Coffee is my fuel

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20 years ago, I made my first 9-step commute to my home office. It was a spare bedroom at my house in the suburbs of San Francisco. It’s fair to say I’ve done this work-from-home thing for awhile now. I’ve adapted my ways and found a few tricks and tips that work well for me. I’ve been asked quite a bit lately how I do it, so here goes. (Also, In case you’re wondering, yes, I did write this in the height of the first hints of Covid craziness in 2020. That said, first I’ll explain that in “normal” life, I do not do it with a four-year old screaming “Mummy, watch this one!!” as she spectacularly dives off the bedhead to the mattress for the seventieth time in a row since 7am while I try to thoughtfully compose an email in the makeshift desk in the spare bedroom. )

How to work from home AND keep your sanity

Painting Winter palette

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Winter (and this colour palette) is the glory of warming red wine, fireplaces, down jackets and the allowance of a few more coffees. It is a new pair of cozy wool socks, vivid stars, chocolate, dark moody skies, hot tea and spontaneous snow trips. Mornings often come sheeted in icy crystals. Leaves collect shimmering droplets and the sound of rain on the rooftops hums us to sleep. Some days are still. Others, the wind howls so loudly that my little studio feels like it will take flight. My little mountain town, usually packed with tourists, has surrendered to quiet and stillness and blankets of clouds.

Winter colour palette

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Why, you ask, is a branding designer advising anyone to DIY? Because I get it. Starting a business is hard. I know, I’ve done it! Not everyone is in a position to afford a professional hand-crafted logo strategically designed for their brand, particularly if you are a brand new business. While I strongly believe that branding is one of the best investments a business can make (I have yet to see it NOT pay back many many times over), aaaaaand yes, you are better to do it from the start, you may not be ready to take the leap. If you are just playing around with business ideas, or unsure of which path your new business might take, you may be better waiting to make that investment. If you need a logo or bit of branding to tide you over until that time, I’d like to share a few tips that can make your logo creation process as good as possible.

DIY Branding

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Perhaps it’s all the wrinkles on my face or my ancient collection of design books, but I am now asked quite a bit how my design journey started. The world seems a different place now, and my headspace has definitely changed, but the dream is still just as fresh. From my first ever design class, I imagined having my own studio.

The birth of a graphic design studio

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These are the colours I am seeing outside my studio windows at the moment. For me, it is the time for lattes, scarves, stormclouds, mountain walks and thirsty fields of dried grass. In our local Gariwerd Aboriginal calendar, it is honey bee season (Gwangal Moronn), noted for warm, still days, cool mornings, bright red sunrises and golden evenings. One of my happy places in my job is colour palette work. There is so much interest and beauty in colour, but also a HUGE amount of psychology and strategy in choosing the right palettes for my branding clients.

Autumn colour palette

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Now, don’t get me wrong. I would LOVE to be your designer, but I want you to find the right designer (trust me, your designer does too!). I’d really like to help with that! Finding the right designer for can sound intimidating, particularly for big jobs and branding. (I’ve known clients who’ve sat on this decision for years!) Regardless of which designer you choose, I encourage you to decide on a someone with whom you are comfortable, in whose abilities you are confident and whose style you really resonate with.

Here’s why *NOT* to hire me

Hello People Co logo

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Whether you are planning on hiring me, another professional designer, or even tackling your logo yourself, here are a few key points that every successful logo must have. Your logo needs to tick all these boxes: ✔️ It must be simple, uncluttered and easy to understand. Your logo is not the time to include all of your business offerings. (Your other brand touchpoints are for that). ✔️ Your logo needs to be easily identifiable and understandable in a singular moment. It must be aligned to your customers, industry, and business vision. A logo needs to – first and foremost – reach your customers. We try to focus on those amazing, perfect potential customers and clients and design for them. It should also reflect the culture, vision and mission of your business.

What should EVERY logo have?