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Showing posts from July, 2017

Get Digi with It—My Design Process Part Three

The final entry in my blog series on my design process, is bringing everything together digitally. Research, mood board, sketch it out, then bring it into Illustrator. Typically, I use tracing paper over my illustration from my sketch book, finalize it with micron pens, scan it into my MAC, and use the pen tool to trace and refine the design in Adobe Illustrator. The only real advice I can offer on this topic is, make sure you have nice, clean curves and lines, holding shift to keep things tidy while tracing. You don't want to have a "your points are showing" moment, so address these issues and use those handle bars as you go! 

Alternatively, I sometimes bring a sketch into photoshop, load the selection, make it a tiff, trace in Illustrator, expand and clean up, but I feel that a good, crisp pen trace does the best job, myself. It depends on the project; I bring in lots of textures and the like from the sketchbook, but this post is more aimed at brand marks and logotypes.…

Sketchy Business—My Design Process Part Two

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Here, in the second blog of my Design Process series, I will talk a little about sketching. As mentioned previously, I begin with research, move on to mood boarding and style-tiling, then I sketch it out. This step is necessary in everything I do, and is never skipped. Even if it's a project that the client has put a short timeline on, or something simple, I always make the time for sketching. It works out the thoughts I have in my head, and reveals possibilities. It also is helpful when working on projects with awkward dimensions. From logo creation and development, landing pages, posters and worksheets, to iconography, this system guarantees my best work and creativity.

I go through several books a year, of many different sizes. My purse contains a small sketchbook for travel, and my pencil roll, filled with rulers, erasers, a sharpener, tape and mini stapler—you never know when you may want to attach something inspirational you find in the world. Along with this, I always carry …

In the Mood—My Design Process Part One

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Today, I thought I'd share my design process in a series of three blogs. I've already discussed the importance of researching, investigating industry norms, and discovering a target audience, but I haven't talked a lot about what comes after that in my process. 

Here, in the first of the series, I'll talk about what I do after I've probed the competition, and laid the groundwork—creating mood boards and style tiles. 

My mood boards consist of a combination of Pinterest, and collecting inspiring items for the project, then pinning them on a physical board or in my sketch book. Inspiration comes from many sources and in many forms: a vibe or mood of a photograph, a color palette that reflects the product or concept, typography that speaks to the project, patterns, and anything else that may emulate the brand/identity. I then take all of it, narrow things down, process and absorb it all, and build an ultimate board digitally to refer to while designing. It keeps me anch…

"Our ability to handle life's challenges is a measure of our strength of character." ~Les Brown

Down to four days left in the semester, I am plowing through finals week. This summer has tested me with several challenges—a 16 credit gen-ed course load, an internship, 3 clients, my job, and I have now officially begun the process of moving. PHEW...It's been intense, to say the least. I am a proud and hard-working student. That said, these four "A"s were not easy to earn this semester. It has taken extreme organization, so I thought I would share how I made this little personal miracle happen:


Admin. Mondays: When running your own business, it is crucial to have systems in place to help. One day a week, I dedicate time to really clean everything up and get coordinated, by addressing the basics: keep the workspace organized; have client meetings booked and set up on the calendar for the week, and weeks ahead; have a filing system; have places to easily grab invoices, contracts, and other important docs; read, reply, and send out necessary emails; and create weekly job f…

Two Entrepreneurs' Journeys

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The panel for this week's all-clinic meeting included: Joe Nashif; CEO US-Mattress, and Cash Butler; Founder, Clarilegal. This was a valuable discussion to me, because their combined experiences echo my own personal journey. Following, are some important and special thoughts and ideas I took away in particular from their stories on the journey to entrepreneurship, as well as a few of my own.



Cash, (pictured left) has primarily worked for very large corporate banks. While the money was great, he began to feel a lack of freedom working in a large corporation, and didn't feel challenged at all. Now that he is an entrepreneur, he realizes, "Even though the money's going the wrong way sometimes, I am happier because I am growing something." He went on to point out the importance and benefits of using social media—Digital has become a main channel, and it is the best way to get noticed and leave impressions.
Joe, (pictured right) started up back when the Internet was j…

Keep Calm. ...and do Analytics.

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Last week I took the Google Analytics Exam, and failed with a 64%. I've had no prior experience with analytics, and thought I'd fail fast to get a feel for the test! Well, THAT certainly worked. Hah! However, it's not really that bad, considering I went into this almost blind with minimal studying and practice! Once you fail, you have to wait 7 days to take the exam again. 

