FREE MOOD BOARD TEMPLATE

Above mood board created by Trudi Roach in Mood Board Masterclass. 

If you’re working on developing your brand image, you’re likely gathering images and trying to figure out how to communicate what you’re all about in an easy and beautiful way. 

Once you have all of the perfect images, then putting them into a styled mood board can make all of the difference. Here’s why… 

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FREE BUSINESS CARD TEMPLATES

With so many people connecting online, you may be hearing more and more that business cards are dying. But as a designer who still meets face-to-face with clients you need business cards now more than ever.

Your business card is both a physical takeaway that helps your potential client remember you, AND a symbol of your style. In your profession (with your type of clients), that’s a BIG deal. 

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FREE BRAND STYLE GUIDE TEMPLATE

Regardless of whether you’re developing your brand right now or have a long-standing brand identity in place, it’s a good idea to have a brand style guide. 

What is a brand style guide? 

A brand style guide is a quick reference visual guide that communicates not only the look and feel of your brand, but also provides basic specifications for your brand assets (logo, colors, fonts, patterns). 

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LOGO ROUNDUP: TIMELESS MONOGRAMS

LOGO ROUNDUP: TIMELESS MONOGRAMS

There’s something so classy and sophisticated about a monogram that’s done right – just seeing gorgeously branded merchandise with sexy monograms makes me so happy :) 

Beyond looking good, using a timeless monogram as your logo or to complement your bigger-picture visual identity is a great way to build brand equity, add value to your goods and gain recognition. 

That’s why I alway include a monogram as part of every brand identity I design. 

As with anything else design related, simple, classy and creative is the way to go. Check out some examples of beautiful monograms below:  

Roundup: Timeless Monogram Designs

Inspiration from 1950. 

 Roundup: Timeless Monogram Design

Monogram design for Abigail Borg by Jean-François Porchez. 

Timeless Monogram Designs

For Farm Eden brand identity by LIBBY Co. Studios.

Timeless Monogram Designs

Monogram for Lynne Newman by LIBBY Co. Studio. 

Timeless Monogram Designs

Art deco monogram from Crane & Co. 

Roundup: Timeless Monogram Design

AW design from Saturday Studio

If you dig these and want more inspiration for timeless monograms, (as well as, logo designs) head over to my Pinterest Logo Board

And if you want to see more of what I’m loving lately follow me on Pinterest. I’ve become newly obsessed lately :). 

XO. 

Libby 

How to design your brand color palette so people fall in love with your content

When designing your brand color palette you have one goal:

Select a limited set of colors that support your brand-building content.  

Okay, but what does this mean? 

It’s my strong belief that a style-driven brand is built on the content, curation and presentation of what it shares with it’s audience. 

Many people get confused by this and think that their logo, colors and fonts are what establish their brand identity. And that may be true for some businesses. But for you, in a style-driven biz that’s not necessarily the case.

Let’s take a company that sells a computer chip to apple for example. Their success doesn’t rely on being in the public eye and connecting with their end-users in a way that excites them visually. So, for them, a logo and some random colors will suffice to establish their visual identity.

That’s very different from an indie fashion label who is selling their collections online directly to their customers. For them, establishing their brand will be all about showcasing their collections and their unique style season after season. 

It’s the same for you in any style-driven business, whether you’re a blogger, a designer or a stylist.

Your brand assets (your logo, colors and fonts) will only hold value and resonate with your people AFTER you’ve established your unique style-POV through your brand-building content.

So, what is your brand-building content anyways? 

Simply put, it is the visual content that you share with the world that makes people say, “Oh! I love their style.”

If you’re a product based business, it’s the beautiful goods you sell. If you’re a design studio, it’s your gorgeous design work. And if you’re a style blogger, it’s the content and photography you share with your audience. 

(I could totally go off on a tangent here about how to choose, create and curate this valuable content in a way that makes people fall in love – but that’s for another post.)

The main point is, this brand-building content should stand out above all else. Not your brand assets (logo, colors, etc.).

So, what does this mean for your color palette? It means you have two rules to follow when choosing your brand color palette: 

RULE 1.

Limited yourself to 2-3 colors (including black). 

The point here is to keep it minimal. There’s no reason for you to have four or five colors as part of your core-palette. Anything more than 3 will be too busy and it will confuse your audience. 

And yes, this does include black. Black and white is a color palette people. It’s probably the most timeless and possibly my favorite palette around. In fact, there is an entire (albeit, unfortunate) retail chain that build their whole identity on just black and white clothing.

If you’re on-board, Pin this…

black and white brand color palette

If you know you want something more than black and white – I understand. As a general rule choose one dark (black or another dark hue like navy, brown, etc.) and a light color. If you’re satisfied with that, stick with it. If you feel the need to add in another color – go for something in a light to middle tone. 

RULE 2. 

Keep your color palette NEUTRAL. 

When it comes to choosing your specific colors, the point here is to choose colors do not to detract attention away from (or clash with it) your content.

That’s why I highly recommend going with a neutral color palette for your core-brand colors.

