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. 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.


  3. 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!


  4. 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 :)


  5. 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!


  6. November 13, 2014
    SKETCHBOOK SERIES | 1

    sketchbook series | 1 | PINEGATE ROAD

    I always love a good look in to artists and designers’ sketchbooks. There’s just something about seeing the begginings of a design and seeing how A got to B — and the windy road that lead it there. I did a deep clean of my desk yesterday, and was inspired to share a few unedited sketches from things I have been working on lately. Most of these are just for fun, and it’s in sketches like these that I learn a lot about new forms when lettering. Sometimes I’ll read a quote on a blog post and just have to letter it, and other times I’m practicing new ways to hold my pen and just writing out what day it is. No end goal, just practice and lots of fun.

    Is this something you like to see around here? I’d love to keep sharing lettering sketches if you find it beneficial. I know I always learn more from others when I can see some behind-the-scenes work.

    In other news, I’m heading to Omaha for a wedding this weekend. I’m a little worried that all this snow decided to hit, but glad that Todd will be on the plane with me. I have been traveling by plane alone since I was about 15, so it will be a nice change to have a travel buddy. Hope you all have had a great week, and are doing something fun this weekend!

    Happy fall, cough, winter.


  7. August 28, 2014
    6 tips for creatives working full time and freelancing

    6 tips for creatives working full time and freelancing

    While the juggle of freelance and other commitments has been something I’ve been trying to balance for a little over five years, this past year was the first time I took on the responsibility of full time employment. This has been a hard transition for me, as I’ve had the tendency to bite off way more than I can chew. Literally and figuratively — I’ve been to the doctors a couple times this year because food keeps getting stuck in my throat! Serious there, but kidding aside, I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way that have been born out of some serious mistakes as well as taking notes on what was going well. If I can give you one over-arching tip, it’s to notice what’s going right, and to keep doing that.

    Anyways, here are my 6 tips for creatives working full time and freelancing on the side:

    1: Specialize

    Since moving to Ohio, I have worked on all sorts of projects on the side. I’ve taken on styling and photography, copywriting, consulting, branding, web design…the list goes on. What I’ve been learning over this past year is that I feel best when I am working on shorter-term projects. For now, I’m trying to focus on contract lettering projects. I can concept and letter over my lunch breaks, and then come home to edit and send off finals and be done with a project within a week. Getting work out the door on my off time, while still having a weekend full of fun feels incredible. I give this up a little when I take on bigger projects that require full-days of work that I can only do on the weekends. I’ll take them on here and there, but for now my heart is with these lettering projects because of the flexibility they afford my schedule and the passion I have towards doing them.

    2: Under promise, over-deliver, and over-estimate

    Over-promised, missed deadlines, apologies, and guilt. Been there, and I’m through. Keep lofty goals to yourself, and tell your clients about half of what you hope to accomplish. It’s not deceitful, it’s just honest. I’d much rather the client be happy with what they 1: assume they are getting and 2: a little something extra, than to be promised something huge and grand and end up with something less than. This is a huge one that I’m still working on. I get ahead of myself, and I let my passions speak louder than what my time allows. Also, over-estimate the time that it will take you to complete a task. Unless you’re up against a strict client-given deadline for a certain deliverable, double up the time you think you could get it done in. If you get it done early, your client is happy, and you’re happy! If you run in to snags, you have that buffer time to smooth them out.

    3: Learn to say no, to say yes

    My 2013 goal was to learn to say no. It’s treated me well. When you’re working a full time job, you usually have the liberty to take on only the projects that you’re super passionate about. Your regular work pays the bills, and the freelance is a little something extra. When you’re taking on these extra projects, they should be fun. This is one of the huge perks of doing both! You get great creative projects to do at work, and you get different projects to balance out those other creative needs on the side. Say no to anything that doesn’t immediately have you saying heck yes! When you say no to the so-so, it opens your schedule to say yes to the thrilling projects when they do come along. It’s so worth it.

    4: Connect with peers in and out of work

    Working for a creative company, I’m lucky to have so many other people who are in this very same position. A group of us have a monthly sushi lunch where we catch up with our lives, and usually end up talking through the struggles and benefits of doing this working full time and freelancing thing. Being a blogger also lead me to finding one of my creative soul sisters at work, which has lead to us collaborating and chatting about so many things we tackle in life as creatives. Outside of work, it’s been important to me to connect to others through instagram, by leaving comments on others’ blogs, and to be active in the online creative community. I definietely had my moments where it was all too much, but a blog post here, a ‘great job’ comment there, it all adds up! All of this leads to a network of people that are there for you in different but necessary ways. These connections help keep me inspired, and they help me gauge some of that ‘what’s going right’ business. It’s too much burden to be a solitary creative. Reach out, open up, and find out the possibilities of what some of these creative relationships can do for you all!

