Okay guys! Emily & I have been getting in our survey results from all over the United States and Canada for Indie Shopography: a 2-day real life, hands-on, workshop geared towards helping small businesses clarify their brand and prep their shop for big online growth. Emily and I are hammering out the logistics as we get survey results in. But for now here are a few updates:
1. We're looking at hosting our 2-day workshop the weekend of June 9th & 10th, 2012 in the Dallas, Texas area. We're also planning to bust up the workshop so that you can attend JUST the branding part of it one day or JUST the getting your shop online portion the other day or BOTH depending on your interest.
2. We're also working on visiting Austin for a one-day workshop on Monday, May 21st. (So if you're hitting up the Renegade Craft Fair schedule in some extra time to hang out with us too).
3. Details will be finalized and tickets will be available for purchase NEXT WEEK! If you're not in the Dallas or Austin, TX area don't fret. We're willing to take this show on the road based on interest. So be sure to fill out the survey or comment below to let me know where you are.
I get emails asking about the printing process and finding a great printer more than anything. So, in this post I'm going to tell you how to find (and develop a relationship with) a great printer. In an era where everything is cheap, fast, digital & online developing vendor relationships is somewhat of a lost art. But it's important. Especially if you want to be a print designer.
One of my favorite printers, Julie Harman from Heritage, started working with me 6 years ago as a newbie who knew nothing about printing (they don't teach you this stuff in design school!). She gently guided me through the print process and to this day I give her loads of credit when it comes to my success as a print designer. I actually interviewed her to get some insight for this post and she gave me lots of tips and pointers that I'm eager to share with you.
1. FIND A GREAT PRINTER
I first started working with my printers 6 years ago when I got my job at a small ad agency. I was lucky in that they were vying for my business - but if you're a small freelance designer you're going to have to go out and find someone willing to work with you.
• Ask a friend, teacher or mentor for a recommendation.
• When you contact a printer be sure to name drop whoever recommended you.
• Be honest about your experience - let your printer know if you need guidance through your first print job.
• Be willing (and eager) to learn - My printer Julie is willing to invest her time in designers who are open to learning about the process.
• Julie says: "A good printer is one that will ask you questions - things like 'What are you going to do with this project? Who is going to be viewing this?'"
2. TAKE A TOUR
Ask your printer for a tour. This will help you understand the life of a print job from beginning to finish. There is a big difference between a digital vs. a 2-color letterpress job - seeing it in action will help you understand the costs involved.
I have a handful of printers I work with. One does letterpress while another does great (and inexpensive) digital jobs. I have my go-to when it comes to small 2-color offset lithography jobs and another for large-format jobs. Different printers will have strengths in different areas. I've been using the same handful of printers for years.
I would like to mention here that the only online printer I ever use is MOO for business cards from time-to-time. They have great customer service and a quality product.
Otherwise, I use local businesses and I'm loyal to the printers I utilize. It might cost a little more but it's well worth it to know I've got real people doing their best to make my jobs look great on paper. These relationships have paid off big time over the years.
I've been obsessed with paper since college. I remember going to the Neenah site and requesting free samples while still in college. Over the past 7 years I've learned which stocks are the best for digital, offset and letterpress. I've had very expensive, hard to find paper over-nighted from Germany, and I've used scraps leftover for smaller budget jobs. In fact, my own business cards are printed on chipboard scraps my printer found between reams of paper out on the press floor.
My point is that learning about paper is an ongoing process. When you get a tour from your printer be sure to ask about paper. They'll explain the difference between coated, matte and uncalendered stocks. And if you ask nicely they may give you a couple swatch books for reference (be sure to ask them how to read the swatch books too).
5. PRINT SPECIFICATIONS
When I asked my printer Julie the #1 thing a designer can do to make a job go smoothly from start to finish she had 2 words: print specs. The best thing you can do to make a run without a hitch is give your printer as much information as possible. I do this by providing print specifications. Here's an example of my print specs.
You'll want to tell you printer:
1. A job description
3. Final trim size (folded and flat)
4. Printing (letterpress, digital, offset) - You'll notice here that I say "4/4" this means it is four color process and double-sided. So if I say 2/0 that means two-color, single-sided.
