For the love of food...

This year I have had the privilege (and joy) to photograph some wonderful people, amazing food and places. Much of this is thanks to the crew at the Mornington Peninsula Magazine who send me on pretty cool assignments which enable me to meet locals across the Mornington Peninsula who love what they do. 
A couple of months ago I met with chef Guy Mirabella at his gorgeous cafe in Mt Eliza called Shop Ate http://www.shopatecafeandstore.com
The coffee and food at Shop Ate had been a favourite of mine since moving to the Peninsula nearly 6 years ago so it was a thrill to be shooting the delicious food there for a feature article in the magazine.
Food really is a passion of mine, I love to cook and today I couldn't leave without buying Guy's book. I can't wait to try some of the delicious Italian inspired dishes in it.
#willowcreative #guymirabella #shopatecafeandstore #graphicdesign #foodphotography #morningtonpeninsulamagazine

 

Logo love...

So you know what irks me? It's when I get a logo to use in advertising (which I do a lot for a local publication) and that logo is only provided in a jpeg file, at low resolution and only in one orientation. By this I mean a square logo or round logo when I need to do a long, narrow, wide banner ad for example. The logo gets all squished up on one side or looks awkward in the middle, it has a permanent white box around it and there's just no flexiblity.

So here's some tips on what to think about when embarking on a new logo. Ideally you need to think about what you might need from your logo in the future - do you want it for advertising, banners, billboards, social media, watermarking or promo gear like hats and t-shirts?  You want to find a designer you can have a relationship with, who understands these needs and then is willing to pass on all the different file types as well as the original eps or ai files. You need to find a designer who is happy to explain file types and their uses and who understands that one set logo doesn't always fit all spaces (think that perfectly square facebook profile pic and you'll understand). Which gets me back to that word FLEXIBILITY. A round logo on a tall narrow advert will be lost at the top. Enter the stacked logo. A long horizontal logo will not fit either but it will be perfect for that banner ad you need to do for web advertising. The key is to have your logo in different orientations, ready to go when you need them. 

So for my clients I come up with a logo (actually, several logos). Client chooses one. I then play around with it a little more and provide it in a few different orientations - same logo, different ways. Vertical, horizontal, round if they want it. The brand isn't compromised. My clients get a number of file types (jpegs, PNG files) as well as the original files too (even though most people don't own software to open an eps file, I recommend they file that baby away safely - you never know when you might be asked for it).

So if you are considering a logo design for a business that you are passionate about growing ask the right questions about logo flexibility and file types. See my rough examples below of how certain logos just don't marry within different shaped ads which illustrates my point. And find someone you like, trust and who is interested in your brand. It helps to have the designer be like a team member rather than someone in a different time zone who answers to a number of monikers.  

Oh and those 'Logos for a Fiver' (ie. $5) - you'll most likely get a png thumbnail and no, I can't make it better... 

Love a pretty package

Just thought I'd share some cute logo and packaging work I have done (there's a few more designs but you'll get the idea)... Love seeing my designs on screen come to life on a product. Pleased as punch with Stamp-a-Cake... you can find more about this innovative product here 
Click on the images to slide through...

Down the rabbit hole

Sometimes clients really challenge me with a brief so creative (or obscure?!) I feel a momentary wave of panic at how their ideas or thoughts can turn into something, well like an effective logo. An idea, a dream, a vision. All of which can be hard for people to explain and can be even more difficult for me to interpret. It's my job to turn an often loose vision into a solid brand, sometimes delivering exactly what has been visualised, sometimes presenting my own take on it to great applause. All businesses and their owners are different, some needing more guidance than others.

Wedgewood White Limited, a firm in Auckland, consultants in pricing, economic regulation and investment analysis internationally, came to me for new branding, a new website and stationery. What they knew for certain was that they no longer liked their existing logo/brand. What they were less sure of was exactly what they wanted in a new one.

After a few drafts involving graph like backgrounds etc, a loose vision formed and a 'rabbit hole' effect was requested. I think the request was along the lines of "can we twist the graph in the third dimension...?" Like Alice in Wonderland? Like an optical illusion? Help!

I interpreted this a request to illustrate the notion of thinking outside the box, delving deeper, delivering a solution with a twist, and yet with complete expertise. My challenge was to take this idea and carry it into a corporate look. Make it meaningful, clean and simple and with no reference to Alice or the White Rabbit. 

