Brand Board #5: Genuine, Romantic + Sweet

For one of today’s brand boards, I used some of Lauren Kelly’s (Yes! Of love, milk & honey fame!) daily image gifts to pull together into a brand board. Creating this for her was almost too easy, but these brand boards are just so much fun, I could hardly resist! PLUS! she’s got great taste so I had TONS of material to work with..

Hello! Win, Win!

Romantic, fun, sweet and super genuine, this brand board may not scream her personality, but it hugs you with all of its might. From the hearts and minds of two dear friends, the Lauren Kelly brand board!

Brand Board #4: Relaxed + Elegant

Closing out a very exciting, and extremely busy week– another brand board! This week I focused on wild amount of versatility that comes with a purely typographic lock up as a logo.

I paired it with a really strong, but still relaxed, color palette- pushing the confidence in simplicity/less is more approach. The soft cool tones really act as a gentle grounding to the punches of the dramatic reds + orange tones.

This brand would be fantastic for someone (I know I used feminine stylings here, but this brand IS gender neutral!) who is confident in their process and style, enjoys the more
refined side of life, but isn’t afraid to work with their hands on their days off.

Until next time!

xo,
jne

The perils of color choices!

One of my favorite stories told to me about my childhood involves my first introduction to finger paint. Apparently, as soon as I realized my hand could make color smears, I was using everything I’ve got, (face, torso and frilly dress included) to make the paint streak across the large 2–year–old–jenny-sized pad.

I feel like the same holds true for today!

While I may be more socially gracious to not throw paint on top of my outfit, I absolutely dress in loud, bright colors. My well-loved fluorescent orange converse, peacock blue sateen pumps and collection (really, I have more than one) of chartreuse articles can attest to it all. I am a vibrant person and I color myself vibrantly because of this.

For those who aren’t as comfortable in the wonderfully subjective world of color, there are really great palette makers, and color-association breakdowns that explain it so clearly and helpfully!

A few of my favorites are:
http://www.usabilitypost.com/2008/09/29/a-guide-to-choosing-colors-for-your-brand

http://www.cymbolism.com

http://kuler.adobe.com

http://www.colourlovers.com

I hope that however you choose to visually represent yourself, branding or otherwise, you can at least have fun with it. It’s just color!

Until next time!

xo,
jne

Problem solving made easy!

I was talking to an old friend of mine last week about why I became a designer instead of staying a fine artist. The more I explained what I love about design, the more I begin to realize that I see myself as a problem solver, who just happens to work visually. The things I love about design, (aside from all of the luscious colors, details, flourishes, typography…. ) has always been the ability to translate the problem, and solve it in a beautiful, efficient and practical way.

But here’s the thing, it’s the exact same process I use to solve ANY problem- visual, life based, whatever the situation may be.

Anyone who’s worked with me knows that I am a huge purveyor of “what CAN be”. I think my favorite answer to “what do you think” might be “sure, why not, it could be anything!”
The ability to start from nothing and reach out to everything really ensures that you will have tackled any direction a problem could have, but it starts with writing out everything your brain thinks of – WITHOUT EDITING!

Editing right now gets you into “PERFECT NOW” mode, which is actually really counterproductive.

Have you ever tried to force yourself to make something perfect right off the bat, first try?

Have you ever succeeded in it?

Okay.

Next, I like to hear what the expectations are, or what SHOULD be done. Nobody lives in should-land, and I tell people over and over again that there is no set “way”, it’s person dependent. It’s what the individual client sees for the individual business, not for others. It may sound weird, but it is totally true.

Usually this comes from viewing competitors, or applying how others handle their business to what you are currently doing, the pressures of success and outside influences, etc. Filter these comments and observations to what you can honestly and easily see yourself doing, and you will be much kinder on yourself expectation wise.

The last thing I like to really focus on in terms of a decision, is what I want to do. What’s going to make me happiest, outcome wise. I keep this last for a couple of reasons,

1) I’ve been practical for the other 2 rounds, it’s going to keep me grounded while I “dream big” and

2) these are the things I’m most likely willing to put forth the effort and actually “do”. While the coulds and shoulds are a fantastic guideline for others success, what feels right to you in terms of natural tendency and enjoyment is going to influence your action overall. You may as well just admit it now.

See? Isn’t that better?

At this point, somewhere along all of those questions and answers, is the ‘right decision’, and as terribly cliché as it sounds, you’ll know it when you see it. All you need to do is be patient during the ‘exploration stage’ (a term both applicable to the scientific method as well as any industry in the design field), and give yourself the wiggle room to change and grow as necessary.

A problem is a problem is a problem, so it suits to reason that with a logical process, it all can be solved calmly practically and gracefully.

I hope this helps!

Until next time!
xo,
jne

Indecision midprocess

Indecision is a terrible demon to come across, especially when it comes to defining something as important as branding yourself and your dream of a successful business.
Personally, I find branding myself a bit like going through an identity crisis. I can hardly make my mind up, and try to exhaust all of my options- only to be ‘vision logged’ and overwhelmed by too many choices. How can you possibly win?

There’s a few ways I like to separate myself from the thing being decided- a good rule of thumb I love to follow- Think really hard about whatever the choice is to be made. Exhaust your brain, flesh out every option, all of the scenarios, lose yourself in thought and seek constant inspiration.

Then forget it.

Go outside, play. Eat italian ice. Dance down the street to an amazing mixtape your friend made you; whatever the case may be. The point of the exercise being you replace the energy with something that refills you with happiness and relaxation. When you are no longer pressured to make a decision, the right choice will present itself without force.

