It’s been wonderful to design for my client Joanna den Haan, of Coalescence Consulting. The meaningful work she’s doing in the world is inspiring. She cares deeply about community, belonging, and racial justice. There’s nothing better than developing the branding for change makers. Here’s a peek behind my process.
Joanna lives in Seattle so we began with a phone conversation and then we developed a brand mood board on Pinteres. This helped me gain key insights into her business, style inclination, and branding needs. Coalescence means “to blend or come together” and “to cause to unite in one body”. In her consulting business Joanna creates conditions for connection, stewards people through a process, and holds a space for them to work together and experience their own breakthroughs.
Joanna loves color and wanted to incorporate bright hues into her brand. I developed various color palettes, a few of which you can see above.
Since coalescence means to “come together”, it was important the logo represent pieces coming together to form wholeness. Here are several beginning drafts of the logo.
Joanna will often work with organizations and companies so I selected a bolder weight font that had a bit more visual strength to it and wasn’t as delicate. With the font, I aimed to communicate steadiness and a firm foundation for Joanna’s consulting practice. Here’s another iteration of the logo.
This is the final color palette is rich, bold, vibrant, and fun. The forest green brings a touch of sophistication and the teal, mustard, and orange pair nicely in the final logo.
Joanna had a great start but requested help with her pre-existing website. I developed several pieces of the website so that her brand would have a cohesive visual appearance. I created a custom background and favicon, different header image options for each page, changed the color scheme, and incorporated her logo. I also advised on several website tech questions she had along the way.
She wanted to be able to use pieces of her logo in other ways and I made sure the white lines and “C”s of the logo can be adapted and used within her branding. Whether she’s creating flyers, social media posts, or images for her website, she has what she needs to stay on brand.
I love how her business cards turned out. They’re fun but professional and quickly convey Joanna’s credentials and how she helps organizations.
Graphic & Web Design for Change Makers
If you’re a world-changing entrepreneur with daring dreams and you’re looking to make them a reality — I’m here to help. I’m booking clients for the next two months and would love to save a spot for you. Here’s how we can work together.
Every year, as the flurry of the gift giving season descends, I pause intentionally and search for gifts that support meaningful causes, local artisans and soulful writers. Here’s a round up of unique gift ideas from makers and companies, many of which are socially conscious and have a foundational mission of giving back.
May Designs, which creates beautiful customizable notebooks, agendas and stationery, was started by Mica May. Many of their products are eco-friendly and made by hand. The company also believes in social engagement (100% of proceeds from their Rise School Art Collection goes towards education for those with special needs) and their initiative is to make every day moments more lovely. I ordered my 2017 planner this morning and can’t wait for it to arrive!
Preemptive Love Coalition
Every gift you give helps a refugee family write a new story and reclaim their lives from the ashes of war. The offer lovely handmade candles and soaps.
Thistle Farms, Global Marketplace
Thistle Farms is a powerful global community of women healing from prostitution, trafficking and addiction. They employ 59 survivors through their social enterprises: Thistle Farms Home & Body, Thistle Stop Cafe, and an Artisan Studio. Thistle Farms Global helps employ more than 1,500 women in 18 countries. They have a wonderful collection of bath and body products, apparel and accessories, home goods, and more.
Have you seen baskets being grouped together and used as wall art? Cutest idea! What I love about hand woven Happy Piece baskets is that they’re ethically made in Rwanda and are beautiful, functional products that inspire joyful living. The company was founded by Isa Seminega who has an incredible eye for design, ensures mindful manufacturing practices, and above fair-trade pay to their weavers.
Anchal Project is a nonprofit social enterprise that addresses the exploitation of women around the world by using design thinking to create employment opportunities, products and markets that support empowerment. They have a beautiful collection of artisan quilts & eco-friendly accessories that initiate change in our world.
Better Life Bags
My husband gave me a Better Life Bag for our anniversary. It’s delightful, well made, and I love it. You can customize every detail of your bag and your purchase will go toward empowering and employing women in Detroit, MI.