What formed was a sort of rabbit hole effect, a box effect if you like, out of the two stylised W's from the business name. A clean design, a new colour, and importantly a relevant logo which still had a twist (or a hole) in it that represented the company perfectly. Happy clients. Happy designer.


Making honey

So what's in a logo? Well of course it's a combination of things but for me it almost always ends with the old KISS principal - Keep It Simple Stupid. As exotic as we can make images and colours, our shading and ooh ahh gradients (which I am just simply allergic to - achooooo!) , and as c-r-a-z-y as typefaces can be these days (yep, crazier than Papyrus and Comic Sans I kid you not!), making your message clear and legible is essential right? Right. Our next step is to convey a feeling, if we can, about our brand name without saying the feeling - it gets conveyed with the choice of colour or typeface or imagery/logo. And then we say a word and people get it. They get the point of the logo, and some will even read into the meaning behind it. It's that easy. Ha! Well a lot goes into logo development (unless you go to one of those $5 jobs and you get what you pay for). Not all clients give a clear brief, so being a mind reader is helpful in this job. And clients who do give a clear brief have sometime overthought it (and that's not a bad thing) and getting back to the KISS principal is often required. 

I have just completed branding for 3 Bees Early Learning Centre. This was a labour of love, a favour for a friend who once did a labour of love for my family several years ago asking for nothing in return. It is so gratifying that I get to repay that kindness (in a small way). 

The branding was for a childcare centre which caters for a multi-cultural community. The B words (can't help but think buzz-words) are 'Belonging. Being. Becoming.' The thought was initially not to have the honey bee imagery, the obvious just made too much sense to ignore. And the obvious is really more meaningful than bees and Bs alone. It means the hive. The community. Working together. Helping one another. Sharing. The different types of bees (or people) that make up our world. It means sweetness. It means honey. It means a joyful ingredient used in many cultures around the world. So what will people remember the most? 3 Bees. Bees. Three words beginning with B. The colour of honey. All of the above? I hope so.

So I thought I'd share an image of the process along with the finals. This doesn't include the physical sketches which were done first.

Sweet and simple. 


 

WE ALL LOVE A BEFORE AND AFTER SHOT...

Everyone loves a good before and after don't they? I know I do. Dramatic make-overs, renovations... I just can't get enough and find them so inspiring. Those brave designers or hairdressers who boldly take risks and get jaw-dropping results are, in my book, geniuses.
Those who know me know that I do love an interiors magazine or three, or four. My dream is to buy the run-down renovators delight and transform it into a thing of beauty... one day (watch this space).

Anyway, back to the topic - just imagine how excited I was to be offered the opportunity to manage the interior make-over of a local cafe. Yes me. I am not sure which part made me happier, the challenge of finding the right brackets for the shelves or just getting away from the desk and into civilisation (a self-employed graphic designer = way too much time in front of a computer). 

The Saddlers Cafe in Somerville, with its mixed themes of horses and racing cars and it's walls thick with bacon fat mixed with spray tan from the tanning salon it housed in its previous life, decided to close... and I know what you're thinking... just how could anyone improve on the existing decor?  But the challenge was something I was up to. 

And, armed with a tape measure, drawings, a whole lot of Pinterest research, an open mind willing to learn (and be wrong!), lots of ideas and imagination - and an awesome co-pilot (cafe owner, Bibi) - the little beauty that is RAW MEET CAFE was born. 

Very proud of her and the amazingly, delicious healthy food that she pumps out daily. Thanks so much Bibs for giving me the chance to be part of the journey x 

BEFORE.jpg

A Captured Moment

Recently I was invited to be the photographer for the 2015 Asha Kiran haemophilia camp, by my client Purple Soup. The camp is held by an organisation that supports individuals and their families living with haemophilia in India and Purple Soup volunteers their services and expertise running the support activities, fun and games. 

My time and airfare were willingly volunteered -  I mean, given the opportunity, who wouldn't jump at the chance for such an amazing experience? Having worked for charities in the past it was a chance to once again be involved in making a difference to the lives of those living with chronic illness. It also enabled me to hone in on my photography skills in such a colourful environment. What's more, I had desperately wanted to go to India since I was in Year 12, when I read 'A Backward Place' by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.  And luck was on my side with school holiday timing and very willing grandparents to look after my 8 year old.

