Posts in Design
4 Tips For A More Professional Design

I'll start by saying I swear I'm not a "design snob!" Haha! 

That being said though, there are a few important things I tend to notice most frequently in other people's designs that will either give me better faith in their knowledge of design, ...or not.

A lack of attention to these 4 details in any given design will help me decide what caliber of designer I'm looking at. Are they self-taught with good instincts? Are they a trained or college educated designer? Are they a trained designer or a self-taught with bad design instincts? These can be important factors in deciding:

  • from a client's perspective: who to hire

  • from a designer's perspective: who to get advice from

Here's that list! It's super short! These are the top 4 things to check as you design or before you wrap up your design, because it will leave a better impression on other designer's and your client, and help create better consistency.

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What's Wrong With Using Templates?

First things first, I realize that it seems hypocritical for me to say this when I design sites in Squarespace, which is a template-based system. I’m not referring to websites here, at all.

Templates for websites are entirely different because a website template means the coded structure is already done for you, but (typically) you still edit it. A LOT. You change the fonts or color scheme, put in your own content & images, etc. and truly make it your own, hopefully to the point it no longer obviously resembles the initial template style. You can choose where to put your content & end up making something that may or may not resemble the original you started with and THAT’s why it’s different.

Also, web developers are not always designers & designers are not always web developers; having the two separate sets of skills are vital in creating a good site, but it's not necessary to have both skill sets in the same person. A developer sets up the template, then a designer can come in & use that structure to design a site for someone using what the developer created. It's a great system!

So what's really wrong with using a logo or business card template, for example? I totally get why people do it. They're usually free, or very cheap and people who use them typically don't have a designer on staff or they assume they can’t afford one to set up these things. A lot of these templates even look really good, depending on where you get the template from, of course.

So, if they're free, cheap, easy to use, and are built into whatever company you're ordering the product from (like VistaPrint), then why shouldn't you be using them?

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How to Pair Different Fonts

Using one font throughout a document can be visually monotonous, right?

But how do you know which ones go together and which ones don't?

Do you see gorgeous font combinations other people have done, but when you make an attempt yourself, it never looks right?

Today I'm going to give you a few tips on how to pair different fonts and what not to do! Whether it's in your Powerpoint, your resume or images for social media, you can choose like a pro too.

The 'how' is simple if you understand the the basic rules of thumb used.

+ download the FREE Guide to help you Choose & Pair Fonts Like A Pro!

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7 Tips For New Designers

Are you a new designer entering the workforce or starting your own freelance business? 

Maybe you’re a new designer and you've already landed your first design job (Congrats!!).

If so, here are 7 tips I've learned through my own experiences over the years while in college, working in the professional world as a student, freelancer and landing my own design job as an in-house designer.

Make sure you grab your FREE Ai Key Command Cheatsheet too! 😉

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9 Tips For Giving Designers Better Feedback

I think when people hear the word "designer" they sometimes think of one (or several) of these descriptors: nerd, techie, IT person, hard to communicate with, quiet, introvert, not personable, weird, unorthodox, etc.

While some of those things may be true, the main purpose of today's blog is to provide tips on how to communicate effectively with your designer, despite the personality differences that may exist.

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2 simple tips for organizing fonts like a Pro

Designers end up having sooooo many fonts. It really gets ridiculous!

If you have 500-1000+ fonts and you’re scrolling through them constantly searching for certain styles or that one you JUST CAN’T REMEMBER the name of… then you need my help!

It’ll take some time to get this system started, but if you do this now it will save you so much of it later on as you continue to collect them.

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What's the difference between Branding, a Logo and a Design?

Most people (outside of the design industry) don’t know there is a difference between these 3 terms and that’s 100% understandable. If that’s you, it’s unlikely you’ve ever had to ponder the meaning behind any of those things. You likely use them in terms of what brands you like, such as Starbucks or Old Navy.

In terms of services rendered however, Branding, Logo and Design have very different meanings for those of us doing the creative work and I’ll explain it in regular ‘ol words so you don’t get hung up on industry jargon or terminology that confuses you further.

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Website Launch: Love My Doula

Lynda McMurtray came to me because she wanted a simple website for her budding Doula business. She's been a RN for more than 10 years, and she is very excited about this new season in her life. I was absolutely thrilled to help her create an online hub!

She already had a logo design and didn’t need many pages on her site, so we settled for the Squarespace Lite package & got started.

What resulted is a classy, family-friendly, beachy design for her Florida-based Doula business. Let's dive in now, shall we??

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What to expect during a large design project

You likely know what service you need, or at least have a vague idea, and maybe you even know who you want to provide that service for you & how you want it done, but maybe you have no idea how much (if any) work you’ll need to put in. We’ve all been there!

This works for pretty much anything in the service industry, right? From home renovations (choosing furnishings, and countertops, and appliances, and paint colors, etc.), to graphic design, which is what I do!

Whether you have or haven’t worked with a graphic designer like me before, I’d be willing to bet you’re not sure what to expect, especially in a remote work or freelance situation.

