Going Back to High School

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at Brunswick High School to a class learning essentially the programs I use on an everyday basis in High School. They are getting the opportunity to use Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign and that is freaking awesome! When I was initially asked to speak there was never a moment of nervousness. I immediately went to a place of excitement because I love working with people, especially kids! I made some quick notes on my phone and in my head, but basically, the speech was not planned at all. Do I encourage this, probably not but I wanted to be in the moment and speak from experience and from the heart. Kids don’t do Powerpoints well, and I knew I would lose a couple of them with the monotony of that, so I sat down in front of them at eye level and went for it. I was honest; I explained why I did not finish college and that I eventually changed my mind in my career path. Did I say they shouldn’t go to college, never once BUT I made it clear that we all have a different path and if you cannot afford to go there are options. When all was said and done, I think it went reasonably well, and I thought I would share some of my thoughts on what I have learned as a small business owner.

Put yourself out there.

Even when the work sucks and you are scared, be brave enough to take the first step, so the second step is more natural. Practice makes things to make them better. It’s not just the drawing or painting that is the practice; it’s also the process of practicing to accept your art and not beating yourself up for it. We live in a social media world, and you are putting yourself out there so much more than ever before. It’s complicated and beautiful at the same time, be brave.

Find your people.

People who inspire you, people who will support you, people you admire, people to collaborate with. Be yourself in who you are and in your art, do not try to be what others think you should become because you will fail every time. People who are part of your tribe will support you, the real you and those are your people.

Never stop learning.

I don’t mean tests. I say never stop learning by taking classes that focus on your end goal. Get outside and go to art museums, concerts, festivals. Push yourself when you feel uncomfortable and attend something you usually wouldn’t just for the experience like volunteering. People of all ages need good mentors. When you open up and try new things, it makes you see things from another point of view so never be hesitant to do that.

Mistakes are your friend.

It’s the hardest way to learn, and we try so hard not to make mistakes, but I promise you it’s the best way to learn. You might learn how never to do it again or you might a way that worked better. Mistakes are your friend, don’t be afraid to make them.

 

Special thanks to empireskyco.com for the photo.

What’s in a Name? Typebird is Revealed!

So many times people have asked me where did the name come from? What’s Typebird mean? I guess maybe it’s time to explain in a little more detail.

This story goes backward. I started with a name, and the real reason for the name came about afterward. I promise it makes sense so please, keep reading.

Traveling home from a long trip, my husband and I started thinking about name choices for my business. As always I start with the domain name first, if you can’t get the website you will have a hard time directing people to find you. Typography has always been a big part of my life because of my profession choice, so that was a no-brainer to try and incorporate. Birds are different. I give people birds. No, not like I gift them birds in a cage, but I make them a bird in my mind. I know it’s silly, but to me, it’s means something. My grandfather was always told that he “watched me like a hawk” so now when I see one it reminds me of him. It’s comforting to me, and so when my husband said Typebird, it worked, and I immediately said that’s it!
During this time my father had been battling cancer. He was a Marine, a veteran who fought in Vietnam. His Cancer had come from being exposed to Agent Orange in the war. I kept thinking, why did it have to surface so many years later right about the time he retired. Sometimes life just isn’t fair. We got a year and a half with my dad after the diagnosis before he passed away. It broke me a little if I am honest, I don’t think one ever truly gets over losing a parent.

My father passed away in the summer and not too long after, a little yellow bird showed up at our house and slept night after night on a tree branch in the front of our house. It took me awhile to figure out what type of bird it was, and I kept saying to my husband, “I don’t know what TYPE of BIRD it is, but I will identify it.” He stayed there every night for three months, same tree, same branch, every night. I checked for him religiously. It ended up being a blue-headed vireo that visited for that whole time. He never came back, and I didn’t expect him to.

So the name sort of came about twice, if you will. I usually explain the first story because the second one is a bit hard to get through and a little deep for a business conversation, but it certainly means more. To feel comfort in something so simple does wonders for the soul. Now, everyday it makes me work harder as a small business owner and an artist. I had a little, feathered cheerleader for a short time that kept me going when I needed it most. Never will I forget that.

