What I've Learned in My First Full Year of Business

Although Anchored Creative Studio was founded in 2016 (almost three years ago!) mid January 2018 to January 2019 encompassed our first year of full-time business for me. As the creator of Anchored Creative Studio, I’d always wanted to run this studio as a full-time gig. Lots of things prevented me from doing that, but the biggest one was fear of the unknown.

A little over a year ago, my part-time design job was eliminated. Although I started to apply to other part-time jobs, I realized that I was in the position I’d always wanted - to run my studio on a full-time basis. I was a year of high highs and low lows; of learning so much about myself and the types of people and companies I like to work with; and the boundaries I want to set in order to keep Anchored going for a long time.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned:

  • Lead your clients - don’t let them lead you. This is the big one. Any not-so-ideal client experience I’ve ever had was because I let them lead the process, the contract, and/or talked down my price. Everyone likes structure, and the more structured your process is, the better the chance that it will run smoothly and be successful. I learned a ton this year about standing up for myself and taking charge.

  • Find people who make you feel like you’re not alone. Being a solo business owner is lonely. You spend a ton of your day alone in a coffee shop or home, with your main interactions being with your clients. You don’t have coworkers to bounce ideas off of, or to ask an opinion about a sticky client situation. This year, I found some amazing business besties - both in-person and virtually - and have found it to make a giant difference in finding camaraderie and making the struggle feel a little less crazy.

  • Admit your mistakes and learn from them. If you want a job that’s without confrontation and conflict, being a business owner is probably not for you. In this year alone, I’ve dealt with a ton of issues that require having tough conversations with clients - including out of scope requests, lack of payment, and ending professional relationships. From all of these situations, I’ve learned to do a postmortem check and see what I could have done better, and what processes can be put into place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

  • Find clients that fully trust you. This piece of advice may sound obvious, but took me awhile to really understand the nuance of it. Of course anyone who hires you will place some amount of trust in you, but there are still clients who attempt to drive the entire creative process through endless tweaks and lack of commitment to a specific direction. They should be able to trust your expertise, and create a true collaboration.

  • Learn to say “no.” Perhaps the toughest lesson. I struggled with saying “no” to clients that I thought wouldn’t be a good fit all year, which resulted in rough client relationships and forced me to further examine my need to take every client that inquires with me. I also struggled to say no to existing clients, going over the set number of revisions, or adding in additional deliverable that weren’t included in the original scope. I’m now less afraid of setting up boundaries, and more confident in my own voice and skills.

  • Trust your gut. Whether it’s for a creative direction, choosing a logo, or accepting a client - It’s usually always right.

  • Create passion projects. I’d often put off passion projects, citing that I was too busy, and they weren’t directly connected to an income stream. But spending more time on passion projects has not only reinvigorated my creativity and allowed me to take risks, but also helps create portfolio pieces to attract my ideal client. It’s something that I’ve found is necessary to make time for.

  • Know that time and experience brings answers. As one of my favorite songs says, “take your time, don’t live too fast / troubles will come, and they will pass.” Letting time pass and gaining experience brings clarity. Don’t respond to that email immediately, and table a project if you feel stuck. All will come.

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On Knowing Your Worth and Raising Your Prices | Ballast Notes

During a rainy Wednesday a few months ago, I was chatting with a branding client. The client was kind and did great work, but the type of business she ran was different than most companies I work with. Although the beginning of our project together was a bit rocky, we were nearing the finish line and I was excited to wrap things up. As she reiterated that she was enjoying working with me, she said, "And honestly, I think you should be charging more."

Wait, what? Charging more? When I initially quoted this client, I remember opening her response email with my heart beating out of my chest because I was worried she was going to say it was too much. I was going through a tough time financially, and really needed a client to pull through for me. But I never would have thought about actually charging her more. 

