Branding: The Gilded Oyster

When Quinn’s Fine Jewelry closed its doors in my hometown of Wilbraham, everyone was sad. No more little green boxes under the Christmas tree! My father was perhaps the saddest, as Denise Quinn, the owner, had made anniversaries and birthdays very simple for him for years - he knew to always check my mom’s wish list for the perfect sparkly gift.

So Dad was awfully pleased when I told him Denise had gotten in touch with me about some branding - for her new shop on Cape Cod! After relocating to Falmouth, she and her husband Brian had the itch to have a storefront once again, this time embracing the heritage, culture, and aesthetic of the Cape that they love so much. They settled on the name The Gilded Oyster, in reference to an all-time favorite golden oyster piece her son had created. I rejoiced: gold foil EVERYTHING, please.

TGO+Logo+Aqua+%26+Gold+on+White.jpg

Denise wanted the logo focused on the oyster for which the shop was named. I played with that symbol in a few different ways, including adorning a little mermaid illustration with an oyster necklace (I had to try it), but the design Denise chose combined one of my all-time favorite script fonts with a simple line drawing. It reflects the elegant, natural designs characteristic of the shop’s jewelry collections, and nods to that timeless Cape Cod nautical aesthetic.

Developing the branding and website was just as fun, and allowed me to gild to my heart’s content. Denise was after a calm, beachy look and feel and loved the combination of sea glass aqua with gold, so we brought that in to most all elements of her shop.

TGO Print Suite Mock up.jpg

My favorite piece was the business card - gold foil oyster! The sign for the front of the shop is going to look just like these; it’s in production now and I cannot wait to see how it comes out.

IMG_7702.JPG

I love the way all these pieces came together to bring a fresh, classy brand to Main Street in Falmouth. Now I just need to get over the bridge to check out the shop - Denise opened the doors just before Christmas! This was so much fun to work on, and I’m excited to see the Gilded Oyster flourish when visitors make their way to the shore this summer - my dad included.

Oh, and a couple logo outtakes!

TGO outtakes-01.jpg

Anyone want a mermaid logo???

Interview with T.E.L.L. New England

Just before the craziness of the holidays, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jenn Bakos of the wonderful T.E.L.L. New England and talk a little bit about my business. Jenn and T.E.L.L. do such a great job of celebrating the local businesses and people that give New England its heart and soul, and I was so honored to be included in their mission.

T.E.L.L. put together a blog post on The Homegrown Studio, interviewing me about what I do, how I do it, and why the New England community has been so essential to the growth and success of my business. Click here to read the whole post.

More than anything, it was such a pleasure to chat with Jenn, and learn more about the important work that T.E.L.L. is doing to grow community. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for 2019, and am hoping to contribute to their efforts in whatever way I can!

Thank you Jenn and T.E.L.L. New England for this fantastic opportunity!

Special Offer for CISA Local Heroes!

CISA has been doing some incredible work in the Western Massachusetts community for 25 years, providing resources and support for the local farmers that feed us all. Most notably, they’ve established the Local Heroes campaign, which is the country’s longest running and most comprehensive “buy local” program for farm products. Farms, restaurants, retailers, and more join together to raise awareness and sales of locally grown products.

Good news if you’re part of that awesome movement - The Homegrown Studio has partnered with CISA to offer Local Hero members 15% off any graphic design or branding project! Let’s work together to tell your story, and tell the larger story of what it means to farm, buy, and eat locally.

CISA Promo 4-06.jpg

Send me a note if you’re a Local Hero and want to take advantage of this offer, I’m booking projects for January. Winter is the best time to develop your branding and marketing, and prepare for a bountiful 2019 season!

AND, I’ll be teaching a branding workshop through CISA this February! Stay tuned for details.

 

One Month Into Full-Time Freelance, Here's What I've Learned

As of today, I’ve officially been calling The Homegrown Studio my full-time job for one whole month. Making the leap to freelancing full-time has been exciting and sometimes uncomfortable, but ultimately I can say I am feeling a whole lot better, happier, and more fulfilled than I was a month ago. Heck, I’m even making money. I’m surprising myself in new ways every day, and thought I’d share some of the things I pushed myself to do as I set out on this new chapter.

Things I've Learned Freelancing.jpg

1. I asked people to tea. (I don’t drink coffee!) The first thing I decided to do when jumping fully into freelance work was to turn the networking way up. I did this for two reasons: 1.) I felt in need of advice and work and ideas, and 2.) I was terrified of being lonely - about two days into freelancing I realized that this could easily get very lonely. So, I reached out to mentors and smart ladies I’d met along my career path and asked if they would meet up with me. They had nothing but great ideas and sound advice, and it was great to catch up. I threw invitations out to local people I admired and was curious about, but had previously only made contact through mere Instagram likes. Why stay behind the screen? I gained new perspectives and new friends in this case, which was so exciting. Here’s the awesome thing: no one turned down my invitation. Everyone I had tea with seemed genuinely happy to sit down and chat in person, and real, engaging, pleasant conversation always resulted.

