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Colour of the Year 2021

Posted 28/1/2021

Did you know that Pantone pick a 'colour of the year' each year? This year they’ve chosen two! I love their website for exploring new colours and checking shades of different colours, but this is also a fab way to see which colour will be (or they predict will be) 'on trend' each year. The Pantone experts carry out extensive research around the world, looking for new colour influences in all areas of design, art collections, fashion, the entertainment industry, popular travel destinations, new technology, materials, textures, social media platforms and upcoming sporting events.

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5 reasons graphic design is important to your business

Posted 9/1/2021

1. First impressions count

Graphic design is important to any business as it will help you make a good first impression. If a potential customer first sees you in person, you would do your best to ensure this, wouldn’t you? Sometimes you will have to rely on graphic design to do this for you. Whether it’s through your adverts, social media posts or flyers, you need to ensure you have a professional image. When a customer first hears about your business, they are likely to ‘google’ you, to see if you have a web presence, either through a website of your own, or through social media. Have you googled yourself? What do you find? Have a look and view these first impressions through the eyes of your potential customer.

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Lockdown #3

Posted 6/1/2021

I just thought I'd pop onto my blog to let you know that I'm still open during this third UK lockdown. I am back to also homeschooling my four children (send help!) but am still very much working, albeit at random hours. If you want to get in touch, email is probably best, and my 'usual' work hours will be evenings from now until at least mid February. 

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Is it time for a New Year rebrand?

Posted 27/12/2020

A New Year rebrand can seem like a great idea - until you get down to the details. You might know that you’re not happy with what you have, but what do you want instead? Here are a few simple ways to approach your New Year rebrand and get it right.

 

Think about your values

Your branding needs to tell your customers what you stand for. What do you think of when you see logos for some of the world’s biggest brands? You don’t just think about the design. It reminds you of what that brand stands for and how you feel about it. What are your business values? How do you want your customers (or the people who aren’t customers yet) to feel when they think about you? There’s no set answer to this. You might want to be super professional, trustworthy, friendly and approachable or a whole host of other things. You might want to be known for your stand on a particular issue. Start there and get clear on what you want your branding to say.

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Are you using social media to promote your business?

Posted 10/12/2020

Social media is such a valuable tool. Whilst we’re used to using it for keeping in touch with friends and sharing moments of our personal lives, it can also be invaluable for business. What other service can, for free, put your business in front of potential customers world wide?

 

Algorithms 

I definitely don’t profess to be an expert on this, but social media uses algorithms to decide what gets shown to which members of your audience, rather than just showing everything as it’s posted, in chronological order. The more we try and fit the criteria that the algorithm likes or recognises, the more people will see our posts. Interaction is key to the algorithms, the more people interact with, share or save your posts (depending on the social media platform) the more people will see your subsequent posts. In this blog I’m just going to talk about Facebook and Instagram, as these are the social media platforms I use daily. I do also use LinkedIn and have just started to use Twitter and Pinterest, but I’m still learning with these, hopefully next year I’ll be able to give some advice about these platforms too!

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How to make your Insta grid work for you

Posted 30/11/2020

Do you use Instagram?

Firstly, are you using social media? And if you are, are you making the most of this free marketing tool? Here are a few simple ways to up your game and make your grid work for you!

 

Grid patterns

Your grid is the perfect tool to impress potential customers, they can see what you do at a glance and then, if they’re interested, they can click onto each image to find out more, or head over to your website from the link you can include in your bio. Instagram is such a visual platform, you need to take advantage of this. If viewers are impressed, they’ll follow you; once they’re following you and get to know you and your brand, you’ll have new customers!

A popular way to draw followers in is to use a grid layout. These look slick and professional, a well thought out and planned grid shows your potential customers your organisation and foresight, as well as showing off your service or product. There are so many options to create a pattern on your grid, you need to find the one that works best for you and your brand. Here are a few examples:

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How I create beautiful branding for your business

Posted 3/11/2020

It’s one thing deciding that you need to create gorgeous branding for your business. It’s quite another actually doing it. I know that the idea of working with a designer can seem pretty daunting if you’ve never done it before. If you’re wondering what the process of working with a designer to create your branding is like, this blog is for you. Here’s how I work with my clients to create beautiful branding that you’ll love.

 

Start with the basics

The most important thing in any new branding project is for me to get to know your business. Your brand needs to represent what you do, your values and what makes you different. If you’ve already got a website or social media I’ll look at that to get a feel for your business. I’ll also ask you about the kind of designs you like. We can talk on the phone or you can email me with information, it’s completely up to you.

I offer different packages so you can choose one that works for you. Once we’ve discussed all of that I’ll ask you whether you’re happy to go ahead. If you are I ask for a 50% deposit before I start work.

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5 ways you can make your marketing design sparkle for Christmas

Posted 23/10/2020

One of my favourite things about Christmas is the way that everything gets a bit more sparkly. The tree goes up, Christmas lights come on and your social media feed is full of festive posts. It’s a great time to give your marketing a bit of extra shine and it’s easier than you might think. The important thing is to create a Christmas feel but without losing your brand identity. Here are just five simple ways that you can get your marketing design ready for Christmas.

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How I designed a gorgeous business Christmas card

Posted 14/10/2020

When my clients at The Happy Caravan Company/Melton Tourer Services got in touch to ask me to design their Christmas card they gave me the kind of brief I love. The conversation went something like ‘can you design us a Christmas card? We don’t mind what it says.’ So I got to work to create a lovely festive card that they could send out to their customers. Here’s how I did it.

