1. April 15, 2015
    PORTFOLIO | sarah hearts branding

    Sarah Hearts branding by Pinegate Road

    Happy Wednesday everyone. This Sarah Hearts branding project has had me is such sweet spirits lately. Sarah and I first met at Alt Summit several years ago, and I was thrilled to help her take her branding to the next level over the past month. As a graphic designer herself, I was slightly intimidated to take on this project. For all you designers out there, you know how hard it is designing for yourself though right? After a few takes on her own, she decided it was time to pass the torch, and what an experience it was for the both of us! It was a completely unique process working with another designer for their branding, and Sarah’s amazing feedback helped us push this logo to where it is today.

    Sarah’s brand value words are inspiration, creativity, and accessibility. She is a DIY blogger who loves bright colors, simple shapes, patterns, and helping her readers make their homes joyful creative spaces. The new Sarah Hearts branding shows that she is a creative, that what she presents is simple and design-forward, and that her brand is an inspiring one to interact with. We made her primary logo colorful and had lots of dots surrounding her logotype. This represents the pops of inspiration that Sarah Hearts gives to the readers. ‘Sarah’ was done in a unique custom typeface that shows off the creativity in the Sarah Hearts brand. She is always putting unique and simple spins on to every-day items, and this type really shows that quality off. ‘Hearts’ is done in a simple feminine sans serif that represents Sarah Hearts’ accessible approach to DIY.

    Next we’ll be tackling some website optimization. This is a newer approach I am taking with clients. While I’ve been designing websites and blogging for the past several years, I’ve been more in a ‘tell me what you need’ mode rather than a ‘let’s explore how your brand lives on the web and how it can tie to your values.’ Novel, huh? ;) I’m going to be going through every detail of the Sarah Hearts’ online experience and making sure that it not only lives out her new brand visually, but that it’s supporting her values through the reader’s experience. I’ve been adding these kinds of elements throughout web design projects over the years, but this will be the first time we’ll be coming from this point of view 100% from the beginning.

    Cheers to Sarah on her new branding!

  2. April 13, 2015

    monday musing by Pinegate Road

    Quickly popping in with some lettering for this Monday. A friendly reminder to stay present, stay passionate, and stay appreciative.


    Hope you’re all feeling awesome this week! I can finally feel myself getting out of my winter slump. Maxi dresses are making their way back to the front of my closet too, which has me all kinds of happy.

  3. March 6, 2015

    in review | FEBRUARY 2015

    Back to the one-monthers…and seriously lacking on the amount of instragram photos I had to share. Progress, not perfection.

    Happy March everyone! I first off want to share a little something that I was able to work on to start this month off right. A few days late…but, see that last sentence above. Head on over to the Card Store blog to celebrate March with me.

    Soooo February. It was a pretty intense and awesome month. I went on my first week-long vacation that wasn’t over a regularly scheduled holiday. Boy is the amount of work you have to prep for different when you do this! The weeks surrounding my vacation were packed to the max, and I spent every waking minute making sure that I wasn’t letting anything slide. Everything went smoothly, but I need to remember to prep a little better when this happens again.

    That vacation I’m talking about? I went to Hilton Head for a health retreat with my mom. My dad was also on the island, but he was doing his own thing while I was there. I did sneak away to enjoy a night of fresh-caught oysters, and ooooh man was it worth it. Since Christmas, I’ve been trying to live a healthier lifestyle and get back to feeling good again. I went through so many emotional ups and downs over the past couple years, and I have just been ready to stop making excuses, and learn how to live a balanced life. This doesn’t mean I’m giving up everything, hitting the gym every day, and making ‘no excuses’ to having any fun. It just means that I’ve taken the time to make health and wellness a priority, and that I’m making way more ‘good’ decisions than I am ‘bad’ ones. I still have taco bell after dance practice on Fridays, and I’ll have a beer before volleyball on Wednesdays. I just don’t go crazy, and I’m eating tons of veggies and healthy foods that actually make me feel great. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m so happy with how I’ve been progressing while still living a happy moderate life. Oh, and I’ve lost 11 pounds!! This vacation was so needed in the midst of this winter, and I have a feeling I’ll be trying to head back next year just to keep on track. Last year I spent the majority of February having 1PM sadness in my office. I’m happy to report that this year I’ve had a relatively cry-free February.


    Other than the vacation, we launched two new brand identities through Pinegate Road. We’re in the midst of web design for both — one to launch at the end of the month, and another to launch in May. Also! Finalizations have been made on this space right here, and Pinegate Road will be getting a new look within a month. Crossing my fingers I don’t decide to change things up again last minute and that all pulls through.