I thanked the client, and she explained that she went to an event recently centered around the psychology of money. All attendees were instructed to write down a big purchase they had recently made and felt like they spent too much; as well as an item they had recently purchased and felt guilty because they may have gotten too good of a deal. She said she wrote down my services for the latter.

This goes back to the American "sale" mentality - if we get something for a good deal, we want to put it to its full use. I'm not a psychologist by any means, but this really got my wheels turning - do I notice a difference in my clients' feedback based on how much they've been charged? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my higher paying clients were often more organized, and our projects got done quickly, whereas lower paying clients (who were repeat clients who I honored previous pricing for, and/or had very small projects) often draw out the process, and aren't as quick to respond and provide feedback.

All of this is making me realize that I need to take a deep dive into my finances and how I'm charging clients - and what best serves both of us. I want to stay affordable and accessible, but know that my business model needs to adapt as I expand my business and see how my long-term goals fit in. Those higher-paying clients are making a big investment in their business, and are making my services a priority in their biz life - and those are the types of people I love working with. 

I've always prided myself in keeping my prices affordable for the small businesses and nonprofits that use my services, but I'm also coming to realize that upping prices a bit can very much expedite the process. Ensuring that clients realize they are making an investment and gathering all necessary information before kicking off our process; and allowing me to focus intently on a few clients, instead of being spread thin over many. 

If someone is paying less for your services, they're probably not going to feel bad asking you to do more. Especially if it's an hourly project - someone you charge $25 an hour is definitely going to have you do more than someone you charge $75 an hour - it's simple math. And in those sorts of situations, you really lose the most valuable thing - your time. 

Know your worth, and don't be afraid to charge for it. Amazing things might happen, and who knows what you'll find. And don't forget to add tax! I'll be popping back in here to update you on the varied changes that I've made.

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Setting Boundaries with Yourself & Your Clients | Ballast Notes

Last week, I got a package in the mail that came with a bunch of paper in the box that was used as padding. The paper has been sitting on my living room floor for a few days, and my cat has taken it upon him to make a little bed out of the paper (I swear I'm going somewhere with this -- hang in there, cat haters). I often get annoyed with how my cat tends to prefer boxes and packing supplies over any toy I purchase him, but cats like things they can sit in or make a structure out of, because they prefer boundaries. Wide open spaces can freak them out, and they prefer a safe space where they can feel secure.

And whether we like to admit it or not, humans prefer boundaries as well. It can be difficult to accept, but in creating boundaries and limitations in our personal lives and in our businesses, we can make ourselves more productive, and attract the audience we want. 

  • Set work hours.
    Yes, this includes set email and social media hours as well! If I've learned anything from working for myself, it's that multitasking does not equal being more productive. In order to really hone in your efforts, only work on business tasks during work hours, and set that boundary with clients that you're not available at all hours of the day -- because it will slowly drive you crazy. It's natural to feel like you need to always be available for client work, but it's not the best long-term move. 
     
  • Block out your time.
    If I didn't block out my time, I would never get anything done. I used to simply make a to-do list for every day, but I would usually only end up completing three or four of my five or six tasks. I now write out exactly how much time I'll spend on each task so it looks something like this:
    9-11 a.m.: Project #1
    11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Project #2
    1-2 p.m.: Break/Lunch
    2-4 p.m.: Project #3
    4-6:30 p.m.: Spillover time for projects that didn't get done


    Through setting up time this way, I a) ensure I only work on the tasks that really need to get done that day, and b) don't spend too much time on one specific task. It also makes sure I stay focused to maximize my time on that task.
     
  • Only accept clients that play to your business core values.
    When you're in a lean time of business, it's hard to turn down a potential client. But if they don't align with your brand's mission and values, what good will it do for either of you? They could work with a business more aligned to their needs, and you could find clients that better align to yours. If you're still figuring out what exactly your brand needs are, check out our Branding Your Biz workbook to dig deep into your business needs. 
     