Cozy Winter Cabin Christmas Cards
I made this cozy little Christmas card printable this week. They’ll look really cute paired with brown craft envelopes and delivered to your loved ones this Christmas. 10% of each printable file sold will go to support children through Compassion International.
Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes your Soul
by Hannah Anderson
I heard Hannah share about her new book on a friend’s podcast and knew this read would make it on my Christmas list. The book is a journey of “pursuing a life of peace and humility and fighting back a sense of restlessness and anxiety”.
Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World
by Emily P. Freeman
This is a book I’ll read time and time again. “Our obsession with bigger and faster is spinning us out of control. We move through the week breathless and bustling, just trying to keep up while longing to slow down. But real life happens in the small moments, the kind we find on Tuesday, the most ordinary day of the week.”
Comfort Detox: Finding Freedom from the Habits that Bind You
by Erin Straza
Ever since Erin gave me a sneak peek of the first chapter of her book I’ve been waiting to finish it. “For too long I have lived life on comfort mode, making choices for life engagement based on safety, ease, and convenience. It has left me very little wiggle room, just a small parcel of real estate upon which to live, move, and have my being. It’s not quite the abundant life Jesus was offering.”
Wool & Honey Yarn and Fiber
Couldn’t be more proud of my friend, Liz, who owns the cutest yarn shop in Cedar, MI with her sister. Know what I love even more than the yarn they offer? They’ve formed a meaningful community around knitting throughout Leelanau County and the globe.
Nourishing by Nature
Stephanie’s soap is out-of-this-world wonderful and all natural. After one day of using her soap my dry winter skin was smooth and soft.
Two if By Sea Studios
Brittany Zeller-Holland is one of my favorite Michigan-based artists and I’m always in awe of the wide variety of her talent. I love watching as she transform her designs into home goods, gift wrap, rugs, stationery and more.
Over to you!
Have a favorite socially conscious company, local artist or author you’d love to share? I’m still making out my gift lists so please mention them in the comments below. I’d love to add to this growing list of products that and give back and support makers!
7 Tips to Gain the Most Value from a Conference
Conferences. They’re great. But sometimes they happen in a such flurry, before you know it you’re home and three months have passed. You haven’t made progress or taken action on the awesomeness you learned. That can make it feel like a wasted trip.
Let’s talk about how we can gain value from the conferences we attend!
Three dear friends (Merritt, Michaela, and Trina) and I are meeting up (for the first time in person) at an conference in Nashville this November. During our bi-monthly Mastermind video calls we’ve been pondering how we’ll approach the event and acquire growth and meaning from it. All our brainstorming led me to create an organized, 37 page note taking printable for us. I’d would love to share it with you if you’re attending Christy Wright’s Business Boutique Event.
It has dedicated space for noting key take aways from each speaker and action steps you want to take after you arrive home. The printable is included below, along with 7 tips to help you gain value from this, or any conference.
1) Set your intentions.
What are you hoping to gain from attending? What would you like to learn? What connections would you like to foster? Think on it and write it down. Set meaningful intentions for yourself before you attend. This peaks your awareness when the event takes place.
I can’t wait to meet my Mastermind ladies and brainstorm all-things-business with them. There has been talk of popcorn and a dance party.
I’m looking forward to hearing Donald Miller’s talk on How the Power of Story can Grow Your Business. I’ve long been an avid reader of his books – from Blue Like Jazz to Scary Close. Excited to hear Jeremy Cowart speak on Creating a Life Masterpiece, too. His recent, successful Kickstarter campaign for the Purpose Hotel is incredible.
2) Polish up your online presence.
If you have an online presence make sure your bios are the same (or similar) across the board. Use consistent pictures. Check your branding — do you represent yourself similarly on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, your website or other social media that you use? Are you telling the same story, visually and with words, in each area? What about your email signature? This will help show who you are and what you do in a unified way for anyone who might connect with you online after the event.
3) Do your footwork.
