Branding

How to Visualize your Brand Story

“Branding gives you an exceptionally effective way to broadcast who you are to your target market quickly and efficiently.” – MultiChannel News
 

How to Visualize Your Brand Story | Pace Creative Design Studio

In today’s ever-changing marketplace it’s more important than ever that your brand be effective at telling your story. Not only do you need a good story, you also need to tell it very clearly with cohesive colors, emotions, fonts, and other design elements. Putting everything together in one unified message is the key to branding success.

Whether you know it or not, your brand is telling the story of you and your business. Every time someone visits your website or reads your Facebook post, they are forming an opinion about who you are and deciding if they can relate to your brand. But it’s often difficult for small business owners, and even large ones, to understand and design every part of a brand story without some help.

Here are a few things to remember about the visual elements of your brand story. These can help you create a brand that is compelling and effective.

  1. Your visual brand story is a way to communicate directly with a prospect. It tells a story and should create a lasting impression. It should be authentic and should create a sense of trust in the minds of your prospects.
  2. The design of your brand should visually represent/reflect the mood and tone of your brand story. In order to have a great brand story, start with the story and add your visual branding based on that story. Too many times we want to start with logos and colors and fonts before we’ve really identified the story of our brand.
  3. Every color is tied to an emotion. You can use the psychology behind a color to help tell your brand's story. Take a look at this blog I created to help you understand color and its impact on people. Is your story emotional, energetic, happy or sad? Use colors to reflect those emotions.
  4. Your brand story’s visual elements can help in 3 ways. They make the brand relatable, memorable and engaging. The images create a simple yet highly engaging entry point for consumers, while the text of your brand story gives them the details they are curious about.

I hope these basic tips will help you create or strengthen your brand story. I geek out when I’m talking brand design and I’d love a chance to help you design a brand with one-of-a-kind visuals you can be proud of. Let’s get to talking!

How to Create Demand for your Brand

No matter how great your product or services, there is no such thing as a monopoly in today’s marketplace. There is an option for every product or service out there — usually an overwhelming number of options. So how do you get noticed and attract clients in the middle of all the noise? You might be surprised to learn that the key to success is to market your brand, not your product or service. 
 

How to Create Demand for Your Brand | Pace Creative Design Studio

Think about iconic brands like Coca-Cola and Nike. Does Coca-Cola tell you all the ingredients in their product or about where it’s sourced or how it’s made? Nope. Their latest tagline tells you to “Taste the Feeling” and their iconic logo is unmistakable. They’re promising an experience and feeling you have when you use their product. Does Nike talk all day long about their shoe construction or what their exercise wear is made of? No. The iconic tagline “Just Do It” is one of the most successful taglines ever created. Their “swoosh” logo implies movement and both inspire and encourage us to exercise. Even the Dollar Shave Club isn’t talking about the razor you’re buying. Their slogan “Shave Time. Shave Money.” shows they truly understand their audience and know how to speak directly to them.

How does your brand compare to these highly successful brands? You may not have the marketing budget they do, but the principles for standing out in a crowded marketplace are the same and can work for a business of any size.

  • Position your brand by narrowing your focus and staying true to who you serve. Narrowing your focus allows you to better target your ideal client.
  • Become known for who you are and create an emotion associated with your brand. Your brand should reveal the essential value you offer.
  • Create curiosity and belief in the minds of your audience that your brand offers something new—something they haven’t experienced before.
  • Differentiate how your brand looks from your competition. You can stand out by looking different and having a brand design that reflects who you are as a business.

These principles are a good place to start, but don’t confuse branding with advertising or marketing. Advertising is how and where you call attention to your brand. Marketing is actively promoting or “pushing” out a specific message. Branding is communicating your authentic values that clarify what your brand is and is not. It is “pulling” your audience in through attraction.

Is your branding attracting just the right clients to you? I know it can be difficult to figure out, so if you’re ready to strengthen your brand but don’t know where to start, then we should chat. I’m always ready to help with creative ideas, suggestions, and, of course, with custom, hand-crafted designs for you!

The Psychology of Color in Branding

I'm all about colors and the psychology behind them. Every color is tied to an emotion and as a brand designer I use that to help tell your brand's story.
 

The Psychology of Color in Branding | Pace Creative Design Studio

Here is a quick and simple overview of the emotions that are tied to these colors.
 

The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
The Psychology of Color in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio

This only scratches the surface of color psychology. Each hue and shade of every color will evoke subtle differences in how the brand is portrayed.

What do your brand colors say about your business?

The Importance of Event Branding and Staying True to Your Design Core

Events and workshops are becoming an important way to interact with your audience. Whether you are a nonprofit putting on a fundraising event, an organization providing free community events or a business hosting an informational workshop, this is the time where your core audience really gets to experience your brand without distractions.
 

The Importance of Event Branding and Staying True to Your Design Core | Pace Creative Design Studio

Events give you a unique opportunity to have fun and try new things with your branding, but that doesn’t mean you can stray too far from your brand design core. You need to treat your event design as a mini brand or sub brand of your business.