  • Take time to create communication templates.
    Crafting emails to potential and current clients can take up much more time than you realize. By taking some up-front time to create email templates to base you communication on, you're able to have a solid base to build individual client emails off of. This may feel a little bit impersonal at first, but this creates a boundary that both saves you time and provides that you provide consistent information to every client. I love Canned Responses in Gmail for setting this up! 
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Maximizing Your Time When Working With Freelancers | Ballast Notes

As a freelancer and business owner, I know that time = money. I've always been conscious of how my time is spent, and it's one of the big reasons I made the decision to work for myself. I could never get over the concept of having to clock in a certain amount of hours when the work I did varied from day to day.

And since becoming a freelancer, I'm still very conscious of how my time is spent -- both for myself and the clients I'm working with. Whether you're a fellow freelancer figuring out what to look for in new positions, or a manager that isn't sure the best way to communicate to freelancers, I wanted to outline some tips based on personal experiences: 

  • Provide a project budget, and build out a billing structure from there.
    This probably sounds obvious; but there have been several freelance projects that I've created proposals for that I had very little knowledge of the budget for. It's just like shopping for any big-ticket item -- if you don't provide a budget, you're likely going to be shown items that will be out of your price range. 

    If you start working with a freelancer that has a higher hourly or project rate than you expected, or if you go over the number of hours you wanted to allot to the project, you'll wind up spending much more than you wanted. And freelancers, it's best to iron out this information to ensure you'll get paid in a timely manner for the project and there won't be unexpected prices.
     
  • Determine turnaround times.
    At times, clients can expect you to work like you're in-house, turning around edits in a matter of minutes. Other times, you'll be waiting days for clients to respond to emails. Even though unexpected hurdles may come up, it's a great best practice to always provide a timeline and expected feedback and turnaround times. 

    For someone hiring a freelancer, it's also good to go over any pertinent deadlines on your end, so that the freelancer will be prepared and is ready to clear out part of their schedule for you.
     
  • Outline all of the set deliverables. 
    As a designer, I base the programs I use on how the design will be featured. I once was designing an infographic for a client that I assumed would be used on social media and email; it wasn't until the very end of the project that the client mentioned that it would be printed. Because of the printer capabilities, I wound up needing to reformat the majority of the project. If I'd asked up front how the files would be used, I would have gone about creating them in a completely different way. 

    Even though freelancers often assume the client will provide them with this information, it's not always the case -- and sometimes the client isn't sure what all details you need to know. It's important to bridge that gap and ask the right questions so there's no surprises at the end of the work.
     
  • Get all of the above in writing. 
    Last, but certainly not the least important point. Always, always create a contract. It doesn't matter if you're doing work for a friend or a Fortune 500 company -- a contract protects both the client and freelancer, and also ensures you're paid for your work! If there's any hiccups along the way of the project, the contract is always there for you to go back to.
     

What do you think about this list of ways to maximize your time on freelance projects? Anything I missed? Feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments below! 

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Why I Love Moodboards in the Client Process: Ballast Notes

When I was just starting off as a freelancer and business owner, I didn't really understand the point of moodboards. They felt a little cliched and pointless to me, and I never integrated them into my branding process with clients. But over time, I noticed something.

When it came time to present clients with the first round of logo drafts, a few different things would happen:

  • There were small, but noticeable, details that were incorrect or overlooked in the logo because of a miscommunication
  • The client had to take some time to sit with the drafts, because they weren't used to seeing their brand as a visual
  • Once we finalized a logo concept, the brand color process took much longer than expected due to the client not being 100% sure of their desired color palette 

I started toying with the moodboard process, and was shocked by how much more smooth my branding presentations to clients went. Turns out, moodboards are an incredibly valuable tool.

If you don't work in the branding field, you can also create moodboards to chart the visual feel of an event, program, or season. I'm a huge proponent of manifesting what you want, and a moodboard is a great way to do that. I try to create a moodboard each quarter to help me manifest how I want to feel and the goals I want to achieve during that time of the year.

