I will be announcing the promo codes each morning!) Don’t want to wait? Head to the shop now!
Dear type lovers, meet Lifehack – a casual script with a huge personality. Warm, amiable and organic, yet elegant, it is perfect if you want to convey individuality and style. The Lifehack family consists of the original Lifehack script, an Italic version, a narrow handdrawn Sans and a Basic version of limited glyph set with letters that do not connect.
All fonts in the Lifehack family work easily together to create visually appealing logos, packaging, presentations, headlines or editorials. The combination of casual sans and a script has proven useful many times and thus preferred both for print and web.
When it comes to OpenType features, Lifehack comes with swashes, stylistic alternates and initial/terminal forms for you to give a custom flare to your designs. All fonts have several weights and a lovely collection of goodies – various ornaments, borders and ribbons that complement the fonts’ charm and uniqueness. And of course, I have a sale for y’all, Lifehack casual script font is a whopping 65% off until December 5, 2015!
If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that I went to Tulum, Mexico for my Honeymoon last month! I had been hearing a lot about Tulum lately and had to check it out for myself, and well, it totally lived up to the hype, I definitely want to visit again! I have so many photos it was impossible to narrow it down even this much! While it’a all fresh in my brain I wanted to write a guide of our favorites things from the week we were there!
There are really two separate areas to Tulum, the town and the beach/jungle. The beach area is one long road with small boutique hotels, yoga, spas, swanky restaurants (with $100 dinners), shops and a bohemian feel.
Then there’s the town, which is more authentic with local hole in the wall restaurants (with $10 dinners), dogs roaming around, hostels and gift shops.
Food + Drink Tulum – In Town
Batey – Our first day in Tulum we stumbled into Batey after seeing that they had wifi – we didn’t really know our way around so needed to look a few things up. After we ordered our drink, they brought us some little bruschettas which were amazing, then our cucumber and basil mojitos arrived, complete with a fresh piece of cane sugar, oh, my – so good! They have an awesome courtyard, live music, movie nights and Zander became besties with our waiter. We found ourselves back at Batey a few time on this trip including for Halloween night!
Pollo Bronco – A little casual corner spot with yummy whole chicken with rice, cole slaw and cokes. They are all “Mexican Cokes” in Mexico!
El Tacoqueto – It felt more like I was walking into someone’s home, rather than a kitchen and that made it even more intriguing! No one was speaking English so we stepped up to the counter to see what they were serving. There were huge serving dishes full of juicy, delicious options. We pointed to the one that looked the best, pollo en adobo, and moments later they brought a huge plate to our table. Sooo amazing and authentic.
One Tulum – If you want mezcal, this is the spot. They had unique cocktails and such nice bartenders.
Antojitos La Chiapaneca – You have to go here! It was full of locals and they had the BEST el pastor tacos! Zander and I ordered a bunch of different tacos and they have all kinds of topping out to add whatever you like to your dish!
El Camello Jr. – When we sat down they brought out chips, pico de gallo, habeero salsa and “special beans”. We ordered a small shrimp ceviche for an appetizer but even with two people we didn’t finish it. I’ll admit, I was scared to order the whole fried fish, but that’s what everyone said to get, so we did it, and it was surprisingly easy to eat and was so amazing!! It came with rice, beans and steamed veggies. Zander and I split everything and had a few beers for a total of about $15, that’s my kind of meal!
Food + Drink Tulum – Beach/Jungle
While in the beach area, we mainly just relaxed at spots and grabbed cocktails as we slowly wandering down the road, so I don’t have much to say about the food along the beach road.
La Zebra – we didn’t think it was the best food but it was a nice view on beach and had good cocktails, I heard it’s a good place to go dancing at night!
Taqueria La Eufemia – grabbed a quick beer on the beach, loved the casual, relaxed atmosphere
Zamas – Nice atmosphere and view of the water. Good drinks, awesome guacamole and nice people. Will definitely go back.
Things to do in Tulum
Beaches – I’m totally a beach girl, I can lay there for hours listening to the waves. Along the beach roads each hotel has there own area with lounge chairs and some even have fancy beds! Unfortunately, the water was not very nice when we were there, so we didn’t get into the water as much as I’d like.
Cenotes – Guys, I want to go to ALL of the cenotes. A cenote is a natural fresh water pool and they are gorgeous! We only had time to go to one, but if I ever go back, it’s on the top of my list to go to more. We went snorkeling in Dos Ojos and the Bat Cave through a local dive shop that we found in town. Truthfully, the bat cave was scary! We had to snorkle through this tiny tunnel with only a few inches of air above our heads. I almost didn’t do it, but after the fact, it’s a fun story and a great experience! We borrowed a GoPro and took a ton of photos but unfortunately couldn’t get in touch with the dive shop after we left to retrieve them, total bummer.
Tulum Ruins – The Tulum ruins were nice and had a really cool view down to the water. But it was SO hot on the day we want it was hard to take our time and read all the info.
Wander – One of my favorite things was to wander around with no destination. When walking around the small streets of the town we found markets, soccer games, teenagers fishing, local music, cool building, restaurant prep, kids going to school, Chihuahuas on roofs, men making tortillas and the local Halloween… we would have never seen these cool local things if we were sticking to a strict itinerary.
I really loved everything about Tulum, but in the end, I preferred eating in town. I liked the more hole-in-a-wall spots and the homemade style of food. And I liked the beach area for a nice breeze and for fancy cocktails on the beach. Hope you enjoyed this Tulum Mexico Travel Guide and let me know if you have any questions or favorites from your trip to Tulum! And don’t forget to pin this post if you are thinking about traveling to Tulum in the future!