Because I find myself explaining these kinds of things frequently, I know that there are a lot of you out there who have no idea & that’s okay! To help you out, I figured I’d fill you in on a little bit of what I expect from my own clients during a large project (like Branding or Web design).

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Are you making these 5 newbie branding mistakes?

I've been a graphic designer since 2006. That's more than 10 years! This field is full of people who are both self-taught, and college educated; some who have the natural instincts and some who only know how to use the tech.

Because of the variety of designers out there, I see a lot of mistakes being made, either from a lack of innate skill or inexperience/knowledge.

But I'm definitely not here to bash anyone; just the opposite, actually. I'm here to help! 

So here are some branding no-no's I see a lot, and some suggestions on what to do instead, to make your brand even better.

If you suspect your current branding falls into this category & want to know how to fix it, I've also included a MINI BRANDING AUDIT DISCOUNT CODE for you! Just purchase through my shop & apply the code at checkout, then I'll take a look and provide some personalized feedback to help get you out of the design-gutter.

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Branding Souljam: How I Created Their Custom Logo

A few years ago, Anna came to me & asked for help designing a logo for the band. I took on the project, feeling both happy & excited to help her.

The thing is, Souljam is a very talented jam band, and designing their logo meant designing a little outside of my comfort zone.

For those of you who don't know exactly what that means, think (or lookup) Grateful Dead, Phish, Widespread Panic, Allman Brothers and have a listen. The band members in this genre are typically free-spirited hippies, lovers of music, & super talented. They produce songs that are long & wandering to take advantage of every available second to show off their mad skills & just feel free while they play.

While I do love the Billy Breathes Phish album and I've been to see Widespread Panic live once with my husband, generally that style of music is not my jam. I can appreciate the talent it takes to play it, but I don't personally love that style of music. I find myself listening to a Widespread Panic song that's 10+ minutes long, wondering when the hell it will end, because I can't tell what the structure of the song is (verse, chorus, verse, chorus, etc.). 

So this project became a prime example of stepping into my client's shoes to get the design right. I knew enough about the style of music & what appeals to their listeners, to step in & give them a design that matched their musical souls.

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How you can 'Unearth Your Brand'

My last post was a reader survey, because I wanted to know what kinds of specific things you wanted to hear from me, so I can serve you better!

Several of you mentioned that you needed help with your branding, so today I'm tackling one of those things!

I've got an example, sample questions to ask, and of course,...

+ Don't forget to grab the free client workbook:
'Unearthing Your Brand'

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Graphic Design: 8 Reasons Why I Love What I Do!

When a client has come in to peer over my shoulder and watch me make a quit change to their art, they pause, seeming fascinated with whatever I’m doing, or waiting to see how I make the changes they asked for. Then they’ll say something like: “I could never do that,” or “Sitting at a computer all day would drive me crazy,” or “That is so cool!”

Hearing other people’s perspective is fascinating to me, whether a seemingly negative statement, or a compliment on my skill set. I absolutely love what I do, and it’s frankly funny to hear a client who may be a farmer or a owner of an accounting firm, or whoever they may be, come in and say they couldn’t do my job, because I absolutely can’t imagine doing anything else (including, probably, whatever they do for a living too)! 

I love what I do! Plain & simple; and I’m going to share how I came to decide on this career field, and 8 reasons why I love it.

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4 Quick Tips in Photoshop & Illustrator

I've been using Adobe products for years now (all versions since Ai 10, up to the current Creative Cloud). I learned a lot in my college education, and even more through experience working in the field for last 10 years, but these programs are so large and expansive that I still find I'm learning new things about the Adobe software! 

When you've been using something for a long time and you learn something new and useful about it, it's exciting; and that's why I'm sharing these tips with you today!

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My Favorite Apps for Designers + Freelancers

We're all SO busy these days! If you're keeping up with the trends then you haveto cook the perfect healthy meal with that new "superfood" ingredient, or complete this particular workout, or go take this particular class, or whatever the latest trend may be.

You may have kids and a full time job on top of it. Maybe you work at home full time, or have a 9 to 5, and then work nights & weekends on your side-hustle (whatever that may be).

No matter the details, there's still every day tasks to do (like cooking, cleaning, yard work, etc.) on top of maintaining a home life and keeping up with tasks at work. There's also the added task of not totally ignoring your SO or your friends and family while you work your little butt off!

So, who doesn't want a few apps that can make life a little easier?

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My Top 3 Tips for a Smoother Design Process

These are my Top 3 Tips for a Smoother start to the Design Process (they also happen to be pet peeves, just because they tend to be such time-sucks).

I've included a FREE CHECKLIST at the end too! It lists the types of files designers work with and what file formats to send us for certain types of documents when we ask you for them during a project.

These 3 points are essentially just tips to help the design process start moving along more smoothly. It will honestly SAVE each of you (designer + client) loads of TIME, if you both can avoid doing these three things when you start each project! Okay, here we go!

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