Hurricane Survival, What this Designer Learned

Hurricane Matthew, what a nightmare! I lived in Florida forty-three years before relocating to Georgia, never have I ever evacuated. Please know that I am not a rebel who refuses to leave, we just never got to that point where it was a mandatory evacuation. This time, it was no joke and with kids in tow, we weren’t taking any chances.

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Wednesday, October 5th – Storm is approaching. People ask the Floridian (me) if she is evacuating. I jokingly say, “Nah, I am a Floridian, we don’t leave for hurricanes.” Seriously though, I was kidding when I said this but truly in my heart I never thought it would get to the point where I actually considered leaving. Some of our neighbors already started to leave in the neighborhood. Electricity is still on.

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Morning of Thursday, October 6th – Storm is flipping huge and it’s coming to us, directly in our path and it’s a category 4 storm. Now, I am considering leaving. By noon nerves are completely shot with worry. Thoughts like did we get enough insurance, did we wait too long, why did I say I was working on this day when I can barely think, should we just hunker down or go now? And by the way, the “hunker down” word currently makes me cringe because until you actually have to do it, it has a completely different meaning. Facebook posts are running wild at this point with people posting that they are leaving. A Mandatory evacuation of Zone A in Glynn County comes over the news, we are Zone B. Real worry sets in. No work done. Electricity is still on.

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Afternoon of Thursday, October 6th – Our neighborhood is windy and overcast, many have already left. We are preparing to leave. We hadn’t fully committed but we were packing and getting things ready so in our hearts I think we were ready to go. Two kids, two dogs, the cat and two very nervous parents. Around 1:30 p.m. the mandatory evacuation came over the tv, we decided to listen and leave. We took my husband’s car, it’s smaller than mine but I need new tires and didn’t want to make a long trip longer. We only had room for the living things in our home, important papers, hard drives and a couple nights of clothes. The good things, the things you really wanted to take like my grandfather’s 100-year-old toolbox, had to stay. Although I know what matters in life and that this is just a thing, it is still a memory and it was difficult to leave it and many other items as well like photographs, just in case. We evacuated to Florida of all places, my hometown of Inverness. No work done. Electricity is still on.

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Morning of Friday, October 7th – Mentally exhausted from the whole ordeal and the trip that took almost six hours instead of the normal three. The hurricane is still moving at a snail’s pace in our minds. Spent the day trying to entertain the kids and checking in with the neighbors who stayed. Went to the movies with the kids, did a little shopping, never acknowledging the fact that there was a tropical storm warning in the town where we were staying, that explained all the wind. Checking Facebook, storm is still moving, would make landfall that evening at our home in Georgia. Those who stayed kept in touch. No work done. Electricity still on.

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Afternoon of Friday, October 7th – Lots of news channel watching, we were like deer in headlights as we watched these colors move across the screen. It was moving with the shape of the coast, slowly. Reports coming in of damage it left in it’s path. St. Augustine, one of my favorite places, took a monstrous beating. Our neighbors at home sent video of the wind and our house before it actually came. I worried, I wanted to know if the pines in the backyard would still be standing when we returned. Nightfall came and at 10:35 they lost power, the storm was at full force. No work done. I barely slept.

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Morning of Saturday, October 8th – It was gone. We waited patiently for those at home to report and no damage. We were so relieved, we had a home to come back to. There was no flooding, at most we would loose the food in the fridge. A sense of relief came until we started watching the news. Those around us were not as lucky. Shrimp boats sank, trees on roofs, they wouldn’t even let people back into their homes, we were one of the lucky ones. We packed up, anxious to return but State troopers blocked the exits into the county. Again, social media is our friend and with these reports, we sat tight because we didn’t want to pack up the circus only to be turned away. No work done. Electricity still off.

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Afternoon of Saturday, October 8th – Still determined to leave to come home. Unpacked and decided to go early morning instead. Better safe than sorry, poor husband is officially sick. No work done. Electricity still off.