5. Paper - specify paper. Sometimes here I'll give a couple options and my printer knows to pick the one that is easier to get or most cost-friendly.
6. Any other special notes (like die cuts, assembly information, etc.)
7. Proofing information - do you need a printed mock-up or will a PDF work just fine?
9. Final delivery information - is it going to you or directly to the client?
You might even include little diagrams if your job is particularly tricky or involved.
6. BUDGETING & ESTIMATING
Printing is not cheap but a great printer will help you find alternatives to cut down costs. When you're on a budget something usually has to give - either the print method (you may have to go with a 2-color litho job instead of letterpress) or paper (which can account for about 1/3 of the cost when it comes to printing).
When you request an estimate from your printer you will need to provide them with print specs. Be sure to request a few different quantities - the more you print the better price break you get - this is due to minimum paper orders and set up fees. So sometimes a 500 piece job will only be dollars less than printing 750 or 1,000.
If your estimate comes back too high ask your printer for creative ways to get it down - it may mean using a different print method or paper stock.
NOTE: When you share your quote with your client be sure to account for tax. Also, it is standard for designers to mark up printing 10% - 25% to cover coordination costs. Handling printing is a service that you should be compensated for.
• No job will ever be perfect. There will always be minor flaws in every print job - embrace it as part of the beauty of a medium like print.
• Learn the difference between digital, offset and letterpress.
• Learn how to set up your print files. Ask your printer for a tutorial on the best way to package your files or export your PDF for printing.
• For custom letterpress jobs or huge expensive jobs you might request to be there for a press check to make sure all the photos, embossing and colors are coming out properly.
• I like to give my printers 2 weeks average to complete a job. Sometimes certain jobs will take longer if they require special binding or letterpressing. And if I'm in a bind or a job is digital they are usually completed in about 1 week.
If you have any additional print questions ask in the comments and I'll do my best to answer!
• Freelance Matters | Estimating & Billing
• The time I cried at the printer
• Best in Print
This dish was inspired by a few things:
1. On Saturday I ate way too many brownies and corn chips and pizza. I was feeling it on Sunday. This meal chock full of veggies made me feel a little more whole again.
2. Well Fed. Sometimes I forget that this isn't just a pretty book I designed but an actual cookbook. With really great recipes. This recipe is Pork Fried Rice - I just substituted tofu* for pork and threw some Best Stir Fry Sauce Ever (p. 51 in Well Fed) in there. What's especially cool about this recipe is the added dose of veggies by substituting rice with cauliflower.
(*NOTE: The tofu takes this recipe out of the Paleo category but it is vegan. And delicious.)
3. I watched an episode of "America's Worst Cooks" where they made a meal using tofu (which one contestant kept calling "tufo") and green onions cut on the bias. Afterwards got all riled up & competitive and felt the need to cook with tofu and green onions. Which is silly because these ingredients are go-to staples that I could cook with my eyes closed.
4. I've been bored with the same ol' veggies I've been cooking lately (lots of winter squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes). So I thought I'd change things up a little with cabbage and bok choy. It made me so happy to pull myself out of a food rut.
First off, there's something you all should know about me. And it's this: I cuss. Every single day. It's not classy or very lady-like but damn if it doesn't help me get my point across. So, I considered keeping this title family friendly but everyone in blog land lately has been talking about keeping it real. So this is me keeping it real. I don't like to haphazardly throw profanity around on the blog but I will use it when I need to. To make a point.
So now that I've got my potty mouth fully disclaimed let's move on.
Last night I went to see the guys from Good Fucking Design Advice speak at AIGA Oklahoma. I almost asked Brian and Jason for a photo but after embarrassing myself in front of Pinterest's Ben Silbermann I decided to play it cool by saying something lame like "Hey. I'm looking forward to your presentation." One of the most fascinating part of this presentation was learning that it was these guys' first!