Brand recognition should always be at the forefront of your decisions when creating an event. If you are creating a new logo for your event make sure that it works well on its own along with making sure that it fits with your main logo. For example: Root + River puts on a half day workshop called Brand Lab, where they help you develop key elements of your brand’s core. Knowing that I could have fun with the branding, I took the concept of a laboratory and created little science inspired graphics. Overall, Root + River’s brand is very soulful, energetic and organic, which contrasts with how people typically view laboratories – cold, clean and stark. By adding the natural textures that are already established in the visual identity, the Brand Lab logo looks and feels like it is part of the overall Root + River brand.
 

Root + River Brand Lab design by Pace Creative Design Studio

See how the Brand Lab branding fits perfectly with Root + River's brand design.
 

Root + River brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Events are also a way for you to increase awareness about your brand or mission. Most people thinking sticking their logo on everything is the best way to brand their events. Yes, it is important to have your logo on everything, but that is only one piece of the overall event branding. People should be subtly absorbing your brand through your messaging, colors, signage and all the other elements seen throughout your event. This is especially important for nonprofits. Sometimes nonprofits get stuck on how to incorporate their mission when branding a fundraising event, especially when the theme of that event doesn’t match the nonprofit’s core. For example: Every year, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale put on a culinary fundraising event. The event always centered around eating and drinking and since the Boys & Girls Clubs’ mission is to help young people reach their full potential, the theme of the event and the mission don’t match. One of the ways to connect the two, was creating a brand that felt fun and youthful. By using bright, bold colors and infusing playful icons and graphics, it created an environment that reflected the fun, playful side of the Boys & Girls Clubs.
 

Live & Local event brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio
Live & Local event brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Colors are one of the easiest ways for people to remember your brand. So by sticking with your brand colors is another way of being consistent while still being able to apply a fun new approach to your event’s brand design. For example: Every summer, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park puts on a Summer Concert Series and each year they have a new design for the event. This keeps the event fun and fresh, but by using brand colors you keep the integrity of the brand design core.
 

Railroad Park - Summer Concert Series event branding by Pace Creative Design Studio
Railroad Park - Summer Concert Series event branding by Pace Creative Design Studio

Have an event coming up but don't know how to brand it? Reach out to me and we can talk about leveraging your brand design to make your events more impactful.

Project Spotlight: Her Packing List

Here is a behind the scenes look at the brand design for Her Packing List.

Her Packing List brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Overview

I was excited when Brooke reached out to me for help on designing a new look and feel for her business, Her Packing List. Her Packing List is a travel site dedicated to female travelers with a less-is-more attitude, who need advice on packing and travel gear. Brooke founded this site out of her passion for traveling and wanting to help other women experience how traveling can be life changing. The site also helps ease the stress preparing for a trip by providing over 100 packing lists, travel guides, product reviews and even creative hacks for packing.

Creative Process

After digging deep and learning as much as I could about Her Packing List, it was clear that the goal of the design should be to create a modern feminine (but not frilly) brand that had a mix of vintage/retro inspired elements. This vibe can be seen in the brand mood board below:

Her Packing List brand mood board by Pace Creative Design Studio

Logo + Brand Marks

It is important for all businesses to have a range of brand elements, so you have the ability for branding flexibility, which is why I not only created a primary logo but three other marks. The typefaces in the primary logo were chosen because of their retro inspired styling.

Her Packing List logo design by Pace Creative Design Studio
Her Packing List logo design by Pace Creative Design Studio

These three brand marks might be my favorite icons to date.

Her Packing List brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

I created this H icon, so the overall creative direction still had a modern feel. If you look closely you will notice that the H’s crossbar is a little luggage tag.
 

Her Packing List brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

The third mark is a play off of passport stamps. It is a fun and playful brand element that can be added to different brand collateral, like this social media graphic:
 

Her Packing List brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Color Palette

Since this was a redesign of an existing brand, Brooke and I felt that it was important to still incorporate the brand color red, but also develop a brand color palette that felt more vintage modern.
 

Her Packing List brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Typography

Fonts are just as important to your overall visual branding, just as other the brand elements. For Her Packing List, I decided to pair a modern condensed style font with a serif font. I also mixed in a retro script font. The styling of all three fonts together match perfectly with the goal of creating a modern and feminine (but not frilly) brand.
 

Her Packing List brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio
Her Packing List brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Brand Patterns

I have said it before, but brand patterns add depth to your overall visual branding. You'll notice I use the main striped pattern throughout the brand collateral. The other ones are inspired by patterns and fabrics that you see traveling the world, which gives the brand a worldly feel.
 

Her Packing List brand patterns by Pace Creative Design Studio

Brand Collateral

As online entrepreneur, it is crucial to have an engaging social media following. With that in mind, I created Instagram and Pinterest templates that Brooke and her team would be able to use moving forward to promote new blog posts, traveling tips, packing tips and more.