    Hope you’re having a great start to your month, and as always you can follow along with my month, day by day, here.

  4. February 10, 2015
    sisters in shape branding

    sisters in shape branding | PINEGATE ROAD

    Here’s the other brand that I have been chatting a little bit about via instagram lately. The Sisters in Shape branding was completed this weekend, and I’m happy to see how this brand refresh turned out. Erica came to Pinegate Road with a website and a brand that had been growing very well over the years. She has made amazing strides as a fitness model, and as a founder of the Sisters in Shape fitness coach community. After a new baby, Erica was ready to step it up to the next level visually for this brand so that she could keep working on her big dreams for Sisters in Shape.

    We warmed up the purple and green from the previous look, and added two more warm tones that come together to create a strong, famine palette. As we go about creating more of the look, we will incorporate a gradient in the Sisters in Shape colors, as well as using watercolor as a texture throughout. It was important for Erica to have the logo in many different forms as she builds out her brand across social media, the web, and print, so we created an alternate logo, a monogram, and various wordmarks to fit her different needs.

    sisters in shape branding before and after | PINEGATE ROAD

    Keeping the purple and green color story from her original branding, as well as the perky, strong, and feminine silhouette, this new Sisters in Shape branding keeps the same values that started with the company and brings them to a clean and refreshed space to grow from for many years to come. The look was cleaned up, a new typeface was chosen, and the silhouette was tweaked to work across both print and web materials. She was also flipped to the right so that you look visually from left to right as you take in the logo. In the wordmark, the ‘in’ is raised up to signify the link that the coaches have their their clients and to signify the community of women that Sisters in Shape provides for those involved. This also allows for an accent of the secondary color, green, to be added to the primary logo for a cohesive brand look. Throughout this process it was imperative to Erica that the brand still kept a feminine and soft appearance while exuding strength. I loved working with these parallels, and chose Brandon Grotesque as a perfect accompaniment to the brand identity. While it appears to have a strong and stable look, each corner on this typeface is actually rounded. This paired so well with the values of Sisters in Shape and will be an amazing typeface to work with as we build out the rest of the brand. We’ll be working on the website next, and I’m excited to see it all come together and see how this new look will help propel the Sisters in Shape community forward with their goals.

  5. February 9, 2015
    monday musing | 6

    monday musing | PINEGATE ROAD

    Because I’m always making that time excuse.

    Healthy reminder.

  6. February 4, 2015
    Hello Yellow Branding, an interior design blog

    Hello Yellow Branding | PINEGATE ROAD

    We finalized the new Hello Yellow branding last night, and I couldn’t wait to share! If you remember from only a few short weeks ago, this logo is based off the first moodboard in this post. We went through a process of creating three very different hand-lettered logo options, and settled on the one above. Working with a brand that’s name incorporates ‘Yellow’ had me thinking all sorts of bright and cheery thoughts. This logo hints at sunshine without going over-the-top and it also references many vintage logos made for home-oriented products that used scripts as their main mark. Bright, cheerful, hand-made, clean, updated, and female were all key words that signify this brand’s aesthetic.

    Now we’re on to placing this brand look into the website, and fingers crossed we will get to share the complete project soon!

  7. February 3, 2015
    IN REVIEW | december and january 2014 – 2105

    IN REVIEW | december and january 2014 - 2105

    Just sitting down to write this, I’ve overwhelmingly proud of myself for doing this before the middle of the month. Patting myself on the back and celebrating the small wins ;)

    December: Much less crazy than the December before! I was on top of work, and spent a lot of time just catching up with the year and getting ready for Christmas. I really need to start getting back to doing these monthly, as December has been lost on my at this point. One of the most fun things was heading to Ft. Lauderdale to visit with Todd’s family! We went out on the boat, ate some of the best sushi I’ve ever had, and had such a nice time relaxing and getting to know each other. Straight from Florida I went to Pennsylvania to celebrate the holidays with my family. We also spent a lot of time relaxing and having fun in our hometown. I went back to Cleveland for a week of work during the quietest time. Most of the building takes the two weeks off for Christmas and New Years, so it was nice to get back into the flow of work and work on a few fun projects for the department while deadlines were a few weeks away.