So Jason and Brian (best friends & business partners) gracefully move through their presentation with back and forth banter about drinking 40s and starting up a company out of their basement. They humorously described the endless amounts of hard work that went into this project and how things just kept going wrong. But the point was that what started as a silly side project became this thing that harbored a lot of passion for these guys. The vision goes way beyond posters and coffee cups.
Good Fucking Design Advice gets a lot of attention for the eff word but it's so much more than that. Fuck just helps get the point across.
I managed to come home from the ADDYS with zero photos - so I had to order the cheap party pics delivered with red pupils, purple teeth and snaps of red wine in plastic cups. The guy in the photos that isn't Jeremy is my client and friend, Scott. I should also mention that it was Jeremy's 34th birthday on the night of the ADDYS - it was really sweet of him to celebrate me all evening long.
So every year at the ADDYS I dress in a theme. This year that theme was gold. And legs. Enough said.
Dress - BB Dakota from Blue 7
Earring - Also Blue 7
Shoes - Payless
Just a few weeks ago Emily approached me with a vision for a collaboration expanding on her Indie Shopography eCourse and now we’re bringing that vision to life. The idea is to host a small hands-on workshop for 15-25 small creative business owners who need help clarifying their brand and prepping their small independent shop for big online growth.
I will be guiding this group of artistpreneurs through a few exercises to help them uncover their authentic brand. This will include things like developing a positioning statement (so you can clearly tell your friends & family what you do), identifying your dream customer, finding your niche, blending the professional with personal and leveraging your blog as an authentic marketing tool.
Emily will be getting into the nuts & bolts of bringing your shop to life online. Things like determining the right CMS and understanding SEO (that’s Content Management System and Search Engine Optimization) can be intimidating when all you want to do is share your product or service with the world. Emily will break it down for you so it’s a lot less scary. She will also guide you through pricing your products for online sales and understanding payment processors (so you can get ... paid).
Currently, we're thinking about hosting the workshop in early June. We're scoping out locations so we need to know where you are (or where you'd be willing to travel.) You can help us decide what city we hit first!
All you have to do is fill out the survey below. We'll tally up the info based on the submissions, and announce the final details very soon!
When you fill out the survey, you'll automatically be added to a mailing list which will hear the final details first. So fill it out and help us out. We'll send you the details as soon as we've decided.
If you have any questions regarding the survey, the workshop material, or anything else, please feel free to email me (email@example.com) or Emily (firstname.lastname@example.org). We're happy to answer your questions or hear your ideas.
I've been working with The Noble Foundation for over 6 years now. In fact, their annual report was my first real design project out of school and I've been designing it every year since. This report taught me that I love designing charts and graphs (before infographics were all the rage) and it taught me that printing (and all the decisions involved) is what really brings a project to life. This report has watched me grow up and has served as documentation of my evolution as a designer. It has seen its fair share of golds and on Saturday night this report won Best in Print at the Oklahoma City ADDY awards.
It was an honor and privilege to accept such a special award with my friends at The Noble Foundation. A big thank you to Scott, Broderick, Adam and Steven for letting me be a part of this project and trusting my sometimes out there art direction year after year.
I'm 6 months into this new adventure of starting my own business, Braid Creative & Consulting, with my sister, Tara. And boy, have we grown in that 6 months. In 6 months we've learned so much - about ourselves and the kinds of clients we love. We've uncovered patterns and have developed authentic brands - digging in deep is a part of our daily grind.
But if I'm being completely honest, I'll admit that I thought we might fail. Not because we aren't smart or talented but because I thought success on our own was somehow too good to be true. And I'm always reading stories of entrepreneurs who try dozens of times before they get it right. And what about the economy!? But we quickly became successful with full calendars and consistent paychecks. Every day there was a new challenge - a new problem to solve - and it wore me out. It didn't always feel fun or like a dream. I was balancing a matured skill set and point of view with the struggle of navigating a creative business in its infancy.
The paranoia of failure kept me somewhat unattached to this little company of mine. But every day continues to prove me wrong - we keep landing great clients and even had to hire an employee to help us with our project load. Tara and I show up every day and put in the work - side-by-side. And lately, we've been reassessing our goals and dreaming big. We've been reaching out of our comfort zones - and it turns out that's where I'm most comfortable. We've been brainstorming new ways to work with more people like us - the driven and the weird. The small and the independent. Creatives who are redefining what it means to be an entrepreneur. But more on that later.
