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Archive for You Outta Know – Page 2

Busting through Blocks

How to bust out of a creative block

A few weeks ago on my facebook page, I asked for suggestions on busting out of a creative block. My friends had a ton of great suggestions, because well… they are geniuses. So, of course I’m sharing the wealth. Here’s what they had to say:

Suspend Self-Judgment

One of the things touched upon was that blocks sometimes come from self-doubt and that doubt becomes stronger, the longer the block lasts. A great way to combat this is to focus on creating quantity over quality, which is the opposite of what creative people like to do. Just create, create, create without self-judgment and worry about the quality later. The benefit of this is getting out of your own head. Try working on an idea for 10 or 15 minutes and then move on. Once you have a few ideas fleshed out, you can usually find one to refine and perfect.

Get Out Your Own Way

Another suggestion that came up was taking a break from creating and doing something else. This is great advice. In order to be creative you have to go live. You have to be able to experience life and translate it to another medium. Socializing or planning an adventure can be the boost you need to get your creative mojo back. You can also try doing something else that’s creative but not in the same vein as where you are blocked. So if you’re a musician, try painting; if you’re a photographer, try some free writing. Other things suggested were:

  • Meditating
  • Exercising
  • Cooking
  • Spend time with other creative people
  • Reading

Seek Inspiration

The last tried but true method is to go out seeking inspiration. This can be whatever floats your boat. Some people find nature really inspiring, others like art similar to what they are trying to create, while others can vibe off a motivational quote. The world is chock-full of inspiration; here is a round up my favorites from that FB thread:

  • Visit art galleries/museums
  • Watch a few Ted talks
  • Listen to live music
  • Traveling to a new place
  • Go back to a place or song that got you inspired

I hope this helps you with your creative blocks. Happy creating, ya’ll!

(Image Source: Tumblr)



What is a Serif and Sans-Serif Font?

Typography is a big deal. It’s one of those things that can make or break a design. The typeface you choose needs to be readable + it needs to fit your brand personality. When choosing a typeface, there are 2 main variations: serif and sans-serif. So, what’s the difference?

Serif Fonts: The classic choice

Serif fonts have little flourishes at the bottoms of the letters. The font: Times New Roman, that you probably have on your computer is a serif font.

serif font exampleserif font example

Serif fonts have timeless look, and they help make your brand look more established. Serif fonts are great for high-end brands and/or corporate brands. They can also be used by creatives when paired with a sans-serif font. Serif fonts are legible when small in print, but not so much online. So, if you are using them online, stick to it for a headline treatment.

Sans-Serif Fonts: The modern choice

Sans means “without,” so sans-serif fonts are “without” the flourishes.  Arial is an example of sans-serif font.

San-Serif font example

Sans-serif fonts are streamlined and contemporary. They make your brand look cutting-edge and modern. They are great for brands that want to appear in the “now” and who like avoid looking old-fashioned or stuffy. Sans-serif fonts scale well online, so feel free to use it for both your headline and body copy. Be careful in print though, too small and it gets unreadable.

Now you know the difference between serif and sans-serif fonts. Use them in good health.


How to brand yourself

How to Brand Yourself

When people think of branding, they think, “Oh, that’s my logo.” It’s much more than that, though. Branding is the way a brand looks, speaks and behaves. So, how do you brand yourself?

Images Above: Lebron is so Nike | New Balance searches for Nirvana

Get a personality

Most major brands have very distinct brand personalities. They have human personality traits that set them apart from competitors and call in a specific kind of consumer.

For example, Nike and New Balance sell athletic gear, but the companies have very different personalities. One is bold and embodies the attitude of a champion; the other is about finding balance and takes cues from a zen master. Your decisions on how to brand yourself should show the same kind of personality.
If you’re a creative type — especially if you’re a one-person shop — then your brand personality is about you.

  • Are you funky and cutting edge?
  • Are you techy with a little bit of geek chic?
  • Are you classic and dependable?
  • Are you earthy and outdoorsy?

Try to pick a part of your personality that is going to speak to your target audience, but that also makes you different than your competition and play it up, baby! Personality is often why people chose one brand over another, so really start to emphasize yours.

Make it visual

Once you’ve defined your brand personality, learn how to brand yourself visually. People tend to skim on the web, so give them some eye candy. Personalized images, custom typography and other stylized elements get people focused and excited about your message.

The Alison Show does a great job of using stylized elements and writing blog posts with personality!

The Alison Show does a great job of using stylized elements and writing blog posts with personality!

At minimum you want lock in:

  • A logo
  • 2 colors
  • 2 typefaces

You can also choose some reoccurring graphic elements such as patterns. If you are hiring a designer, a seasoned professional will ask questions about personality and possibly create a mood board before they start designing. If you are going it alone, try checking out my typography and color theory sections for more information on how to brand yourself or your business.

Don’t go a’ changing

The most important lesson in how you brand yourself is consistency. People trust what they recognize. They like when you meet their expectations.

So, pick your colors and fonts and stick to them. Don’t throw a stray font or color here and there (I know — it’s tempting). If you want a little variety, decide up-front to switch one or two elements occasionally and limit your experimentation to those elements. Always use your brand voice in your copy and correspondence, even in quick e-mails.

Keep a cheat sheet with your fonts, color and brand personality references and use it everywhere.

I mean EVERYWHERE. Yes, this means your website and business cards — but also your social media profiles, newsletters, e-mail signatures, invoices and packaging.

Bri from Design Love Fest does a great job of being consistent with her branding.

Bri from Design Love Fest does a great job of being consistent with her branding.

If you send snail mail, custom rubber stamps or stickers turn ordinary envelopes and boxes into custom pieces that have your special touch. It matters. People often tweet pictures of my packaging because they feel like they just got a present.

Go! Start Now!

Now you have the basics — personality, visuals and consistency. So, get going! You have the tools to become a lean, mean branding machine. Go make me proud.

If you still need a little help, shoot me an e-mail and we’ll get started on your free consultation.