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Morning of Sunday, October 9th – We are going home. Packed up everyone headed out. Many trees down along the way. Closer to home we see power lines down, homes with trees, very large trees toppled over, some were not so lucky with trees on roofs. After seeing this I am glad we left. We set an example for the kids and they understood why we did go. Our house is fine, our neighbors are fine, their houses are fine, everyone else has started coming home. We shared things like stories and food, we took care of each other, any differences of any kind were put aside. The kids played together outside, the sky was clear and the temperature was in the 70’s. We couldn’t have ordered a more perfect day after all that chaos. I felt connected to living here, I felt like this was my home for the first time since we moved here. I wanted to paint a wall. I know this will sound ridiculous, but I have never moved into a house that didn’t need something. This house was complete when we moved in, we bought it so we wouldn’t have to do anything since we worked so hard on our last house. However, I never felt like I owned it or that it needed me until we returned home. Tragedy, of any kind, whether you actually experience it or were grazed by it affects us all in the oddest ways. For me, this was something that I did not expect. Living here now instead of just being here. I found my place, right here where I had been all along. No work done. Electricity still off.

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Evening of Sunday, October 9th –  The sun went down and we had lost light for less than an hour, candles were going and the kids were putting on a show to pass the time when the electricity came back on. For a moment we were pioneers, it was nice. To my surprise they were disappointed, I was too. We lost power for a less than 48 hours, thanks to the awesome folks at Georgia Power.

I lost two days of work, just two. Many businesses couldn’t even open once they finally got back to work until a week later, some had damage and lost two weeks or more. For any small business, one day lost is huge, more than that can be crucial.  This act of mother nature, while it put things into perspective for me, affected so many people up and down ourFlorida and Georgia coast financially. It was a lesson on many levels and I asked myself what I had learned in all of this. The people, the places you worry about while you are gone, take note of those. Support those businesses after they are back up and running. We can’t do everything alone, but we can support each other by going to dinner at a local restaurant, by buying gifts in a local store, hiring professional services locally, it’s the little things that really add up. Have your friends and family come and visit where you live this year for their vacation to help put money back into this area, support the trusted people you know. At the end of the day we are all in this together. We are a community that supports each other. Electricity is back on and I am picking out paint colors.

 

What Do Graphic Designers Do?

Many people have said to me lately “I don’t know exactly what you do.” When I hear that I get worried. I think to myself am I not doing something right to communicate to my clients what I actually do? What can I do better? Have they not been paying attention to my posts on social media? But then it dawned on me, I truly don’t think people understand all that graphic designers do.

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If you Google this question here is your answer:  “Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for various applications such as advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports.”  But what do graphic designers, freelancers like myself actually do? There is a long list so get a cup of coffee, sit back and be ready to be amazed! Ok, we don’t have to go that far but here is the list.

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Logos. Branding. Business Cards. Packaging. Menus. Brochures. Rack Cards. Promotional Items. Consultation for Non-Creatives. Invitations. Blog & Website Concept Design. Digital Banners & Ads. Letterhead. Custom Stationary. Billboards. Appointment Cards. Post Cards. Surface Pattern Design. Signage. Folders. Mailers. Stamps. Stickers. Posters. Printables. Thank You Notes. Tote Bags. Wrapping Paper. Gift Boxes. The Label on Your Favorite Salsa. Your Favorite Dress. Umbrellas. T-Shirts. Get Where I Am Going With This? We Are Literally Everywhere.

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My, my where do I start. There are truly so many things we are capable of. However, many of us have a strong point. Something we love in this crazy design world more than anything else. For me, it’s a logo. But it doesn’t just stop with a logo, I love all the things need for creating an entire brand such as business cards, letterhead, I love to make it all work together. Many times before people ask why I enjoy it so much and the truth is, I can’t stop it. I drive by businesses every day and think to myself, “How would I have done it differently.” I know that sounds crazy but I do believe there are some things you are just really good at in life. This is mine. Now, with this being said, this does not mean I won’t do anything else. Of course, I will! I have the skills needed to design and have printed many items on paper or digital or any surface really. We are the folks who set up the things you need for your life with programs you have no idea how to use. Like a plumber who comes to fix a leak in your house that you also would not attempt to do yourself. Hire a designer, be proud of your results. Hire a designer who is an actual person you can talk to and not someone somewhere who you will probably never meet or know their name. Hire someone who wants to make you and your business better, who invests in you equally as much as you invest in them.

Graphic designers have a skill set of style cultivated through many years of education, along with many aches and pains…kidding. Critiques are rough y’all! But we are flexible, we want to help you with various projects, not just your logo but also that menu that has the logo we helped you create on top of it. We know a lot about printing and could probably give you some money saving advice without compromising the vibe of your business. I highly encourage you to create a relationship with a designer you know. You just might find a sensible friend at the other end of the line.

