New Branding and Website Project, A Military Coin Design and Inspiration

Hi,

It’s actually turning out to be a pretty busy week. It surprised me as I wasn’t expecting it to be—but—here we are. As you know, I recently wrapped up a portfolio site for a fellow designer. As I hoped, we are staying in touch and she gave me the nicest shout-out on the podcast that she co-hosts, The Deeply Graphic Design Cast. I was blushing for an hour and was over the moon that I had such a happy client and now a new friend.

It’s back to it now though and I have started a couple of exciting projects. One is another custom website for a woman who is launching a new business as a Holistic Style Coach, She Inspiration. She is an amazing, warm and inspiring lady that I met in an Entrepreneur group. We hit it off right away and have been masterminding and supporting each other as we venture into breaking away from corporate life to start our own businesses. I’ve started working on a Moodboard of color palettes, fonts and some branding graphics for her. Below is where we are with it. For the website, I’ll be starting with the Practical Theme from Themeforest.

She Inspiration Moodboard

As you can see, I’m enjoying myself so far!

I also have started a coin design for a battalion on the military base that I work on. Definitely new territory for me but I’m having a blast. Their goals were to communicate who they are, what they do and where they are stationed. Below are a couple of samples from the drafts that I submitted. **Disclaimer: the tire graphic is a comp that I did my best with in Photoshop. If tit is approved I’ll purchase and finalize.

Military Coin Design DraftsI also have recently stumbled upon a captivating photo that my mucho-amazing photographer friend took in her travels to Hong Kong. It’s a street scene that she is calling ‘Train Tracks.’ Take a look and see which part of it draws you in. For me, it’s the man crossing the street with the black umbrella. See him?

Morgan Photo Hong Kong

Train Tracks by Morgan Willemsen

Well, I hope that all of you have a wonderful weekend. The holidays have kicked off with high energy, as always. I love it—it’s contagious!

Until next time,

Jen

Custom Portfolio Website

Hi there,

MKM Design Custom Portfolio Site

Screen Capture from my latest work: a website for MKM Design.

It’s been a little while since I posted, but there’s a good reason why. I’ve been working on building a website for a fellow designer, Ms. Mikelle Morrison, independent designer at MKM Design. Mikelle is a senior graphic and web designer who specializes in User Experience and Brand Design. She’s incredibly talented and was inspiring to work for, to say the least. As with many projects, seeing this one come to an end was bitter-sweet; on the one hand, I am thrilled to see the site launch and to have my client be happy with my work. On the other hand, I’ll miss our day to day interactions and collaboration. I do know, however, that Mikelle and I will stay in touch and talk often. I’m very grateful that our paths crossed and that we were able to work together.

Also…If you happen to listen to podcasts that center around design, you can hear Mikelle on The Deeply Graphic Design Cast, a wildly popular podcast led by Wes McDowell of The Deep End design firm. I find myself relating, laughing and being inspired by the speakers and topics each time I listen. It’s great stuff!

Below are screen shots of Mikelle’s homepage as well as a shot of her ‘Print’ portfolio page. The theme I started with was Wildfire from Themeforest.

Visit the Site

Homepage of Mikellemorrison.comHomepage of Mikellemorrison.comFooter of Mikellemorrison.comPrint page of Mikellemorrison.comIt’s been a great experience. I’m looking forward to many, many more. I was certainly not alone in making this project a success though. Mikelle gave amazing art direction and was a true team player. I also had an angel on my shoulder, Mrs. Lindsay Siegel Beckman of Stoke Interactive. Lindsay graduated from the same program I am currently in for my Masters Degree at Academy of Art University and has been guiding me in all areas of my career. We connected through the Alumni Association a couple of months ago and it’s been, as they say, history ever since.

Stoke Interactive

Stoke Interactive is a design firm that specializes in delivering web technology and branding solutions for socially conscious companies. Connect with them on twitter, @stoke_ntrctve, and—read more about them below…

We strongly believe that every company has an opportunity to change the world. Every small detail makes a difference, which is why we are dedicated to putting extra time and love into helping others that otherwise might not have a chance. We embrace the stories of your how your non-profit or company is bettering the world. It’s all about working together toward a common goal; a better tomorrow.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about Stoke in my upcoming posts as I start to work on projects with them. To put it bluntly…I’m STOKED. Pun intended.

Talk to you soon!

Jen

Masterminds, Pulling Your Brand Together and Then Building Your Graphics and Visual Elements

Hi Everyone!

