Posted on Leave a comment

BEHIND-THE-SCENES: 2019 in Review

decorative: logo

This year isn’t 100% over, but it’s getting there and I’m starting my 2020 planning, so I wanted to share some milestones and talk about my goals for 2020.

1. I started (and will complete) a certificate in User Experience Design

This degree has really helped me think about how to get my personal website in order and how to better serve clients. It’s my hope that the clout behind the program I completed will make me a more attractive candidate to customers seeking web design and re-design.

2020 Goal: Book three clients for entirely new web design work or full rebrands.

2. I transitioned from Etsy to a custom storefront and invested in a WordPress business account

My store now has its own branding and I’m no longer subject to the whims of Etsy’s fees and algorithm. BUT I haven’t quite figured out how to capture that occasional passive income from someone finding my stuff while browsing. So,

2020 Goal: Figure out how to generate more passive income, whether that’s re-listing best-sellers on Etsy or finding directories/search engines that do that same work.

3. I released two full product lines

I released a Pride line and a fall line this year. These included my first apparel pieces, my first buttons, my first enamel pens, and more. I learned a lot between the first line and the second and I’m looking forward to applying even more lessons learned.

2020 Goal: Streamline pre-sales, better determine the wants and needs of my market, and work on new marketing tactics like influencer marketing.

4. I did my first brand collaboration

I was connected to another brand by a friend and we worked on a collection together. I learned a lot about how to structure an agreement and that there are things I can ask for from the outset to make a collaboration fair.

2020 Goal: work with two different brands on collaborative projects.

5. I booked my first package client

I really loved working on developing an entire new brand. I came out of the process with a better pricing model and more markets to tap.

2020 Goal: Hone my client niches and target my marketing to them. I’d like to book at least one client a quarter.

6. I booked my first long-term, recurring client

Yes, I will take some more stability, thank you. Working with these folks has made it clear to me that I have the expertise necessary for long-term consulting. I have enjoyed getting to know a brand intimately and hope to continue doing that with others.

2020 Goal: Book one additional recurring client

7. I started my first full rebrand

I’m halfway through the rebrand — we’re through logos and style guides, moving toward a website face-lift and creating/updating social channels — and that work is happening at a good pace. I have updated my process and paperwork for branding work and am prepared to establish a more efficient process for rebrands.

2020 Goal: Design the complete rebrand process from beginning to end and book one full rebrand.

8. I completed the first season of Sects Sell and ran the entire second season.

Season 1 ran weekly for 13 weeks and covered some of the majors — these pieces were fully-realized and connected to specific retro inspirations. Season 2 was 31 daily pieces inspired by a wider variety of cults and coercive controllers.

2020 Goal: Complete Sects Sell Season 3 in October with a narrower set of parameters.

9. I started making a living doing client work.

It took until September of this year, but I’m finally done with Instacart and Postmates.

2020 Goal: Double my 2019 income. If I accomplish my other goals, this is well within reach, but however I get it done, this is the most crucial goal. I gave my business two years to become self-sufficient. Those 2 years end in March of 2021. If I can double my income in 2020 – and continue growing in 2021 — I’ll be solvent by then.
Posted on Leave a comment

CAN I HELP YOU? Podcasters

If you have a podcast, I have a question! I’m looking to break into the Podcast Cover design market and I’m looking to expand that part of my portfolio. I’m open to three kinds of clients:

  1. The FREE option: you tell me which 3 episodes you think I should listen to, I ask you some questions, and then I make you whatever I want.
    You DO get to use that image as a podcast cover on iTunes, etc!
    You DON’T get to use it on merch or in promotional materials without paying a licensing fee!
  2. The LICENSING-FEE-ONLY option: you tell me which 3 episodes you think I should listen to, I ask you some questions, and then I make you whatever I want.
    You DO get to use that image as a podcast cover on iTunes, etc! You also get to put it on merch and in ads for 2 years!
    You DO NOT get to use it forever!
    This option costs $100 and you will be able to extend the license in perpetuity at the same rate.
  3. The DEEPLY-DISCOUNTED-FULL-SERVICE option: you tell me which 3 episodes you think I should listen to, I ask you some questions, I sketch four concepts, we do four rounds of revisions, and land on one image.
    You DO get to use that images for whatever you want forever!
    This option costs $500 and you never have to pay me a licensing again.

