KREWNEWS

FUN FRIDAY! Get Away & Unplug

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Being a “digital creative” I am constantly “plugged in” (the hours I have spent in front of the computer might baffle a few of you). But believe me I do not sleep with my phone under my pillow. When I have the opportunity to unplug, I do it completely. It is so important for us to take “technology free days” and get back in touch with the non-man-made stuff…you know like trees…remember those!? So this weekend I have planned a trip away and I will be completely unplugged from phone, email, the internet, etc. 

Now, you might not consider yourself a creative being, but, side note – that’s not true! We are all creative in one form or another. As my CPA once said, “Trust me, accounting is a creative business!” So, no matter your occupation, it is essential to get back “in touch” with yourself, so that when you do hit the pavement hard, you can do it with ease and fervor.

Working non-stop may seem productive, but in the end, you will feel so tense and over-worked that it makes work seem tougher than it really is! Do yourself and your career a favor – take a break! Your creations will thank you.

How often do you plan a get away? My mentor once told me to never leave a trip without booking your next one! Great advice!

Do you ever go away (even for a day) by yourself? Try this one too!

We would love to hear how you rejuvenate from a couple of hours to a full blown vacation, what makes you “right” again?

TIPS FOR THURSDAY! Lasting Visual Impact

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We are all visual creatures and we must understand that the visuals in our life greatly effect our emotions and then our actions. Think of it like this: see…feel…do. So here are three things you should keep in mind whenever creating anything visual for your business, whether it’s a logo, a storefront or a whole campaign. You must create the ultimate first impression…and second…and third….and so on.

1. Color: Color, color, color says so much! Are you sleek, mysterious and sophisticated with blacks, taupes and silvers? Are you fun, vibrant and feminine with bright purples, pinks and teals. Or earthy with browns, tans and greens…I mean the feelings and combinations go on for miles! Here is a little list of color interpretations for you to work from:
Red: Stimulating and dominant, associated with warmth and prosperity.
Yellow: Associated with intellect, optimism, reason and decisiveness.
Green: Symbolizes growth and harmony; associated with optimism, freedom and balance.
Blue: Peaceful and soothing and is linked to spirituality, contemplation, patience, trust, faithfulness and stability.
Pink: Purity of thought, happiness, romance and feminine.
Orange: Cheerful, communication, happiness, concentration and intellect.
Brown: Stability and weight, safety and elegance.
White: New beginnings, innocence, cleanliness and freshness.
Black: mysterious and independent, intrigue, strength and allure.

2. Space & Hierarchy: Ah, this is one of my favorites. Your visuals need space. Room for the eye to rest as it looks and interprets. I mean I think Apple is the most effective at this idea. But having space doesn’t necessarily mean being stark. It just means having appropriate breaks and simplifying where possible to make it the most visually clear for the viewer. Even collages have a sense of space with blocks of color or a simplified image. Space allows the viewer to have a sense of reprieve as he or she sifts through the information. Space can also equate to balance of positive and negative space. The eye then has a relaxed “ahhhh” reaction and the mind thinks “now that just feels right!”

Hierarchy is another huge one. There must be one main point of focus that is seen first. Then a second, and a third and a fourth. So put the thing you want people to see first at the greatest hierarchy. This can be done with color, size, shape and so on.

3. Versatility: is very important. How will this logo or this concept stand the test of time or across sub-brands in your marketing platform? How will the visuals work when you pair it with other photos and copy? It is best to keep the main parts of your graphics (i.e. your logo and specific icons) very simplistic so that it can be paired with the items that you need to add to the mix to convey the message you’re after at that particular point in your messaging.

So really…do I need to say it one more time? The visuals you use will be the way people know how your business operates…Are you half-ass or the real deal?

Happy Visual Impacting!

WAY COOL WEDNESDAYS! Orange You Glad It’s Delicious?

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The Vegetarian Times is one of my favorite websites to visit for the latest news and recipes for living vegetarian (even if its only for a few meals a week! I still eat fish). You can even sign up to get a vegetarian starter kit!
There’s a spot to ask experts some tricky questions, a classifieds section to find vegetarian products, an editor’s blog, and links for great cookware. There’s also a listing of nationwide events for various organizations such as the Humane Society Awards!
But the best part of the site might be the enormous recipe selection! Finding yummy new vegetarian or vegan recipes is sometimes challenging, and this site makes it super easy to do advanced searches for the exact recipe you want. Even if you’re not vegetarian, try out a recipe from this site, and I promise you won’t even miss the meat!

