New Work: Couture Concepts NY

Squarespace web design for wedding events company
Squarespace Website Design for Couture Concepts NY

We recently launched the new design for Couture Concepts NY, an events planning company in New York. The website was designed for Squarespace and looks truly lovely! I haven't made a feminine design that I loved this much since my collaboration with Laura from Trendinozze. Coincidentally, Couture Concepts is run by a designer named Laura. I think Lauras tend to have good taste for design... 

Overcoming The Fear of Being an Expert

I was always very uncomfortable describing myself as an expert. I felt like I would be imposing myself as a know-it-all goddess. If you follow my blog long enough, you know I ranted about overnight experts in 2013 and in 2014 (at least once a year). I'm still against overnight self-declared experts. 

But truth is, it's time for me to embrace this title: "Branding expert." I definitely don't know it all about branding, but I've been working exclusively with branding for several years. I still have a lot to learn, but I also have enough knowledge to help a lot of people. So now, when people ask me what is my profession, I'll proudly say: "I'm a branding expert." At least until I find something better... 

Branding witch might pop-up occasionally too, as it's still a pretty cool job title. If that got you curious, you can listen to my story at the Being Freelance Podcast.

Custom Design Promo: 50%OFF

How would you like a new design for your brand? I'm in the process of updating my portfolio, so I'm looking for creatives who want to build a meaningful and impactful design for their brands. 

Logo, Social Media, Website, Blog design...

Every custom design service is 50%OFF right now, so it's a truly a great opportunity to take your visual identity to a whole new level. This offer is valid for the first 3 clients who book a custom design service until next Monday, August 15th.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any doubts. I'm looking forward bringing your vision to life!

Custom Branding Design
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Fio & Fox Branding

I started working with Douglas and Edilse on the branding for Fio & Fox almost 1 year ago. We worked on all the basics first: logo design, product photography, and a basic strategy. 

This was one of my favorite moodboards ever. And definitely one of my favorite initial logo drafts ever. 

We started the website in April, but the project had to be put on hold while they were going through a busy season. Now we finally had time to close the website design, business cards, and Facebook cover!

This was a truly fun project. I loved being able to help with the brand naming, choosing the colors, font style, designing the fox... Oh, and bellow are some photos from their first collection (Sunshine).

Behind The Branding: Lemon Bears

Lemon Bears idea is simple: create comfy and adorable clothing and accessories for kids and young teens. It's starting out with bows, headbands, and bags, but has big plans for the near future. 


Creating the Logo

The branding is minimal but fun and cute. We're taking advantage of the name to make the logo as much of a literal translation of the brand's name as possible -still keeping it minimal and fun, which are the main inspiration words for this project.


The Brand Photography

Some of the product photos are turning out so nicely that it's been easy to use them on collateral materials as well. The brand photography is walking hand-in-hand with the brand strategy (as it should be with every part of our brands, right?)


The Brand Strategy

Photography: To keep a strong sense of uniqueness and branding on the shop, the idea is to have all products photographed from the same angle, the same amount of times.

Social Media: To make sure social media is being handled well, the aim is to keep Facebook and Instagram 5x a week. And Snapchat the behind-the-scenes 3x a week. Pinterest will be added to the game in the next couple of months, when the brand is more stable. Of course, all handlers are the same: @LemonBearsShop

Web Presence: Lemon Bears has absolutely no plans of having a website right now. The plan is to have a blog in the near future. But for now, the focus is 100% on the Etsy shop. BUT, the domain (LemonBears.com) and self-hosted email account (Shop@LemonBears.com) are already guaranteed and setup.

 

Hope you enjoyed learning what went behind the branding for Lemon Bears! Happy weekend, guys!

July Freebies: An Update

For Creativepreneurs is being loaded with all kinds of products this week, with special products launch on Wednesday. Warning: New products may blow your mind! Everything is being created with lots of attention and care, and with creative entrepreneurs in mind. 

Until then, let me update you guys on the For Creativepreneurs newsletter and freebies:

GET THE BLOG FREEBIE

 

Get ready for blog freebies!