If you’re interested, let me know:

Posted on Leave a comment

HOW-TO: employing plain language as a UX professional AND as a small business owner

I read a great piece on Medium by Rachael Renk called Using Plain Language in UX Writing. In it, she makes a pitch for using plain English in UX work and making strong writing skills a priority for UX designers. The primary example she gives is microcopy on a website you’re building — and that’s hugely important; it can make or break whether someone interact with the content. But it also got me thinking about all of the other ways that I apply that same spirit of saying exactly what I mean across my business — from those UX components to correspondence with design clients to selling retail products.

Continue reading HOW-TO: employing plain language as a UX professional AND as a small business owner
Posted on Leave a comment

BEHIND-THE-SCENES: commissioning a fanny pack for/from myself

My favorite fanny pack came from my football team. I love it a lot, but it’s been through …some stuff. Some drinking stuff.

I went in search of a replacement and I knew I wanted a few things:
• a long strap so I can also wear it over my shoulder
• a galaxy print
• blank spaces for my fave pins
• pockets
• any other interesting element, but not pizza or donuts — I love both of those things, but they don’t go with every crop top and/or bar, ya know?

Then Printful released a fanny pack. Printful is my drop-shipping company, which means I design stuff in the correct dimension and then set up print files. When you place an order on my website, it goes straight to them and they print/ship it.

Their pack had an XL strap option, internal pockets, and an all-over print, so we were good to go. I went through a series of drafts on this bad boy.

Continue reading BEHIND-THE-SCENES: commissioning a fanny pack for/from myself
Posted on Leave a comment

BEHIND THE SCENES: Activist Commission for Pride

Quick content warning: this post touches on homophobia and includes images of some homophobic slurs.

Scott Whalen and I went to college together, so when he asked me – over cocktails and Ru Paul’s Drag Race – about an idea he had for some shirts, I was totally game.

The idea was to reclaim slurs that had been used against him and other queer folks in a series of t-shirts. He told me that, as a cis white dude, he felt he had the privilege to make the more provocative statements and, thus, a responsibility.

During our initial concept conversation, we discussed a simple sans serif block letter, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how we might better convey the idea that these were being employed by someone at Scott, not just employed by Scott. He asked for something that was bold and aggressive, and something active vs passive.

Continue reading BEHIND THE SCENES: Activist Commission for Pride
Posted on Leave a comment

HOW-TO: Brainstorm the Perfect Custom Gift

Something I’ve really loved working on for the last few months is custom gifts. I’ve done a couple for other folks to give, but I’ve also made quite a few super different gifts that I got to give myself! When your options aren’t limited to stuff someone’s already manufactured, thinking up gifts is kind of fun. So I wanted to share my process with you. My questions and tips will help, whether you’re making something yourself, commissioning an artist, or just coming up with some new google terms to search.

The secret to giving a good gift is to ask yourself a few questions about your giftee — and then extrapolate. The first thing I think of is always relevant but boring, but a creative pivot will take you from a serviceable gift to a really thoughtful one.

Continue reading HOW-TO: Brainstorm the Perfect Custom Gift
Posted on Leave a comment

TOOL: Creative Market brushes

I’m a Creative Market Affiliate. I buy nearly all of my procreate brushes from them and they’re a central part of my process. I wanted to share a couple of my faves with you this week!

Full disclosure: my affiliation earns me a small commission at no extra cost to you, but I will never share a product here that I don’t genuinely love.

I use the Gouache brushes very, very often — they’re the central element of the Sects Sell series’ retro vibe and a really nice option for a fade effect. The neon brushes are really fun and easy to employ to really beautiful effect. The sparkle and glitter textures are the same way — a good quick addition to a mock-up. Finally, the paint brush set is a simple, workhorse set, that does exactly what it says it does. Check them out below!

Powered by Creative Market

What brushes did I miss out on? What kinds of effects do you need help making? What other kinds of tools would you like to see in this series? Let me know in the comments!