NICOLE MOWER WEDDINGS & EVENTS

Elegant. It's the one word that I would use to reflect in the new brand for Nicole Mower Weddings & Events. From our initial design meeting to the photos that were used in the inspiration board, elegance has been the common theme throughout this design project. This new brand is one that I'm thrilled to add to my portfolio.

When Nicole first contacted me about a redesign, she was looking for an original take on a branded nautical theme. This was a challenge for both of us to wrap our heads around as anything nautical is very common. While this concept is common, we both felt that it was an important element given that her events are primarily along the New England sea coast. 

In order to gather the emotional response Nicole wanted from her clients, I asked her to start a MOOD BOARD on Pinterest that reflected what she was envisioning for her new brand. We worked on refining a color palette that emulated the photos she chose which included a sexy dark grey, rustic, blush and a uniquely soft blue. 

From there, it was time to start her logo design. It was made very clear to me that Nicole had spent a bunch of time thinking about what she wanted in her new logo. Through the use of Pinterest, I had Nicole start posting some inspiration. We knew we wanted to draw in the nautical theme through the use of the anchor, but we wanted the anchor to be unique. We also narrowed down her preference to a delicate serif font so as her brand didn't become too girly with the use of a script font. 

We drew our focus to her primary font, refining until we found the perfect balance of femininity and professionalism. We also decided that her primary logo would be without the anchor, and she would use the anchor as an alternate where she felt necessary. 

Once her primary logo was complete we had a blast taking her brand to the next level with a unique sub mark, pattern design (for which she LOVES print on tissue paper for gifts), branded return address stamp design and of course a fresh new set of business cards. 

Nicole was a DREAM to work with and I'm thrilled with the outcome of her new brand. If you are looking to get hitched in the New England area, I would highly encourage you to look into her amazing talents and team at www.NicoleMower.com.

Thank you again for everything! I am so thrilled with how everything came out. Thank you for your attention to detail, your experienced questioning and advice, which helped me craft and pull out the vision I wasn’t sure I had, and for your patience and guidance as we refined that vision. You’re amazing!
— Nicole Mower, Lead Planner & Designer
Posted on July 26, 2016 and filed under Behind the Scenes.

SIGHT EYE CARE

A LOOK INSIDE THE LOGO DEVELOPMENT

I must admit, I absolutely love going back through logo concepts and reminiscing about how a specific brand came to fruition. There is something so satisfying about creating these modified variations of the brand boards I give my clients. This less technical and more photographic presentation really shows that there is so much more to a brand than a logo. It’s for this reason that my logo design package and branding design package include so much more than a logo. It's not just about designing a logo. It's about designing a brand.

While you can look through my design portfolio and see the final results, what you miss is all the work that get’s done before a final brand is presented to the world. Here are some behind the scenes mock ups of one of my favorite brand designs this past year for Dr. Neka Amato with Sight Eye Care.

Brand Development Sight Eye Care

Dr. Neka Amato came to me months before opening her very own optometry office in Longmont, Colorado. She had big plans for a brand new office and she wanted the "vibe to be modern, fun and chic.”  I knew I she would be a favorite client of mine right away.

Based on her answers to my design questionnaire, it was very obvious she had a clear vision (no pun intended) for her new brand. She knew exactly what made her different. Her goal was to attract a market that appreciated a more modern approach to an optometrist office, featuring high end frames and superb customer service that goes above and beyond the normal call of duty. I was so pleased to learn she didn’t want anything that looked clinical or mundane. Best of all she loved a hand drawn, modern and bold look. 
 

INITIAL LOGO CONCEPTS
 

“Thanks so much for getting these done so fast! I love them...my favorite is the first one! It’s so cute. I need to think about it for a little bit and want a few more people to look at it before I finalize my decision (and decide if I want the period at the end or not). I will get back to you by end of this week. I’m super excited about it though! Have a great day!”
— Neka Amato, O.D.

In reaction to the client homework I had asked her to complete, I presented a variety of color palettes. We narrowed it down to the following: ”modern with a pinch of vintage.” The colors went well with all of her initial concepts and further helped to define her voice behind her new brand. 

 
Sight Brand Colors
 

Because my clients have 3 revisions to make their logo exactly how they want it, Neka and I played with a variation without the period. We also played with adding a pop of color to the eye glasses. At the end of the day we both liked the all black approach best and let the branding colors and patterns define the rest of her brand.

One last final touch was choosing the font and placement of her tag line, “EYE CARE”.   

 
 

Without realizing it, the best complimentary font to her logo was, “CONTAX.” I have to giggle a little bit knowing that I chose that font solely on how it looked than by the name. I’ll never forget what her alternate font is though!

A few weeks later Neka sent me an email with a picture of her and the her new store front. This couldn’t be more of a dream come true for her and I was so honored to see her logo on the front of her store. 

 
Logo Store Front
 
Hey Elizabeth! Just wanted to thank you again for your design work and your fast responses to all my emails the last few months! Our sign went up a few weeks ago and I wanted you to see it! All my friends and family love the logo by the way!
— Neka Amato, O.D.

If you live in Longmont or any surrounding area, I highly recommend visiting Dr. Neka Amato. Her store is now completely done, open for business and BEAUTIFUL! You can see the inside of her new office and schedule an appointment by visiting her website:

SIGHTEYECARE.COM

Posted on November 23, 2015 and filed under Behind the Scenes.

Bringing MUSIC TO LIFE

BRANDING FACELIFT DESIGN & PRINT MATERIALS

This past spring, I had the privilege of rebranding a wonderful non-profit based here in Denver, CO. My client, Steve Blatt, has a passion for helping young children succeed through the gift of music. As the founder of the non-profit, Bringing Music to Life, Steve coordinates annual instrument drives, bringing unused and restored instruments to schools to be used by children who would be unable to afford to buy an instrument of their own. These instrument drives have awarded nearly 2,000 instruments to more than 100 Colorado schools and music programs. 

