Sunday, December 2, 2012

Client spotlight: Glam Polish

Every designer gets a job that stretches them a little and helps them grow as a designer and Glam Polish was just that for me.

First off working with someone in another country is an enlightening experience. If there's one thing to take away from this it's always discuss print first thing after the project parameters have been discussed. Print, thankfully, is a standard process where printers all use the same terms such as bleed and trim. However they may not use the same increments as we Americans do (well actually they don't).

I lucked out and she and I found a solution for her label at Moo Print Services (if you use this link you'll receive a 10% discount on your first order). The problem we found was in finding a print service with high quality labels in the tiny size we needed that could ship to Australia without it costing 100+ and Moo was that company for us. I'll have to write another post about how finding print solutions turns designers grey before their time but I digress.

We went through a lot of ideas to get the finalized version (images are watermarked and quality brought down - I may release the diva fairies in my scraps clean out later).

Another problem came up in going to print. Bottom line is that you can't print neon on a budget. A printer uses a subtractive color solution and a screen uses an additive. There's a lot more to it but we ended up having to compromise to make the labels a reasonable price to print. I really do need to write a post on the print process...

The final version is a great branding technique using just the first letter of her polish name to identify the super girly glam bottles. We carried the design across her storefront, blog, and Facebook pages to unify her media look with her label look:
Big Cartel store solution.
Blog solution.
Facebook solution.

The biggest thing I walked away from this project with is to think outside the box when it comes to bringing branding across multiple platforms. Not everything looks identical but it all has the same, unmistakable feel that defines it as Glam Polish. The design solution gets more and more of a complex arena as more and more variables such as social media are added. A single header won't necessarily fit all solutions.

I'll be updating more often as more design tidbits start coming in. I'm going to start a page with my favorite design resources because I feel knowledge is something to be shared.

*All images contained in this post are the copyright property of either Glam Polish or Mommy Does*

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tips to indie polish makers on business model

You see all these polish makers and you think, "Hey, I like to design. I love nail polish. This is the world for me!" But before you dump glitter, pigments, and micas into base and toss it onto a store front you need to get some things into place and realize a few things. Please note I am NOT a nail polish maker. I am a graphic designer with strong emphasis in business identity and marketing. Read I work with people to make their product packaging sellable. We live in a high demand world where most markets are saturated with product. Your product is on a virtual shelf with a hundred others (minimum). Why should anyone buy YOURS?

First and foremost is the quality of your product. A pretty package will sell but disappointment will get you in the long run. We've all heard about the testing process. It's well known that not everything will survive in base. Some things just won't so don't put things in base, list them the next day, and then be shocked when your customers are angry that the color has changed or the glitter has disappeared. Always test your product and be passionate about your creations and hold them to the highest standards. This is THE best way to treat your customers the way they should be treated. You would be incredibly upset to receive a bottle of polish that became something it wasn't when you bought it. Don't expect your customer base to react any differently.

Reactions are key. Think beyond your bottle to your customer. You yourself are a customer. Think about places you take your business. What stood out to you? I've received several packages of indies and the ones I remember and cherish are the ones that come packaged nicely. Cult Nails, for example, has made the "burrito" their signature. They also use cotton balls to pad their packages. It's thoughtful and memorable. Obviously they care so much about each and every polish that they carefully wrap each one to make sure it gets to me to enjoy. That thought and care tells me, the customer, that they care about me and want to make sure my money and time wasn't wasted. Don't skimp on the packaging you buy as there are lots of options out there. If you need cheaper buy good packaging but buy in bulk to get the cheap item price. It pays to plan ahead.

 That brings us to the touchy topic of investment. Investment comes in two forms: time and money. You've heard it time and time again and it is TRUTH. To make money you have to spend money. The key to be wise on your spending to maximize on your profits. Do research. It's amazing what a Google search will turn up. Start a running list of resources and ideas (Excel is a great tool that most of us have to start a spreadsheet to keep track of options). Look at reviews. Spend some time planning out how you will bottle, package, invoice, list, and deal with correspondence. Plans save on time and money. If this is going to be business treat it like one.

Now you have a good product and a method. You don't really need a good label right? I'm wondering if you walked into the grocery store right now and saw a jar of peanut butter with a handwritten label if you would actually buy it. Sadly image sells. There are SOME exceptions to this, but those exceptions are those few who started this race (ie Lynderella) and the handwritten labels ARE her image. Unless you have a driving force of repeat customers chances are you'll do better with a label. That identity should stretch across your media outlets as well. Matching screams professional. Customers tend to respect it better. Back to the peanut butter. If you look at their website, Facebook, magazine ads and other resources you will see a consistent identity. It's working for them so make it work for you too.