    5: Take smaller bites

    This is something that I’ve been learning since I went to Pursue in April. One of the speakers (eeep, I can’t remember who! Giving myself a wrist-slap) showed us how writing out to-do lists for our to-do lists in teeny tiny steps actually helps you get more accomplished. Herm!? Yeah. So what you do is that for each task you have that seems a little daunting or that you can’t quite make yourself manage, you write out every tiny step that is put in to that to-do item. Maybe it’s as simple as buying a new calligraphy pen — yeah, lettering girl at heart here. For example:

    1 – open safari

    2 – google ‘calligraphy pen’

    3 – browse for a calligraphy pen shop

    4 – compare prices at different shops

    5 – choose which one works for you

    6 – put it in your cart

    7 – get out your wallet

    8 – type in your card info

    9 – click purchase

    10 – celebrate!

    Kidding, kind of, on that celebration part, but honestly this does work. I’ve been breaking up to-do’s at work and it has been helping me manage things that seem a little daunting to me. By breaking up to-do’s for freelance, I’m able to get small aspects of work done on my lunch breaks that I would have otherwise spent worrying about how I was going to get the whole project done during the nights that week. Taking bite-sized pieces of work, and of food, is just the way to go for a more productive you.

    6: Give yourself grace

    This is the biggest one of all. I have extremely high expectations for myself, and it’s bitten me in the butt in the form of emotional sabotage waaaay too many times. Look at you, you’re basically working two jobs! That’s excellent! You did your dishes this week? CONGRATS. Learn to give yourself the opportunity to mess up, and learn in the process. Smile and solve when something does go wrong. The freaking out wont help the matter. I realize this is all simpler said than done, but it’s something I try and remember when I feel like I’m just going about life all wrong.

    +++

    And that’s that! For those of you who are working full time and freelancing, do you have anything else to add? This is certainly a work in progress, and I know we’re all just trying to figure it out one day at a time. Hope this helps full time workers, freelancers, and anyone just trying to manage their work load.

    PS: you’ve got this!

    SOURCE


  8. August 11, 2014
    weapons of mass creation 2014

    weapons of mass creation featured designer 2014

    This weekend marks a pretty big milestone in my design career. I’ll be heading to the Weapons of Mass Creation festival here in Cleveland as a featured designer. Some of you may have seen a little bit of this stamping craze that I got in to last month, and that was all in preparation to take part in the National Poster Retrospecticus that will be held at the festival. Along with taking part in this event, I’ll be spending my weekend soaking in inspiration from speakers that will be traveling here to Cleveland from around the country. I had a major pinch-me moment when I saw Grace Bonney’s headshot pop up as one of the speakers at the festival. Gah. That’s stuff my design-girl dreams are made of.

    While I made the move here shortly before last year’s event, with my unpacking craze I wasn’t able to make it to the festival. I don’t know what to expect in it’s entirety, but I’m crazy excited to take part in an event that celebrates artists, designers, and creativity in this expansive way in my new hometown. Cleveland, I love you, honestly and truly. I was gushing to my coworkers last week about how there really couldn’t have been a better place for me to end up after graduation. It’s events like this that make me realize that the decision to move here was one of the better choices I’ve made in my life. There’s still a long way to go and a lot that I haven’t explored here, but after a year I can really say it’s feeling like home.

    If you’re around the area, or are making your way to Cleveland for the festival, be sure to reach out! Send me a tweet, and I’ll be happy to come say hello. It will be amazing to get to know the creative community here in a new way, and there’s no better way to experience some major inspiration than in-person events like this.

    Hope to see you this weekend!

    You can purchase tickets here.


  9. August 4, 2014
    MONDAY MUSING | 3

    monday musing | 3 | PINEGATE ROAD

    When it comes down to it, that happiness thing, it’s really all in your control. I know I need this reminder more often than not.

    Happy monday friends.


  10. July 30, 2014
    brand refresh process — color palette + logo

    Logo and color palette process | PINEGATE ROAD

    With the portfolio and blog getting a rehaul in the next few months, I’ve been busy trying to make little tweaks here and there to the visuals of Pinegate Road. There are some things that were feeling great aesthetically from my last big rebrand, but as I was working within certain areas, it just didn’t seem flexible enough. I felt like there was a certain kind of persona this brand was creating, that just wasn’t entirely true to what Pinegate Road is at the core. Things just got too crisp and clean, and I like a little mess around here sometimes I’m realizing. The creative journey is never nothing but pretty.

    With this slight refresh, I wanted to get the love of hand-lettering back into the brand. This new logo was hand-lettered and then vectorized to keep those asymmetrical qualities you usually lose when you make a logo fresh from the digital space. The added ‘g’ also is working better with how I’ve been abbreviating the brand from the start. PR just screams public relations to me, and it just needed a slight tweak.

    The color palette is a complete work in progress. If I learned anything from working with the Angela Hauck brand, it’s that I shouldn’t be afraid of color. While still keeping a more subdued natural spin, I wanted to build out a color palette that works with the Pinegate Road brand and one that could stand up to possible growth. If products start to be a part of the future here, I need some go-to hues that I’m not just picking out with a color dropper as needed. Having a larger palette of hues that work together is something that stationery world is making me take note of. It’s the details that keep things together, and this is my first stab at making the color process work towards a cohesive brand look beyond those five colors I picked out specifically for branding purposes.

    Have any of you worked with building out a large cohesive color palette? I’d love tips if so! I’m up for any suggestions on this palette. Is there anything that’s standing out to you? Any colors you think are missing? There’s something about this that I’m not entirely thrilled with, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. (Help!)













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