So, let’s say you’re beyond this in the process, and you’re faced between some awesome color palette options, a really interesting typographic solution, whatever. What on earth do you do NOW? AH. Rework the separation strategy: step back, squint, stare, contemplate. Or you could always take it off of the screen and bring it to the tactile.

I recently suggested to a client faced with the same problem (side note: I personally love giving a client this dilemma, thank you very much!) I told her to print out the sheet of iterations, cut them out and stare at them like separate cards. This way she’d be making a more realistic choice in regards to how she planned to use her logo, via business cards, blog, etc.

There are tons of problem solving ways I’ve learned along my wonky way to figure out how to make a decision, but the most important thing I could every convey to someone with this issue is to strive the absolute hardest to just be true to whatever the self actually wants. It may sound corny, but it truly doesn’t matter, as long as the person who cares so passionately is happy. When a person portrays themselves in an honest and happy way, people seem to gravitate towards them.

Sounds simple huh? It really is.

Just go with my “Why not?” philosophy. Orange and teal together? sure, why not? Baroque french with industrial typography? Why NOT?

Now go forth! Make your choices with confidence, however silly they may sound first coming out of your mouths.

 

Until next time!

xo,
jne

Brand Board: Clean, Vintage + Masculine

Starting the new year off right, I decided to jump right back into making these awesome little brand boards!

This week’s brand board goes out to all of the rugged and handsome men out there. Working off the concepts of a sharp, vintage and very strong logo, I pieced together this brand board to showcase what I would suggest for a hard-working and equally hard partying fun loving gentleman. From the mid-century dutch woodwork in the library, the architectural flat-file as coffee table, and the fun wheel of thoughts, this brand would work well for a man that values his sense of humor as much as his style and work ethic. Although the palette shows mainly warm colors balanced by steely blue/greys, it could just as easily switch to a mainly cool palette using pops of light lavender and navy along with the pea-green.

Until next time!

xo,
jne

There’s life, and there’s work

There’s this saying I cherish “There’s life, and then there’s work”.

Adopted from one of my favorite television characters EVER, Don Draper in Madmen epitomizes civility and control in the context of client and creative.

What I love about this saying is that it reminds me every day that I choose to be this involved in my career, and I need to be aware of the pressing need to balance my time between my passion and my responsibilities the best of my ability.

Working for yourself includes a lot of minute details that are taken for granted in their significance in the beginning stages of building a business. These details, while most probably overlooked during the daydreaming phase– but made all too pressing by the daily grind of reality,  create the differences between past times carried out by individuals, and businesses run by professionals. I make no mistake in informing those I work with, both clients and colleagues, about the hiccups in my day to day activities that could influence a future work schedule.

I can remember a few months ago  I was mid client meeting- talking to a wedding photographer on skype in regards to the blog design. I told her I would be right back, and within minutes, I turned around from my computer to see my cat chewing on his back paw, with bloody evidence all around the living room. Of course I had to excuse myself, and told the client of the emergency, and she of course understood. How could she not? I communicated the situation, we had an exchange of horror stories dealing with the “wonders of pet ownership”, and the schedule was tweaked accordingly.

If I had not been mid meeting, and the opportunity to quickly address the situation with my client had not been readily available, would I be so quick to write an email? No, but at the end of the work day, I would set aside the 5-10 minutes to clarify any changes I would have to make. As I’m sure everyone could tell you by now, I am a huge prophet for communication. How can you know if people don’t tell you? Which brings me to my last point about all of this: Providing people the opportunity to empathize.

Over the past couple of years with working with Flosites, we have run into a handful of clients who abandon the process– for whatever reason they may have. In the optimistic outlook of things, most of the clients come back a week or two later with the sincere hope of explaining that they were overbooked, stressed for the holidays, or dealing with the unexpected and unfortunate tragedy due to sickness or loss, and we at Flosites will always understand- on the other side of the computer is a person!

The problem occurs when the emails/explanations are not sent, or equally as bad, they are sent 2, 3, or 6 months later. . After a particularly frustrating case of this happening, I thought long and hard about how I could explain what it felt like to be on the receiving end of all this. I often strive to imagine what someone else is going through, so in doing so I came up with the analogy, and I hope it explains my point from another perspective.

Follow my brain for a moment, will you?
Imagine that you are working with a bride who has just emailed you to book you as their wedding photographer. You accept their down payment, maybe you’ve had an introductory meet and greet, maybe you never have a meeting and have just been emailing each other back and forth- whatever the case may be, the bride has stopped responding. You’ve made a few attempts to reach her, but you are starting to get busy– new clients come in, with new meet and greets, plans, schedules and meetings. Six months down the road you get a phone call from the overwhelmed bride, demanding to know why you aren’t there, photographing her wedding.
Like the old adage dictates- you bring that horse to water, but you cannot force him to drink. The same holds true for people.

The best that I can suggest for these situations, for anyone who may have a hiccup in the road: Reach out.

It may sound too vulnerable to share the inner goings of what’s happening to someone you are working with, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
You may feel uncomfortable broaching the subject, but you are also allowing the possibility (and in all honesty, the total likelihood) of the other person empathizing with your situation, settling the anxiety and pressure of work so that the individual can deal with the problem at hand.

Provide someone with the opportunity to understand where you are coming from, and see how easy it is to have others work around it.

Like I love to say, there’s life, and then there’s work.

Until next time!

xo,
jne