2. I started something new. Out of this urge to connect with others originated the idea to bring a Ladies Drawing Night to Western Mass. I put the idea out there, set a date, found an awesome host, started an Instagram account, and put up posters. I was thrilled to see tons of women I barely knew were excited about this, and said “see you there!” it’s been fun learning how to make a community event happen and create all the branding around it as a neat personal project. I can’t wait for November 8 when we can all just meet up and draw!

3. I set measurable goals. At my corporate job, the practice of setting clear and measurable goals was hammered into me. It could get annoying, but there’s no denying it consistently worked.  Freelancing, I found myself going back to that ritual and making lists to prioritize tasks for the day, week, and month. Every Monday, I identify one thing I nailed last week, and three things I absolutely need to nail this week. Long term, I’ve started thinking about where I want to be in a year – three years – and I’m setting a timeline as to when I need to achieve smaller goals to make it all happen. I’ve been trying to stay disciplined about this, even as I’ve thrown a lot of my corporate structure out the window.

4. I reached out to dream clients. I’ve realized quickly how important it is to be cultivating new opportunities even as I’m working on the here and now. When I was freelancing by moonlight, I could kind of get away with being passive about this and rely on clients coming to me, no big deal if they didn’t. Full time, I really want to make sure work that I’m excited about is coming in consistently. I took some new tactics such as sending out postcards to people and businesses I would love to work with. I’m finding myself busier than ever, and with more of a plan to make sure it continues.

5. I set a schedule for myself. Well, still working on this one. The line between work and life has become blurry, although I’m loving the flexibility of working from home on my own terms. Knowing when to sit down and do nothing but work, when to run errands, when to go to the barn, when to visit my grandmother, when to schedule meetings with clients, and when to watch American Horror Story with my boyfriend has been challenging. I wonder at the end of each day did I do enough? I’m finding it difficult to shut off my brain and relax, something I had no problem doing with the corporate job. Setting those measurable goals has helped with this, and as I get a feel for this new lifestyle I’m getting a better picture of what ‘normal’ looks like, and when enough is enough. It’s an adjustment, and something I suspect I’ll always grapple with as so many other freelancers have advised me.

Things I've Learned Freelancing 2.jpg

There are still plenty of things I am wrapping my head around and learning (Quickbooks anyone???) but I’m feeling pretty darn good one month into the game. I am thrilled to be able to finally devote myself fully to my dream, focus my work entirely on my clients, and give this my best shot. I’ll update you on how it’s going at six months, and in the meantime, just let me know if you’d like to get tea!

Ladies Drawing Night Western Mass

I’ve been feeling like talking in real life with other local creatives; exchanging ideas, learning about others’ processes, getting feedback, and enjoying a laugh together at all of this. I’ve long been inspired by the original Ladies Drawing Night movement in Brooklyn, and loved the book by Julia Rothman, Leah Goren, and Rachael Cole. So I put a little idea out there on Insta, and was thrilled to see an enthusiastic response both from people I know and don’t know, and local businesses offering to host. I fleshed out the idea a little more from there and came up with Ladies Drawing Night Western Mass.

Ladies Drawing Night.jpg

The first LDN will be Thursday, November 8 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm at Holyoke Hummus in Holyoke, Mass.! It will be a fun, casual atmosphere for local creative women to make some art, share ideas, get inspiration, make new connections, and enjoy the best falafel in the Pioneer Valley.

Ladies Drawing Night poster-06.jpg

And, this will all be in benefit of the Holyoke Creative Arts Center, which provides low cost artistic instruction to the Holyoke community and beyond. They do a lot to support local arts and foster creative thinking in the community, and we’d like to show our support in return. Please consider donating when you come out to Ladies Drawing Night.

So, put LDN on your calendars, and I’ll look forward to seeing you on November 8! Can’t wait to meet you!

Logo Design: Riverwood Farm

The day I met Diego, I hopped in his farm truck and he drove us down a winding wooded path in Haydenville, leading to his one-acre plot of farm land along the Mill River. Riverwood Farm was in the August thick of it’s first full growing season, and it looked to be going well: tomatoes hung full and ripe from their vines, corn reached towards the towering trees above, and baby fall greens were already popping up in straight rows.

Diego had reached me through Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, CISA, which is an incredible resource for farmers in the Pioneer Valley. He’d been receiving support towards developing his business through their Beginning Farmer’s Program, which had guided him towards effectively branding his farm. That begins with a memorable logo, and I was so glad to hear from him when he saw my work and felt like it’d be a good match.