Here is an example of what a branded Instagram feed would look like with the new branded templates:

Her Packing List brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Pinterest templates:

Her Packing List Pinterest Templates designed by Pace Creative Design Studio

Social Media Cover Photos:

Her Packing List brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio
Her Packing List brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Along with the social media templates, I designed a packing checklist template that travelers could download and print to help them prepare for their upcoming trip.
 

Her Packing List brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Want to see other brands that I've designed? You can check out my featured projects here.


The Happy Client

 
 

Brooke Schoenman
Editor & Founder, Her Packing List

“Jennifer's greatest asset is her uncanny ability to hone in on the features that make your brand truly yours, and then to turn them into the perfect visual identity. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire branding process at Pace Creative Design Studio, and as a result, I am now more able to clearly define what Her Packing List means to both myself and my readers. And we have a cohesive branding package that helps us to portray that meaning to the world! I cannot recommend the process highly enough; my only wish is that I'd done this sooner!” 

Design Paralysis: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Focus on Your Core

Are you stuck? Are you unsure of how your business needs to look visually? Are you constantly afraid of committing to a look, because you don’t know if it feels like you? If you answered yes to those questions, then you are in what I like to call a state of design paralysis – the inability to make decisions about the look and feel of your business.
 

Design Paralysis: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others and Focus on Your Core | Pace Creative Design Studio

Now you can get through this, but you should follow these steps:

1.  Stay Away from Pinterest

Now I love Pinterest and you can see that I have pinned thousands of images, so it hurts saying this. Right now you are unable to make any decisions about the look of your brand, because you are stuck in a comparison trap. You see all the other entrepreneurs marketing and branding themselves and you want to be like them. Everything they are doing looks perfect. You either begin to have self-doubt or think you need to look exactly like them. This leads right into why you can’t decide about your brand design. Take a step back and remove yourself from sites like Pinterest for a week or two. Then dive deep into your business. Hone in on your goals, your core and what makes you stand out. It is time to focus on just your business not what others are doing.

2. Work with a Designer and Trust the Process

It is scary trusting a designer to visually brand your business. You are afraid that they won’t understand you and end up with a brand design that doesn’t reflect your business at all. Take the time to research and find an experienced designer who has a branding process in place. Make sure their process emphasizes understanding your business before they ever begin to create a logo. All my branding projects start with a Discovery Phase, which solely focuses on understanding your goals, core values, where you see your business in the future and more. There is a comprehensive questionnaire that allows me to get a pretty accurate picture of your business. From there all design decisions reflect and connect back to the heart of your business.

3. Stop Trying to Please Everyone

Hiring a designer is a very important step in helping you through your state of design paralysis, but if you are not honest with yourself and the designer on your goals and your audience than the design is going to fall flat. Great brands attract and repel. You won’t become a great brand if you try to please and attract everyone. Really narrow in on who your ideal audience is, because then you won’t be stuck on what you should look like. You don’t want a generic brand design, you want one that is hand crafted to captivate, engage and appeal to your current and future customers.

4. Commit to a One Design Solution

Now this is the hardest part, especially if you are prone to design paralysis. Find a designer that delivers only one design solution. This option will make you nervous, but it will ultimately be the best approach for you.

Why is this the best for you? When you are given multiple design solutions, you tend to pick your favorite instead of focusing on if the concept reflects your core. In other cases, you end up wanting to combine two different concepts, which is even worse because you will end up with a diluted brand design strategy. The whole reasoning behind a one design solution approach goes back to the fact that your brand design should start with research and strategy not design. Every design decision will be based on the findings in a Discovery Phase. This one design solution works, because you aren’t distracted by all the different options. Remember to trust your designer, they will be working behind the scenes on exploring different options but they will only show you the best one that truly reflects who you are as a brand. By trusting their design expertise and process you will end up with a brand design that is the right solution, one that you are proud of and one that you are excited to show off.

5. Staying Consistent

Now that you have a cohesive brand design, make sure to stick with it or you’ll be back to your old design paralysis habits. Your brand design should include a brand style guide which will help you maintain brand consistency moving forward. The guide should outline how to use your logos, what your brand colors are and more. If the brand package doesn’t include collateral, I suggest investing in branded templates and brand materials. These templates, especially templates for social media, will allow you to simply fill in your content and not have to worry about making sure your brand design is staying consistent. Like I always say, brand consistency is one of the most important things about your brand design, because consistency equals recognition. If your customers recognize you, if they trust you and if they feel like you are dependable then they will be a fan for life. And a good brand design makes you recognizable, more dependable and most of all it builds trust.


Are you stuck in a design paralysis? Let’s chat and figure out ways you can move forward and not feel stressed about your brand design.

How You Know it’s Time for a Rebrand

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the signs that your brand design needs a refresh, but sometimes a refresh is not enough and you need to commit to a full rebrand. Rebranding is an important step for your business, but should only be done if you truly need it. Here are a few signs that let you know when it is time to rebrand:
 

How you Know it's Time for a Rebrand | Pace Creative Design Studio

Here are a few signs that let you know when it is time to rebrand:

You have outgrown your brand.
When you started your business, you did not have a budget for hiring someone to design your brand. You went the DIY route, which worked for you in the beginning but now that your business has grown it no longer works.