The point is I'm excited. And I'm in it. I'm really in it.
Small business photo essay and video by the very talented Rory Gordon - whom we also blogged about over at Braid.
Something has happened to me lately where I've completely lost the energy to be enthusiastic about any given holiday.
Like on Halloween, for example, the idea of a couples costume (Me: TSA Agent / Jeremy: Traveler) sounded so rad - but the idea of executing said costume and finding a party made me tired. And it would've been so easy! I mean - blue latex gloves and a suitcase and frisky hands.
And then Christmas - I barely had the energy to unfold our 18" metallic trees.
And the expectations that come with New Year's always leaves me feeling overwhelmed. I'm like a possum that plays dead when over stimulated.
So yesterday was Valentine's Day and I felt totally neutral about it. I wasn't hating on it like a good feminist and anti-consumer should. But I wasn't loving on it like a good blogger should. I was excited when my new designer brought me a cupcake and when my mailman brought me the cutest card ever (by Rifle Paper Co.) from Carina. But overall I felt just sort of "meh" about the whole thing. And then I started feeling guilty about my lack of enthusiasm.
So when it came to celebrating with my valentine ... it was a normal Tuesday. We did a normal workout (P90X2 is getting intense, y'all) and I made a normal dinner - this soup. I decided to make our meal somewhat special and throw what little festive energy I had into making some quick bread (Parathas). That's right - we celebrated Valentine's Day with gluten. We watched 30 Rock and I fought with Dinahsaur for space next to Jeremy on the couch. I decided to get in the Love Day mood with strawberries (the most romantic fruit ever, right?) and coconut cream with cinnamon - and a couple glasses of Shiraz. And just when I thought this Tuesday might cross over into Valentine's Day territory (frisky hands aren't just for TSA costumes on Halloween) I became sleepy. And bloated. I knew I shouldn't have had that gluten. And that's where the story of our normal Tuesday that happened to be on Valentine's Day concludes. I crawl in bed and fall fast asleep. End scene.
But all of that said - I'm glad a normal Tuesday is filled with lots of cuddles and good food. I'm glad that we get a do-over with our ordinary Wednesday - we'll work out, make dinner and I'll fight the cats for space next to Jeremy while we blaze through 30 Rock on Netflix.
But tonight - no gluten.
P.S. I do not actually have a gluten intolerance - especially when it comes to cupcakes.
I'm still done with wedding invitations but I just realized I never shared these with you guys - and Valentine's Day seemed like the perfect occasion to show off some invitation work.
Emily and Colin were both finishing up medical school when they hired me to design their custom wedding invitations. (Because I guess they thought graduating from medical school wasn't stressful enough - so they decided to throw a wedding on top of it.) They both wanted something romantic, vintage, and ... anatomical. So I busted out my various anatomy books (yes, really) and found a few different hearts to work with. I even changed the label letters on the heart used on the invite to say EMILY & COLIN.
And what's surprising is that Emily wasn't my first med-student-bride to work with. You might remember my very first vintage apothecary inspired letterpress invites for Anna & Tom.
In my first post of 2012 I mentioned that this is the year to get in my best shape yet - I used Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley as badass inspiration. Along with working on my figurative guns I also imagined this being the year I should learn how to shoot an actual gun.
Fast forward a couple months into the new year - it's a seemingly mild Saturday morning and my good friend James calls to tell me he wants to take me out to the country to teach me how to shoot
As we're driving out deeper in to the country I keep imagining that scene from Kill Bill where Uma as Beatrice Kiddo gets shot in the chest with a shotgun shell filled with rock salt. Then she's buried alive and relies on her kung fu training to get her out of a tight situation. My mind starts going wild wondering if James is actually taking me out to the country to shoot me. And I don't know kung fu. How am I ever going to survive the post-apocalypse!?