Over the last week I prepared by re watching the beginner academy videos, checked out YouTube tutorials as a fellow intern suggested, practiced with my blog, and borrowed the Analytics book to study—loaned to me by the aforementioned intern. Now, said intern was successful on her very first go, and received a 94% to boot, so I followed all of her advice. This morning was my 7th day, I took the exam, and I passed! 

I'm attaching my certificate in all its glory to mark the occasion! Go, me!!!


Home sweet Home

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I started working in my new home office for the summer this past Wednesday! Previously, we had been working remotely, so this is proving to be a more efficient and productive way to work as a team. Quite used to independently working from home, this has been a fresh and new change of pace for me. 

This week, we whipped out the whiteboard, brainstormed, mind-mapped, and came to some terrific conclusions and results on who we are interested in targeting. 

Here's the new digs! Check out that outstanding view:




Today I will be doing a lot of photo-editing, and preparing the finished selections for social media ads. We will be running photo ads, as well as gifs, to further research what audience we are most reaching.
Looking forward to our next meeting at the office!

One Ball. Two Ball. Old Ball. New Ball.

Life can sometimes seem like a juggling act, and I've been thinking a lot about work-life balance lately. I've become a pro at juggling multiple tasks without dropping a ball, but wasn't always so successful at it. I recall a time in my life when I would go days without sleep, clock 60–70 hours weekly, and meals were red-eyes from the coffee shop instead of food. As a result, many balls were dropped as I became less efficient and sloppy. Since then, I havefoundthat choosing a ball or two to set aside while I rest and refuel makes me more productive, sharp, and a happier person to be around. As we discussed in the clinic meeting yesterday, no one wants to work alongside the irritated, sleep-deprived person who takes on 70 hours of work a week. In my profession, it's crucial to be able to juggle tons of tasks, while maintaining that balance.

I still have to set aside a ball now and then, or refuse them once in awhile because too many are up in the air, but biting off more…

What's the Story?

Every week, we attend an all-clinic meeting to report our weekly progress, cheer each other on, share our endeavors to reach success in our companies, and get valuable advice and insight from guest speakers and panels of professionals in our field of work. I am excited by, and look most forward to, the speaker portion of the evening—most of them are past A2SPARK digital summer clinic graduates, or affiliates. This week's panel included: Jorel McCree, Dentsu Aegis; Chad Wiebesick, VP Marketing, Washtenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau; Eric Wortman, Google; and moderator Kim Brown, DUO Security

Discussing this week's topic, Launching your Career in Digital, the panel offered guidance on everything from: steps to take after graduating from the clinic, how I can be a good fit for a team and company, how to make sure that the company and team is a good fit for me, and important standards and expectations of hiring managers in these associations. 

One of my favorite portions of the…

Defining and Targeting Business Audience

Over the last week, I have been researching various methods to identify our key audience, and potential new visitors, and creating concept maps to define specific demographics. This week we will be running AD campaigns on Social Media to concentrate our efforts on this market. I'm learning a lot about strategic marketing, and the importance of nailing down, and reaching the target customer base.

By fine-tuning the different ways the audience would use our product, and in what particular situation they would enjoy it, allows us to develop relevant advertisements aimed specifically towards them. Once this information is determined, I will then be able to design to a meaningful and thoughtful concept!

It's fun being on the think-tank end of things! Having involvement from beginning to end on projects makes this already incredible experience an even more advantageous and robust one, and will better prepare me for a bright future in Digital Marketing and Design.

Ideas, Trends, and Strategies

This evening I will be managing and creating Social Media platforms. Using Hootsuite will help to measure results, organize posts and media across all networks, and make everything nice and cohesive across boards to engage and communicate with customers and users! It is my hope that managing everything from one place—tracking performance with Analytics, scheduling posts and projects, and team collaboration—will result in a strong, more efficient, and consistent flow. 

I will be implementing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other networking strategies to our marketing plan, and more photo shoots with models this week.

Looking forward to a busy few days!

“The success of a page should be measured by one criteria: Does the visitor do what you want them to do?” –Aaron Wall

I’ve been checking out Google Analytics and AdWords, and installing and putting the analytics to use wherever and whenever possible. Tracking activity and measuring data are very important tools in marketing, especially for a start-up company like the one I work for.
I’ve had several incredible opportunities over many years to study marketing and implement strategy plans for the companies I have worked for. I’ve been designing professionally for the last 4 years, and can say with certainty, that marketing and design very much go hand in hand. Included in my creative process, with every client or company I design for, is finding solutions to increase traffic or set them apart in a meaningful way. Considering the audience, researching trends and industry norms, and brainstorming different ways to approach their market, are all part of the development. Now I get the chance to learn about what is being clicked, and from where! Very cool stuff...
This has already been a unique experience for…