Well, we survived the typhoon. Scott, my hubby, got to spend time with the kids, which is so nice as he travels so much for his job. I enjoyed the family time too and also had some free time to play on my social media networks where I met some amazing entrepreneurs that I’ll definitely be staying in touch with. A few of us are going to form a Mastermind Group. I am thrilled that this opportunity arose as I love masterminds. They are extremely powerful- a quick and dirty definition of them that I came up with is: “professional and personal development support groups.” How it works is you form a small group that checks in with each other once a week, once a month or whatever works best for all of you. You share goals, challenges as well as your knowledge and experience in order to help each other start and maintain forward progress towards your goals and dreams. You are cheerleaders for each other, accountability partners, sympathetic ears and more. If any of you have ever been a part of a mastermind group, you know what I mean. If you haven’t though and I’ve piqued your curiosity, Click Here to read more about Mastermind Groups.

Brand Insight

Now, for this week, for the Brand Insight, I am continuing to write about the Brand Building Process by talking about Building Your Brand’s Visual Elements. This is the part where we design. Color palettes, fonts, logos, newsletter templates, social media banners and backgrounds…all of the elements that comprise your look and feel. The trick is that the success of these elements depends on carrying out the preliminary legwork that I have been writing about. This process really is transformational- I learned this through years of experience in carrying this process out with my own clients. An amazing designer and educator, Jennifer Bourne of Bourn Creative, uses this workflow and also offers a lot of education on it. Learn more about Ms. Bourn and her business HERE.

To recap the Preliminary Steps:

  • Make sure that you determine your Purpose. Who are you and why are you in business. You may need to backtrack a bit and explore what your passion is. Read about it HERE.
  • Who is your Target Audience? Who are you in business for? Who will benefit from what you do or what you make? Read about it HERE.
  • How will you Talk Yourself Up? You need to communicate who you are, what you do and how you are better than the rest. How do you want your target audience to perceive you? What do you want them to think when they hear your name? Read about it HERE.

That brings us to designing all of the elements that will carry out the strategizing that we have been doing. Building a strategy, executing design and building a user experience is the core of what I do. I’ve written a lot about it here on my blog and will continue to do so. So please, take a look around, contact me if you have any questions and get started on building your brand!

Keep checking back too because from here I am going to share more about Brand Definition and Development (determining your passion and purpose-that thing that you are going to build a brand for and market), the Design Process, User Experience Design and more.

Image of a Brochure Design

Recent Brochure Design: The Core Brand Runs Through All Elements

Image of a Brochure Design Inside

Recent Brochure Design: The Core Brand Runs Through All Elements

Color Top: PINK

Romance, Femininity and Youth are moods that are often struck when considering the color pink. Soft tints of pink are often very soothing and appear to be more delicate. Contrary to that, HOT pink is stimulating and is used to incite activity. I used hot pink in the menu that I designed (and which I shared in a previous post) to entice appetites and stimulate hunger for the confections that it was advertising. Conversely, I used a soft pink in a baby shower invitation that I designed. Take a look.

Image of a Menu Design

Image of a Baby Shower Invitation

Creative Inspiration

I am always devouring design; every kind of it—household goods, fashion, architecture. You name it, I love seeing how it is build and how it functions to make our lives better. Good design from any field inspires the brand designs that I create.

Below are photos from Design Milk, one of my favorite sources for inspirational design photos. The first is a candlelit balcony. Just looking at it makes me relax and open up my creative channels. The second is a watch that separates the hours and the minutes. It’s unique and interesting. Gets me thinking…See what these photos do for you.

Image of a Candlelit Balcony

Image of a Split Watch

Thanks everyone! Have a great weekend. 🙂

Jennifer

Pure Designs is a creative company I launched that offers graphic design and web design services. With over eleven years of experience in Marketing and Design, I have a wealth of information and inspiration to share. I love what I do and look forward to each and every day that I can design. View my portfolio here to see a selection of my work. Please feel free to post a comment to my blog or use the contact form on my blog or website to reach me with any questions or to book a consultation. Talk soon!

Dress Rehearsal for Your Website…Using a Test Site

More of Jen's New Portfolio Site

Test Site: A Work In Progress

Hi there,

As a web designer and developer, one thing that I have come to rely on with my clients are test sites. Test sites are specific domains that I have purchased, and that I host on my server, that I use to build and test site architecture, functionality and design. I start by building all of my client wireframes on these domains so that my clients (as well as any other people we can recruit to test) can have a clickable blueprint of the navigation and layout of their future site to try out. This way, if there are any issues present, we can figure them out early and fix them so that we do not have to go through massive rebuilds down the line (which are time consuming and costly). Once we have established the site’s mapping, I’ll move on to adding functionality and design elements. It progresses in a logical way and I can collaborate with my clients through every step. Once we get the fundamentals established, I’ll migrate what I have or start fresh on their domain.
Using test sites is a fantastic technique; I started implementing them when I started freelancing. To be honest, it was a great way for me to ensure that I was on the right track and in alignment with my client’s goals. I didn’t have a manager or art director guiding me; it was all me and I wanted to put a system in place that ensured success.

As a side note, I also love to use test sites to push the limits of my web design skills. Here is where I want to “break” something and have it all go wrong. This way, I can work the issue, find a solution and be prepared should there be problems in the future.

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