For those of you thinking I’m a total bore – don’t sweat it. This rule doesn’t apply to limited-edition campaigns and collections, but I don’t have time for that here (more on that another day!).

So, what if you had your heart set on orange? 

Well…for one, I’m sorry. And for two, you have a few options. You can still have the orange hue in your color palette – but just not in it’s full and vibrant form. You have three choices for what to do with your orange to make it work so that it supports your brand: desaturate it, lighten it, or darken it. Any of these three options will take you into the neutral family you need to be in. 

Here’s an example: 

how-to-stylish-brand-color-palettes

As with any rules, there is however always the exception. If your entire brand identity is built on a specific color – like the color pink for example. Then by all means, please feature that in your color palette. But for 90% of people, this isn’t the case. 

The rules in action: 

Two of my favorite clients just relaunched their super stylish design blog: Design Chic. For this project we did a custom website design and a brand refresh. The goal was to simplify their site to attract attention to all the right places and to elevate their their site design to be more in-line with current relevant trends. 

They had done an amazing job building their business with an older version of their site, but their old site wasn’t equipped to take them to the next level in their biz. They were ready to increase their income potential, streamline their design and show their audience that they truly are an authority when it comes to style.

For their color palette we went with classic black, white and gold. It complements their content perfectly and allows their unique style to shine. 

Check it out: 

Color palette for custom website design

Are you working on your brand color palette right now?

I’d love to help! Email me what you need help with and I’ll give you my advice on how to perfect it so that you can start establishing your unique POV in your industry. 

4 ways to save countless hours creating social media graphics

Alright…let’s cut to the chase. You know you’re going to use social media to help you grow your audience. 

Your number of followers does matter. Shitty, but true. 

It totally sucks, but in the online world numbers do matter. The more followers you have means the easier it is to leverage your audience and profit from your endeavors. That’s why Beyoncé could make a million dollars selling dog poo.

 So regardless of if you’re gunning to hit the first 1,000 followers mark – or you’re way past that, you know your work is never done when it comes to list growth. 

Keep sharing or die. 

Depending on what platform you’re focusing on there are different strategies to grow your numbers. But what is the same across the board is that you have to post A LOT and you have to do it consistently. Otherwise your audience will shrink and your engagement will tank.

Successful Instagrammers post 2-3 times a day, the experts say you should be posting at least 3 times a day on Facebook, and Pinterest requires like 10+ times a day to start to really kill it at their algorithm.

You might be saying, “HOLD UP. Holy whhhhat!?!” And the answer is, “Yes. It’s a freakin’ ton”. 

If you’re DIY-ing it, be prepared to spend 1/4 of your work hours creating social media graphics. 

Yes you heard that right! And that’s the low-end. 

If you don’t believe me, let’s break it down: 

If you’re focusing on Pinterest, then your strategy is likely sharing 5-10 of your own pins each day (which is exactly what people killing it on Pinterest do). That means that on the conservative side (with 5 pins per day), you need 1825 of your own graphics to share over the year. 

Now…say you’re super fast at creating graphics and it only takes you 15 minutes each (which is lightning fast if you care about them actually looking good). Do the math and that’s over 456 hours! 

5 pins per day x 365 days x 15 mins each = 456 hours and 15 mins 

or = 11.4 weeks of pure social media graphic creation

And that’s on the low end at 5 per day. If you were to go for 10 pins you would spend 6 out of 12 months a year creating graphics. Plus, it doesn’t include the time you need to strategize, write keywords, schedule pins, pin other people’s content, etc, etc. 

As you can see, using social media to grow your audience is a full-time job. 

I don’t know about you – but I’m trying to figure out how to work less, not add another full time job to my already packed calendar.

Don’t get discouraged.  

The point of all of this number crunching and real talk isn’t to get you down. I don’t want you to start questioning if you should be using social media as a list building strategy. 

Using social media to grow your audience is a proven strategy. It works, otherwise everyone wouldnt be doing it. And once you grow your list of raving fans the momentum will continue and it will pay off over-and-over-and-over. 

The point is to get you realistically thinking about how you can use social media and really reap all of the benefits, without getting overwhelmed and burnt out. 

So the question is, how do you maximize your time and use social media to your advantage without it taking over your life? 

4 Tips to save time creating social media graphics

Here are 4 creative ways to save time creating social media graphics

1.

Create design templates and use them over and over.

Simply put, you don’t have the time to reinvent the wheel on this task. You should not be sitting down to a blank canvas and wondering what to put down on it. And you certainly shouldn’t be scanning stock photos for hours. This will send you down a rabbit hole you may never get out of. Your goal is to save up your creative juices for when you truly need it.

THE SOLUTION: Create pre-designed templates. 

Having your layouts and graphics already in place – so that you can just swap out text will save you COUNTLESS HOURS. 

So, here’s what I want you to do: (you can repeat this process for each social media channel you use)

1. Select the social media platform you want to focus on: Instagram, FB or Pinterest (If you aren’t sure, for now, just choose one. I will write a separate post about how to choose the right social channel for your biz). 

