Back these gals on Kickstarter! Golly Magazine

"Modern, irreverent, and inclusive, Golly represents a new approach to women's magazines"

It feels like so many people I am connected to on social media are also somehow connected to the founders of this new lifestyle magazine, Golly. I watched the video and was really impressed by what they are trying to achieve with this new magazine. I like that they are going to feature women of all types, and that their fashion editorials are not going to be filled with stuff that I can never (ever) afford. Plus the design is great, and the contributors all seem like people I would love to hang out with. It is not overly polished and perfect, and that is what I like about it - so many of these 'lifestyle' mags that come out now either just feel so over-the-top hip or so curated and perfect that they don't depict any kind of 'lifestyle' that I could ever live. Golly seems like it is the older sister of Rookie mag - and that is just what I need as a woman in my mid 20's. 

Anyways - you all should donate to their kickstarter so they can put out their second issue (and hopefully many more after that!). 

Have a good long weekend!

Xo Jess

P.S. I move into my new studio on Monday. And yes I am jittery with excitement!!! Can't wait to post all about it next week :)


Photos sourced from their website and kickstarter page

Freelance Wisdom: Jenny Kraemer

Hello! For this week's freelance wisdom, I am excited to introduce to you Jenny Kraemer! I discovered Jenny through dribbble and was immediately smitten with her clean and lovely style. She was so wonderful in our correspondence and has loads of great advice in this interview! Plus that list she keeps on her fridge...I may need to print one out for myself! 

What made you decide to pursue a freelance career?

In college, branding was my one true love. But after I graduated, I sort of fell into the publishing industry and stayed there for a while. I liked designing books, but I was getting a little restless and afraid of being pigeonholed. I didn’t think anyone would hire me to design a logo when my portfolio was full of books, so I needed a way to branch out. Luckily I have a super supportive boyfriend who was willing to catch me if I fell, so I just went for it! I quit my publishing job and vowed to find my way back to branding.

In the beginning, how did you attract your first good clients?

My old publishing job offered me several freelance projects, which kept me busy for the first year. It wasn’t exactly what I had planned, but it was amazing to have steady income during what is probably the toughest part of most freelance careers. After that—and a very scary dry spell—I landed a 6-week freelance gig at J.Crew through a friend from college (thank you, Rosie!). Everything from that point on has been complete word-of-mouth and networking. You don’t even need to be that great at networking (I am TERRIBLE at it). You just need to work hard and be nice to people, and they will want to work with you!
Branding for Twisted Lilly Boutique

Branding for Twisted Lilly Boutique

Book Design, Quirk Books

Book Design, Quirk Books

If you work from home, do you have any tips for being your most productive?

I have this list on my fridge. It keeps me on track!

What has been your greatest struggle as a freelancer so far?

Figuring out who I am as a designer. Earlier this year I had a major “aha!” moment when I realized that my style was all over the place. I pride myself on being versatile, but I think potential clients weren’t sure what to expect. I took a few weeks and did a major overhaul of my portfolio, Pinterest page, Dribbble… basically anywhere I showed up on the web. I made a mood board and rebranded myself. It’s made such a difference in the type of clients that I attract, and I highly recommend a strong, cohesive web presence for every freelancer.

What is your favorite thing about being a freelancer?

The versatility. I never get bored, and I’m always learning something new.
Illustration for Refinery 29

Illustration for Refinery 29

Card designs for J.Crew

Card designs for J.Crew

Tips for dealing with the nitty-gritty business details?

Get an accountant! The peace of mind is worth every penny. Keep track of every business-related expense. Pay quarterly taxes! Open a savings account and name it “Taxes”. Every time you get paid, immediately transfer 30% into that savings account. Don’t even think of it as your money.

Since you are your own boss, do you have any advice for maintaining a work-life balance?

