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!

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

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.

IMG_20150715_083030

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).

IMG_20150716_125113

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
Olio&Vino_Homepage02


BernardisHomepage_01

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