  • Freebies will be listed on the blog monthly, but just 1 item per month.
  • To kickstart it, July brings you 2 products: 1 stock photo and 1 mockup template.
  • Freebies will be listed for 1 week only! So download it as soon as you see it here!

 

THE NEWSLETTER FREEBIE

 

The Newsletter Updates

  •  July newsletter comes with 5 stock photos and 1 mockup template
  • All monthly newsletters will still come with stock photos and something else
  • Everyone in the newsletter gets 15%OFF on the shop!

 

*KellyBrito.com is now a personal blog, so all followers have been transferred to this blog instead. ;)

May Free Stock Photos Are In!

Free Stock Photos
Free Stock Photos

Hey beauties! If you're in the list, you know that May's free stock photos are in. You probably already downloaded your photos and, hopefully, you're using it in your awesome projects. If you have not signed yet, visit For Creativepreneur to get it!

As always, comments, suggestions and requests for next month's free stock photos, are very welcome!

My apologies for not sending the April photos. I planned things poorly and had schedule conflicts, so April's shoot had to be cancelled. But do expect some awesome stuff, as my brother (from another mother -and father, and...) is arriving in the US tomorrow. He's fresh out of Film school and has a thousand exciting projects planned. He'll be helping me in some creative photoshoots I have planned -so expect awesome behind-the-scenes videos!!!

Tools & Ideas For Managing Time

Managing time is not an easy thing for most creatives... I've been starting my days with a to-do list. Even though I'm rarely able to complete it, it helps me stay organized, focused, and manage my time better. The Business Organization Tools post has a list of awesome to-do list apps and sites -but I'm really a pen + paper gal when it comes to to-do lists.

Ideas For Managing Time

1- POST SCHEDULING is usually the first I do on Mondays. I schedule most of my Tweets and Instagram posts. I've tried Buffer and Dlvr.it, but Hootsuite was the one that fit my needs best. This way, I have more free time during the whole week!

2- Then I go ahead and make my TO-DO LIST. The priority order goes from top to bottom, this way if I can't cross all items off my list, I know the most important ones were done, at least.

3- CHEK EMAILS and social media in the morning, then I do my best to stay away from it until mid-afternoon. These 2 things are incredibly distracting and time-consuming, so the least I do it, the better. Facebook groups will be the death of me... ♥︎

Tools For Managing Time

1- TIMER TAB stays open on my browser all day. I setup alarms to make sure I know when to stop doing one task and start another. I even setup alarms to remind me of eating (boy, am I awful at keep healthy habits! ...)

2- GOBOXI helps me organize emails, plus keeps tasks and calendar in one place. It definitely helps me stay on track with things. *I keep long-term goals and tasks digitally, short-term ones on paper.

As a creative person, I know how hard it can be to focus and get tasks done when our brains are having a million cool ideas at the same time. Amanda Oliver wrote a very nice post with 14 time management tips for creatives that I absolutely recommend to anyone!

Best eCommerce Storefronts For Small Businesses

eCommerce Storefronts
eCommerce Storefronts

I've tried so many eCommerce storefronts, I lost track of it. Some are easy to use, but lack tools and flexibility. The ones with with great tools and flexibility are usually expensive or complex (*cough*WooCommerce*cough*). It's a battle -just like choosing the best  platform for our own website or blog. There's not one platform that has it all or is perfect. The trick is to find the one that will fit our needs and offers the tools we actually need. I LOVE using 3rd party eCommerce-focused sites for my businesses, because they are eCommerce-ready and make it much easier to upload, organize, sell, and keep track of our products. Plus, if you sell hundreds of items, it won't slow down your website due to heavy images or files. There are dozens of pros for using a 3rd party eCommerce service/website, and there are dozens of cons -like fees! The dreadful fees... Well, let me break down my experience with my favorite 5 providers.

Etsy

Some hate it, some love it. It truly deserves a post of it own -that's how long the pros and cons list is. Etsy doesn't allow you to brand your shop much and it almost completely takes away your shop's identity -people remember they bought something on Etsy and not on your shop (they usually don't even remember your shop's name). But dedicating yourself to building a brand experience counts a lot there -like sending follow-up emails and messages, offering discounts, inviting buyers to your newsletter, etc. The best thing about Etsy is that it is a huge marketplace, so if you do it right, you have a decent shot at succeeding.