Here's a few ways that moodboards can help with the branding process:

  • Moodboards help the client get used to viewing their brand through a visual lens
    With the creation of a moodboard, the client was able to participate in the kickoff of the branding process, creating buy-in, and they also knew what the general look and feel of the brand will be. It can take clients awhile to warm up to their logo concepts, because they've never viewed their brand in that visual way before. It will also give the client some great ways that their desired colors and feels can be used in the real world.
     
  • Moodboards translate vague preferences into concrete visuals
    People can sometimes have a hard time describing what they like, and at times, what means one thing to someone can mean something else to another. Creating a moodboard eliminates this risk of miscommunication, because you’re able to really agree on what the direction looks like. I could describe a brand as minimal, vintage, and feminine — but many others could describe it differently, or think of varying visuals when I use those describing words. A moodboard ensures that you and your client are always on the same page.
     
  • They establish brand colors early on
    This eliminates vastly different color options in an early stage, so clients can get used to brand colors and see what truly works best with the look and feel they're aiming for with their new brand. Even if you have different primary and secondary color options later on, the moodboard process gives clients a general idea of the colors you will recommend for their brand. 
     
  • They get people excited
    This is a slightly more selfish reason to enjoy making moodboards, but people love them. Of course, they get the client excited, but moodboards are also awesome content for Instagram and Pinterest. It takes time, care, and creativity to put a moodboard together, so it's natural the people are drawn to them for inspiration and their aesthetically pleasing quality. It's also a great element for your clients to have to show friends, family, and clients to make sure the desired emotions are being evoked by the moodboard, and to get clients excited about the entire branding process. 
     

Check out some of my favorite moodboards I've created above. What is your favorite? What does your moodboard process look like? 


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Managing My Freelance Schedule: Ballast Notes

For my fellow freelancers and small business owners, our lives can be a bit of a mystery. Quite often, friends or family members that since I'm a freelancer, I only work odd hours, or that I'm only working for myself while searching for another job. And because fellow freelancers and biz owners also work solo, it can be hard to peek into what others' schedules look like.

Below, I'm going to outline what my average day looks like, as well as some tips I have for anyone working for themselves, on a freelance schedule, from home, or is simply curious about what in the world solo workers do all day.

Is this average day my everyday? Definitely not. There's plenty of days that are busier for client work, more focused on my business work, or are later or earlier starts. 

7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.: Wake up, change and get ready for the day.
8:30 - 9:30 a.m.: Do yoga and/or work out with free weights, meditate and/or journal, and eat breakfast before sitting down to check any necessary emails.
9:30 - 11 a.m.: I use the start of my day to either a) do administrative client work like sending out proposals and contracts, and/or b) work on my own admin work, such as blogging, website updates, or social media scheduling.
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: This when when I generally start on creative client work. I'll sketch out client logos, start putting together the beginning stages of editorial projects, and will do any sort of research in this time frame. I also love to schedule phone calls in this time block.
12:30 - 1 p.m.: Make lunch, eat, and usually take this time to scroll through social media. Although I'll usually be answering emails as they come in during my morning work time, I usually make sure I've responded to everything at this point so I can dive into afternoon work.
1 - 5 p.m.: This is when the bulk of client work happens. Most days I focus on one or two client projects during this time, diving deep into the creative work. I usually take a couple 5-10 minute breaks and stretches, but this is generally when I'm most focused and can get the most done.
5 - 6:30 p.m.: Depending on how much of a groove I'm in with client work, I finish up anywhere between 5:30 and 7 p.m. I always make sure to take a once-over of my emails as I wrap up, and send off any client work that I need to. Depending on the day, I sometimes will do a little personal or admin work as I wrap up the day, as well. 