Steve came to me with a logo someone had previously designed for him. He wanted to keep the energy of the design and overall layout the same, but he knew it needed to be updated in order to represent the professionalism behind his mission.

ORIGINAL LOGO

 
 

I suggested a logo facelift and brand development package. This included logo re-design based on his current logo as well as business cards, an informational brochure and poster design to promote this year's music drive.

I loved the energy of the logo, but he needed something a bit more simplified and something that would print well. 

INITIAL CONCEPTS

Logo Concepts Bringing Music to Life.png

I rarely encourage so many colors in one logo. However, when trying to express "music" visually, color is a necessity! These had the energy but we wanted to simplify the design more, returning to the concept that less is almost always more. I also refined the colors that overlapped so that they would print more clearly as well as translate to greyscale, despite the complexity of the design. 

We made navy blue a dominant color. In order to help "brand" the overall look, we chose 3 other dominate colors to be used in marketing materials to create a cohesive look. 

 
 

Once we had a look established with the new logo, we started diving into his print materials including an 11x17 poster, an 5.5 x 8.5 trifold brochure and business cards. These worked to further develop and establish the branding standards that he will continue to follow to maintain the integrity of his brand. 

Photography was important and took many hours to collect and refine a collection. We incorporated warm toned close ups of instruments, and very specific images of children playing instruments. It was important we chose photos that represented BMTL as race and gender neutral. We also wanted to make sure the photos appeared "real" as opposed to "staged."

Poster Design BMTL.png

To help promote the drive, my client was thrilled with how the logo looked on his business cards and custom coffee mugs. 

BMTLCoffeeMug.png

If you have an unused instrument or would like to donate to this non-profit, please visit:

www.BringMusic.org

UPDATE!!!  BMTL 2015 collected more than 1,000 instruments during the two weeks of the drive. Check out the 9news STORY.  

NAVIGATING the PRINTING PROCESS

 

The design is done! Tweaks have been made, and it’s perfect. You can hardly wait to get your project printed, and actually feel the hours of work in your hands.  You receive the email from your designer that they have uploaded your print ready files and are ready for download. 

“Click.” Files are downloading….”Download complete.”

Now what?

Well first of all, your designer should still be holding your hand. Hopefully they have a handful of trusted printers they referred you to and you are already feeling confident about the printing process being used, paper, finishes, and cost. If your designer simply wiped their hands as soon as you had approved the work and final files were delivered, fear not. Here are some printing tips and questions to ask when taking those files to print. 

SPECS: Size, color, quantity, paper, finish. Get detailed recommended specs from your designer to give your printer. Be flexible open and ask your printer to make suggestions. All of these variables directly affect your total printing cost. 

OFFSET vs. DIGITAL: This topic can be overwhelming and should be discussed in detail with your printer. Which should be used for your project? This is usually dependent on quantity. Your printer should ALWAYS recommend the most cost effective approach to your project. Generally anything above 500 will usually be more cost effective as an offset run. Digital printing process is best for smaller runs.

COLOR: 4/0, 4/4, 4/1? Your designer should give you these specs. These define single vs double sided printing, full color vs single or spot color printing. If you are printing offset, you might consider printing PMS (or spot) colors and utilize glass/dull varnishes for added texture. 

QUANTITY: Make sure you feel confident about how many you need and find out where the price breaks are. A second print run will cost a lot more than a reprint, or “run-on” as printers call it. If you are really concerned about printing too many, be sure to ask what the “run on” costs would be. 

PAPER: If you are flexible on paper type, always ask them to quote the paper on what they carry IN HOUSE. Printers always have a variety of stock paper that they carry. It’s generally always the most cost effective way to go because they buy them in bulk. If you give your printer an idea of the finish you're after, they will be able to advise on stocks, how the ink handles on them, the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly options. I also recommend you visit your printer to be able to touch and feel the paper before choosing which one is best for you. 

FINISH: You might opt for a gloss or matt varnish coating.  If you plan to store the finished pieces for a while, I always recommend some sort of varnish coating to protect from ink transfer. Maybe you want a UV coating for that poster you are hanging in the window to protect fading. Maybe you have discussed more artistic finishes with your designer like, spot UV treatments, foil stamping, embossing, or letter pressing! This is also where you define if there is a bleed that needs to be trimmed or if there are folds to be made to the final piece. 

QUOTES: Get at least THREE quotes per job. It’s surprising the difference the printers will quote for the same job.  My experience is that you’ll get very different prices depending on how busy they are (or aren’t) so it’s always worth shopping around. That brings us to…

DEADLINES: If you have a short turn around time, be prepared to pay more, especially if you are hoping to print offset as this is a longer printing process than digital. Always give your printer a deadline or “in hands by” date and call a couple days before this date to ensure your project will be ready for pick up.

PROOF PROOF PROOF! Make sure to ask for hard copy print proofs of your files for you to APPROVE before they do the big run. MOST printers will do this at no charge. Some will charge around $80 or so. Just depends. Unless you are on a very tight time crunch, I would never suggest approving a digital proof unless you trust and know the quality of the printer. This also might expose some issues that started with the actual design, which means you will want to go back to your designer for adjustments. 

FINAL THOUGHTS: ALWAYS ask questions with your designer AND printer. Request the two to be open in communication throughout the process. Never be afraid of “sounding dumb.” It’s important you understand what you are paying for, where you can save money, and be giddy to show the world when it’s done!