    January: This month was super productive. While I didn’t set goals, I felt this urge to kind of tighten up some things that has been had been a little willy nilly last year. I took the Be Free Lance course over the last few weeks, and it was great to learn about tools and practices to integrate into this part of my life. I’m so happy where I am right now with my career, but I knew that I had a lot of room to grow when it came to running this side business of mine. I’ve never been to business school, and I’ve been mostly just learning as I go. Having this course, as well as a facebook group of other creatives who are all over the spectrum as far as creative goals go has been amazing to glean information from. I knew I was on the right track with certain things, but sometimes it’s learning how to properly write that contract, or finding out about that app to help with bookkeeping that will help me run this facet of my life a little more smoothly. Other than that, I’ve been trying to soak in this winter life as much as possible. A bunch of us went tobogganing one Saturday, and I’ve been trying to fit in as many winter wonderland walks as Eaton can take. All in all, January was a month of refinement and learning to live life a little more presently than before. I’m really hoping for a similar February as I jump into Life With Intention Online.

    As a fun little note: Eaton was photographed at work about a week or two after she came home with me. She ended up making it onto a Valentine’s day card!! Cue the hugest stage-mom moment ever. If you’re up for it, you can find the card above at any store that carries American Greetings products that isn’t a Target or Walmart (check Rite Aid, CVS, or your local grocery store).

    Cheers to an awesome February friends!

  8. January 22, 2015
    when to hire a designer for branding

    The right time to hire a designer for branding | PINEGATE ROAD

    I recently received an email from a passionate lady starting off on a new event planning business. She was wondering how important it was to go into this process with a truly solidified brand she was proud of. Like so many other creatives venturing off onto new business quests this year, branding is sure to come up as a ‘should I? / shouldn’t I?’ situation. When there are so many costs to consider, the thought of spending a significant amount of your budget on branding right at the beginning deserves a little thinking over. As a designer and a lover of a great brand identity, when I started my own freelance journey I would have told you that it was an absolute necessity. After working with creative entrepreneurs over the past couple years, and seeing the various sides of where their business were at when they decided to take on a new brand identity, I have completely flip flopped.

    So…if you’re a new business with a small budget looking to brand yourself, my best advice would be to WAIT! Crazy, huh?

    The time with the most changes for any business will be in those first couple of years. Your goals might change, your vision might change, and most importantly, the values of your business might change as you go about figuring things out. As a designer who builds brands around values, having those change as your business is growing is a definite sign that you will need a completely new identity design when you work out the kinks and start moving on. Some of my most successful clients and branding projects have come from working with creative entrepreneurs who took the time to work on growing their businesses with an identity that got them by until they reached the point where they really knew their voice and values as a brand. This is essential. It can make months, or years, but it often comes with the feeling that you have the background knowledge and confidence to move forward, but knowing that you need to step it up visually for your brand to come together to reach your full potential. Now’s the time.

    From here, you’ll be able to work with your designer to build a brand that will last you five to ten years before you need a little refresh — not a complete overhaul. That is always my goal when working with my clients, and I try and base design decisions around timeless elements that can grow with the brand rather than something that shows its age a few years later by using a too-trendy trend. My blog, my terms here, ok? ;)

    So what do you do in the meantime? Hire a student! Go to a college with a reputable graphic design program, and post on their job board. Reach out via craigslist, or ask your college friend’s niece who is taking that course in typography. You will get an identity that will do you fine for the time being, and you will be supporting someone who would love to have some real-life experience to build up their resume and portfolio. You could also look to Etsy and search pre-made brands that could also get you by for the time being. These are often-times designs that will give you a nice look and feel, but that lack a true individualism and value-based identity that is true to your brand. Lastly, take a go yourself if you have the right software. Pick colors and values that are true to your vision now, and have at it.

    When is it right to begin a new business with the identity design in place? When you are a mid-sized business or corporation starting a new venture with a new identity, this is the time to begin with a well-designed identity. You most likely have the budget, a business plan, and you’re rearing to make your new business the best it can be right off the bat. Yay, go for it!

    Do any of your have other questions or have any input on this subject? Leave some notes in the comment section, I’d love to hear from you! Have any of you gone through the branding process and wish you did it differently? I’ve totally had my ups and downs when looking back :)

  9. January 21, 2015
    double moodboard kind of day

    moodboard for interior design brand

    Along with the new year inevitably—and thankfully—comes clients rearing to go with big new ideas. This is the second year that I’ve experienced this kind of ‘new year’s surge’ and it’s good to take note of for the years to come. Has anyone else experienced this? Note to self: schedule clients to finish up before the new year, and book new clients in advance to start that week back from the holidays. 