Next thing I know I'm in the middle of a field with a dog named Pete running cirlces around me. I'm holding a shotgun and I'm shaking in my boots. Partially because the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up but also because I'm a little scared holding something so dangerous. It just doesn't feel natural. James hands me a pair of thin gloves - the ones he wears to go catfish noodling (yes, really) - and goes through an extensive safety lesson with me. Things like never, ever, ever, ever point the gun at anything you wouldn't want to shoot. And never, ever, ever, ever put your finger on the trigger until you're ready to shoot. And don't forget to click the safety on right after shooting.
So James shoots off a few rounds and now it's my turn. He tells me to hold the gun in tight to my shoulder and plant my feet firmly into the ground. He loads up some skeet - I yell "pull" and line up the soaring clay disc in my sites. And BOOM.
zombie skeet explodes in mid-air. I hit it - on my first shot. Even more fun than shooting is cocking the shotgun - it felt surreal to be doing something I've only seen in the movies. We took turns shooting until our fingers went numb from the cold. I didn't even notice that I felt like I had been kicked in the shoulder by a horse. But the bruise it left the next day definitely made me feel like a badass.
Die Zombies - an iPhone short. Coming soon.
J & K started this blog project to document the remodel of their 1929 historical home in the heart of Oklahoma City. It has now turned into a documentation of life, food, fashion, freelance, inspiration, design, adventures and details around the J & K house.
Kathleen works as an award-winning brand consultant and designer specializing in small business branding at Braid Creative & Consulting. Jeremy is a software engineer and is the left-brain to Kathleen’s right.
You can contact Kathleen at
jeremyandkathleen (at) gmail (dot) com.
All photos and graphics by Kathleen unless otherwise stated. Feel free to use them with permission or credit.
Anatomy of an Outfit
Sometimes I like to get dressed and take pictures of myself. For all of my outfit posts click here.
Freelance Matters: A series about how I tackle freelance issues such as estimating, billing, to-do lists and how to fire a client.
Trekking to Everest
In October 2010 Jeremy and I trekked through the Himalayas to Mt. Everest Base Camp. It completely changed my life. Read about the entire adventure, day-by-day, here.
Braid is a creative & consulting business I own with my sister. We do branding and business visioning for creative entrepreneurs. On the Braid blog I share branding adventures, how-to articles and advice on the creative process. If you need a little brand therapy of your own visit Braid or subscribe to the Braid blog RSS feed here.
What We Eat
We like to eat really good food - at least 3 times a day. Sometimes I blog about it - click here for recipes and yummy ideas.
J & K: Blog Archive
- Indie Shopography: A Real Life Workshop for Your S...
- Freelance Matters | How to work with a printer
- Tofu and Cauliflower Fried "Rice"
- Good Fucking Design Advice
- Indie Shopography: A Workshop for Your Small Creat...
- Best in Print
- In It.
- How Wheat Ruined My Valentine's Day
- Wedding Invitations: Anatomical Heart
- Zombie Training
- Anatomy of an Outfit: Limitations
- Brand Identity: Allison Barta Bailey
- Notes For The Universe
- Holding Down The Fort
- Celery Soup Is Not Boring
- Week / End
- Home Sweet Home Office
- ▼ February (18)
- ► 2011 (257)
- ► 2010 (387)
- ► 2009 (406)
- Eva Black | Spaces
- Emma Dime
- Life as an Artistpreneur
- Jane Reaction
- Ink & Letters
- Meg Biram | The Edit
- Sarah Von Bargen's Small Biz Blog
- Design Crush
- The Equals Record
- Emmarie Designs
- Rory Gordon
- Yellow Brick Home
- The Creatives Project
- Silly Grrl
- Photographers Skeen
- The Clothes Make the Girl
- Bringing Design Home
- Pip & Estella
- A Practical Wedding
- Kind of a Sideshow
- Sandra Juto
- Old Sweet Song
- Rambling Renovators
- Brooklyn Bride
- Design Crush
- Experiment in Poverty
- The Jealous Curator
- Making it Lovely
- Dressing on the Side
- The Oklahoman
- Young House Love
- Oh So Beautiful Paper
- A Cup of Jo
- Brooklyn Limestone
- Glamour Weddings