I found a recipe for this Butternut Squash-Bartlett Pear Soup! Don’t you love the yummy orangey color? Mmmmmm it is so delicious & nutritious! Especially during these rainy January weeks… it warmed me up all the way down to my little toesies!

Go to http://vegetariantimes.com and tell us your favorite part of the website! (and send over the good recipes you find!)

photo from VegetarianTimes.com, Vegetarian Times Issue: November 1, 2009 – p.60

Twitter Backgrounds

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Twitterlicious!

Twitter has become a very important marketing tool. It’s a way to connect with a huge portion of your market with just a click of your mouse! However, there’s a way to make your tweets and your company stand out among the millions… ready? Make your twitter page look fabulous! Did you know that you can customize your twitter page to stand out among all those tweeters out there?

Carry your brand onto the twittisphere! Rather than have it look like everyone else’s page, your twitter page should reflect you, your business, and your special brand.

A simple way to do this is to list important things about your company and brand, like what you do, a link to your website, and why they should follow the link to find out more about YOU!

Remember, twitter is not just to connect with other people. It is a chance to attract more site viewers and really get your name out there. Use this opportunity to let everyone know what you can offer.

As seen in the examples below, you can also choose to use fun colors and have a design going down the left hand side reflecting your unique style.

If you are interested in having a customized twitter background, contact designKREW at 805.490.1283 or email info@designkrew.com
Don’t forget to follow designKREW http://www.twitter.com/jessicakrewson

Don’t Do It Alone!

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If you’re anything like I once was, you like to take on the world and various other planets in the solar system. You have trouble relinquishing a smidge of your power to ask for help and let me tell you, from experience its out of fear…Fear of losing control, fear of it not being done correctly, fear of financial mismanagement. I am here to share with you the 4 steps I took to step into more power and the realization that “I don’t have to do it alone.”

Step #1:
Acceptance
They say the first step is always admitting you have a “problem” or challenge as I like to call them. Waking up to the fact that you have more to do than you can handle on your own or would even like to handle on your own….and then being okay with it. Being really okay with the fact that you are one magnificent human being that has the same 24-hour day as everyone else. Accept that you can ask for help, that you DESERVE help and you should have help.

Step #2:
Crunch the Numbers
This step really helped me see exactly where I was in my business development. I calculated the projected revenue that was going to be coming in from jobs that I had already contracted then what additional was necessary to reach my goals. Then really looked at my day and the amount of hours I realistically had. To generate new business and maintain the level of customer service I love to give to my current clients, I was going to need some extra hands. When you crunch the numbers you get a very quantifiable look at the expansion you are looking to create and the “how” of getting there. This leads into step number three.

Step #3:
Take the Leap
Trust is a hefty five-letter word. When you truly trust yourself and the universe and know you are making the right decisions amazing opportunities will open up for you. Have faith and trust that when you need help that you should go after it. I love to stress the point that nothing is permanent. If you try it and it doesn’t work, guess what? You’re allowed to change it. We have this crazy notion that once we make a decision that we are locked into it FOR ALL ETERNITY. Not the case my friend. Not the case. In fact, savvy business people are always testing, tracking and tweaking. Take the leap, just try it…watch yourself expand past the fear into triumph!

Step #4:
Find the right people
This is key! And we have an abundant resource of qualified people looking for work right now, lucky us! Think about it – you could be helping the economy and giving people jobs! How cool is that! Really take time to evaluate the items on your list (including your personal items) that do the three following things: zap your energy, make you resist moving forward on something that IS really important, and is considered to be a task that you would pay less than the hourly rate you charge. Here are some areas of assistance and also areas of nurturing that you will want to consider putting on your team! (Contact me for some specific recommendations)

A Graphic Designer (tee hee), Accountant, Lawyer, Bookkeeper, Assistant (personal/administrative), Intern (Interns are a great alternative to a paid assistant if you are just starting out!!!), Housekeeper, Nanny, Massage Therapist, Life Coach, Business Coach, Personal Shopper

So just get off your booty and take some action. Watch the items fall off your list and your business expand. Because when you expand everything around you expands…trust me!

Balance Creates Creativity & Success!