If the conference you’re attending is out of town, or in a part of town you’re unfamiliar with, doing a bit of prep-work before you attend can help things run smoothly. Instead of using valuable time during the event figuring out where you’d like to eat, what you’d like to see and experience while there, do a little research before hand.
Come with a list of options you can easily pick from. This will help you spend less time making a decision about what’s next. It leaves more time for connecting with other attendees, speakers, and soaking up a new environment.
4) Pack early.
If you have the tendency to procrastinate, make a list of what you’ll need to attend. If the conference is out of town, pack a day or two early so you’re not up late the night before trying to pull suitcase together. If the event is in town, why not pack a purse or laptop bag with essentials the night before?
This will save you from stressing out over the details.
5) Come Prepared.
(Free Printable for Christy Wright’s Business Boutique Event)
For most conferences I’d bring a half-full journal and scrawl pages of notes while listening to the speakers. Sometimes I’d miss important opening remarks while trying to write down the presenter’s name and title of their talks. Things had a tendency to become disorganized and upon arriving home I’d have a wealth of new information with no way to process or take action on what I’d learned.
For Christy Wright’s upcoming Business Boutique Event, I developed a better way to stay organized.
I looked at the two-day event schedule and created a customized printable note taking booklet. It includes:
- Schedule of Events
- Titles of each talk + Speaker’s Name
- Room for notes for each session + dedicated area for key take aways and action steps from each talk
- Space to write in the title of the Breakout Sessions you’ll attend
- Blank pages for capturing ideas, brainstorms, new connections, and discoveries
Use the form below to receive your copy.
6) Make Space to Breathe.
If you’re an introvert like me, big events, while inspiring, can also wear on my energy reserves. The bustle of meeting new people, the wealth of information, and a new place can be overwhelming (fun).
If you’re in the same boat — make the most of scheduled breaks. Meet and connect with other participants, say hello, establish a few new associations and then take the last 10 minutes of the break as alone time to regroup. Maybe this means finding a quiet couch in the lobby of the conference venue or going back to your hotel room to sit with your thoughts and decompress.
Conferences often include high-energy entertainment. It’s lovely and I’m sure 80% of the population adores those moments, but if flashing lights and loud music/shows have a tendency to bring on a headache, there’s nothing wrong with quietly taking a break in the hallway until that portion of an event wraps up. Know yourself and listen to your needs so you can be present for the portions of the event that you’re most looking forward to.
Get enough rest. Wake up early, make room for prayer, stretch those muscles and center your soul.
7) Have Real Conversations.
Allison Fallon likes to say, “People will tell you to ‘position yourself as an expert’ [to be an author], but honestly, I’d rather position myself as a friend.”
I love infusing Allison’s viewpoint into my daily work and know it’d bring new energy into the conference setting.
Come prepared to answer the question, “So what do you do?” It will be asked often. But be ready to ask better questions and have real conversations with people. Instead of the usual networking-type questions what about these instead?:
- “What made you decide to attend this conference?”
- “Tell me about yourself.”
- “What are you dreaming these days?”
- “What’s fascinating you about your work?”
- “What kind of people are you most passionate about serving?”
- “What meaningful themes keep showing up in the work that you’re doing?”
- “What’s going really well in your life right now?”
- “If you could change one thing about the way your work is going, what would it be and why?”
- “Have you read any good books lately?”
- “What are your top three favorite blogs?”
- “What speaker has been the most meaningful to you and why?”
If someone gives you a business card make a note on it of a few key things you learned and appreciate bout them.
7) Follow Up.
I live in a rural area. Many of my design meetings are conducted over Skype with folks around the globe. Working alone from my home studio is wonderful but I don’t often meet folks in person.
A conference is the perfect environment to meet and make connections with people, face to face. When you arrive home be sure to foster those connections. Send them a friendly email, connect with them on social media. Foster friendships with the people you’d like to support and collaborate with.
What are your favorite tips for gaining the most value from a conference?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
And again, if you’re attending the Business Boutique Event in Nashville this November, here’s the form so you can receive the free Event Notes printable.
