Brand Board Reveal | Vanessa Mason

When we chatted with Vanessa, we knew we had found a dream client.  She loves gradients of color in blue tones and has a modern sensibility.  

For her brand, we started with a crisp and cool palette to pay homage to her Florida lifestyle.  Then we added geometric elements for a polished vibe and the sans serif font for a sleek finish.

We wish Vanessa and her team all the best with her new, beautiful brand!

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Are Mood Boards Really Necessary?

Mood boards are one of the tools we utilize to help define a visual theme for both social media and branding clients.  After our questionnaire, we like to pull images that we think evoke the feelings, words, and concepts that our clients have expressed.  

This process, though time-consuming, is a method that allows us to ensure that we are speaking the same language before we begin designing.  Whether it be for a social campaign or a brand identity package, the mood board is one of our favorite and most effective tools for getting on the same page as our clients.  

How To Write a Killer Pitch

Writing a killer pitch is key to finding success as a freelancer or small business owner.  Regardless of your industry, there will likely come a time when you have the opportunity to sell yourself to a potential dream client.  When that day comes, don't be anxious because the below tips are sure to get you acknowledged.  

RESEARCH

I would suggest researching the company beforehand and gathering a general idea of who your recipient is and what their place is in the business.  Find out their mission, history, and top selling product or service.

COMPLIMENT 

Open with an introduction and lead in with a compliment related to their business.  Don't go overboard but give them something that makes them smile to themselves and causes them to let down their guard.  

CUSTOMIZE 

Tailor your expertise specifically to what they've disclosed as their needs for the project. I would address each of the tasks or skills and how my experience can contribute to their work. If some of the tasks are outside of your skill level, don't be intimidated.  Use the opportunity to show your proactive nature by letting them know you're already taking a class or you're a super fast learner. 

OFFER VALUE 

Give some detailed tips of what you see on their site or social media platforms that show you know what you're talking about. I personally give a few really juicy bits that reinforce my expertise and specifically showcase the skills they're seeking. 

QUANTIFY 

Include recaps of any similar projects that have already been completed and include any impressive quantifiable metrics.

PAIN POINT 

Be sure to touch on their specific pain point (which they often mention as to why they are hiring). Be direct and solve that problem.  Even paint a picture of what working with you would be like and let them envision their problem being solved by you. 

VISION 

I finish with my business mission so they can see the passion I have for what I do. Many a client has replied to an email pitch mentioning they can tell through my message that I love what I do. Though this attribute is not often focused on, it is an excellent sales tool when selling yourself.

With all of the above in mind, you don't have to be a good writer to craft a good pitch. You just need to have a good strategy and speak directly to your recipient's needs.  

Rustic Inspiration | Moolily

Moolily is an inspirational blog & podcast that focuses on faith-based encouragement for women.  Friends and founders Christina & Kristianna came to me with the goal of tightening their brand so that they could more effectively grow their online presence and influence.

After a handful of mood boards and a lifestyle photo shoot at Christina's home, we developed a style that is as easy going and serene as the ladies themselves. Utilizing wood grain backdrops and a plethora of greenery, we aim to evoke the softness and beauty that can be discovered in everyday surroundings.  

If you're looking for a podcast to nourish your soul, catch Christina and Kristianna over at Moolily and bask in the authenticity and sweetness of an intentional life.  

Five Social Media Tools from a Digital Strategist

5 social media tools from a digital strategist

 

Unless you live under a rock, you are well aware that there is no shortage of social media productivity tools out there.  But the digital landscape is constantly evolving and many apps are consistently adding new features on the regular.  Even if you've tried some of the ones featured here, you might consider poking around their site just to see what new bells and whistles they've installed since you've last given them a go.

 

SMARTERQUEUE | 2-WEEK FREE TRIAL THEN $19.99 - $79.99 PER MONTH

Smarterqueue is the current darling of social media mavens everywhere.  It's an affordable, comprehensive, and intuitive scheduling tool - what more could you ask for?  It has the ability to schedule Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and soon even Pinterest.  Currently, the service features multiple accounts, categories, a visual queue schedule, importer, and basic analytics on just the bottom tier plan.  

 

TRELLO | FREE - $5 PER MONTH

Trello is another one of those apps that all the cool business kids love thanks to a handful of recently trending courses based around the software.  When set up efficiently, the productivity app becomes an epic visual to-do list with full customization options.  And with the new Butler for Trello add-on, this program has risen to the top of the class among hardcore organizational buffs.  

 

VSCOCAM | FREE TO DOWNLOAD

Sure, Vsco has been around awhile but it still continues to make top lists all across the internet.  The camera app can be used in place of your phone's stock camera and it is well worth the time spent downloading.  Photos come out looking crisp and the settings are much like those you'd find on a nice camera with manual capabilities.  It also has a built-in community where you can browse other users' photos if you're looking for some creative inspiration.  They also have a member's only plan with tools and presets. 

 

TAILWIND | FIRST 100 PINS FREE THEN $15 PER MONTH OR $119 ANNUALLY

Tailwind was originally designed to optimize Pinterest and it's one of the best in class in that department.  They offer the ability to schedule consistent time slots that can be filled in with your queue of content as you please.  When you begin scheduling, your account is preloaded with suggested times of day that are likely to perform best based on analyzing your account.  The first 100 pins are free then monthly or annual billing is available.  Instagram was also just added as well.  

 

ICONOSQUARE | 30-DAY FREE TRIAL THEN $9 - $990 PER MONTH

Iconosquare is an analytics tool that focuses mainly on Instagram stats.  Features include the ability to bulk manage comments as well as an influencer search function.  But the tool really shines with it's in-depth analytics like community assessment, engagement ratios, hashtag performance, and competitor analysis.  The service is pricey as rates are per account which can quickly add up if you're a social media manager.  They're also an Instagram partner so your account is totally safe from the sometimes negative consequences of utilizing rogue management tools.  

 

There you have it - 5 tools to step up your online presence game.  Drop a comment below and tell me if you've tried any of them and why you do or don't like them.  

Mood Board | Modern Chrystal

I've always admired mood boards because they're full of two of my favorite things in design; texture and color play.  So when it was time to sit down and craft my own brand for Modern Chrystal, I was obviously excited to get started.  

Some people choose a color palate that is already coordinated.  And that is fine because there are endless opportunities for interpretation when design is the name of the game.  I usually come to the table with a color or two in mind and then begin pulling my images from there.  

The hardest part for my own board was selecting only a handful of images that fully represented my vision for the brand.  As someone that has many interests and often contradictory aesthetic preferences, I find it difficult at times to settle on only a few visuals for myself.  It is one thing to do the job for a client but an entirely different experience shaping a brand as the designer for myself. 

As you can probably tell, I like images with depth and gradients of color and facets. Just being true to my name and all.  

Take a look and comment below with what adjectives you would use to describe my brand by the mood board.

~Chrystal

 

Hello Awkward

OK, let's just jump right in and break the ice.  

Isn't the first post on a blog the most awkward thing ever?  A blog is something that isn't really itself without an impressive stash of curated content and musings.  And yet,  the beginning of a blog is a blank slate with the world as it's oyster.  

Thankfully, that is out of the way.  Look for more content coming soon.