Happy Tuesday! Today, I wanted to pop in to share a wonderful workshop opportunity with my clients & readers. I rarely do things like this, so you know it must be good!
Lauren & Tim Fair are some of the most talented (and kind) photographers I’ve ever worked with. Their passion for their career is palpable, and I’ve loved watching as they’ve honed in on their ideal client, and truly made a business that works for them. This Spring, they are hosting their “A Love Affair” workshop at their studio in Pennsylvania.
The workshop will cover: branding, finding and creating inspiration, having strong and consistent business practices, attracting your ideal client, defining your style, maintaining a thriving full-time photography business, how to capture genuine emotion, shooting creatively in all types of lighting situations, how to get published, and tons more!
I love Lauren & Tim, and I think this workshop would be a great way to get inspiration & amazing (useful) information/knowledge for your 2014 photography season. Go check it out!
*All opinions in this post are my own!
Today, I’m working on a few things that I wanted to share with you … As I gear up for my maternity leave, I have about 200 blog posts (not kidding) ready to queue. Because of this, I’ve found it hard to focus on blogging regularly up to this point. With a long checklist to finish, my current focus is making sure my clients have the best experience possible. I’ve apologized about the lack of posts here lately, and it’s not simply a matter of thoughtless neglect. I promise.
This morning started in a weird way. My studio had no power, and I was forced (read: allowed) to take a little nap. These days, my nesting instincts mean that I’m feeling super inspired when it comes to my work, but being 32 weeks pregnant also means that I get tired easily. My “get these projects done before Baby arrives” checklist is really inspiring me to power through.
Here’s a peek into my day:
I’m finalizing the proofs for John-Paul Teutonico, an amazing photographer based in New York. His work is best described as emotional, timeless, and he really focuses on capturing moments. The design board for his project focuses on all things modern, soft, light, and simple …
I’m really excited to be delivering Jeff Lundstrom‘s final logo files today. We’ve been working together for a few weeks now, and his project is shaping up to be one of my very favorites of the year. I love the overall feel … something so comfortable & classic. I’m really excited to share this one. For now, here’s a peek at his design board that we used to inspire the new brand identity:
With the launch of Kate Ignatowski‘s new logo & blog, we are wrapping her project with her stationery pieces. While they aren’t finalized just yet, I’m certain that they will feel super clean with negative space for days. This project was so much fun for me! Seriously … Sometimes, simple is the hardest thing to achieve, and I loved pushing that line. The design board will give you a little preview:
I’m also working on a stationery suite for Laura Turnbough … We’re doing letterpress, so of course, my heart is just doing a little pitter patter over here! Here’s a peek at her new brand identity:
So, that’s my day. Of course, there are emails to return, and other admin tasks, but my creative heart is very full. I’m really excited to share the final products of these boards … In time, I promise that I will! I hope you’re enjoying your week.
**This post is part of the series, “Identifying The Brand” … This is a several-week long series, so be sure to subscribe to the blog to keep up with the latest posts!**
You know what makes me cry little graphic design tears?
Pre-made logos & template designs!!
When I have potential clients email me about a brand refresh, I feel a little more for the ones who have purchased a ‘your name here’ kind of brand identity for their business. Obviously there are many reasons why you’d do this: money, time, not knowing how awesome a custom brand identity can be, etc., and I never blame that person for choosing that route. However, once I wipe my tears, I smile big … really big! Because not only are they excited about their business, but they’re now giving themselves/their brand the attention it deserves!
Most of the time, my new clients book without chatting on the phone or in person. We just email back & forth, I send my branding guide, we talk about their needs, and develop a custom package that’s tailored to them. Once their project start day arrives, it’s all about getting to know them on a personal level. These meetings are so crucial to my process, which is why I have a hard time with the template concept. There’s no way it truly reflects you & your brand … there’s no way you can truly own something that your heart is not invested in.
Whether you’re working with my studio or a different one, I think this initial meeting is a MUST. During this meeting, it’s important that you are asked strategic questions about your brand. Some of my clients are very involved in every step of their clients experience, while some are more relaxed and love to be involved when needed. I wouldn’t advise the former client the same way I’d advise the latter, and being able to distinguish these things is really important. From the perspective of the designer, it also gives you a chance to catch any red flags before you dive head-first into the project. Most of the time, my clients have experience with other designers (or template services), and they’re disappointed by parts of it (lack of communication, timing, lack of personalization, it just isn’t them, the person didn’t listen, etc.), and I can make note of what’s really important to my client. Maybe they mention they have a really hard time deciding things … then I know that my notes need to be a little more thorough, and they might need a bit more guidance about why each design was made for them, and why I think one is better than they other.
Overall, this meeting is meant to ask questions in a way that exercises my client’s creative brain as well as their business brain. To spark ideas they haven’t thought of. To remind them of the big ‘must do’ items for the project, to give a strategy … Mostly, it lets me get to know them, their preferences, their dislikes, and their expectations. It’s a way to figure out:
- Their story!! Why are they passionate about this career?