My sweet client Patsy and I met in Boston at a design and marketing conference several years ago. We sat next to each other at a tiny round table discussion titled, Out in the Sticks, which focused on those of us running businesses in rural areas. Fast forward a few years – Patsy was working full time but dreamed of taking the leap to full time event and retreat styling and life coaching. She reached out to me for help developing her heart-centered brand.
We began with a Skype conversation to clarify her hopes, dreams, and ideas for her business and branding. I then created this mood board for Patsy based on her vision and desire to be approachable, help herself and others celebrate well, and inspire others to achieve joy in their everyday lives.
The color palette I created for her is warm and inviting. The logo has a little celebratory pop of custom illustrated icons at the end. My favorite part of this project was the hand painted pattern I created for her brand that I turned into gift wrap! All event stylists and gracious gift givers (like Patsy) need their own signature wrapping paper.
To keep her branding visually consistent, I choose to use the fonts that were already featured on her website.
These party icons in the & Celebrate brand colors are used throughout her branding suite. On stationary, for social media posts, to add a extra touch to client proposals, etc.
Although Patsy already had a website we wanted to ensure brand consistency across the board. I designed this website header and other website elements: about page photos, sidebar icons, etc.
Here’s one of many Facebook cover photos I designed.
Patsy has a joyful and celebratory presence on a few social media platforms. I designed a variety of on-brand social media graphics as templates that she can edit. She can use them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Here are a sampling of several more social media graphics templates.
Patsy and I both love handwritten notes. When she asked if I’d design notecards for her, I was thrilled. Her custom designed letterhead and envelops look similar.
When people sign up for Patsy’s email list, she wanted to gift them something inspirational. She created a list of 50 simple ways to help activate more joy and I turned it into a PDF booklet she can email to her subscribers.
I designed this Event Styling Proposal template so that Patsy’s would feel professional and organized when presenting to clients. This template provides her clients crucial event information in one place. It includes an introduction to Patsy and her styling philosophy, index, testimonials, event description, initial visual inspiration for events, marketing plan, proposed timeline, pricing, dream team additions, and an event contract. This 14-18-ish page template helped her land four substantial clients which led her to quit her full time job and focus on her business.
Patsy is an awesome person, kind-hearted soul, and lovely, strategic, purposeful event stylist for women entrepreneurs.
If you’re a change making entrepreneur with daring dreams and you’re looking to make them a reality…
I’m here to help you with web and graphic design. My schedule is filling up for the next two months but I’d love to save a spot for you. Take a peek around my website; if you think we’d be a good fit email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s set up a time to chat about your project.
“A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.” – Victor Hugo
What do you do with your ideas? How do you bring them to life?
Are you a “sit down and do the work daily” type person?
A “prototype fast and launch before you’re ready” type person?
Shelve your ideas until you feel compelled to work on them?
Have you ever had a good idea and felt pressure to flesh it out before it falls to the wayside? Hurriedly experimenting with options that will bring a final result? Sometimes I find myself here, and honestly, it’s not the most pleasant mode of creation for me.
This episode of Jeff Goins’ podcast, with guest Rob Bell, was quite helpful. Perhaps it’s just what you need right now, too.
Jeff asked Rob about his creation/work process and in addition to the longstanding advice of “sitting down and doing the work” he also offers this gem:
“If I do have an idea, I’m trying to think about — oh I just had an idea for another thing I’m going to do and I just jotted it in my phone and then next week the idea will probably be a little bigger and the following week after living with it for two weeks, the idea will probably have grown, it will just grow and eventually it will be something. It will be a book, it will be a show, it will be a tour, it will be something, that’s kind of how it works.”
There is no force involved in his method of nurturing ideas. He sits with them. He trusts that they will develop and grow. His method of creation isn’t a firework moment of genius but a slow and steady process that flows over time.
What shifts can you make in order to nurture your ideas in this way? With more ease and grace. With more trust and confidence. With more faith and hope.
Know that when ideas are simmering, you’re still doing the work.