 

Working with their existing branding

The Happy Caravan Company is a Leicestershire based company providing servicing and maintenance for caravans and motor homes. It’s not the most obviously festive business. Thankfully, that doesn’t prevent you from sending out a great Christmas greeting. I’d already redrawn their logo for them so they could use it in a few different places so I started there. When you’re creating a card or any other Christmas design it’s important that your business is still recognisable. That way your customers will open their Christmas card and instantly know it’s from you. They’ll also be reminded of your business every time they see the card on their mantelpiece.

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Why I choose Adobe.

Posted 9/10/2020

Software

Software is something that’s so important to produce good design work, so I thought I’d talk a little about it today. As well as being educated in what makes good design, and gaining experience in design, it’s important to have the right tools for the job. 

There are choices in software and cost can of course come into people’s decisions, but for me, as a professional graphic designer, Adobe is the software I’d always choose. It’s now in a subscription format called Creative Cloud, so I subscribe to the programs I need and also receive the supporting font and portfolio packages each month. Incidentally, Adobe were very supportive of freelancers at the height of the Covid pandemic and gave us several months payment free which was amazing of them at the time when I was most worried about being self employed. 

I use Adobe Illustrator on a daily basis, supported by Adobe Photoshop for any images I need to edit, and I use Adobe InDesign for any multi page documents, such as brochures, leaflets etc. I’ll speak more about each of these programs over my next few posts.

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5 different types of logo design you can use for your branding

Posted 25/9/2020

Did you know there are different types of logo design? These are split into 5 main categories:

  • Wordmark
  • Lettermark
  • Pictorial Mark
  • Abstract Mark
  • Combination Mark

There are also mascots, which I spoke about in my previous blog post, which can also be used as part of your branding. I thought today I'd explain these different logo categories as it may help you decide what kind of logo you're looking for.

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Icons and Mascots

Posted 18/9/2020

Icons

An icon is an image that is used to represent something. This could be an action (eg ‘call me’, represented by a phone icon),  a service (eg an icon of a washing machine to show that you repair washing machines) or an object (eg a computer to represent ‘email me’ or tell your audience ‘I fix computers’.) 

You need to think carefully about what you want the icon to represent, how clear it is to your audience, and also how you’re going to use that icon.

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Understanding colour modes and terms, and ways to use colour in design.

Posted 21/8/2020

Today I thought I'd share some information about colour modes and also some other design terms related to colour within graphic design. I hope it's helpful!

 

RGB

RGB stands for Red, Green, Blue. This is the colour mode we use for anything that will be viewed on screen, and the colours relate to the different colours of light used to produce the exact colours you want to appear on a computer/phone/tablet screen.

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Hierarchy

Posted 24/7/2020

Hierarchy is the way the text within a design is put together to show the order of importance of the information included, and also make it easy for the reader to understand. It makes use of the size of the text, the fonts chosen, and the layout, to guide readers in where to look first or where to find the information they need on the page. 

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More typography terms explained: x-height, ascenders, descenders & baseline.

Posted 24/7/2020

I thought I'd continue my explanations of typography terms today! These are a few that describe the letters themselves and the random names for things that you probably don't even think about! You'll win if a typography or design round comes up on a quiz night though!! 

X-height

The x-height is the point where most of the lower case letters in a word reach their maximum height. It is set from the height of the x in that font and therefore different fonts will have different x-heights. This doesn’t take into account the taller letters or the letters with tails.

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Exciting news!

Posted 4/7/2020

I have been working with Willow of London since August 2018 and was so excited to see that the yoga mat designs I've worked on with them have been featured in Hello Magazine! I've worked on designs for yoga mats, luggage and mobile phonecases with Willow of London and it's fantastic to see this article!

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Widows and orphans - leading, kerning and tracking - Typography terms explained!

Posted 4/7/2020

I thought I'd explain a few typography terms today, some terms have very different meanings in typography to what you might expect! To start with I'll explain the terms 'widow' and 'orphan' which are definitely different to the more common use of these words and thankfully not as sad. 

Widow

A widow is a single word left alone at the bottom of a paragraph, column or page. Sometimes a short group of words can also be described as a widow. They can make the text look unbalanced and appear to have too much white space at the end of a page.

There are a few ways to get around these widow words, as well as editing the content of the text itself, we can also play with the spacing in between individual letters or words, as well as altering the line spacing.

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Different font styles

Posted 14/6/2020

There are so many fonts to choose from, it can be a real minefield to know where to start. I thought I'd explain a few design terms to do with typography and font to give you a little more information about the different families of fonts. I hope this is helpful!

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File types explained!

Posted 28/5/2020

I thought I'd explain a few different file types as I thought it might help you to understand what files you're receiving when I send over finished artwork, or if you're not a customer it might help you to know what to ask for from your designer. I'm going to talk about jpegs, pngs, eps and pdf files.

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Vector versus raster images

Posted 15/5/2020

I often talk about vector files, all of the logos, illustrations and infographics I design are vectors, and if I redraw a logo as a vector image I explain the reasons behind this, but here’s a little more info. Vector images are made up of points, lines and curves, rather than solid coloured square pixels. The shapes within a vector image are calculated using a mathematical equation which means the image can be scaled up without losing any quality, or pixelating/blurring, and however close you zoom in on the image, the lines will remain smooth. This applies to text as well as images, which are also converted into shapes and therefore scalable. 

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