I was impressed by how much Diego was accomplishing on his acre in the woods; Riverwood Farm is truly a one man operation. He runs a no-till farm, as a means of keeping the soil healthy and fertile. The farm supplies vegetables to several local restaurants like Bistro Les Gras and The Freckled Fox Cafe. He also runs a farm stand up at Valley View Farm, making his fresh vegetables available to the community throughout the growing season.

Diego wanted his logo to be deeply personal, speaking to the hands-on, sustainable, small-scale operation he was running. His connection to the community and to his land needed to come through. So, what better way to do that than to put the farmer right in the logo?

Riverwood on Green-02.jpg

This illustration came to me first and most easily when I first began the process for this logo. I just drew what I had witnessed when I visited Riverwood Farm: Diego working his land by hand, under the shade of the forest by the river. Paired with a friendly hand drawn font, it instantly became full of personality. I was so glad he went with this option, I felt it suited his vision for the farm so well.

I won’t soon forget the other concepts for this project, though - here are the other three I presented to Diego.

They all paint a picture of Diego’s farm in their unique ways, but it’s the farmer in the chosen logo that really lets all that is at the core of Riverwood shine through.

I’m excited to see what’s next for Diego now that his brand is coming to life! Beginning farmers: make sure you get in touch with CISA, they have some incredible resources and grants that can take your farm and business to the next level. Take advantage! I’m looking forward to doing more with them in the future.

Images courtesy of Riverwood Farm

Logo Design: Rockingstone Farm

Rockingstone Farm in Barre, Mass. has just the kind of story I love - old local farmland being reenergized by a new generation. Lindsay Higgins first got into contact with me in the spring, looking to create a logo for the farm she and her family had been developing over the last year.

This effort has been particularly exciting for Lindsay because it is a new chapter in her family's history: the land was originally her grandfather's. The farmhouse was built in 1776, and now Lindsay and her husband Liam were working to create a farm and home of their own on the 100 acre property, and raise their two children there. They'd already been bottling and selling maple syrup from 350 trees, and opened a farm stand on Route 122.

The name Rockingstone Farm is after a natural landmark in Barre, just minutes down the road from the farm. Two boulders are balanced on top of the other in a seemingly impossible way; a teetering monument in the woods. The spot has been visited by generations in Lindsay's family; she sent me this photo of her mother at the rocking stones in the '70s, and also one of her children playing there today. 

For this reason, it was important to Lindsay that the rocks be incorporated in the logo, and the unique namesake was immediately where I wanted to go with the project. It proved to be no easy task though - rocks aren't always the easiest subjects to draw. After pages and pages of doodling and countless attempts from every angle employing several mediums, a few renderings were finally starting to do the rocking stones and all their natural wonder some justice. 

Here's the final logo we agreed would be the face of Rockingstone Farm:

Rockingstone Farm Final Logo on Grey.jpg

The detailed ink drawing of the stones went beyond my typical style and comfort zone, but definitely described the rocks best. Maple leaves fall around the the rocks, speaking to the farm's current focus on maple syrup production. The traditional serif font nods towards the rich heritage and history behind the farm, but a clean, sharp layout keeps things modern as the next generation builds a future. I think this will be the start of a strong brand for the farm, representing all it has been and all it's going to be. 

I came up with a wide variety of options for this logo, playing with the best ways to describe and incorporate the rocks, and suggesting some different directions all together. Both Lindsay and I liked the concept that incorporated the old red barn on Route 122, but agreed the rocks should be given priority. Hoping we can still use the barn illustration in some future pieces!

RSF alternates-01.jpg

I'm very excited with the concept Lindsay chose, and can't wait to see how she uses it to brand her farm. 

Photos courtesy of Lindsay Higgins

Logo Design: Cedar View Polo Club

It's always nice to reconnect with old friends. I was so happy when Debi Gale got in touch a few weeks ago - my sister and I rode horses with her for years when we were growing up, and leased a wonderful quarter horse named Kramer from her for a while. She and her family had since built their own gorgeous farm in Somers, CT, and her son Drew is in the process of establishing a polo club there. Games would be starting soon and they were in need of a logo. 

I came out to their property on a sunny afternoon, a quiet haven among towering cedar trees. I was so impressed to see the polo field they had been grooming for the last five years - it sat finally ready to see games this season. Debi and Drew showed me around as we caught up, and described the logo they were after - something classy and fun and built around the iconic pines that would become the symbol for the team: Cedar View Polo Club.

