It’s been 4 years since I first started down the crazy path of full-time freelancing, and boy oh boy have I learned a TON, both about myself and about design! Some of the most important lessons I’ve learned, though, have come along in the past year as I’ve been working to rebrand and redesign my own website. Re-branding a business is never a one-and-done quick fix, but doing your own branding/design is basically comparable to working with your biggest nightmare client– except you’re stuck with yourself 24/7. It’s so easy to jump into a redesign, switch your site to maintenance mode, and then freeze…because all of a sudden Comparisonitis rears its ugly head, you start seeing brands that you’re in love with (but OMG how will your design ever be that great?!), and the wonderful monsters named Procrastination and Perfectionism start creeping in right away.
Well, shit. How do you ever get anything done? The biggest lesson I’ve learned through this year-long redesign is so simple and yet so so so important to remember:
Seriously. I soft-launched last week with copy that wasn’t perfect, graphics that I wanted to play around with more, and definitely not all of the bells and whistles that I had hoped for. But you know what? I finally have a website. It’s shiny, it’s new, it screams me, and most importantly… it does its job of putting my brand out there and creating a sexy branded home for me on the interwebs to show off my work.
As a designer, I know that I will probably never be 100% happy with my own brand and that I’ll always be seeing new and exciting things I want to incorporate into my design. After this relaunch, I’ve learned that that’s okay– you can work changes in gradually (into blog posts, marketing graphics, emails, even your site graphics!) without jumping straight into the deep end and scrapping everything when you get that itch to change.
Now, for the million dollar question: if you were to change one thing with your brand right now, what would you change?
Email me if you want help getting that change going!
One of my all-time favorite things is list making. I make lots of lists for things. Granted, I might not ever look at them again, but I make lists for pretty much everything. Since that’s the case, it’s super important for me to have a solid way of list-making for my business! In comes Trello.
Here are some highlights:
-unlimited project “boards”
-unlimited “cards” and “checklists” per boards, which are vertically organized– super visual! AND you can move them around!
-integrates card deadlines seamlessly with Sunrise
-free version is amazing
-you can link or upload images and files
-categories cards with colors/tags
-assign card “tasks” to users
-lifehacker says you can organize your life in Trello!
There are only a couple of downsides that I’ve come across, too! (In full disclosure)
-no calendar view of all of your deadlines in Trello without Trello Gold (premium)
-great way of looking at higher level views, less good for day to day tasks (I usually make additional daily to-do lists by hand and then check things off in trello at the end of the day)
All in all, Trello is a just really solid — and free — way of plotting out all those things for allll those projects you’ve got going. For a visual and also perpetually over-thinking person like me, Trello provides the perfect solution to seeing an overview of all the moving parts, like digital stickie notes!
One of the most important things I do with clients is to discuss their ideas for the “look and feel” of their project, whether that’s a website or brand or infographic. The “look” of a project, obviously, refers to the overall visual style– this can include colors, fonts, textures, patterns, graphics, even motion. The “feel” is how you want visitors/viewers to feel– do you want them to be happy? Intrigued? Shocked?
The main reason I create moodboards for clients is so that they can see a visual representation of all of the adjectives/concepts/ideas/themes that we’ve brainstormed. These initial ideas can be anywhere from a more vague “masculine and modern” to something super specific, like “space themed pop art and monochromatic green”! The moodboard just brings the “look” into a visual form, hopefully evoking the desired “feel”(s).
Moodboards are a great way to narrow down inspiration, fine-tune concepts, and see a higher-level reference as you’re creating and expanding a brand. For this mini moodboard, I found images from packaging, art, advertising, and fashion/events to inspire a fun, funky “pop art” theme!
If you could see a moodboard for a concept, what would it be?
I’m in a few Facebook groups for biz owners and one of the most frequent questions that comes up is “How do you keep track of everything??” I’ll be the first to admit that, thanks to sleep deprivation (woo agency life!) and my natural scatter-brainedness, I need to have a super solid reminder system in place. That’s where Sunrise has saved my bacon more than once. It’s a calendar app, both for desktop AND for mobile, and syncs all sorts of things, from multiple google calendars (think: work and home calendars!), trello due dates, outlook calendar dates, to facebook events. It. Is. Awesome. Also, it’s gorgeously designed. And free!
Stumbled across Lumi last night…it’s by the makers of those sundye diy kits (aw, nostalgia) and they create custom ink stamps, silkscreens, or vinyl decals on-demand, using your uploaded vector images. Can you say custom gifts, anyone?! Make all the things!
It’s been a while, and I don’t know about yours, but my desktop definitely needed a new look. Plus, I’ve got a weird obsession going on with this palm front print lately, so what better way to bring it to life than sticking it up on my desktop to see every day?