Your brand design lacks emotion.
Your business was founded by your drive to make an impact. You need to rebrand if you design lacks passion. Without an emotional connection, your audience will not feel compelled to interact with your brand.

You have repositioned yourself in the market.
When you grow, your business tends to evolve and change. As you diversify your offerings and adjust who you are marketing to, you will notice that your brand design no longer depicts who you are as a company and it begins to fall flat. 

Most importantly, the main reason to rebrand is so your business goals and values strategically align with how you are visually communicating to your audience.  

Do you feel it is time to invest in redesigning your brand? Let’s chat and we can work together to figure out if rebranding is the right move for you.

The Top 3 Reasons You Should Use Patterns in your Branding

Patterns make people smile and if you follow my work you know they make me smile too. More importantly, patterns can play a huge role in your brand recognition. They add a little something extra to the overall brand design and that is why I like to create patterns for my branding clients.

These three reasons will explain why patterns can make an impact in your brand design.
 

The Top 3 Reasons You Should Use Patterns in your Branding | Pace Creative Design Studio

1. People Remember Patterns

Our brains tend to pick up and recognize patterns faster. We rely on repetition as a way of remembering things, so I use this notion when designing brand identities. I create patterns from different elements throughout the overall brand to reinforce the brand’s essence and visual appeal. These patterns become memorable and add another layer of visual consistency to your brand.

Here are examples of brand patterns I designed for Brightside Creative Solutions. I focused on using the brand's icon (the "B") and created a series of signature patterns that could be used interchangeably across the brand. Repetition of the brand's "B" icon in the patterns was key to making the brand unforgettable.
 

Brightside Creative Solutions pattern design by Pace Creative Design Studio

You can see how the patterns were implemented in the collateral. The brand patterns are unique and unforgettable. People will remember getting their business cards and they will begin to associate these bold patterns with Brightside.
 

Brightside Creative Solutions branding by Pace Creative Design Studio

2.  Break the Mold

What brand does not want to stand out from their competition? More and more businesses are realizing the importance of branding. They understand they need a strong logo and a brand color scheme, but then they stop there and think their visual brand is complete. But you shouldn’t. Developing patterns makes your visual messaging more unique. Your brand will begin to stand out from your competition. The patterns will enhance your brand’s personality and your audience will notice. Using patterns is a fun, visual way of engaging your customers.

Most people would think a dentist practice would not need brand patterns, but these patterns for Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry add visual appeal that makes them stand apart from most dentists. I created several simple and sweet confetti inspired patterns that were used on their business cards, website and more.
 

3.  Catch their Eye

Just adding your logo to your brand collateral or stationery does not count as branding. You want your collateral to be eye catching. You want your audience to recognize it as your brand and you want them to be engaged. Brand patterns add that eye catching interest that you are going for. They also allow you to stay consistent with your branding without heavily relying on just your logo. You can use them on your business cards, website, packaging, mailings, in your office or your storefront – the list could go on and on. In the end, your brand patterns add personal and memorable touches that your audience will be attracted to.

Not all brand patterns have to be intricate and bold. Sometimes the perfect pattern for a brand is subtle and not in your face. Your brand patterns need to reflect your business vision. For example, I created a very simple brand pattern for root + river. The wavy lines make you think of a river, but it also connects with how they help people, businesses and work cultures propel forward as they embrace the authenticity and soul of their brands.
 

Anyone can harness the benefits of brand patterns. They are beneficial for corporate companies, entrepreneurs, online shop owners, restaurants, clothing brands – basically they will work for all types of brands.

Don’t have brand patterns? Reach out to me and we can strategize how patterns can impact your brand.

Project Spotlight: Art Cart

Here is a behind the scenes look at the brand design for Art Cart.
 

A behind the scenes look at the branding of Art Cart by Pace Creative Design Studio

Overview

Art Cart is a mobile arts & crafts business, founded by two moms (and best friends), Amy and Jennifer. Their new business is inspired by their passion for the arts and DIY projects. They want children and adults to have fun exploring their creativity and not to be afraid to take creative risks. This “mom & mom” shop provides unique and personalized experiences that are specifically tailored to their customers. Whatever creative idea you have they will make it happen, from painting parties to even workshops were you can create succulents wreaths out of felt.

Creative Process

During the Discovery Phase, I learned more about the vision behind Art Cart. Jennifer and Amy were beyond excited to start their dream business and their enthusiasm was contagious. As always, the project started by narrowing in on their business goals, target market and more. They really emphasized who their target audience was down to even where they shopped. They wanted to target moms with a creative side, who were not afraid to DIY and get their hands dirty. These moms, who are probably so busy at work or raising littles ones, have lost touch with their creative side, but they yearn for it and want to explore it again with their friends or with their kids.