When my client, Tori, saw Outpost’s website she exclaimed, “Every site you create is different! It’s like you give each one it’s own awesome personality!” I couldn’t have said it better myself. While this site doesn’t fall into my usual bright and minimalist style it fits the client and Outpost very well. That’s what good branding is: a reflection of you and your vision!
Here’s a peek behind the design — a look at how I developed the branding and website for Outpost.
Tori shared with me that Outpost grew out of a simple community survey which revealed some pretty big needs:
“I feel judged by church people.”
“I’m interested in finding out more about God.”
“Sunday mornings don’t work for me.”
“I want my kids to have something fun.”
“I want to make a difference in my community.”
A team of people came together and prayed about creating an environment that would meet those needs. And Outpost, a Sunday night gathering for people who “don’t do church”, was born.
When Tori approached me to design their website they already had a logo, which you see above. I wanted to carefully weave Tori’s ideas for the site around the pre-existing logo.
We had a meaningful conversation over lunch and spent time discussing the look and feel she wanted to convey with the website. Relational and remote, weathered and rustic, with touches of warmth. Stories would be central. I developed this mood board after we spent time envisioning the site.
I decided on several colors and created textures for the website.
I wanted each page to have a strong visual representation of the vision Tori hoped the site would evoke so I accomplished this with carefully selected photographs. I placed text overlays on some of the images.
We wanted to keep the text on the site to a minimum so Tori’s daughter (who’s in marketing) and I found and developed a few icons that would represent specific portions of the Outpost experience.
When looking for photos for the site I found several that worked well but they all looked a little different from each other. Here are a few before color editing. I made sure each photo had the same brightness, warm hue, and color quality so that their brand would look cohesive and achieved this by careful photo editing. You can see how the photos turned out and learn more about Outpost on their website.
If you’re a world-changing entrepreneur or non-profit with daring dreams and you’re looking to make them a reality… I’m here to help with web and graphic design. My schedule is filling up quickly for these next two months (July/August) but I’d love to save a spot for you.
Making time to practice your craft is important.
Are you leaving room to play and follow your passion on your own terms? In the middles of client projects, teaching students, writing, or organizing humanitarian causes — is there time to explore?
I’ve been making time to develop fun and creative branding suites. It’s moments spent getting my hands dirty with paint, drawing, scanning, patterning making, and collaging.
While designing this collection of branding I was trying to enjoy the summer day, which does’t come naturally for this winter-loving girl. These cheerful, sunny colors found their way into this project and quite appropriately shifted my ‘wary-of-summer’ mood.
Are you stretching and growing?
Do you make time for practicing, making mistakes, learning? The more you do what you love, the more you’ll develop your body of work. You’ll learn where you love and loathe to give your time. You’ll uncover what brings joy and what brings angst.
When your work piles up…
You’ll look back at this work (which is birthed out of play) and see patterns of who you are. Who you’re becoming. You’ll notice a thread of what you’re called to do connecting moments of your exploration.
For me, it’s patterns. Whimsical colors, patterns, and textures are popping up everywhere in my work. It’s encouraging to know my hand drawn touches add that ‘made-just-for-you’ specialness to designs.
I couldn’t help applying this branding to a gift bag. Wouldn’t this be the cutest bag for a summer picnic in the park or a birthday gift for a friend?
What about you? Where’s your play time leading you?
What are you noticing?
A friend and I talked last week about the things we’re noticing, paying attention to, being inspired and encouraged by.
So — what’s making its way into your consciousness? What keeps showing up? Asking you to work with it, write it, compose it, dance it, help it, read it, make it?
What will you commit to?
Tell me in the comments below what avenues you’ll make time to explore. Have you noticed any patterns emerging from past work?
And if you’re a world-changer with daring dreams and you’re looking to express them uniquely… I’m here to help with web and graphic design. My schedule is filling up for July/August but I’d love to save a spot for you.
This week’s “Behind the Design” is special! Not only will I give you a peek behind the process of creating Cheryl’s brand, website, and printed collateral for her coaching business, you’ll get to meet her in interview form.