Unfortunately, due to privacy reasons, I can't share the photos of the children on the camp. But I can say that my trip was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. And Indian people living with Haemophilia face much tougher challenges that their Aussie counterparts - access to treatment (clotting factor concentrates) being almost a luxury. Of course, you can't walk away from an experience like that not feeling blessed in life and grateful for clients like Purple Soup who take me along for the ride... 

Camp aside I also spent 6 days in magical Goa. Here's some snaps using my lovely Canon EOS 6D... Oh and that's me at the end doing my best Namaste (how I loathe to have my photo taken...)

 

Out of the fire...

Sometimes life throws a few too many curveballs all at once and when you face devastating losses, one after another, it's just downright unfair. My sister and her husband have suffered more than their fair share of losses lately, way too many for 2015. And it's not even March. And while it's admirable to be able to turn adverse situations into positives, it's not always possible.

Other events/challenges/adversities (call them what you like), can have a positive side if you're a glass half full type of person. I'm so proud that, despite the stress they have endured, this is the way my sister and her family have chosen to view the fire that burned their business to little more than ash and rubble. 

'Onward and upward' was the catch-cry and with that it seemed like a good opportunity to rebrand, refresh and renew. I feel very privileged they trusted me with their new look. They now have a new van, new logo and even a website. The most satisfying part of my job is being able to help. It doesn't matter how big, small or sideways your business is - a little makeover can do wonders for momentum. Check out Windscreen Savers and give them a shout out next time you're in the Goulburn Valley. 

Facebook promos (and liquid cats)

Facebook - such a normal part of life now that no explanation is needed. For businesses and community groups, particularly those with a low marketing budget, it's an inexpensive way to build an audience, connect with fans, promote products and services, create interest and build your brand. 

Eye catching Facebook promos are a great way to do all of the above - and ones with a bit of humour can rival 'Cats are Liquid' any day. For liquid cats click here and prepare to be amazed. For some sharp, clean Facebook promo examples, continue on.

I recently put together a series of Facebook promos for my client Rachael Nicholas Makeup + Hair. We had a giggle at some of our ideas, but that's what's so great about Facebook - it's a great place to do something fun that you mightn't do in an expensive print advertisement. Check them out. 

Love is in the Air

Show your business sweet some love and receive 10% off logo development costs in February*.  

We spend time preening ourselves, updating wardrobes and going to the salon don't we? So what do you do when your business is stuck in the 90s, in dire need of a makeover and your motivation is at an all time low? Well, you could wait for Comic Sans or Papyrus to make a typeface comeback (insert shudder here) OR you could take it to the logo salon for a new look. Pamper it. Treat it.

You just might fall crazily in love all over again. Contact Willow Creative to make an appointment.

*Terms:  Promotion applies to new clients only. Brief must be received before Feb 28/15. Discount applies to total invoice on development and completion of logo only. All logo files supplied upon payment. Discount does not apply to additional design work. Artwork completion time frames will vary according to your business requirements.

HEALTH & HAPPINESS

I have mentioned before how varied my job can be and how that's both a challenge and a joy. It stretches my brain and creativity that's for sure. One morning my head is all over designing logos or advertising for a playground company and the afternoon might be filled with office supplies. It means I need to understand many businesses (on top of my own) and that keeps life interesting and I am always learning something new. 

I feel really lucky when I especially love the industry my client is in. Fortunately for me I find that a lot. Playgrounds/kids; food/menus; children/wellbeing; cakes/events; even stationery (as a child I used to be obsessed with the Myer stationery department)...

Another passion of mine is healthy eating and cooking. So designing for, and consulting with, the inspiring Bibi from Bulk Whole Foods doesn't even feel like work. Together we are forming a visual identity for her brand which will roll out in two retail stores (one which includes a smoothie/juice/raw treats 'cafe').

I do love to watch someone else's dream be realised, and it gives me great satisfaction to help them along the way. With some luck I'll be invited to the launch party I am trying to convince her to have...

 

Nowhere too far...