Best Way to Use it: Have an Etsy shop to attract more prospects. Use it to display your best products, but not necessarily all of them. Think of Etsy like a shop window, one that is filled with few but awesome products that will make people want to go in and see more. Offering things like product customization and top customer experience will make all difference for your shop on Etsy.

Dreadful fees: $0.20 USD for listing an item, 3.5% on each sale.

Creative Market

This is the place for all digital needs. I still remember when they first started and sent me an invitation to join them via Etsy convo. I expected it to be another dead end website, but I created a shop there anyway. Boy, am I glad I did it! When it comes to photography and website templates or themes, Creative Market might be on the top of the list right now (or very close).

Best Way to Use it: Creative Market is great if you want to sell stock/styled photos, Wordpress themes, or fonts. These are definitely top selling products there. They have their own marketplace and generate leads without you having to worry much. Audience there is pretty picky, though. You can get great comments and feedbacks there, but there are many uneducated people in the audience that will push customer service deeply. So be prepared!

Dreadful fees: 30% on each sale. Say whaaaat? Yep.

Tictail

I tried Tictail as soon as it launched and loved it! It has beautiful and minimal designs, and allows heavy design customization, charges no fees for listing, and is the perfect solution for many sellers out there. It is pretty popular in Europe. The down side is that every cool feature is an add-on -a paid one, at that. So adding your own .com domain, shipping calculator, digital downloads, etc, will cost you a one-time or a monthly fee. The add-on fees are not super expensive, but...

Best Way to Use it: Tictail is not ideal if you want to depend only on your online store to succeed online, as they have no marketplace and no strong SEO/mapping/indexing system (or so I heard). Instead, use Tictail as a shop for your already existing website or blog. Your website or blog should be the one doing the work to attract the audience, then redirect them to your Tictail - like having a "shop" tab on your site/blog menu bar.

Dreadful fees: None, unless you need to add the cool add-ons.

Storenvy

Storenvy was another storefront that I tried as soon as it launched. I remember lots of known designers and bloggers had shops there at the time (2012 or so). For some reason, the hype died quickly. I used to make at least 4 sales a week -which I consider not bad (I always sold on different storefronts at once). Sorenvy allows heavy design customization and has a good inventory backend.

Best Way to Use it: Storenvy has a marketplace of it own (like Etsy and CM), but it will work best for your advantage if you redirect your audience to it -like you'd do with Tictail. So focus on building your client base through your website or blog, then redirect them to your Storenvy shop.

Dreadful fees: 10% of each sale.

Self-Hosted Shop

Well, it depends on the platform you'll be using. Seriously, nothing beats having your own, self-hosted shop, if you have the time to dedicate yourself to it. If the client can buy directly from your own website, that would definitely be a plus on the brand experience...  If you have the budget, I strongly suggest running your shop on Squarespace - you have client info security, uptime guarantee, less worries, beautiful eCommerce design. If you're on a tight budget, working with WooCommerce on Wordpress might be the best option. By working with WooCommerce, you will pay zero fees, list unlimited products, be fully responsible for running every little detail of your online shop. WooCommerce appearance sucks, but you can customize it yourself or hire a designer/developer to help you.

Best Way to Use it: Have a secure hosting, as Google has been pretty tight about eCommerce sites lately. Get a SSL for your domain, use a secure and known hosting, keep your site always updated (all plugins, latest WP version, themes, etc). If you're running the shop on a site like Squarespace or Weebly, security stuff is 100% up to them!

Dreadful fees: Depends on what storefront provider you choose. With Wordpress + WooCommerce, you have hosting + domain expenses only. Squarespace has some pretty dreadful fees...

Ficèk Knits Branding Design

Logo Design and Business Cards for Ficèk Knits

Logo Design and Business Cards for Ficèk Knits

Ficèk Knits is a nature and earth-inspired brand, that sells products created with the most pure and high quality yarns and lamber. Made in Oregon, USA, Ficek Knits is a brand with a mission: create heirloom quality items, create memories.