To attract these moms, the brand design needed to have a crafted and personable feel. The best way to create that feel was through a vintage styling that had whimsical elements with modern twist. This can be seen in the mood board below.

 

Art Cart mood board by Pace Creative Design Studio

Logo Design

To stay in line with the visual brand tone, I paired a modern font that had a feminine flair with a very playful serif font (that can be seen in the tagline). The addition of the pencil illustration really gave it that whimsical feel that we were going for.

 

Art Cart logo design by Pace Creative Design Studio

My favorite part of designing brands is adding flexibility and elements of surprise to the overall brand design. This alternative logo might be my favorite part of the Art Cart brand.
 

Art Cart logo design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Inspired by vintage design, I created a play on a floral wreath by designing a "doodle wreath" that captured the essence of Art Cart. I love all the art doodles around the primary logo like the ink bottle, the little trailer and of course the pencil icon. All the little details within the wreath highlight the whimsical appeal of the brand.

Color Palette

The feminine inspired color palette gives the brand a chic and crafted feel. The midnight blue, mint and blush colors combined with the bright pops of the pear and salmon colors add a touch of playful sophistication.

Art Cart brand colors | Brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Brand Illustration Style

The playful illustrations in the alternative wreath logo can also be used by themselves through out the brand. They have a quirky style and really emphasize the creative side of the business. As Art Cart grows, Jennifer and Amy will be investing in a vintage trailer, so I created a little icon to nod to that.

Art Cart brand illustration style | Brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Brand Patterns + Textures

Those illustrations also turned into brand patterns. Next I created brand textures. These consisted of up close acrylic paint textures, abstract watercolor patterns and watercolor splotches on kraft paper. This added another layer of intrigue to the overall brand design.
 

Art Cart brand patterns + textures by Pace Creative Design Studio

Brand Collateral

I then utilized the brand textures on the business cards to really highlight the vintage, whimsical and modern mood of the brand.
 

Art Cart business card designs by Pace Creative Design Studio

Looking for an update on your brand design? Let’s work together and figure out how design can impact your brand.


The Happy Clients

 
Art Cart founders – Jen and Amy
 
"Working with Jen could not have been any easier, at first I was a little worried since I have no knowledge of the design world but she talked us through every step of the way. I could not love our branding anymore and it just goes to show that Jen is truly a master at her craft, everything she does looks so effortless and beautiful." – Jennifer Britz
"Jen was the ultimate pleasure to work with. She guided us smoothly and professionally through her branding process, and did so in a way that allowed us to feel like we were truly a part of the creative process. By exploring our brand personality and learning the goals we had in mind, she emerged herself in the design process and the outcome was exceptional. We are thrilled with our identity package! And now we feel we have the tools to make our business a successful venture. Thank you for your incredible skills and your kindness, Jen! We wouldn't be here without you." – Amy Vericker 
 

The Power Behind a 100 Day Project and How You Can Implement that Power in Your Brand

The Power Behind a 100 Day Project by Pace Creative Design Studio

I am 21 days into my second 100 Day Project and I have realized how powerful it is to do something consistently every day. Since January 4th, I have committed to designing a greeting card every day. It has challenged me to focus not only on my clients’ work, but to also focus on making time to develop and improve my skills as designer and illustrator.
 

#100happygreetings project by Pace Creative Design Studio

Dedicating time to do a project every day for 100 days has taught me several lessons and these lessons can easily be implemented into your brand design:

Be Accountable

Showing up every day proves to your audience that you are accountable. Social media makes this easy, but being on them every day isn't enough. It is important that your posts are consistently following your brand design guidelines, like using the right brand colors and not changing them up all the time. You have to hold your team accountable to make sure you brand looks the same across all platforms. A consistent brand increases customer recognition and I am always preaching about it. You can see for yourself here and here.

I’ve told my audience that I will be designing a card every day and if I decide to quit in the middle of the project it shows them that I’m not reliable. If your audience trusts you and feels like you are dependable then they will be a fan for life – and we all are looking for our own brand cheerleaders.

Build a Habit

Successful brands are built on habits. Habits make you accountable. What do you think is the number one habit that brands break? They do not speak directly to their target audience. You should be doing this every day. With each detail of your brand, especially your visual brand, you need to ask yourself how does this relate to my ideal customer? Does this connect with them? Do the brand colors catch their eye? Does the brand photography spark their curiosity? You need to constantly be checking in with your brand to make sure that it is connecting to your audience. You need to establish this as a habit, so that your customers feel like your brand is speaking directly to them.

Stay Curious

Being curious and creative are two very important aspects of my business that is why I have embarked on another 100 Day Project, but these two things should also be a priority for yours. Building habits are great, but you don’t want them to become stale. For example, with my 100 Day Project, I’m not sticking to one genre of cards. I use my curiosity to research different themes and creatively depict them through illustrations and patterns. This process of brainstorming new ideas every day will ultimately help me come up with creative ideas for my clients’ projects. That is why you should always be curious about new ideas and how they can creatively spark your business.