It’s great when things fall into place, but almost impossible to schedule it that way all the time. There’s no way to guarantee that a project will come in when it’s convenient for you. My strategy is to say yes to the good projects no matter what’s going on, work too hard for a while, and then give myself some time off to recover. I guess part of that balance is learning when to say no to a project that doesn’t really excite you or fit your aesthetic.

The 3 greatest attributes you need to be a freelance designer are:

Organization, decisiveness, resourcefulness.
Illustration for Refinery 29

Illustration for Refinery 29

Illustration for Twisted Lily

Illustration for Twisted Lily

Hope you learned a little something from the lovely Jenny! Go check out her site and follow her on dribbble :) 

whew I have had a long night yesterday, I had to make a trip to the ER for a freak lighbulb changing accident (yep you heard me right). My fingers on my left hand got some pretty deep cuts and I have to wear a splint to make sure the wounds don't open up. Luckily my fingers should be back to normal in the next few days - just in time to build Ikea furniture when I move into my studio on Monday!!!

Xo Jess

Work in Progress: Jingling Gate

Hello! Recently I have been working hard on the branding for a very wonderful client, Emma, of Jingling Gate. We worked together at Threadflip, and I am so happy that she thought of me to brand her new web-development business (with an all female staff of engineers!). She is a super smart lady and I know her business is going to be very successful. Today I am going to share a bit of a peek into my branding process with a client. 

I owe most of my process to the lovely Breanna Rose, she has spoken often of her process with branding clients on her blog, and I have taken a lot of her suggestions and integrated it into my own workflow. As per her suggestion, I first have most clients start with taking a branding questionnaire - which helps me get into the headspace of the client. But it also helps the client to think deeply about their goals for their business. It really helps for us to get on the same page.

Then I create a Pinterest board for my client and start pinning inspiration, if the client is Pinterest-friendly, then I ask them to join and pin as well! From there I will create a moodboard that I hope sums up the general direction/feel of the brand. I then like to meet up (or skype) with my clients to get their feedback on the moodboard and general branding direction. 

Since Emma's company is female staffed (which is unusual for a Silicon Valley web development team) she wanted the feel of the brand to be feminine and different than what is out there in the engineering/start-up space in order to stand out from the crowd. I started with this moodboard below:

My first moodboard for Jingling Gate

My first moodboard for Jingling Gate

When I met with Emma and went over the inspiration, we decided that loopy scripts, flowers, and pastel colors weren't for her. But she did like the general feel of the inspiration. Which gave me great guidance as I headed into the logo designing process. 

Sometimes I will go back and revise the moodboard, but with Emma, I had a pretty good sense of the direction that she wanted to go so I started sketching. The name of her company is a bit unusual - it is the name of a Pub in England that her dad used to love. For some reason when I heard Jingling Gate, I kept thinking about an old fashioned key. Maybe because keys jingle? Not sure - but I knew I was on to something. I started sketching lots of ideas on paper, and then began bringing some of them to life through illustrator. 

My initial "sketches" are always a bit rough but clearly illustrate an idea or direction. I always like to include some "wildcard" ideas just to really get a sense of the clients likes and dislikes. Since the logo is for a team of engineers I wanted to bring in some sort of reference to coding. The </> is the most iconic symbol for coding, so I thought long and hard on how I could bring that in to the design. It then dawned on me that I could place it within the key - and it would still look like an old skeleton key. I was pretty excited about this direction :)

Luckily so was Emma! After I presented these ideas to Emma it was clear that the key and simple serif type was the way to go. So I worked on a few more iterations of the key, and also mocked them up as a website to give the logos context:

Emma and team really liked the key from #3 and the type from #4 so it was very easy to combine the two into the final logo. They also liked the orientation from #1, and thought it would be great as an alternate style when you need a more horizontal logo.

Once the final logo was decided on, I got to work building out the brand:

I am really happy with how the branding turned out. We are now working together to design the website - so I will update once that is done! Emma and team have been great clients, super easy going and appreciative of my work! A happy client is a very happy Jess :)

Are you looking to brand your own awesome business? Please do get in touch, I would love to work together!

Xo Jess