What's wonderful about graphic design is being able to work from virtually anywhere -- for anyone. My clients are in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide (pictured above is Adelaide based Red Star Catering's new menus and business cards) and of course, my home state of Victoria. Sure, it's great to meet with people in person - my favourite part is brainstorming ideas with clients - but not always essential. With Skype we can have face to face contact, we can email daily and in my opinion a phone-call is still in vogue. 

So if you're unsure of where to turn for your design needs, your answer is probably right at your fingertips. Your computer. Jump onto my CONTACT page, shoot me a message and let's get the ball rolling on your next project. 

Project cake - in print, out now!

  The annual Cakes Around Town catalogue was a big project of mine last year and it's lovely to see all that work in print. These are the times when I really feel so lucky to do what I do, and to work with creative clients who both challenge me and yet give me creative license. This project also put my new camera to the test and I was so happy with the results. This mag is full of tutorials, tips and techniques and great products to buy. Simply put, it's jam packed with inspiration. For your next cake project jump onto www.cakesaroundtown.com.au and you'll receive one of these beauties free with your first order. 

 

The annual Cakes Around Town catalogue was a big project of mine last year and it's lovely to see all that work in print. These are the times when I really feel so lucky to do what I do, and to work with creative clients who both challenge me and yet give me creative license. This project also put my new camera to the test and I was so happy with the results.

This mag is full of tutorials, tips and techniques and great products to buy. Simply put, it's jam packed with inspiration. For your next cake project jump onto www.cakesaroundtown.com.au and you'll receive one of these beauties free with your first order. 

OMMMMMM

Sometimes your work moves in directions you'd never expect, has you meeting amazing new people or, as in this case, reconnecting with those from your past. A colleague and former house mate from my cosmetic days contacted me recently after a 15 year gap of simply losing touch. Her dream of opening her own skin clinic was finally being realised and she needed complete branding for her new venture. It has been a pleasure working on the omSKIN brand, but my greatest pleasure has been spending time with my friend of old, and meeting her gorgeous 8-year-old daughter - who hit it off perfectly with my 7-year-old.  They played and explored the property while their mums reminisced about our David Jones days and worked on the brand. 

omSKIN is open for business and looking pretty fresh...

Check out the website www.omskin.com.au or, better still, make a booking at the fabulous clinic in Port Melbourne.

Long time between posts...

Months have come and gone, Christmas and New Year is well beyond us now and school has gone back for my daughter, now a big grade 2 girl. It's been a busy few months design wise with a wide array of different kinds of projects - a good thing to keep my creative side well and truly satisfied. Last year saw Willow Creative grow and I have loved meeting a number of inspirational business owners and helping them establish a look and feel for their business that really reflects who they are and what they stand for.

Most recently I worked with Naturopath, Tarryn Michie, to establish her branding for a new venture in Mornington. After nearly 15 years living in London, Tarryn has returned to this beautiful part of the world and her caring, friendly manner and passion for natural health will guarantee her business success (some lovely branding will help too yes?!) You can find her details at tarrynmichie.com

optimum health collage.jpg

Birthday fun

Yesterday my daughter celebrated her 7th birthday. It was a Beatles themed disco party - a graphic designer's dream job really and my little client was pleased with all the designs. 15 little girls all going crazy on the dance-floor, Ringo Bingo, Pin the Moustache on Ringo and of course musical statues. The party continued with family long after the guests went home and the little birthday girl danced and sang 'til midnight. Needless to say it's been a pyjama day today. We are very grateful to our friends and family who helped make her day so amazing. Click on each image to bring up the next.

 

Welcome to Willow...

welcome sign.jpg

It seems everyone is blogging these days - my family and I are familiar with the concept having kept our own blogs previously (mine was a raw food blog - a 30 day raw food challenge and an amazing experience - I'm sure I won't get too people many banging down my door for details on that one but happy to share if you're keen)!

Instead of mindless chatter, my 'blog' will simply share glimmers of inspiration. Colours, textures, photographs, nature, food and urban development - all elements that one can gain ideas from to then redevelop in a creative manner. Perhaps some of the imagery and ideas posted may just be the trigger to our next collaborative design project?

It's taken me a while to finally launch a real site, time has not been on my side, so I hope that you may share my web address with friends or family that could be thinking about a design project - big or small.