Thank you for signing up to receive my newsletter! Every month I will send my latest blogs, work and a few little juicy secrets to help your small business grow.

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Digital

 

 

The Thank You Note
EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

When I was little my grandmother, I called her Mamaw, used to send me letters. I loved them. I looked forward to their arrival. They smelled like roses and were written on thin stationary paper. She talked about tulips and the weather in Virginia, simple things. I felt connected to her in those letters, they were a gift in the form of paper and ink. All those conversations were mine and it meant the world to me to have that long distance connection.

Today the art of writing has certainly changed. The thank you notes are rare and the quickness of the email is often a convenience that we sometimes take for granted. Our hearts are in the right place of course, but it is the action that has lessened the meaning of our intent. My mother made me send thank you notes, for everything my whole life. I used to be impeccable at the thank you note; I had a lot of training. People complimented me on the thank you note. Then, I stopped writing them and I don’t know why. I have no reason to give other than I said in my head “tomorrow I will write it” and then you know what happens tomorrow. It never gets done, and it’s too late to write it when the thought pops up in your head again and by that time, the quickest way to go is an email which as we all know, arrives second later.

In business, I think making a client or a customer feel valued is just as important. Technology has taken over, and we are so busy that we can barely take a moment for ourselves. This got me thinking. Why is it so hard to do something so simple? Why do we have to talk ourselves into this moment, this very important connection, this thank you! I promised myself that I would change some bad habits in 2016, and this is one of them. I have vowed to take the time to sit down and thank my clients, people who inspire me and people who help me in a note from time to time. To take the time to thank a person who helps me in my business in any way, I want them to know I am grateful. I challenge you to join me. Even if it is a short note on an invoice or a handshake. Maybe that little extra something that shows your gratefulness will come back to you!

Thank you to all who take the time to read my blogs, that is one thing I am REALLY thankful for!

The Gallery Wall

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I have always wanted to do gallery wall, but I never had a great place to display things in our old house. We had a hallway filled with photographs in black frames, but it was hard to see them since the area was dark. When we moved into the new house, I thought “YES”, a second chance! Although excited about it I put it off for a couple of months and then I finally braved it and committed.

It was a time-consuming process, to say the least, but I took the advice of other pinners on Pinterest and made a map of everything. Pinterest can sometimes be your friend and sometimes your worst enemy because when you are up late at night and you start thinking to yourself “I can do that!” Hours later you ask yourself, “Why on earth did I do that?” Either way, it was the right way to go. I used old wrapping paper, the plain white side, to display just because the pattern makes it harder to decide in my opinion. I also used washi tape because it sticks enough to hold but does not peel the paint off the walls. It will also allow you to easily move things over and over again until you get it right. I did make notes on the paper too just to be sure. After a lot of rearranging and walking away, I finally committed and started hanging. Not having the actual wall paint color on hand if I had made mistakes probably was my number one reason for going this route. I wanted to be a little more meticulous about it than normal. I cannot lie, on more than one occasion I may have just not measured where the nail should go by eyeing it. My husband may have noted it once or twice. If you are smart, you can actually use the paper on the wall to be your nail guide as well.  Live and learn friends, live and learn!

At the end of the day, I love it! I think I made the right choice to incorporate antiques, artwork, and photographs to make it more interesting. However, I think it would look great with just family photos as well.If you decide to tackle your own wall, take some time to gather the items you wish to hang. If you don’t have enough, hit up your local thrift store. You can find some great pieces that you can revamp there for a fraction of the cost. Also, find a bit of a color story to stick with. Too many colors competing will make a total mess. I stuck with the wood, the black frames and that pop of green in the “F” to keep a good balance. Take a look at the final gallery wall below, what do you think?

My last and most important piece of advice to you is that when your husband returns home to see your great creation and asks you if you think it’s too much, walk on friends, just keep walking on.

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Getting Settled!

Many months ago my husband came to me with a potential job opportunity. The catch is it was in another state. I am not going to lie my first reaction was a hard “NO”! I had no desire to pack my entire family, my business, the home where I brought my babies and moved to another state. The idea of even selling our house made me want to pass out. I had done so much DIY to that space, it all was just overwhelming to me. It was at this moment I started to realize how attached to things I become and how change challenges me as a person. Then I made myself sit down and think about it. How much did he want to do this? It’s not just me, what about the kids? I realized that interviewing doesn’t mean we move. I should agree to the interview, what could it hurt? I certainly don’t even want him to pass up an opportunity; we are a team.