Cheryl and I began her project with a meaningful conversation in order for me to understand her needs and the hopes of her coaching clients. She’s an awesomely straightforward person and we developed a mood board to reflect her desire to keep things simple and meaningful. As she went through the process of certification and then stared her coaching practice, she knew she wanted to work with people who are honest, genuine, motivated, goal oriented, logical, optimistic (w/ spiritual belief), good and effective communicators, and who desire accountability. She’s passionate about helping her clients overcome their roadblocks to self-care and wholehearted living.
Her coaching business is called “Every Season Coaching” and as I began rough draft logo sketches, the nature theme really rose to the surface.
After Cheryl chose several rough draft logos that I’d develop further, I selected several custom color palettes that could represent her business.
The coaching logo went through a number of rounds of revision and we landed on a final version (bottom right).
In addition to business cards, and her website (which you can see here) I designed various brand collateral for Cheryl, including: worksheets, email freebies, social media images, letterhead and thank you cards.
I’ve had the honor of regularly working with Cheryl as my coach. Her perceptive listening and thought-provoking questions have ushered meaningful transformation into my life and design business. She’s helped me move from uncertainty and stalling to clarity and action in a variety of areas. From setting attainable goals, to focusing on life-giving projects that engage my gifts, to finding balance between rest and work, to personal development and planning for the future, to embracing health and wellness — she’s been there. Cheryl’s coached my true desires from their hiding places and offered me the accountability I needed to press into the life I’ve longed for.
Meet Cheryl (in interview form)!
[Alysa] I often hear the question, “I wouldn’t know what to talk to a life coach about. Where do you even start?” As a certified life coach, what kind of challenges do you help people with?
- I’m a personal coach for your life, providing accountability and support. Here’s the Archeologist vs. Architect analogy: We’re not digging for treasures in the past we’re designing a building for the future.
- I help people to make a change (i.e. find different career, adapt to job change or retirement, establish personal boundaries, take better care of yourself, improve time management, change your daily habits, become better organized).
- I also help people to reach a goal (i.e. improve your fitness, eat healthier food, get better sleep, do more writing, learn a new skill, complete a project).
[Alysa] What’s one of your biggest challenges as a life coach or running your own business?
- Coaching: staying motivated and focused, deciding what resources will be most helpful
- Business: marketing my coaching services, managing my part-time (coaching) schedule
[Alysa] What brings you joy through your coaching practice and/or working with clients?
- Providing encouragement and sharing ideas and resources
- Listening to understand what someone needs and how to support them
- Helping someone gain a new insight about themselves or a challenging situation
- Celebrating a client’s success in achieving a goal or overcoming a roadblock
[Alysa] What’s one of your favorite quotes?
- “You will never have enough, do enough, or be enough, until you see yourself today as enough.” – Cindy Keating
- (And another one: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt)
[Alysa] What’s delighting you this month?
- It’s summer in Michigan! I love feeling the warm sunshine, smelling the flowers, hearing the singing birds, walking outside with a friend, watching the garden grow, and sitting on the porch reading a book.
[Alysa] If you could leave my readers with a tidbit of advice or encouragement today, what would it be?
- Believe in yourself! You are capable of doing more than you think you can.
- Take care of yourself first to be able to take care of everything else in your life.
To hear more of Cheryl’s story and see how she might help you on your own journey towards self-care and whole hearted living, visit her website: www.everyseasoncoaching.com. She has a free self-care worksheet waiting for you.
And if you’re a world-changing entrepreneur with daring dreams and you’re looking to make them a reality… I’m here to help with web and graphic design. My schedule is filling up for these next two months but I’d love to save a spot for you.
After the long memorial weekend, can we start the work week with gratitude?
Can we embrace the gift that is entrepreneurship?
Yes, there are moments of doubt and frustration — but we *can* make our own path forward, practice our craft, express gratefulness for the opportunities in front of us (and make our own), and share our talents with the world.
What are you grateful for today?