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For me, yoga is a time to dig and push away barriers. At first it’s about the physical barriers, but I’ve realized that in actuality it’s pushing beyond what I mentally think I can and cannot do. Life and business are just a dance, a rhythm of movements much like yoga. Sometimes it’s time to create fire and burn and push through and sweat and other times its about the sweet stretch, the breathing and relaxation…all in all you come out a better version of yourself. To me yoga creates my balance so that when I come across a challenge in my business I know that the only thing that may be stopping me is ME!

I believe it’s important to have something in your life that allows you to push beyond your barriers in a somewhat controlled environment, so that you can “burn” away the disbelief or mind-yuck that can sometimes stand in our way. Gaining this balance in your own unique way could be just the thing you need in order to see things in a clearer perspective. Creativity and success go hand in hand in all types of careers. For some, this balance might come from something physical like running, or perhaps your favored activity is more subtle like painting or singing or talking to a trusted friend. Whatever the practice, make sure you have that outlet regularly because the more we grow as individuals, the more our businesses can grow and in turn so can the world!

We want to know: What do you do or WISH you could do to bring more balance and therefore more FLOW into your life???

The 3-Day BRAND Detox!

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Huh? Detox my what? Ok so January is generally known as cleanse month and we all know someone who is currently trying the latest “cleanse.” It’s funny, when you detox it really brings up so many things. So I was thinking about my own personal business and realized that it should not be neglected in the whole purification process…and neither should yours.

Cohesiveness in your brand is so important! This provides a repetition that your clients and potential clients will grow comfortable with and expect to see. Also, this allows your target market to pick you out among all the rest! How do you get this clarity and consistency? I present to you a different kind of detox, the one that cleanses your brand and gets your creative and business digestion back on track.

Brand Detox Day 1: Elimination

No…I’m not talking lemons, water and herbal tea. This is more like looking at all the food in your cupboards and refrigerator, seeing all the unhealthy stuff and chucking it in the trash (or putting in a bag and placing it where you know a person in need will find it, which is what I do!). Your brand has built up over time, but has it done so consistently? Go through the following action steps to clear up and eliminate anything that is not working for you.

Action Steps:

1. Pull up and look through all your documents that you have used for marketing purposes, visuals you have had printed and websites you have posted. If you must, print them out to get a better visual, but please save the trees (and your ink cartridge) if possible!

2. First Round of Elimination: Old materials, old credos, old visions that don’t apply any more to your business model and branding. If there are certain parts of old materials that you think are helpful, extract them and pull them into a running document, you can use this on Brand Detox Day 2.

3. Second Round of Elimination: Not necessarily old, but not aligning with the vision of your business. Things you were never really pleased with but thought they would get better with time. *Please note how you feel, acknowledge any resistance and celebrate any liberation.

Brand Detox Day 2: Review Your Diet

Now that you have gone through the elimination process you can see exactly where you are, including what brought you headaches and what brought you great joy. You may also notice that there are some gaps in your branding. Take the following action steps to review what is working for you:

Action Steps:

1. Review. Layout or write down the things you do have that are working for you and your business. Acknowledge your awesome success in the development of these materials. Read through them. Look at them with a keen eye.

2. Extract. What does every single piece seem to possess that made it “a keeper”? Write the top 5 things down that you see appearing in every piece. Take the five things you discover and pin them up by your workspace and anytime you are developing marketing materials make sure all five attributes are present from this day forward.

3. What’s missing? From the elimination process you may have come across some gaps. Write down a list of what you know your brand needs to work for you. Write this list not from where you are right now but from where you truly whole-heartedly envision yourself to be in your ideal business and start creating and living from this position.

Brand Detox Day 3: Add in the Basics

After elimination and reflection it’s now time to get the engine going again! Its time to fill in those gaps with healthy, nourishing brand elements! Take the following action steps to find out exactly how to move into your next level of branding:

Action Steps:

1. Look over your list and ask yourself what’s going to give you the most energy and momentum in your marketing or what elements are stopping me from moving forward with other goals. Depending on your budget and time start with that one thing or the top 3 or 5 or 10! Put them in order, most important obviously being at the top and start taking action immediately.

2. Time frame: Choose a deadline for your top goals. I caution you to put your realistic hat on here only because I do not want you to loose momentum if you do not reach an unrealistic deadline. The key is to start at the end and count backwards. Don’t forget to include time for writing copy, getting those professional photographs taken, finding a designer (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) and the revision process.