How do you plan on implementing these lessons into your business? Do you have an idea of what you can do for the next 100 days to step up your branding? Email me and tell me your plans. 
 

#100happygreetings project by Pace Creative Design Studio

Project Spotlight: Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry

Here is a behind the scenes look at the brand design for Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry.
 

Project Spotlight: Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry Brand Design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Overview

Dr. Erica Pitera, a pediatric dentist in Connecticut, reached out to me to rebrand for her new dentist practice. She was in the process of taking over a dental office and it needed a new brand. The practice had been around for 30 years and was originally named after the previous dentist. Erica decided to rename the practice to Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry, since kids are sweet. The sweetest (no pun intended 😉) part of her story was that she had been a patient there when she was little. The most important thing to Erica was that she wanted to make sure that the brand didn’t market kids eating lots of sweets, but wanted to be known as the place where sweet kids and healthy teeth are their speciality.

Creative Process

In the discovery phase, I learned more about the vision behind Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry through the creative questionnaire that all my branding clients receive. As a young female dentist, Erica stood out in the market because most children feel comfortable around female dentists. Moms that are looking for dental care often feel overwhelmed and nervous when trying to find a dentist, so having a brand that highlighted a more feminine side was important. I created a mood board that reflected her vision of a brand that was modern, fresh, approachable and trusted.
 

Sweet Tooth mood board by Pace Creative Design Studio

Logo Design

I design most of my brands, so that there is a lot of creative flexibility and the Sweet Tooth brand was no different. I needed to make sure that there were several brand marks that could work on applications as small as a handle of a tooth brush to large signage.
 

Sweet Tooth brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Here are all the different brand marks for Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry.
 

Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

 

Color Palette

The Sweet Tooth color palette is fresh and modern with a bright and happy feel. Since the colors are so bright and vivid, the use of a lot of white space is important for the overall styling of the brand to stay sophisticated.

Sweet Tooth brand colors by Pace Creative Design Studio

Patterns

Patterns are one of my favorite brand elements. For the Sweet Tooth brand patterns, I created several simple confetti/sprinkles inspired patterns. The “sprinkles” give a playful wink back to the brand’s name. To complement these patterns it was important to also pair them with stripes.
 

Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry brand patterns by Pace Creative Design Studio

Brand Illustration Style

To establish the youthful side of the brand even more, I created custom illustrations. The hand-drawn illustrations mixed with the brand’s more modern elements gave it a really fresh feel.

Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry brand illustrations by Pace Creative Design Studio

Brand Collateral

It was a lot of fun building out the Sweet Tooth brand from business cards, to referral pads and to the design of the website, I was able to really capture the brand’s vibe – modern, fresh, approachable and trusted.
 

Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry referral pad designs by Pace Creative Design Studio
Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry web design by Pace Creative Design Studio
Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry business cards by Pace Creative Design Studio

The Happy Client

 
Erica-headshot.png
 
"I am beyond thrilled with the final result of my branding design for my new pediatric dental office. I can be a very picky person when it comes to design, but I never second guessed my decision to hire Jennifer - she exceeded my expectations! She listened to my ideas and desires for the branding, was very receptive to any changes I requested, and always replied promptly and stayed on track through the entire process. She truly "got" my vision and executed it beautifully, I am so excited to share what we've come up with with the world. I would highly recommend working with Pace Creative Design Studio to any of my colleagues or friends!"

 

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3 Resolutions for Better Branding in 2017

It is that time of year again, where everyone is setting their resolutions. Personally, I love setting resolutions and goals. It inspires and motivates me. As you are setting your personal goals for 2017, don't forget to include some resolutions around your personal brand or your business's brand. These 3 resolutions will help you kick start better branding for 2017.

3 Resolutions for Better Branding in 2017 | Pace Creative Design Studio

1.  Set Intentions – Create an Inspiration Board

Inspiration boards or mood boards are one of my favorite steps in branding. I create them in the Discovery Phase of my branding process with my clients. Mood boards are your brand’s compass that guide the vision and visual style of your brand. The collage of images, patterns, textures, typography and colors perfectly communicate your brand’s essence. This inspirational piece is very important in creating your visual foundation.

Creating a mood board is fun and tools like Pinterest have made it even easier to create them. To start, setup a secret board on Pinterest and pin images that visually reflect your brand’s vision and tone. Sometimes it becomes overwhelming to find the “perfect” images, but don’t overthink this step – it is all about collecting inspiring images and setting intentions for your brand. As you pin more images, you will begin to see a distinct visual direction forming.

Here are some mood board examples that I’ve created for some of my branding clients:

Mood board example 1:

  visual brand vibe: creative, whimsical, crafted + playful

visual brand vibe: creative, whimsical, crafted + playful

Mood board example 2:

 visual brand vibe: modern, fresh, approachable + trusted

visual brand vibe: modern, fresh, approachable + trusted

2. Find Balance

Does your visual brand seem disjointed? If so, you are probably sensing the unbalance within your brand design. Balance is one of the most important elements of good design. It is key to strike the right balance within the elements in your logo design but also between the different brand assets. You need to have the right combination of colors, patterns, typography, illustration and photography to have a successful brand identity. Do an audit of your brand assets and find what elements are working and what are not.