  • Roll with the punches. Some days will be busier with client work, some will be lighter. There will be days where're you're distracted or sick, or have to drop everything to take your cat to the vet (personal experience, obviously). You have to be okay with flexible and knowing that not every day will be perfect.
  • Create a morning routine to put yourself into work headspace. There were so many days starting out where I would roll out of bed at 8:30, brush my teeth, and try to start working by 9 a.m. Spoiler alert: that didn't work for me. I meditate, do a bit of yoga, eat a (real) breakfast, change, and journal each morning before I start working, and am usually awake for two full hours before starting work. It's super important to make sure you're ready to go so you're as productive as possible. 
  • Set aside once-a-week days for finances/invoicing, scheduling social media, blogging and taking stock of your weekly schedule. For me, that's Friday, Friday, Wednesday and Sunday evening, respectively. It's huge to set these (and any other weekly tasks that might be relevant to you) aside to a specific date and time of day, so that you're able to set that routine and get in a good headspace. 
  • Time yourself. I've always been efficient (see more below), but was shocked by what my hourly fee turned out to be when I timed my first branding project. Especially when you're first starting out, it's huge to figure out how long it takes you to do something so you can price yourself accordingly and manage your time. 
  • Have a dedicated work space. I feel silly having a "work computer" and "personal computer," but it's made a huge difference for me. Even though my home office is realistically just a corner of my living room (#NYCproblems), I don't sit at my desk or use my computer unless I'm working on work projects. It really helps break up my mindset between tasks.
  • Don't always feel defined by working eight hours a day. This was a huge sticking point for me that took me awhile to get over. There's nothing about an eight hour a day work schedule that is necessary for you if you don't like it; I've always prided myself on being efficient, and it's one of the reasons I hated having a normal full-time job. Although eight hours is a good place to start, you may find that something may work better for you. No one is chaining you to your desk, and if you feel like your work is done in six hours, that's totally cool. You do you.
  • Create a schedule that works for you. You may be an early bird or a night owl, or you might have a hobby or family needs that shape your schedule. For me, I like to start working around 9:30 a.m. because although I'm definitely not a morning person, I want to be able to wrap up work in time for any evening activities or meeting up with friends. I also like having the flexibility to start a little earlier or work a little later if I need to run errands or want to go to the gym in the middle of the day. This is the schedule that works for me, but you can make one that's unique as you. 

What are some of your tips for managing your own freelance or business owner schedule? I'd love to hear them below. 

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4 Questions to Ask Before Getting Started on a Design Project | Ballast Notes

As a freelancer and business owner, I've learned over the years that it's important to ask the right questions. It can make the world of difference in creating the right type of work for your client, and eliminating rounds of unnecessary edits. Here's a few of my tips for questions to ask before your next graphic design project: 

  1. What format(s) will the final design be used in, and how will it be printed (if at all)?
    When starting on a project, this question will define many of the initial choices that you make. If your client would like to print and have the design as a PDF, it's smartest to make it in InDesign. If it's a digital-only one-page or one-image file, Photoshop will likely be best. For digital-only PDFs and/or designs that need to be vector, Illustrator is definitely the way to go.

    Additionally, this question facilitates another important topic: deliverables. Getting the ball rolling on the topic of how the designs will be used gives you a better idea of what the final deliverables will be, and whether or not the client needs the native file(s). Being sure that you're both on the same page when it comes to deliverables will make the project wrap-up run smoothly, and there will be no surprises at the end of your work together. 

    It's surprisingly easy to bypass this part of the information gathering process, because clients often don't realize that different types of design need to be made in different Adobe programs. And sometimes, the client hasn't even thought that far ahead yet. You know what they say about assuming -- talking about formats will ensure that every has the same assumptions about what the end result will look like. 
     
  2. What size is the final format?
    Similar to the question above, it's necessary to design to scale and to page length (if it's a print project). Any designer knows that resizing a project to a completely different size is basically equivalent to completely starting over on a project. And if you're creating original graphics in Photoshop or InDesign, making your graphics larger will pixelate them. 