3. MORE action! Now that you have a plan it’s easy, call who you need to call and get moving!
I hope you found this cleanse to be refreshing and insightful. I hear time and time again from my clients “Now that I have been where I have been, I know where I want to go and it’s time to get my branding clear and congruent!” Looking over where you have been, exactly where you are at and then your ideal vision for the future is key to the Branding Detox. Allow these revelations to catapult you forward in creating an ideal brand that will for you, rather than taking up all of your time. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Happy Detoxing!

Jackie Brookner: Saving the earth’s water with her art!

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While many of us look for ways to live a little bit greener, like using reusable cloth grocery bags or SIGG bottles, one artist is using art to clean polluted water and spread awareness about important resources in communities around the globe!
Jackie Brookner creates “Biosculptures” for wetlands, rivers, and other water runoff areas with plant based materials, in order to “demonstrate how the undervalued resources of stormwater and other polluted water can be reclaimed and used to create lush environments,” says the inspiring artist.
In Grossenhain, Germany, she created a Biosculpture called “The Gift of Water,” (see below) which filters water without using any chemicals such as chlorine. The filtered water is now featured in a public swimming pond.

How awesome is that? Jackie also creates other sculptures out of the earth with soil, cotton, mosses and plants that are beautiful and totally inspiring. I love linking the art world with eco-friendly messages!

How do you connect with the earth?
Information & photo: http://www.jackiebrookner.net

Bring your Web Site to LIFE with a Capture Page!

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Here’s a little taste of what we love working on here at designKREW. I love to design simple Capture pages, especially including a sample video for my clients’ websites! The capture page is the first thing a viewer will see when they type in your web address. For my client Susan Taylor and her website at http://www.ParadiseGardensLandscape.com , I designed a capture page that showcases a great video and directs the viewer to an easy e-mail entry for a consultation. Before the viewer gets side tracked by other elements on the website, this capture page gets them right to the point.
When the page is well-thought out and put together, it can all flow together smoothly. Even the greens in the background of the video compliment the overall theme of the design. Then we took some of the same elements from the website for a free report design and Ezine design. All cohesive and wonderful!

Now Susan’s business has a theme running through out all of her marketing materials that gives the exact tone that she hopes to create, no matter what the reader is viewing. For more information on how you can give your website some OOMPH with a capture page and video, e-mail us at info@designkrew.com.

The Grace of Gratitude & Giving Back

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With the recent tragedy in Haiti, I find that there is a humbling sense of coming back to simplicity and what’s really important because life will occur no matter what we think about it.

Sometimes in the muck it’s hard to see what is right in front of you and to have the passion and gratitude that makes all of our earthly actions feel like gifts. But isn’t all of life really just a shift in focus and having the right tools? If you are looking to expand your business you must first expand yourself. And trust me, if you are not grateful and trusting of exactly where you are, then how on earth do you expect to receive or be able to give any more? In order to retain the passion in what we do, I have found that these two things (among others) must occur.

Give Gratitude

List three things a day in the morning or at night that have brought you joy, clarity or just an overall sense of growth and happiness. Writing them down gives them power and you can look back over them to see what continually makes you feel grateful. This way you can begin to bring those actions more commonly into your daily practices. Warning: after doing this practice for about a week you might feel a sense of overwhelming peace and joy! You might find more value in everything you do and feel less overwhelmed in your day. Who wouldn’t want that!!! You want a cure-all medicine? It’s called gratitude! Make it a daily practice…I dare you! I have recently found the website www.happier.com that tracks your daily gratitude for you (if you like keeping things on the computer like me!) This site is super cool and very self-insightful. Check it out!

Volunteer.

Volunteering face to face with someone in need is one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences one could do. I think we are put on this earth to serve others with our gifts. Find out what your gifts are and what you love sharing with others and then find an organization that will allow you to give to your hearts content. Let’s face it – it’s hard to feel self loathing and self critical when you open your heart unconditionally to another. Volunteering allows you to step out of your head and really give back all the abundance that has already accumulated in you. If you’re reading this you are on a computer or maybe even a nifty phone…there are so many people in the world who have no idea what email is! Perhaps you have a personal situation that would make you gravitate towards one cause over another. For instance, I love art and think it’s so therapeutic and love children so I found this amazing non-profit called CoachArt! Choose something that you are passionate about and commit to volunteering at least 4 times a year. I promise you will gain so much more abundance than any check in the mail has ever given you!

Watch all the feelings of lack disappear and be replaced by intense passion and gratitude!

Let us know what you are grateful for, or where you love to volunteer!

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