Logo Design and Branding for Ficèk Knits

Logo Design and Branding for Ficèk Knits

Logo Design for Ficèk Knits

Logo Design for Ficèk Knits

Logo Design and Branding for Ficèk Knits

Logo Design and Branding for Ficèk Knits

Moodboard and Logo Design Process for Ficèk Knits

Moodboard and Logo Design Process for Ficèk Knits

Jen Backstein Branding Design

Jen Backstein is an interior designer from Canada, with a minimal and elegant style - for herself and for her work. As her brand expands, we worked on a visual identity that could reflect her minimalism and elegance, in a way that would best showcase her work and help her clients easily understand what they can expect from her work and the experience of working with JBI.

JenInteriorsBranding

JenInteriorsBranding

InitialLogos

InitialLogos

BrandGuideBoard

BrandGuideBoard

Homepage

Homepage

Services

Services

White Legal Strategy Branding

whitelegal
whitelegal
WLogoDesign1.jpg

White Legal Strategy's branding was planned and designed to attract creatives and artists who want to protect their work, but through a lawyer that truly understand how to communicate with creatives and what the struggles of the artist community is. We developed a minimal and modern identity design, with a touch of old school and vintage to make it artistic and unique.

Brand_Identity_Board
Brand_Identity_Board
Cristine_Home
Cristine_Home
ChristineLearnPage
ChristineLearnPage
LawBrandDesign
LawBrandDesign

Branding Process: Inspiration Board and Moodboards

SquaresMoodboard

DOWNLOAD MOODBOARD TEMPLATES HERE

Every design process starts with inspiration. And since Pinterest was created, that's my #1 place to collect images for moodboards. Although my process consists of a questionnaire to help me understand the clients needs and goals, there's nothing like getting visual with things -it really is worth a thousand words (or more). So my first step is to ask clients to create a branding board on Pinterest and collect images that would represent or connect with their brands. Then I create a moodboard...

Moodboards, as the name says, is a board that will encompass the brand's mood and guide me through the design process. 

For the past several years, I used to make moodboards that fit perfectly into a certain area -where all edges were aligned. Like this one bellow.

SymetricalMoodboard

Since early 2015 I've been into asymmetrical moodboards (bellow). They save me tons of time, by not having to arrange and align  each image perfectly.

AssymetricalMoodboard

Breanna shared a moodboard style she's been using lately -which consists of squares only (like the one on the very top of this post) . It's super practical and helpful in getting a beautiful board done + saving loads time.

I have all the templates for moodboards above available for download via Dropbox. So feel free to download and use them as you need!

The Ideal Size of a Blog Post + Link Love

Writing Blog Posts

I always found weird that I love reading books, but usually hate reading a long blog post. Anything bigger than 2 or 3 paragraphs at a time could become a torture to me.  I have recently realized that the problem isn't reading long posts. The problem is that long posts usually don't have a quality that is good enough to keep my attention. The same applies to long landing pages (watch out, coaches!).

One of my favorite blogs to visit is Cocorrina -beautiful images, meaningful and to-the-point text. Perfection.

On the other hand, posts like How To Write Your Best Blog Post by Vanessa Williams, Systemizing Client Onboarding by Breanna, or all of Regina Anaejionu's posts just can't be small. They are long because they are sharing valuable info, that needs to be explained properly. Somewhat long readings? Yes. Boring? Hell no!

Bottom line is: long posts are great, as long as they are great from top to bottom. If not, it's best to just write a short post. Right?

How to Go From Blogger to Business

blogtobusinessHey guys! It's been a busy week, as my birthday approaches (09/23) and I'm trying hard to have the new Branding Creatives up and running. There are so many awesome things coming this way! eCourses and workshops (online and in person!), a whole project dedicated to creatives who are or want to be entrepreneurs. I'm also working with some fantastic businesses on their new brand designs and I can't wait to share with you. For now, let me share that I wrote my first guest post in a long, long time. I'm thrilled! I wanted to share some insight on How To Transition From Blogger to Business and it's live at the Wonder Forest! I thought this would be a great opportunity to share what I know about the topic with a community that is amazing, full of talented creatives who just need a little push to be successful.