3. Exercise Brand Consistency

I am always preaching about brand consistency, because consistency equals recognition. If you only keep up with one of your branding New Year’s resolutions, this is the one. The number one thing you can do to help stay consistent is by establishing a brand style guide and sticking to them. A brand style guide is an in-depth document that clearly shows how your branding should be used. You need to set detailed parameters about each of your brand assets. For example, you need to outline how your logo can be used, what are the brand colors, what fonts are you allowed to use. This guide will help you make sure your brand is consistent across all platforms – print, web, social and more.

Here are a couple of pages from a brand style guide that I created for one of my clients:
 

root + river Brand Style Guide example by Pace Creative Design Studio

Need help with sticking to your branding New Year's resolutions? Drop me a note and we can work together to create better branding for you in 2017.

How to Avoid these 3 Mistakes in Branding

How To Avoid these 3 Mistakes in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio

Crafting your brand design is not easy. Unfortunately, it is really easy to fall into some common brand design traps. As you begin the process of branding or rebranding your business consider these three mistakes:

1. Not Investing in Brand Design

Hire a professional.
Brand design is an important investment. As a business owner, I understand the need to keep expenses low. Remember though that your brand identity is the face of your business and is the first thing that your ideal customer will see. Your goal is to have a brand that is professional, recognizable and authentic to you, so the biggest mistake you can make is not investing in brand design.

Today, there are so many websites that offer cheap logo designs and you can even buy one for $5*. In your mind, you are probably seeing all the money you will be saving, but stop and think for a second – do you really think that they will be providing you with a logo that reflects everything that your business is about? I promise you that they won’t. When you hire a professional designer, they will take the time to understand your business including your story, vision, goals, target market and more. Great brand design reveals your values.

* Please note that a lot of these sites are ripping off logo designs. I don’t want you to end up with a design where someone can go after you for copyright infringement.

2. Lacking Creative Consistency

Inconsistency is confusing.
Don’t confuse your audience. Don’t have all your brand collateral look different. Don’t believe you have to follow every single design trend to get people to notice you. When you invest in a professional designer to create a cohesive brand identity, they will develop brand guidelines that will be your roadmap to creative consistency. It is important that your marketing materials look similar, because people will start to recognize your brand which is the first step into building a loyal following and trust. Your audience will start to feel comfortable with your brand and start to recognize subtle details like colors or patterns. Consistent brand design establishes credibility.

3. Branding without a Purpose

Design is strategic.
The most crucial step in brand design is the discovery phase. A professional designer will research your business, ask questions around business strategy and understand your business goals before designing anything. Why is that important? Having a design strategy around your brand will bring clarity. Knowing what is important to your business and why you are doing it is how you position yourself in the market. Brand positioning allows you to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Your positioning guides the design direction. Each design decision is crafted to tell your story. In the end, strategic brand design illustrates your purpose.
 

Do you recognize any of these mistakes? Don’t let these mistakes hold you back from reaching your brand’s full potential. Drop me a note and let me help you avoid these pitfalls. I want to help bring your brand to life.

 

Project Spotlight: root + river

Here is a behind the scenes look at the brand design for root + river.
 

root + river brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Overview
root + river is one of those unique brands you dream of working with. It was founded on the belief that all brands begin at the root. And they practice what they preach, which is rare. After meeting with co-founders, Emily and Justin, their passion and drive to help leaders uncover the souls of their brands was contagious. I was excited and flattered to design their brand identity.

Creative Process
In the discovery phase, Emily sent over their creative brief that was filled with inspiring visual breadcrumbs that got my mind racing with ideas. I learned so much about their brand and my favorite takeaway was how they describe the essence of root + river:

r + r is a brand that begins at the soulful level, using the alchemy of its experience with people, businesses, marketing and branding to find truth and authenticity. r + r is uncompromising in its commitment to applying this essence (the vision of the leader) – to propel people, businesses and work cultures forward.
 
 root + river brand mood board

root + river brand mood board

Logo Design
The font for the typographic logo was chosen because of it’s subtle organic and natural texture and I created a secondary logo that had that same vibe. It was very important to have a sense of simplicity in the design.