    In the past couple weeks back, we have finalized two moodboards:

    The moodboad above is for a large corporation looking to create an interior design blog to show off the possibilities of their line for our generation. I love it when you see established corporations taking on new ventures like this, and I’m even more in love that they chose me as their partner in crime to make this come to life. The blog is currently under development, and we are working a little bit backwards and are getting to the cohesive brand look now. This was a realization after working through some of the blog elements, that an actual branded look needed to be created for this new subsection of their company. While the traditional route is to work through this before the web portion is done, things don’t always have to go as perfectly in order as you think they do. This project has been teaching me a lot about going with your gut, how client friendship and communication is key, and how awesome it is when you have clients who are as passionate about their undertaking as you are for designing and bringing their vision to life. Can’t wait to share how this all turns out!

    Moodboard for female fitness community

    This next moodboard is for a logo refresh for a fitness coaching community. I’m usually working on bringing a new brand to life, or doing a complete rehaul, so taking the pre-established values and revamping the look is a fun new venture for me. Here, the main colors used on the last brand were purple and green. We decided to warm up the tones, and add some juicy and punchy tones to accompany those two as accents. I’ve already begun some of the refresh, and I can’t wait to show my client and see what she thinks of the new look.

    Happy creating, friends!

  10. January 15, 2015
    a recap and this year

    2014 recap and 2015 intentions for Pinegate Road


    I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but I’ve been a huge pile of happy lately. I’m just going to take the moment to share that since I know it’s not always the case. Gratitude and sharing happiness is the first step to getting more of that in your life, right? Even though I’ve been having a terribly hard time jumping into this new year with the same gusto of goals I’ve had in the past, there’s been something slowly brewing in my general attitude over the past month or so. I’ve been giving myself a break, I’ve been living in the moment, and I’ve been taking on new and exciting work that fulfills me creatively. Anyways, babble central over here. How are you guys?

    This yearly transition, from the holidays into the new year has been different. In the past, I’d have had all these goals and reflections that would propel me towards change in the new year, but this year I’m just drawing a blank. And you know what? I’m ok with it. Is anyone else not getting into the crazy goal setting thing this year? At the same time, I’m so pumped for this year. I finally feel like I’m settling into this little life of mine, and it feels good. I’m excited to have the foundation down, and to grow into healthier habits and do some personal growth. I don’t have specifics on these, but I can feel that awesome things will be happening.

    Oh, and I’ve been reading The Slight Edge — and it’s flipping my world upside down, in the greatest way. It’s amazing how a little positive decision making on even the simplest of things can change your perspective. Highly recommended for anyone with a go-getter spirit that’s feeling a little wishy-washy this January.

    Now for a little recap on my 2014:

    This was my year of settling in. I had big goals for myself to edit in all the areas of my life, and while some of that might have happened, I spent a lot of the year transitioning from ‘student’ Kelsey to ‘real life adult’ Kelsey. It was good. And bad. But mostly really great.

    Good, because I met Todd, I got Eaton, and I took on new clients and projects at work that really helped me grow professionally. I opened my print shop, which I had in my back pocket for two years running. Bad, because I celebrated a lot of the good with eating and have packed on more than a couple happy pounds. Like, way more than a couple. I let my work take over my health, and when I don’t move my body I subsequently get pretty darn sad for no reason at all. Not good. This year was mostly great because overall, I think this has been the happiest year of my life. No huge life complications, great friendships made, and lots of new experiences. I could really feel myself growing into more of who I want to be, and that is always a great thing.

    As traveling is always a priority in my life, here’s a list for my records:

    • March — Omaha, NE to style and shoot photographs for The Object Enthusiast

    • April — Dallas, TX for the Pursue workshop

    • May — Findley Lake, NY for a family weekend with my mom’s cousin’s family and Todd

    • July — Home, to Erie, PA for the 4th of July weekend

    • July — Chicago, IL to visit my grandparents

    • August — Toledo, OH for my very first German dancing event

    • October — Danville, OH for a cabin weekend to celebrate Todd’s birthday

    • November — Back to Omaha, NE but for a friend’s wedding

    • November — Draper, SD for Thanksgiving at the farm

    • December — Ft. Lauderdale, FL to meet Todd’s parents

    See, so much great fun happening! Lots to be thankful for.

    As I transition into this next year, I generally want to continue my trend towards mindfulness and general self-improvement. I want to keep practicing joy in the present moment, and making small positive decisions that will add up to a happy and well-lived life. There’s too much great to dwell in the negative, and I want to make decisions that reflect that mindset over the years to come.

    Cheers to a happy and healthy 2015 everyone!


















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