So, see you there, right?

PS: Writing a guest post is even more exciting than I remember!

Business Organization Tools For Creatives & Entrepreneurs

IMG_0043-2

I don't think I could run a business without some really good business organization tools that are available these days. Although I think I actually need an assistant again, I'll make it work with my favorite tools for a while longer. I have a huge list of tools that save my life (and business!) on a daily basis, so I thought I should share them with you.

TO-DO LISTS

Any.do is a great to-do list, specially if you like breaking things into categories and working them on at a time. Great tool for when a project management site is too much, but a simple to-do list is too little.

Wunderlist is a list app and I'm not sure if it offers a web version or not, but looks great. It allows us to upload file, share, comment on a file, etc. Great for people who collaborate on projects a lot and need a list on the go.

TeuxDeux is the simplest to-do list I've ever seen. I have a premium account and think it is totally worth it.

GoBoxi is the one making me leave TeuxDeux little by little. I just discovered it, but it offers a fantastic email tool -which prioritizes emails beautifully; as well as a calendar and to-do list -with a reminder!

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

AsanaTrello, and Podio are my top choices for project collaboration and management. Podio being the use I used the most. All three of them are really great and offer most things we need to collaborate in projects with clients, without flooding our inboxes.

I have tried BaseCamp, but I don't think the price is justifiable. I know a lot of people who love it, but it didn't rock my world...

If I have to go premium, 17Hats is the way to go for me. With collaboration tools, allowing to upload files, categorize projects, questionnaires, contract, send invoices, and more, this is the most comprehensive tool for entrepreneurs and startups. So, if you have the money, this is the one I suggest you invest the money in. But truly, most of us can make do (and really well) without having to use 17Hats or another premium project management tool. 17Hats has loads of features and what kept me from using them was that there were too many features I'd be paying for, without needing them at all.

CLOUD STORAGE

I use Google Drive to keep all my files. Offering 15GB of hosting on the free account, it puts Dropbox's shy 2GB to shame. I currently pay $1.99/mo for a 50GB space and it is so worth it! All the tools and apps Google Drive syncs with, the extra space, the integration with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, among other things, made me stay away from Dropbox for a whiiiile.

Eventually, I gave in to Dropbox. I use it mostly to share files with clients, because it seems like this is the storage platform clients like to use the  most. No idea why. I have to say, though, that the clean design of Dropbox is something that attracts me, like a Mac -mostly, just the design.

What are your favorite tools to help keep things organized? I'll be sharing my list little by little here, so let me know if you have any specific requests (contracts, eCommerce, bookkeping, etc).

SEO in 10 Steps

IMG_0071-1

SEO is such a crazy thing and we all have doubts about it. It's probably more complicated than those physics classes in High School.  While I'm absolutely no SEO expert, I'm often sharing the bits of info I know with one client at a time, so writing a basic post about it was overdue. If you want huge and complex step-by-step guides, the internet is full of them. This is my 10 steps to awesome SEO, to help you nail SEO and help your site rank better.

1 - Register on Google Analytics

You're probably tired of hearing about Google Analytics, but it is the #1 tool to help anyone understand their site's behaviors and performance better. Some of the must-do's there are:

  • Analyze the bounce rates and think of ways to engage visitors
  • Learn where your visitors are coming from and explore your options to the max
  • See which pages are the most visited and make sure everything is up-to-date on them

2 - Bing Webmasters

If you're smart, you've already registered on Bing Webmasters. Bing indexes sites differently from Google and things like how close you are from your prospect comes first, where Google would rank based on popularity and other factors. Bing Webmasters has lots of great tools that you can use to improve your website visibility and let's you keep up on how your site is doing on Bing's search.

3 - Google Webmasters

Talking about visibility, Google Webmasters is the one place you can't miss when working on your site. It keeps you up to date when Google can't crawl any pages or when visitors are reaching too many error pages on your site.

