2017: The Year of the Brand

In only the first few months of this year, I have created more logos than in the last 2 years combined. Here are a few of my favorites! I could write novels for each of the brands below, but I’ll offer a little taste for how we landed on each of the final designs:

MOSAIC COLLECTIVE, LLC
Holly is an ambitious entrepreneur and excited to start her own consulting/photography/property business. I wanted to capture the diversity of her talents in the design… hence the custom mosaic image with many shapes that fit together as one whole. The sophisticated color scheme was inspired by some of her beloved arts and crafts paintings and the unique style of her own home.

MosaicCollectiveLogo

BRYCO SERVICES
Bryan was looking for a strong, simplified brand to elevate his consulting business to the next level.  He works primarily in the energy industry, and thus wanted a clean and crisp look that also carried his monogram. You can’t get more contrast than black and white, so we kept it simple.BRYCO_Services

H&O ROOFING
Chad is a local contractor who specializes in roofing, siding and gutter installation. He primarily wanted a logo design that looked great on a t-shirt and the side of his truck (which is his best advertising when he is on the job). I chose a striking navy and red combo and didn’t muck up the design with any imagery since it was fairly copy heavy. I can report… it sure does look great on a t-shirt!

H&ORoofingInc_Logo

WHITEFISH FANATICS
Sam is creating a unique brand, specializing in all things ice fishing. The owner was hoping a simple, clean logo that would look great on social media as well as embroidered on a hat. I tried to capture the movement and specific shape of a whitefish in the imagery, and it hit just the right mark. Hook, line and sinker! (haha)

WhitefishFanaticsLogo

Never underestimate the power of a good brand. It is often the first (and sometimes only) impression you might make on a potential client!

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March In Like A Lion…

March was (happily) a very busy month for design. I gained a few new clients through a web platform that connects creatives (like me) with folks who need a project or two completed, but do not have an in-house designer to handle their business needs. The initial projects are in the books and we are already talking about next steps… I am thrilled to make these new connections, and hope that I can foster these new business partnerships for the long term. Here are a few of the projects that have been keeping me busy…

Uptown Nashville Real Estate Branding
An eye-catching design, inspired by the Nashville skyline (illustrated by yours truly from a photograph that inspired me) plus some fresh colors and clean font style. Currently working on business cards, letterhead and web looks to complete this branding. Loving the modern direction this brand is taking!

UptownNashville_LogoFinal

Cyber Control Trade Show Items
For this new client, I took an established brand and made it better. The style is modern tech, incorporating fresh elements that were unique, but do not overpower the strong logo. Items below include their name tags and a WebCam Card they will distribute at the event. I also supplied graphics for social media, booth design, signage and email communication.

CyberControl

Quick Response Fire Supply Oversized Postcard
The purpose of this jumbo postcard (sized 8″ x 5″) is to showcase a variety of products and push clients to the website. In this case, I edited over 30 photos to include in this collage (cutting out distracting backgrounds, color correction and sharpening images) and I am currently working on formatting their entire catalog of items (which means I have several more photos waiting for me in Photoshop). All photos are also included on their website to give them a consistent and professional look.

QRFS_PostcardWeb

Hmmm I can’t wait to see what April brings!

Enough with winter already…

Being in the doldrums of a midwestern winter, I find that my most recent invitation designs lean toward beachy scenes, fresh florals and bright colors (no surprise there, it is February and I live in Illinois after all).  Just sharing a sneak peek of the newest wedding invitation designs to hit my Pretty Lil’ Notes shop for 2016 (and over here dreaming of sand, surf and sun). These will just have to do for now. Visit http://www.prettylilnotes.com to see pricing and customization options.

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The Crowne Jewel

Last week I completed design for another monthly publication, “The Crowne Jewel”. This small, mail-able trifold brochure has become an excellent tool for the Crowne Realty, LLC Realtors to keep in touch with their current and past customers. It also provides valuable information about the home buying and selling process, and tips and tricks for maintaining a home.

Certainly, all of this information could have been emailed to their clients (and waiting to get lost in a sea of messages), but they choose to go the printed route. I think it is the right choice, and I am guessing many of their clients agree.

I hope that the agents feel it is well worth their investment, and their clients find the content to be informative and interesting. (Besides, when you are in real estate, it never hurts to get your smile in front of your target market just one more time!)

CrowneNewsletterOutside

CrowneNewsletterInside

179 Years And Counting…

The First Baptist Church of Bloomington, IL was established in 1837. In case you are terrible at math, that was a really long time ago. A friend of mine has the honor of being the lead pastor for this long standing, well respected congregation and he asked me to consider developing a fresh logo as they near their 180th anniversary.