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With my fingers crossed, probably for the wrong reasons, he went ahead with the process. After the first interview, his mind changed slightly. I silently exhaled at this moment even though I secretly felt horrible about it. Don’t get me wrong, I always want my husband to succeed. He is great at whatever he sets his mind to accomplish in work. He is determined, and everyone who works with him admires his work ethic, including me. But fear immobilized me in a way I hadn’t experienced before. What if this did happen?

Days passed and turned into weeks and then after we had let the idea go until he got a call back for a second interview. The idea had been reborn, and I was more welcoming the second time around. We visited the city; I made sure there was a Target and a Publix, you know, the important things. I poured over available homes and schools in the area. He thought I was jumping ahead. I do this. I am a planner, and I want to be in control. I don’t mean to be this way, it kind of just starts swirling in my head and before you know I have mentally put an offer on a house just to be prepared and start the process. Interview number two and he was convinced the interview was ok but not stellar, and again we left the idea at the door. This time, I was a little sad, as if our adventure was cut short and I had honestly begun looking forward to the change. We had gone to visit the area, and it reminded me a little of the small town where I grew up. Maybe I wanted to do this after all. Crazier things have happened. The concept of moving can get you in quite a tizzy. Our kids kept coming into play, and I thought maybe smaller might be better after all.

A few weeks later we went to North Carolina for my brother-in-law’s wedding. While we were with family, we started to realize how much we miss being so far south. We have been away from grandparents and cousins for far too long. Plus, the mountains were calling. In all the chaos we managed to make it to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I grew up vacationing there, and my father’s ashes rest here too. It is one of the most prominent spots on this planet to me. With a fantastic trip under our belt, he got the call. Things had changed again, and I was back to stage one of being scared. We ended up agreeing it was the right move for our family, young and old. So the job was accepted, and a new set of emotions came to me. The common places in my life would change, I would have to give up my office, most importantly my friends, my children would have to leave their friends and my husband would leave his colleagues. What were they thinking? How would they do? Did we make a mistake?

The whole process of moving happened so fast, our house was put on the market and sold on the first day. When our realtor called to tell me, I could barely breathe. Homes in our area were sitting for at least two weeks before selling so it was a bit of a shock, in a good way of course. This was happening, I still couldn’t breathe.

A few short months we began our home search and after many bouts of stress and wonder, it all managed to come together. The movers came and packed our home, we were lucky enough to have family take us in the week we were homeless. The stress of the new Dodd-Frank rules almost shot our nerves but we made it all happen in a very short time. Yes, we could have rented but for our family buying a new home was the best decision for us. It just had to be done fairly quickly.

11136122_10206206842342357_3669368448281488874_oWe moved here to Brunswick, GA just over two months ago now. So far I can say it is different, again the change was a lot bigger for me than I imagined. We are only an hour away from Florida, so that is great news. I have lived in the state of Florida my entire life; I am proud to be from the sunshine state and I am sure I will miss it.

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Upon our arrival to the new home, the kids were greeted by multiple children in the driveway. They have already made several friends in the neighborhood which is fantastic! We live in a culdesac so it’s a whole new world for them. If they are happy it is so much easier for us. As a bonus, they love their school too. My husband seems less stressed and is easing into the new position nicely. I think he will do great things here. Things I liked and many things I have to work on every day. I think it’s important to see constantly yourself in others, determine if you like the things you see and decide if you need to work on them.

I will say I certainly learned so much about myself during this process. Things I liked about myself and many things I have to work on every day to change. I think it’s important to see yourself in others, determine if you like the things you see and decide if you need to work on them. If someone has a cure for worry and control please email me, haha!

Currently, I have placed my work office in the bonus room; it’s lovely and bigger than our last space. I am grateful for it, but I also miss my friends at the old office, the daily banter is greatly missed. All in all, we managed to pull off a very large task in a very short time and with that it will take the time to belong here. So I have pulled up my boot straps now, and I accept the challenge whether it be for five years or maybe more. I look forward to rebuilding my business here and become a part of this community. Cross your fingers and I will bring you all along for the ride!

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