2. Next make a list of all of the categories or types of things you share on that platform. For example, on my Pinterest account I share links to free graphics, as well as, links to helpful design content like this. So I have

3. “Graphics/Templates” and “Tips”. Maybe you also share #ootd or a quote each day. Write down each one and make a note of how many categories there are. I have two.  

4. Now, determine the ideal image size for your social platform. This is always changing, so I’m not going to outline them all here. I want you to check the most up to date info on this. At the time I’m writing this the idea Pinterest graphic size is: 735 px wide x 1000 px tall so I’ll use that in my example. 

5. I want you to open up whatever software you’ll be using to create your graphics (I use Photoshop for a lot of reasons, you may be using that or possibly Canva). 

6. Create a new file to the size of what you outlined in no. 3. Create one of these files for each of your categories – so I’ll have two blank files that are 735 px x 1000 px. One for “Graphics” and one for “Tips”. 

7. Design your graphic for each category. Make sure to include: your logo, possibly your website url, your brand colors and be sure to use fonts that are on-brand and legible. It’s great to add textures or photos in the background if you like, but that’s not necessary.  

Here’s an example of a template you might use if you were a fashion blogger: 

Fashion blogger social media template

This will be your template going forward. Next time you sit down to create a batch up social media graphics, I want you to use this file. Open it and “save as”. Then simply replace the text with your new text and save. You’ll be able to create ten times as many graphics this way. 

Not only does it go more quickly but it also ensures that your graphics are consistent which is really important for building brand recognition. It may feel boring to you, but to your audience (who is likely visually overstimulated) this will feel familiar and build trust. 

If this feels like too much for you – ask your graphic designer if this is something he or she does. I provide this design service for my clients and I know it is a simple way to make their lives much easier. 

2.

Have a VA use your template to create the files 

As you can see creating templates saves you a ton of time. But you still have plug in the content and save the files – which does add up. If you’re really busy – this is something you should consider having your VA do. Even for the visually anal, you should feel pretty comfortable delegating this task since you’ve already setup the templates. There’s not a whole lot to get wrong once these are in place. And that will free up your time to focus on more high-level work. 

If you do 1 and 2 that allows your social media channels to be driving new people to your site while you focus on the stuff you really care about (If you’re me, that’s spending time with family and sleeping). 

3.

Go low-tech

Just because I’m a designer doesn’t mean that I believe everyone needs a designer on-hand to do their graphics. Some brands demand a high-level of attention to design detail in order to get respect and followers and others don’t. For example, if your business is built on aesthetics, like say you’re a Fashion Stylist, then looking pixel-perfect matters more to you than if you’re an Online Systems Strategist. It may be important to the Systems Strategist to look good online personally, but their audience probably doesn’t care as much since design and aesthetics isn’t something they are going to her for. 

If you fall into the latter bucket and you don’t feel like you have to be as styled to attract the right people, then consider creating more low-tech content. What I mean by being low-tech is using your iPhone. haha! 

Literally write out (with marker and paper) your content and take a photo. Elephant Journal does this wonderfully on Instagram (and FB) and it works perfectly for their brand. Check it out. 

save-time-social-media-graphics

4.

Recycle your content

It IS okay to recycle content and re-post content you’ve already shared. The truth is that only a percentage of people see what you post to begin with – so re-sharing is like insurance that you’re getting in front of more people. The important thing to note here is when, where and how you re-post. Consider how long it’s been, what platform you’re using and in what context you’re re-posting. 

I would recommend building up a bit of a library before recycling content. But the truth is it really doesn’t matter. Sharing is caring regardless of whether or not it’s 100% fresh or not. 

Well…that wraps it up. Do you have any other tips for saving yourself hours creating social media graphics? I’d love to hear your unique strategies. 

As always, thank you :) 

XO. 

Libby 

FREE #plantlady SOCIAL MEME TEMPLATE

FREE #plantlady SOCIAL MEME TEMPLATE

Frustrated that your social media channels don’t look stylish and put together? 

You see everyone else posting these beautiful quotes to their pages and yours is a bit of a mess. 

Would it be easier to look stylish on your social media channels if you had pre-done gorgeous customizable templates?

To make you feel a bit better about what you’re putting out into the world we created this super simple, super stylish #plantlady meme template. And it’s completely free!

You like? 

libbyco-plantlady-designer-meme

Next steps…

  1. Download the .zip file here —-> GET YOUR FREE DESIGNER TEMPLATE
  2. Double click to unpack the .zip 
  3. Open the file in Photoshop 
  4. Place your logo, customize the quote or add your own info. 
  5. Save as a .jpg and voila!

You’re looking more gorgeous online already. Nice. 

Obviously one beautiful graphic won’t change everything about your social feed. But the small upgrade is a start. 

– GET YOUR FREE DESIGNER TEMPLATE –

Need more help? 

I’d love to hear from you if you need more help with how to work with the template. Or are you completely lost with how to even open the file? Shoot me an email and let me know what help you need. I’m here for you! 

XO. 

Libby