Previous branding attempts resulted in a hodge podge of logos, in a variety of colors and fonts, which resulted in an inconsistent brand that left people confused about their identity.  Bloomington could quite possible have a church on every corner (which is a wonderful thing) but if FBC wanted to continue another 179 years, they felt it very important to stand out in the crowd, and that a strong brand was the first step (I agreed).

After a few discussions and a marketing analysis, I began design. My initial direction was a more traditional route, using iconic religious graphics such as crosses, doves, leaves etc., but if our goal was for them to stand out in the crowd, would that cut it? The answer was clear from the first moment I drove up to the grand brick building. Two enormous, beautifully crafted, round stained glass windows greet you as you drive into the property. The real treat is viewing these windows from the inside… The moment you walk through the doors, the space is filled with a rose hued light that emanates from these windows. No offense to my friend (the pastor), but I wonder how many in the congregation get lost in the beauty of these windows during Sunday sermon…?

I began to develop a simple, yet eye catching graphic version of these windows to be incorporated into their new branding. I suggested a jewel toned color scheme, and simplified font that is modern and easy on the eyes. A few other marketing items are currently in the works, including a welcome brochure, information board and newspaper print ad (sneak peak below). Web and social media campaigns are also underway to bridge the gap between the old and the new. It is exciting to be a part this beloved church’s transformation as they turn over a new leaf in our community.

Print

Something Old and Something New…

Something “new” is a frequent request from brides when it comes to their wedding invitation design. They want unique and fresh, something that hasn’t been done before. They want it to wow. The challenge is also that they often still want it to feel like a traditional wedding invitation (perhaps this is the mother of the bride speaking), which leaves it up to me to find a balance between old and new.

Sometimes a playful monogram or pop of color can make even the simplest of invitations stand out from the crowd and give it a new look.  My shop is filled with simple and traditional invitation design, but with a fresh twist. A new take on something old. This allows a couple the opportunity to add personal touches such as a custom envelope liner, shimmering ribbon or beautifully printed calligraphy fonts on rich kraft envelopes.

Here is a peek at a few of my favorites for the upcoming fall and winter wedding season from my Pretty Lil’ Notes Shop that are just waiting for that personal touch.  I hope they inspire cozy sweaters, warm fires and mugs of hot chocolate…

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Every Great Event Starts With A Great Invitation.

So, after a brief hiatus from my blog during the busy wedding season… it is now time to refocus for next year. Lately I have been interested in reaching out to other businesses in the wedding industry, and finding ways to help each other. My idea is that they could add “invitations” as part of their services, make a bit more cash as a reseller of my product, and I receive a more consistent stream of work by being their go-to designer (that’s a win-win right?).

With this in mind, I sent a batch of samples to wedding and event planners in Central Illinois, hoping to form a referral network and build awareness for my business.  Rather than a standard brochure/flyer design, I adjusted one of my favorite invitation designs to contain everything about my business that I want others to know (the whole kill two birds with one stone sorta thing). I also included an RSVP, much like that in a wedding invitation, that enables them to return the card to me, containing their contact information and level of interest in my services. If they also decide to send a gift, I would be thrilled!

Here is the sample invitation I mailed this week, containing everything they might want to know about Pretty Lil’ Notes. I hope that these sample packs will open the door to a great working relationship with others in the wedding industry.

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It was also a great reminder of how much work it is to stuff all those envelopes (this is where bridesmaids would come in handy).

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Websites That WOW

While my most recent blog post was touting the importance of print, this post is “all about that web” (I feel like Meghan Trainor needs to jump on this fresh beat).  I am formally trained in print design, but I naturally gravitated toward web and other electronic media given the sharp rise in social media and online marketing.  Many potential customers’ first instinct is to “Google” a business or person before they actually visit the store front or meet them in person (I am guilty). Often, a first impression is made on a smart phone or computer screen, and it better leave a good one or it’s likely to be forgotten (just as quickly as you can “swipe” to the next screen – also guilty). See all the trendy terminology I am using? I am soooo 2015.

Below are just a few of my favorite websites that I have had the pleasure to design and code in recent years. Each client brings unique needs and requires varying functionality when it comes to their websites, which can sometimes be challenging to fit into a successful design, but the outcome is so important to the success of their business. Hats off to all the true coders and web developers out there, I dabble a bit here and there, but mostly I just make them look pretty.

Firefly Homepage 2 Mock GetEnergyForLife_Homepage
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BernardisHomepage_01