Pretty Lil’ Notes New Items for Spring

I have been spending the last week or so refreshing my Pretty Lil’ Notes shop and have some new designs to introduce, perfect for baby showers, birthdays, weddings, thank you notes and personal stationery. A peek at a few of my favorites:

BIRTHDAY
Birthday

BABY
Baby

WEDDING
Invitations

STATIONERY
Notecards

Visit www.prettylilnotes.com to browse the entire collection! Message me if you have a custom idea in mind, I would love to hear from you! Thanks for looking – Kendra

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Annual Review: Chestnut Health Systems

A few years ago, I completed an annual review for Chestnut Health Systems and it remains one of my favorite pieces in my portfolio.  Developing a business brand identity from scratch is no easy task, but sometimes it can be just as challenging to develop a single piece that complements an existing brand that marries well with other items (especially when you are a freelance designer with little knowledge of the company – Google to the rescue!).

When I work with a new client, I start by getting acquainted with what they have produced in the past, and what they like and dislike about those pieces. Much of their marketing collateral conveys a warm and inviting sense that you, or your loved one, will be taken care of at Chestnut. They achieve this by using soft imagery, smiling faces and an upbeat tone in all print copy and communications.  I jumped right in and developed three separate cover designs experimenting in imagery, color and font in order to give each concept a unique look and feel and try to narrow down what the Chestnut marketing folks were drawn to.

See what you think about the options I presented and their final selection below. The result was a beautiful 16 page 8.5 x 11 booklet printed on a matte suede finish stock (it feels as luxurious as it sounds!). All stock photography and design was sourced and completed by yours truly.

OPTION #1

Chestnut1

OPTION #2

Chestnut2

OPTION #3

Chestnut3

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(suspense building teaser space)

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THE WINNER – Would this be your pick?
ChestnutFinal

Print Is Not Dead

In our world of social media, hashtags, digital billboards and blasts (the email kind, not the sneak up on your sister with a super soaker kind from when I was a kid), I do strongly believe there is still room in our lives for print. I love opening my mailbox and discovering what’s inside, no matter if it is merely a reminder to vote or a birthday card from my grandma. I open everything. To find out exactly what the “Special Offer Inside” just might be and to learn a little more about a business or person that has caught my eye.

Many of my clients are making their way into people’s homes through memorable print pieces. Can you even recall a single ad that was stacked along the side of your favorite website this morning? What about the last email blast that intrigued you enough to open it? I do not discount the importance of online marketing, but it is generally a very broad net that is cast and they all seem to run together after awhile, don’t they? I am betting that when a design piece appears in your mailbox that intrigues you, you pick it up and read it. Heck, you might even tack it up on your bulletin board at work or carry it around in your purse so you can see it every day when you reach for your phone. How’s that for touchpoints?

Yes, sending something printed in the mail the old fashioned way does take a bit more time and effort than simply updating a facebook page, but it is an often undervalued and missed opportunity to communicate directly to clients, a specific message, in their own homes (how else would you achieve this, aside from going door to door like the Avon Lady?).

I believe in the power of print and here are a few of my clients who do, too.

Crowne Realty, LLC
Monthly Newsletter “The Crowne Jewel” Trifold Mailer
Distributed to past and present Crowne Realty, LLC home buyers and sellers

CrowneNewsletter

Holly Baumann Photography
Postcard campaign promoting product, commercial, event and business photography
Distributed to current and potential local business clients

Holly

A Fresh Look

As a goal for 2015 I am focused on investing more energy in marketing my business (while still maintaining my clients, of course). A bit selfish, perhaps, but I have been the graphic designer without a functioning website or even a business card that I am proud of (like the old saying – the cobbler’s kids have holes in their shoes – etc. etc.). Like many small businesses, I get so wrapped up in my client’s needs that I forget to move forward and think about the next step for me. This blog kbulldesign is the start of something new that I have never tried (I know, I know, blogs are sooo 2004), but with it I hope to connect with some new clients and do a better job of keeping in touch with my current ones. I hope you’ll follow along (please excuse my overuse of exclamation marks)!

In addition to the birth of this little blog, I have also spent several late evenings/early mornings experimenting with some new designs for Pretty Lil’ Notes (in case you were wondering, the snow days did not help my progress)! My goal is to establish a cleaner, more polished look that is consistent throughout the shop and establishes my brand. I also want there to be some consistency among the items so it is easy for visitors to browse and find what they need.

So, here goes… I currently have 146 items and I plan to revise and freshen up every last one. Keep your eye out, because I also hope to add some new sections including birthday cards, graduation invitations, engagement and baby announcements, to name a few. Here is a sneak peek of one of my favorite sets.  Happy Weekend! – Kendra

Invites1

 

Home Is Where The Heart Is

The holidays were hectic, as I am sure they were for all of you, but I had one special project that warmed my heart I wanted to share. A woman contacted me through my etsy shop Pretty Lil’ Notes in early December about my line of Christmas ornaments and had a unique request. She recently moved to Japan with her military husband and kids, and had the tradition of sending handmade ornaments to her entire family every Christmas. Being so far away with limited supplies, she requested that I create my handmade ornaments with photos of her two boys, and mail them on her behalf. I was thrilled to do so! It was really special to be writing “NaNa and PaPa” and “Auntie Beth” on the envelopes just as she would, knowing the smiles these simple ornaments would bring to their faces when received.

I print and hand punch these ornaments on a super thick Bristol stock (it is a loud process, but well worth it) and tie with silver ribbon for hanging. Although the holidays have passed, I just received another ornament order from a mom hoping to give one to each child in her son’s class… the catch is that she wants me to print a class photo of all 19 kids on each ornament (this is no easy task), but I am up to the challenge. I imagine this is how the Duggars feel when they do family portraits and try to frame them.

– Kendra

Ornament

Ethnographic (double points if you know this word) Film Series Poster

I love new clients. I have recently been contracted to complete a few design projects for Illinois State University (my alma mater). I am thrilled to work with their design department, which happens to include a former graphic design classmate of mine (way back in the late 90’s)!?!  We learned Photoshop together, and this is a bond that is not easily broken…

I just recently completed a poster project for the sociology and anthropology department, promoting their ethnographic film series. Admittedly, I had to Google ethnographic to find out what it was, but after learning a bit more I found the films to be quite intriguing. Perhaps I might go sit in on the series to learn more for myself. I could be a graduate student on her 12th year of studies… I would totally blend.

The 11″ x 17″ poster will be printed internally (hooray for not having to collect quotes!) and distributed throughout campus. I am interested to see the color quality of the collages I created from film stills online, and get a better feel for the piece on paper (a completely different experience than what I see on my screen). There is just something about holding a piece that I created that I love…

ISUPoster

Who wants to sneak back on campus and watch this series with me?
– Kendra