Smell the flowers!

I’ve taken a few weeks away from the constant pressures of social media and Instagram.
I have been busy with clients and trying to fit in extra work every evening after the children’s bedtime
as well as juggling the lack of childcare over Easter holidays.
Frankly, it’s all too much.

The lovely Silke at Nourish to Thrive (great follow for working mums who need a little balance) 
posted along the same lines recently, “Space and Grace”.
It made me think, maybe I am missing out on things with my family when I’m just trying too hard to juggle business marketing with a really big workload? It’s madness. It’s also the curse of the self-employed.

How can we beat it?!
Time to re-evaluate your priorities.
What do you love doing? Do it more.
Are you really producing the best work on 5 hours sleep? If you are… hats off to you,
if not, a few early nights might be a wise move.
Do you need a little bit more connection with your family instead of panicking about the Instagram post that you had scheduled but haven’t got round to posting? Time to log-off and go out. Get some fresh air and reconnect with something/someone other than your phone/tablet/computer screen.

In the world of the self-employed we all know sometimes there is no work and sometimes there is too much (!). The knowledge that there will be some scary periods when the bank balance gets a little low, and your children decide to coincide it with a huge growth spurt, really piles on the guilt to accept everything and continue plugging on social media (regardless of whether you’ve have 3 hours sleep or 8…).

GUILT. Just let it go. You will only give your best work if you are calm and rested. The social media marketing can wait.
If your followers like your content, they will hang around between posts.
Restore a little balance… Just stop and smell the flowers.

Just to say… THANK YOU

*WARNING* Part Mummy Rant. Incredibly dull post, but an eye-opener.
Something which showed me the importance of being human and the harsh reality of being a Mum as well as a little, local, self-employed Graphic Designer.

January started out as a very quiet month after a very quiet December. February, however, I have been inundated! Part yay, part eeek. There have been some very long days/nights to get all of the design work done. Anyway, it is VERY exciting, a wonderful new set of projects to get my teeth stuck into and a great variety of briefs. I’m making great progress and keeping the house fairly organised as well until… My littlest person ended up with a trip to hospital for some steroids and a nebuliser. 3.5hrs Overnight. Yes I know it’s a relatively small thing and all turned out absolutely fine but aside mild parental panic there was no sleep for us until 3am. Both mini G’s decided it was time to get up at some ridiculous time (before the GroClock Sun comes out) and I’m left barely functioning for the remainder of Friday with a long to do list and a load of emails.

Amongst what can only be described as chaos, the metaphorical sunshine starts to break through the cloud. I endeavour to be as prompt as possible when responding to client queries, even around family life (maybe I’m a bad Mum for that?!) but I was going to have to suck up the judgement of delayed, short, barely coherent written words. Honesty really was the only way forward.
I apologetically confessed the aftermath of our night-time hospital adventures and waited for the cold silence in my inbox. It never came. Instead I received the most amazing replies of understanding and solidarity. I am first and foremost a Mum and they completely understood what that means. THANK YOU.

It’s ok to be human, it’s ok to be honest. We seem to spend so much time trying to present a business that is representative of us, sometimes we forget, being a parent is actually part of that. People want to connect, they don’t mind the reality of life (sparing any real detail of course) they just want to communicate with a real person.

“I need a logo, where do I start?!”

The biggest and most daunting start to a new business is creating yourself a visual identity, or having someone else create it for you.

It is a BIG thing to decide on your first logo design. It feels permanent and it is what every customer is going to see and judge you on before they even meet you. Have I made it sound scary enough?
So, the question on everyone’s lips… “Where do I start?”
If you are designing the logo yourself, here are a few key questions I use on my online briefing sheet to help me gain an understanding of a new client, their personality and core values:

1. What do you do?What is your company name and your core philosophies? Any details like these can help to build a lovely little picture of what your company is about and how best a logo can represent you visually. There is a difference between a Sweet Shop and a Chocolate shop, the same as there is a difference between recycled cardboard or 3 layers of plastic film. It may be the product you sell that defines what you need to show any potential customers, or it may be your values or your product aesthetics.

2. Where will you use your logo?This can help you decide whether you want all the bells and whistles or just keep it simple. For example if you want a logo that can be embroidered on a t-shirt you might want to navigate away from small intricate illustration in 15 different colours and consider a simple logo in one or two colours. Something that will represent you but stand out.

3. Who or what inspires you?This isn’t so that you can have a carbon copy of their logo or completely mimic their brand, it is to understand what drives you forward, what makes you tick and what gives you the sparkle that made you start on your business journey. Colours are also a helpful addition. Colours that you are passionate about can be integrated into a design as a real personal element. I am not really a green fan. It does not shout ‘Illustrator’ or ‘Graphic Designer’ to me personally, probably because I have seen far too much of that colour residing in the noses of my children…however, present me with orange or purple and you’ll get a different response.

4. Last but not least…. Draw something.Yes…DRAW. Everyone can do it. A shape, a line, squiggles, dots. If you want to sketch out your logo before generating something in a generic online tool, do it. Draw your favourite shape, a person, anything that comes from the heart. If you love the structure of a triangle or square then I am less likely to give you a logo that is laid across in a line.

There you have it folks. My personal recommendation of how to start the logo design journey!

If you have any more questions or would like to see some examples of my work feel free to drop me an email or visit my website.

The First Post…

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. Franklin D. Roosevelt had some wise words to offer, particularly relevant I think, when it comes to the world of self-employment!

So I umm-ed and ahh-ed for quite a while about setting up a blog.
I don’t normally consider myself as particularly interesting or having much to say.. (but I can give a good rant about some subjects.. let’s avoid that shall we!)
After some thought, I realised, I do have a good knowledge base that can help others with design queries. I’m a little, local, small business based in Tonbridge, Kent and I do have some knowledge and potentially helpful advice to share. I’m always open to suggestions if there are things you want to know how to do!
I honestly believe though, that anyone can ‘create’ beautiful things, you don’t have to be a designer to know how to represent yourself or what you stand for. <3