 

root + river logo design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Color Palette
The root + river color palette is warm and earthy. The rich neutral earth tones have a natural but powerful feel while the navy’s classic charm give it a timeless feel. While the bold and fiery accent colors add a pop of energy to the palette.

root + river brand colors

Typography
A fun element from this brand project was creating an accent font based off of Emily's handwriting. It became the playful brand font that could be used graphically and/or in call outs throughout their brand collateral.

root + river brand accent font

Brand Design
A lot of the design cues for this brand were taken from their organic process of uncovering the root and soul of the brands they work with. With that in mind, I began to create graphical elements that would emphasize this organic feel.

root + river graphic elements by Pace Creative Design Studio

This organic feel also needed to show through in their social media presence. I created an example of what a branded Instragram feed would look like. Using a mix of great imagery and branded graphics makes the feed look and feel more consistent and authentic.
 

root + river branded social media by Pace Creative Design Studio

Pattern Design
Creating patterns for a brand adds another level of depth. When creating a brand pattern for root+river, I wanted to keep it simple. I designed a pattern of wavy lines that make you think of a river flowing. This gives the brand more texture, especially when it is used as an overlay on photos.

root + river brand pattern design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Brand Collateral
The brand really starts to shape as I build out the collateral pieces.
 

root + river business card designs by Pace Creative Design Studio
root + river brand collateral design by Pace Creative Design Studio
 

The Happy Client

 
 EMILY SOCCORSY  Co-Founder
 

EMILY SOCCORSY
co-founder & strategist
root + river

"The experience of working with Jen Pace Duran of Pace Creative on my company's brand was something that design rarely is — totally enjoyable, comfortable and definitive. We had worked with three other designers to capture our essence in design before finding Jen. Never satisfied, I was at least a little skeptical about us getting to a place where both my co-founder and I were pleased with the result. 
Jen's process of understanding the brand of our start-up from the heart out, then collaborating on a mood board, then providing designs that reflected all she had learned about us was impressive. She is a listener, an intelligent and intentional designer, and a skilled, modern marketer who combines her mind and art to achieve design greatness. 
I trust Jen implicitly with all aspects of our brand, and now rely on her for additional design, including social icons, document templates, presentation decks, infographics and much more. 
Her work is thorough, thoughtful, beautiful and impactful. I am not easily impressed. 
Even more impressive than her work is her person: she's delightful, totally competent, and a diligent businesswoman. I now refer her to everyone I know." 

The Fear in Branding

Branding has become quite the buzzword and rightfully so. Why? Because branding matters. 
 

Fear in Branding by Pace Creative Design Studio

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godin

Branding Myth: Branding is just a logo.
The biggest misconception about branding is that it is all about the logo design. A logo is part of your brand and is important, but it is not the only piece. There are several important pieces that make up your brand. Your branding includes:

  • Brand Values
  • Brand Voice
  • Brand Story
  • Brand Goals
  • Brand Relationships (the emotional relationships with your audience or customer)
  • Brand Visual Identity (the look and feel of your business)
    • Logo: the mark that portrays your company in the most simplest form
    • Secondary logos/marks
    • Website
    • Brand elements – patterns, icons, photography, etc.
    • Marketing collateral – business cards, flyers, ads, social media graphics, etc.
    • Advertisements


Branding is the foundation of your business and is the reason why people are attracted to it. That is why it matters.

For the most part people understand why branding is important. After years of designing brand identities, I have noticed one big challenge that my clients face when it comes to visual branding — they are afraid of taking risks. Today, innovation and big ideas (more buzzwords) are what everyone strives for, but when you really dive deep you will begin to notice that people shy away from it. They will avoid taking a risk or just simply doing something new. Why is that? Because change is hard. Being different is hard. Innovation is definitely hard and so is being creative.


“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas.
I’m frightened of the old ones.” – John Cage

The Fear
People come to me for branding design. They are looking for a fresh and unique brand identity for their business. Once I get into the branding process, I quickly realize they don’t want something fresh or unique, they want a design that is based off of what other people in their industry are doing. That right there is the epitome of fear in branding. They become so distracted by the trends and what their competitors are doing they forget about their brand values, their brand voice and their brand goals. This distraction leads to what I like to call design paralysis – meaning that people get so caught up in design trends that they go into a state of fear and are unable to take risks in design.

Taking risks in design doesn’t mean you will be going completely out of your comfort zone. It can be simple. For example, I just got married in January and while researching different vendors, I noticed that the wedding industry is full of brands that have floral or calligraphy logos. Is that a bad thing? No. Overall, if you are in the wedding industry you probably want to convey an elegant and romantic feel and one of the ways of portraying that is through beautiful script fonts and delicate florals. But your goal as a business should be to strive to being unique. Remember your brand values, voice and goals are some of the most important elements that dictate the design decisions for creating your visual brand. The most simple way of standing out might be to not have a calligraphy or a floral logo, but you have to make sure that the design decisions align with your brand. Just because I said that was the most simple way of standing does not mean that should be the reason for you. Each decision should reflect and highlight your overall brand.

To make sure that the visual identity aligns with your brand, you need to make sure that the designer you are working with takes the time to understand your business. Through my branding process, I spend a lot of time in the beginning dedicated to the discovery phase. The discovery phase is one of the most important aspects of the process. The goal is to understand your business at a deeper level. Before any design happens, I will need to know everything about your business including your story, vision, goals, target market and more. All of these elements will help in defining your visual brand.

So, what are you scared of? What about the branding process has you in a design paralysis? Email me and tell me your fears in branding.