design

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.

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 
 

Project Spotlight: Brightside Creative Solutions Brand Design

Here is a behind the scenes look at the brand design for Brightside Creative Solutions.
 

Brightside Creative Solutions brand design by Pace Creative Design Studio

Overview

Holly and Jessica, co-owners of Brightside Creative Solutions, approached me to take on designing a new brand identity for their digital marketing business. They felt their current brand design was dull and did not reflect the energetic personality of their business. They wanted some bright and unique elements that could make their brand stand out and I couldn’t wait to make that happen for them.

Creative Process

Every branding project I work on starts with the discovery phase. Holly and Jessica filled out a comprehensive questionnaire, so I could gain a better understanding of their business vision. The biggest takeaway from the questionnaire was the unique value that they bring to their clients. As a duo, they bring this infectious enthusiasm in their one-on-one interactions that you don’t see very often in the world of digital marketing. As I learned more about Brightside, I became more inspired by Holly and Jessica. I was able to create a mood board that visually reflected their infectious enthusiasm that I even began to see with my own interactions with them.
 

Brightside Creative Solutions Mood Board by Pace Creative Design Studio


Primary + Secondary Logos

After the discovery phase, I knew that there needed to be several surprise elements within the brand. I designed a logotype, a secondary logo and several alternate marks that would allow creative flexibility for the digital brand. Each of the logo elements are full of energy and portray that playful and modern sensibility that the brand embodies.
 

Brightside Creative Solutions branding by Pace Creative Design Studio

Color Palette

For the brand colors, I chose a palette that was bright and light, but also had a feminine flair. The primary sunshine yellow evokes the sense of optimism and self-confidence, while the mix of the charcoal and mint colors adds a touch of sophistication.

Brightside Creative Solutions brand colors by Pace Creative Design Studio

Patterns

If you follow my work, you know I have a huge obsession with designing patterns and I couldn’t stop myself from creating several different ones for Brightside Creative Solutions. These fun and playful patterns add another exciting layer to the overall brand identity. My favorite part was using the alternate marks to create some of the patterns.
 

Brightside Creative Solutions brand pattern designs by Pace Creative Design Studio

Business Cards

From the beginning, Holly and Jessica emphasized how they wanted to start incorporating gold into their brand, so I could not resist designing their business cards to include gold foil. The addition of the gold foil was the perfect touch for this new brand design.
 

Brightside Creative Solutions brand stationery design by Pace Creative Design Studio

The Happy Client

 
Holly Lane, co-owner of Brightside Creative Solutions
 

HOLLY LANE
co-owner
Brightside Creative Solutions

“The brand elements Jennifer created PERFECTLY captured who we were. She gave us brand patterns that we are able to use on many of our new collateral. The whole process was smooth and done in a timely manner. We cannot recommend working with her enough! As a digital marketing company we know the value of a brand and are so happy to have a partner in someone like Jennifer who understands that as well.”
 
 

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."