This was one of those logos where the inspiration and creativity just flowed, especially after I was just off of a trip to Lexington, KY for my full time job, where life revolves around horses. I was excited to draw some polo ponies and bring in elegant fonts that would be the core elements for this brand.

cedar view gold mock up.JPG

I was so pleased with the design they chose - a crest logo that gestures towards traditional, preppy branding for the sport of kings, but is softened with retro, fun touches. The focus remains on the horse and cedar trees, and I think the whole logo will remain very versatile for all sorts of contexts - particularly for team shirts and hats, which I am eager to see!

I was excited about some of the other concepts too, but definitely felt like they went with the strongest design. Here are some of the alternates:

Still kinda in love with the one in the middle though. Hoping to pull elements from it for something else someday, we'll see.

Looking forward to developing this branding further - and for games under the cedar trees this August! Thank you Debi and Drew!

A Quick Escape from Winter

Winter on the farm means pulling on my heavy insulated overalls, breaking through frozen water bucket after frozen water bucket, lugging hay out to barren pastures, and a host of other frigid, less-fun chores that often leave me dreaming of a warmer escape. Luckily there is one nearby that I can always count on, offering chilled bones and runny noses some tropical humidity, lush flora, and soft white light from every direction. That's the Botanic Garden at Smith College.

IMG_1078.JPG

I spent the 20 degree morning on Saturday getting the horses set up for the day out in their frosted pasture (they don't mind), and arrived home chilly but game to finish a little last minute holiday shopping with Jake in downtown Northampton. The weekend before Christmas, you can imagine the chaos. Pushing through Thornes at noontime I was still pretty frozen and feeling sleepy. We made the executive decision that the only good, right place to be in that town at that moment was the Botanic Garden.

Passing through the first door to the Warm Temperate House, the first deep breath of dewy air is like a drug. How had we forgotten August so quickly? Layers are shed in the heat, attention turned to the omnipresent plant life. Every shade of green, every strange variety, blooming from the ground, creeping along walls, and cascading from the ceiling. 

IMG_1075.JPG
IMG_1074.JPG
IMG_1053.JPG

The greenhouses became a labyrinth, and we wandered along the paths from glass door to glass door. The stillness was such a relief after being caught up in a swell of panicked shoppers downtown, plants oblivious to the number of days until Christmas. 

IMG_1054.JPG
IMG_1077.JPG

I felt so much better after submerging in that tropical cleanse for an hour, fingers, toes, and mood thoroughly defrosted. Green plant life, natural light, and warmth are actual medicine. (The happiest of memories are too. Jake and I went to the Botanic Garden on our first date.)

IMG_1076.JPG

This winter, don't forget about the Botanic Garden. Treat yourself to a little time in there and suddenly spring won't seem so far away.

Logo Design: Stephanie Boyd Works

When Stephanie Boyd led me down the stairs to her pottery studio in Williamstown, I was blown away by the depth and breadth of her work, and the evidence of an intense practice. Finished mugs lined shelves, several works in progress awaited colorful patterns and a final glaze, and new ideas were sketched out not far from her throwing wheel. Stephanie was particularly excited about a new process she was trying out involving monoprinting right onto her clay, creating funky patterns and interesting textures.

Bowls+in+the+grass.jpg

I get so excited to see other artists' workspaces, getting a window into their unique creative process. There was a lot going on this one; Stephanie has played with an impressive variety of styles and methods since she devoted herself to pottery full time four years ago, creating an exciting body of work under the business Stephanie Boyd Works. She was feeling like it was time to start bringing it all together under a recognizable brand though, so we started on a logo!

Monster+Bowl.jpg
C9F07520-B988-4A5D-8CBD-F23CD8FB87C3.jpg

We wanted something clean and versatile that would speak well to her wide breadth of work, from timeless tablewares to bold statement pieces, as well as whatever new direction she may take next. It was important to keep things fun, too, because Stephanie's work is super fun. Did you see that monster plate?! 

Stephanie Boyd Works Logo Beige.jpg

The final logo makes use of one of my hand drawn potted plants, with a little Matisse flair that Stephanie has been infusing into her own work lately too. Each element of this one is brush stroke heavy, reflecting Stephanie's artistic approach to each piece and the confidence and freedom she does so with.

Here's a few alternates that I will not soon forget. Pottery is so relaxing to doodle, bringing me back to freshman year drawing class where hours were spent with in front of colossal still life sets with dusty charcoal in hand.

Steph Boyd Alternates.jpg

The empowered mug hand was meant to speak to some of her more socially and politically focused work. Stephanie is organizing an impressive collaborative art project called Vessels for Change, in which local potters and artists are joining forces to create and sell mugs to benefit the Berkshire Immigrant Center. They've already sold out on the mugs, but you can still make a donation!

This was such a fun project to work on; developing brands for artists is particularly important work to me and I'm happy with the direction this logo took. Thanks Stephanie!

All images courtesy of Stephanie Boyd Works