    If you're working on a print project, also be sure to ask your client how it will be printed, and if bleeds will be necessary in your final export.
     
  3. Who is the target audience?
    Now we get to the good stuff: the actual content of your design. If the information isn't volunteered, be sure to ask about the target audience of the material you're designing. Since you know how it's going to be presented to its audience, make sure you're also aware of who it will be presented to. 

    The audience of a piece makes a huge difference -- children vs. adults? Prospective donors vs. existing donors? Parents vs. students? Americans vs. Europeans? This will help you make design choices that will truly impact its audience.
     
  4. Do you have brand guidelines and content ready to go?
    Last, but certainly not least. A company's brand guidelines set the stage for the logo, colors, fonts, and other graphics you'll be using in your design. Here's a few sub-questions to ask if they do not have a thorough brand  guide handy:
    Do you have your logo in vector format?
    - What colors would you like to be primary in this design? Secondary colors?
    - Which fonts should be used for this project? Both header and body fonts are helpful.
    - Do you have any other graphics or pattern files for use in this?

What other questions do you ask before kicking off a design project? Comment below!

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When to Use Adobe Creative Cloud vs. Other Programs for Graphic Design | Ballast Notes

As a graphic designer who works mainly with nonprofits and small businesses, I love to help educate my clients on best practices when it comes to design. If you're working solo or as a part of a small team that hasn't worked with many designers before, there's plenty of questions that pop up. When I'm working on custom digital designs (like social media images) or editorial/print designs (like brochures, fliers, one-pagers, and magazines), clients will ask me to create a template for them, or will ask, "Is this something I can edit?"

I totally understand this question; in all companies -- especially nonprofits and small organizations, who may need edits quicker and more often -- there's the desire to minimize your outsourcing and do as much editing in-house

It all comes down to customization. The Adobe Creative Suite programs (the key graphic design programs being Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign) allow for full customization of any sort of design file. That being said, Adobe has a steep learning curve (I've been using it for 10 years and am still finding new features) and is also quite expensive, especially for an organization on a tight budget. But there's still a ton of pros to the Creative Suite - Microsoft programs or Google Docs, there's no limit on your margins, fonts, or where you can place images. And unlike Canva or other social media share creation apps, there's no limit to filters or the fonts you use.

There is an awesome place for programs like the Microsoft Office Suite and Canva, but those are not the programs that graphic designers often use, because they don't allow for the best use of customization. If you're looking for a document you can edit in-house without the Adobe Creative Suite, it may be necessary to engage a virtual assistant, marketing professional, or someone else who may be better skilled to create a custom Microsoft or Google document. 

If you are engaging a professional graphic designer to create something for you, there's a 99.9% chance they will be designing in one of the Adobe Creative Suite programs. It's a graphic design best practice, and the steep learning curve of the Creative Suite programs are a great reason to engage a graphic designer (on a freelance, part-time or contract basis) to create your designed items. 

Other tips when you're working with a graphic designer (I'll expand more on most of these in future blog posts!):

  1. Have your content finalized before hiring a designer. Not only will the process move quicker, but the designer can create the initial design with the actual amount of text and graphics you'll be using, instead of relying on filler text that may not give the right visual. Also, there will be fewer edits for the designer to complete if all of the content is final.
  2. Specify what format you would like your design file to be created in before the designer gets started on your project. If you would like the file to be editable in a format other than Adobe, let the designer know at the very beginning -- it will allow for a quicker process if there's no backtracking. When a file is created in an Adobe Creative Cloud program, it won't be editable in any other program.
  3. Be clear on the project deliverables, and how the designed files will be used. From the graphic design side, we refer to the working files we are creating as "native files," and any finalized, user-friendly files as "deliverables." For example, an Adobe InDesign document would be a "working file," and the final PDF of a brochure that you print out is a "deliverable." Be sure that both you and your designer are clear on whether or not the native files will be delivered at the end of the process, what file type they will be in, and what deliverables are expected at the end of the process. Depending on how you'll be using the final files (ex. for printing on a standard printer, professionally printed, for digital use only, etc.), your designer may recommend specific deliverables.