Alright now you have a product, an image, and a plan. It's time to forge ahead and list up the pretties and wait for the orders. But they aren't coming in. Here is the step most starting businesses want to cut out but is vital. I have watched many physical and virtual companies go under simply because they don't want to shell out the money and it boggles my mind. Let's jump over to the Superbowl for minute (I promise I'm going somewhere with this). When we think of the Superbowl a couple of things come to mind. Football, tailgating, yummy food (just being honest), and commercials. Those commercials literally cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and upwards of millions for halftime ads. Why would a company spend that much for a two minute ad??? One word: customers. YOU! They want to reach you. How will you know about a product if you never see it? Advertising is the most costly and most effective part of a product campaign. A company will spend about a quarter of the product budget on advertising alone. If a company that has had HUGE success like OPI or Coca-Cola is doing it and far more then thriving why do small companies continue to think they can cut it? The answer is they, you, can't.

BUT we are on the cusp of an internet evolution where the advertising power is in the hand of bloggers. You don't have to spend thousands to reach your consumers. You just need bloggers and a willingness to send out samples. Here you are in luck because many are willing to review your polishes. BUT you HAVE to step back from your polishes. You have done what you can and if you are honest and open and make it clear that if they run into a problem TESTING the polish that you'd like to be contacted first so you can make it right you WILL get amazing reviews. In doing this you will develop a friendship with these bloggers so you can go back to them in the future with later lines. They will convey this friendship to their readers (read: new customers for YOU). Those consumers don't want defensive stances or arguments. They just want to be right. So let them. As a business owner with a product to sell your job is to make it right. Make it right in all ways from your start up, your identity, your methods, your professional relationships, and your handling of your consumers.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sign off on your blog! Style leaves an impression

When putting together a carefully crafted blog post you think about wording, image placement, and outside links to make an impression on your readers. It's what they look for!

In the world of branding and advertisement repeating a name places it squarely in the recipients mind. When they think of a certain product a name will often come up with them for a variety of reasons and one of those the impression and repetition of a certain brand name.

Branding yourself with an identifying mark (mine is the coffee cup) means when they see something like that or something related it you come to mind. Using an image with a transparent background allows it to blend in with the page so it looks as though you carefully cut it out and glued it right to the page. Here's a few examples of how to send them off:


Friday, June 29, 2012

Client spotlight: Sassy Lacquer

I am a part of a nail polish community. I enjoy art in so many forms and my nails are an extension of this. I was pretty excited to get to work with a new independent nail polish maker.

Our first round was a failure. In the design process it's very important to immediately get a list of ideas, colors, and names from the client to make the research aspect of the project go smoothly. All I had was the name of a nail polish: Pink Couture. So I worked from there. The entire project would have completely derailed had she not been 100% honest with me. So many times clients don't want to offend the designer, but a designer can't do their job if the client doesn't convey how they feel about a solution. I had to work quickly in order to gain her trust in my abilities and asked for a list of links to samples of styles she preferred as well as a color palette she would like to see. I had a set of solutions to her by the next day and hit the nail on the head.

The design is clean and effective and conveys a beautiful boutique feeling. Her polishes look gorgeous displayed with their label and we designed a look to work across her blog, storefront, and Facebook pages:
For more information on Sassy Lacquer check out her blog here or her storefront here.

*Please note that all images are copyrighted property of Sassy Lacquer. All images are dropped in size and quality to prevent duplication by third parties. Thank you.*

Monday, June 11, 2012

Today's Tutorial: Spring

So Spring is just about over but when I saw this Spring Layers Magazine tutorial I just had to do it.

The original image is 1290x1020 but that makes for a LOT of unused space on top and bottom (perfect for creating a little extra, but not perfect for posting.

What I learned: Some neat tricks about using the direct selection tool. It's really basic things that I tend to overlook, but that make a super impact with a few clicks of a button. Impact here is created by a couple of layers on stroked work paths coupled with some layer effect changes.

This is definitely a tutorial for someone who knows the basic interface of Photoshop and a few extra skills. Enjoyable outcome with a solid set of ideas for future projects.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Some early work

Back of Westwood Magazine

I was curious as to whether or not I could do this from scratch - apparently I could! Wish there wasn't copyright issues so I could put it on a tshirt.

Event card done for school - done for a logo project.

Business card done for a unique business out of California.

I'll have more to post soon - and some additional updates on the clients I've been working for lately!