- Who is their ideal client?
- What are they doing now to ensure they’re attracting their ideal clients (and how are they keeping them happy)?
- Their design preferences … After all, it’s the tangible part that they’ll leave with.
- Why they get referrals? What do their clients say about them?
- What are their big business goals, and do these goals mesh with their personal goals?
From this meeting, I take several notes, which spark questions (conversation!!) and tips for them … About a week after the meeting, I send my first round of strategy points … just a little “hey, not sure if you’re already doing these things, but I really think YOUR clients would love to see this as part of their experience” note.
I feel like sharing these notes & conversing back and forth really helps me invest myself into their project. I become their advocate, and it drives the rest of the project. When my clients inspire me, the very last thing they’ll receive is a template kind of experience. It’ll be 100% custom, which they totally deserve!!
Are you a business owner? Fellow designer? Awesome!! I’d love to hear what you think about designers & clients connecting on a personal level. If you have experience with the template side of things, I’d love to hear about it! What do you wish you would have explored more about yourself before branding your business? And, if you have experience working with a designer that you loved, tell me about it! Why are you glad you invested in a personal experience?
Time to send the crickets on their way … I’ve been pretty quiet over here lately. As a brand strategy studio, I feel a bit bad about this part. I remind my own clients how important it is to be consistent (whether it’s blogging, social media, client interaction, etc.), and I have over 100 posts to share here. Yikes! … It’s just important to keep it steady. Well friends, growing a baby & running my business have been my top priorities, and blogging has slowly become a little less of a ‘must do’ (and more of a ‘oh my goodness, I would love to do this, but I don’t have time’ kind of thing).
With Autumn officially here, it’s a great time of transition to focus on your business. How was your summer? For most, it’s a big period of work, and now it’s time for reflection! So, I am starting a new series: “Identifying The Brand” … It’s a continuation of my series, “The Independent Creative“, in which I focused on important aspects of being your own boss & paving the way to attract your ideal clients. This little series is a bit behind the brand identity & development process that my clients go through while working with my studio. It showcases each step along the way, and why I think it’s so very important to creating a brand identity that truly represents you and your brand.
- The initial meeting: 1
- Gathering inspiration
- The design board
- Concept creation
- Narrowing down your options
- The final design
- Stationery & tangible goods
- Creating a site that works for you
- Bringing all of the pieces together
As always, I hope to start a conversation with each & every post … I’ll use a week per topic & really dive into why each is worth focusing on. Do you have specific topics you’d love to see a post on? Perfect! Leave a comment, or email me, and I’ll be sure to cover it!
I am so thrilled to announce the launch of this site for Jen & Chris Creed. Their new site is full of their personalities (which are the loveliest, by the way), and their beautiful work. Head over to check it out, and leave them a little love!
Happy Thursday, everyone! I wanted to share a recent site design that launched today. You can see the new site for Jex Sexton, an amazing lifestyle photographer, right here. I’ll be doing a full post soon (including her stationery & final logo), but for now, head over & leave her a little love!
I hope you’re having a great week! I was so excited this morning when I woke up today & saw that Brandi Welles’ new site has officially launched! I’ll be doing a full post soon about this process, but for today, I wanted to be sure to highlight this site (and the amazing photographer behind it). Go check out Brandi’s new site!!
Last month, I had the opportunity to work with Alison Murray of Murray Photography, and a terrific team of creatives for a styled shoot here in Oregon. Today, the shoot has been featured over on Wedding Chicks. If you have a few minutes, you should head over to Wedding Chicks to get lost in the feature … Oh yes, I’m pretty obsessed with this modern country wedding idea. Hey Jim, let’s get married again!
I feel like I should start each day off by looking at this image … Hello there! What a lovely little sentiment. This paper suite belongs to the Oh So Lovely, Rachael Kruse. We completed her project last year, but I realized this morning I never shared her stationery suite (along with about 100 other blog posts I have lingering in my mental queue). Overall, we wanted to keep things simple and classic. She decided on a folded notecard printed on watercolor paper. This texture went perfectly with her letterpress business cards, which were printed on soft cotton. These cards … Oh these cards! I am so happy she decided to do gold plus a blind imprint. Those little white details add so much visual interest. We topped off the pieces with same sassy yellow envelopes, and a rubber stamp with her logo.
Want to see more from this project?:
Oh, how I loved this project! When Dana & I started working together, we knew that this project was all about heart. It was about trying different logo concepts, and going with the one that sparked most with her soul. Dana is the owner of Between Sleep & Awake … She captures magical moments, and displays them as beautiful videos. I love me some photography, but man, cinematography really makes my heart go pitter patter!
Dana has always loved Peter Pan … just how whimsical it all is. She love sun flares, nature, and capturing true love. All of these things go together, and we wanted to create a logo that felt free … this script really flirts with itself, which I loved!
I can’t wait to show you the letterpress stationery & rubber stamps for this project! Until then, be sure to check out Dana’s work!! It’s beautiful …