Hopefully these tips will help your process next time you consider the jump into Adobe Creative Suite, or need to work with a graphic designer! What other tips would you add for someone who is considering using the Adobe Creative Suite for a project? 

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Using the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year (Ultraviolet) in Creative Graphic Design

When Pantone announced their 2018 Color of the Year as ultraviolet, I was initially a bit wary. All purples tend to make a splashy entrance, with the color historically being associated with royalty and the upper class. It's also usually viewed as a feminine color, and I often steer clear of it unless I'm working with a client who specifically requests purple. I tend to gravitate toward more neutral colors in my designs - but after a bit of time, I came around to ultraviolet. 

Over the past several year, muted color palettes have been all the rage. Ultraviolet is quite literally the opposite of that. Although that can be a bit jarring, I think that a major switch like this is the best way to signal a change in the industry. Pairing bright colors like ultraviolet with pastels, neutrals, and black and white makes a brand really stand out; and I think flashy branding is the way of 2018 and years ahead. 

BRIGHT & BOLD BRANDING

Bright purple is often associated with royalty, which makes it a great fit for a business that wants to communicates a bold message. A standalone purple can communicate luxury, while purple paired with other colors will seem future-facing and outside the box. Bright violet is a great main color to choose for your business in order to stick with both current trends and classic color palettes. 

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MYSTICAL IMAGERY

The first graphic I thought of when I heard "ultraviolet" was a rich, purple night sky. Using deep and bright purples is a great way to add a bit of mystery and magic to your designs. This style won't work for everyone, but space imagery is also very on trend in graphics today, so it would be a great to use if it's a good fit.

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NEON-INSPIRED LETTERING

I'm all about 80s-inspired branding and design, and am excited about the possibility of more retro design in the future! Neon-style lettering is a great way to make a statement, and a bright color palette truly catches the eye. 

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CONTINUED USE OF FLORALS

Florals have been enjoying their day in the sun, especially in delicate, feminine branding as well as event collateral such as wedding invitations. Although pastels are usually the colors most often seen in this type of design, violets and other bright colors are used from time to time. These bolder hues provide a pop of color that help invitations really stand out. 

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DRAWING ATTENTION AMONG A MUTED COLOR PALETTE

Bright purples are often used among very muted colors, usually as the accent color among black, grey and white. This is a trend that I can see continuing, and I can also see bright, bold colors in general used as accents being a trend that continues to grow. It's a great way to brighten up print and digital design, and to add information blocks that draw the user's eye to the most important information

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What do you think of Pantone's 2018 Color of the Year? As a creative, how do you think you'll use the color in your work this year? 

All images via Pinterest and Unsplash

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2017 In Review: My Favorite Print Design Projects

As I look back on 2017, I really loved all of the print design projects I had the opportunity to create. However, it's a little bittersweet, because I did fewer print projects this year than I'd expected to. When I first jumped into graphic design as a career, I originally focused mainly on print communication design, eventually expanding to include branding and digital design because of my personal interest as well as client needs. 

Because I've expanded my scope of work, I'm planning on working on fewer small-scale print design pieces in 2018, focusing on larger-scale print projects like annual reports, lookbooks, magazines, and the like. It's exciting to see the continued evolution of our work, and to think about where it might go in the future. 

Shining Hope for Communities 2017 Holiday Card and Remittance Envelope

Masa Israel Journey Partner Marketing Materials

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Brittany Elise Photography Pricing Guide

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Shining Hope for Communities 2016 Annual Report

Vineyard Church Winter 2018 Grow Guide

...and that's a wrap! Be sure to get in touch if you'd like to collaborate on any print projects in the upcoming year. 

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