  • Submit your sitemap to be indexed and optimize your site's visibility. If you use Wordpress, Yoast creates a sitemap for you. If you're not, use XML-Sitemaps.com to create one.
  • Use Page Speed Insights to see how well a page is performing and what needs fixing on it
  • Explore other Google Developers tools that could help you improve your website performance

4 - Google+ For Brands

Create a page on Google+ For Businesses. Having a Google account for business is really important, because Google takes several things into consideration when raking a website, one of them being your site's reviews on your G+ business page.

  • Fill all fields in your brand account (business hours, address, add photo, etc)
  • Confirm your brand ownership
  • Keep your page busy and updated with your posts
  • Easily keep up with your page insights, Google Analytics stats, AdWord ads and Reviews from the dashboard

5 - Keywords and Structure

Use proper keywords and structure on your pages and posts is probably the most important thing you can do for your site's SEO.

  • Use Yoast plugin if you're on Wordpress. It is, hands down, the best SEO plugin you could have on your site. Fill all fields on your plugin settings, connect all accounts, and then use it fully on each page and post you create.
  • If you're not on Wordpress, all (or most) sites will give you the option of filling SEO fields for the website (overall) and for each page (individually). Look for your site settings and always fill these beauties.
  • Read this post about best post title length and blog text length that helps your SEO
  • Keep your text natural and interesting, but don't forget to use good keywords. AdWords has a good keywords tool, so does KeyWord Tool.

6 - Quality & Freshness

Believe it or not, keeping high quality content and, specially, fresh content is what could boost your SEO the most. From all search tools, Google is probably the one that considers originality and quality the most. So, if you have a new approach about something or want to share a different point-of-view about something, don't be shy, go ahead and write something refresh and rich in quality, with just the right amount of keywords to give your content that little kick.

7 - Go Responsive!

If your website is not responsive yet, Google is already looking down on you. And it is better to have a responsive website, than having a regular website and a mobile version of your website. A responsive design is a design that will adjust itself according to the screen size, fitting all screen sizes.

No, responsive is not the art of shrinking your site size (making font, image and layout size smaller to fit in a phone screen). If you see your site in the exact same layout, with the exact same elements on a big computer screen and on a tablet or phone, then your site is not responsive -the fact that all is tiny doesn't matter. A responsive design will usually remove the least important elements so that the site fits the screen well, without losing quality, being too small to read or too hard to navigate.

8 - Go Secure! SSL...

Google recently announced that it will be giving preference to secure sites in their search ranking. So, if you can, get a SSL for your site. This is usually a premium

9 - Analyze Your Website

There are some really good tools that helps us see what we could be doing better with our websites. All I just listed above works great, but if you're looking for something faster and simpler, these are the best I've found:

  • Visual.ly creates visual reports (infographics) and sends to your email weekly. Create a report for Google Analytics in seconds!
  • Website Grader is a new and free service that allows you to analyze a website in seconds and suggest what you can do to improve your website performance. I'm really enjoying this one! (Curiosity note: my Weebly websites ALWAYS perform better than my Wordpress sites).
  • Semalt has some really interesting services. They still offer a great free report that you can download (in PDF). The paid features are great and will save you loads of time and headache with SEO.

10 - Keep Things Updated

  • Check for broken links and fix them
  • Avoid 404 errors and make sure to fix them asap
  • Take care of 301 redirects and make sure old/broken urls are redirecting to new/working pages or posts
  • Go through content that is unnecessary or outdated and either fix/repurpose it or get rid of it

Bonus Tips

1 - Register on Alexa: Want to check your national and international overall ranking? Register your site for free on Alexa and keep up with how your site is ranking!

2 - Explore Google Analytics and Google Developers: If you're going to deeply explore that Google Analytics and  Google Developers beasts, you might wanna visit the Google Webmaster Academy. There's some good info there -and it's fairly simple to keep up with.

Hope these tips help you boost your SEO, get better rankings and get more visibility for your site. These are just the beginning, when it comes to SEO. It's a really extensive matter and quite tiring, really. I rather stay with the basics (most of what I posted above), keep sharing good content and cross my fingers. Ha!