Revista typographic system brings together all of the features you could ever need to undertake any fashion magazine-oriented project.
Revista harmoniously blends 26 different styles into a single family consisting of:
- a Didone uppercase and small caps family including variants ranging from monolinear thin to black with italics with an inline black variant that works as a decorative alternative
- a script family that includes 5 weights ranging from thin (monolinear) to black
- 2 sets of dingbats & complimentary ornaments in 3 different weights
You’ve started a business! You may offer a service, a product, or some combination of both. You believe in your offering and are ready to share it with the world. Now the question is: how do you find your customers or clients?
One of the first steps is to define your brand personality so that you connect with your appropriate audience and potential customers. It covers how your audience feels emotionally about your brand and the types of characteristics it conveys. Making these connections will not only draw in customers or clients, it will make them loyal and eager to share it with their circles.
Defining a personality can be tricky when you are a solopreneur, because often you are your brand and it can be hard to separate yourself from your business. You may love the color green, eating pizza, and sharing bad puns, but will posting about these things all day help people connect enough to buy your product or service? You’ll need to go deeper. The unique characteristics of your business are what make you different from competitors x, y, and z, you want to express the things that will attract your people.
Where do you begin? Answer these questions to start narrowing on your unique brand personality!
What is your brand’s mission or core values?
This is something larger than simply setting a measurable goal; it is the heart and soul of why your business exists. Who do you want to help? What industry do you want to shake up? Why are you passionate about what you offer? For example, if your new bakery makes only gluten-free items, this value will connect you with a specific group who want that characteristic in their bakery.
Who are the people who I want as clients or customers?
Understanding your target market is key. It’s impossible to build something that will attract and satisfy absolutely everyone, so there is no use trying. The more specific you can get, the better. For example, defining your target audience as females, ages 25-39, who are single and work in a professional field is much more helpful than trying to reach simply “young adults.” You’ll know that anything juvenile or masculine won’t help attract that audience, which will change the visuals and language you select.
What words do I want people to associate with my brand?
Perhaps you want to be an authority, professional, and trustworthy. Maybe your adjectives are energetic, encouraging, and delightful. Knowing how you want your brand to be perceived will help in all steps of your business, including visuals like your logo, website, and collateral design, as well as copywriting and tone of your correspondence.
What about my business makes me different from my peers?
I hate to say competition since I believe there is enough business for all of us, but it’s important to be able to articulate why someone should choose you over another business they are considering. What about your perspective is unique and exciting? Do you offer something unusual in your process that can really benefit your customers? It’s important to study your competition as well so that you aren’t a carbon copy of another business. For example, if you come out with a new cola that comes in a red can with some cool script lettering, you’ll look just like Coca Cola. Not innovative!
Think about your business in a new way:
Try exercises to help you get a picture. Ask questions like: If your brand was a car, which model would it be? (A Buick would indicate classic and trustworthy, or a Fiat would say hip and bold.) If your brand was an animal, which one would it be? (A golden retriever would be loyal and friendly, or a cheetah would be a go-getter with sass.) If your brand had a celebrity spokesperson, who would fit the bill? (Choosing Katy Perry versus Hilary Clinton would indicate a very different personality type!)
There is no right or wrong answer when defining your brand personality. Having a strong sense of its traits will help you in every decision-making process of your business, and it will truly create something memorable for your customers.
Download the Free Worksheet!
Subscribe to get the worksheet to help you define what your brand personality traits are!
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’m going to be totally honest with y’all here today… my goals for the Ciera Design Studio have been totally off track for the past few months. I got distracted by VenturePop and my wedding, and while those were two of the best days of my life, the studio is my livelihood and my passion and MUST move back up to the top of the priority list!
For the past few days, I’ve really been thinking about the future of the studio and what makes me happy – the simple answer is: helping people.
I love helping people to grow their businesses whether it’s by sharing my knowledge through blog posts and e-books or creating brand identities allowing businesses to fulfill their greatest potential.
All of this leads to one simple point: I want to help YOU and YOUR business!
In the next few weeks, I’ll be working on design packages, course plans and an editorial calendar for 2016 and want to know – what can I do to help you?
- What are your plans for growing your business?
- What is holding you back?
- How can I help make your goals a reality?
- If you could only choose one thing – how would you grow your business in 2016?
Just click the button below to fill out the survey. You can answer all of the questions or just one, if that’s all you have time for!
I’ll be taking every single response into consideration while I make business plans for 2016 because I want to help as many of you as I can! And if there is a specific product that you’d like to see from me in 2016, just let me know friend!
Earlier this year I was asked to participate in a styled shoot at The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum and I was SO excited. It’s a gorgeous and intimate venue right in the middle of the New Orleans French Quarter. Passing by you might not even notice it’s there, but once inside, you find a beautiful courtyard of greenery and old brick. Local event planner, Roses and Lace had the vision of a dip-dyed aqua and gold wedding and pulled together a team of some of the best in the New Orleans wedding industry. It was a true honor to get to work with them. The experience alone was a rewarding one but now I’m even more thrilled that our work was published on 100 Layer Cake! Here are a few highlights and I’ll be sharing more photos of the invitation suite later this month!
Concept and Styling: Roses and Lace / Photographer: Tasha Rae Photography / Location: New Orleans Pharmacy Museum / Flowers: Poppy & Mint Florals / Graphic Design & Paper Goods: Ciera Design / Hair & Makeup: McKenzie Hawkins / Calligraphy & Dessert Banner: SmallChalk / Cakes: Sweet Elizabeth Cakes / Vintage Furniture & Other Décor: Pret a Fete Event Rentals / Favors & Drinks: Locally Preserved / Dress: Blush Bridal and Formal Salon
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!