March 5th, 2014
I have been making the transition from working in a studio to working at home as we are awaiting the birth of our first child this summer! What would have been my home studio will be the baby’s room, so I had to find another place to set up shop. Where would my home work space be? My daily needs are my computer, my backup drive and a notebook. I don’t need a lot of space, so where should I go? It’s important for those of us independent workers who do work from home to find a place in our home where we can be both comfortable AND productive. My productive place is my kitchen! I have lots of light and inspirational pieces to look at. There’s also food…so this is a good place!
What are some key factors for choosing where to set up your home work space?
LIGHT + AIR. Light equals life. Natural light is energizing and even it it’s a cloudy day, it doesn’t hurt to have a view of the great outdoors or have the ability to crack open the window to get some fresh air. If you’re going to be cooped up in the house all day working, you should get some air. You’ll be surprised at how invigorating it is to get just a bit of fresh air in the middle of a busy (or laid back) day.
EYE CANDY. Having some visual inspiration around you can keep you motivated and your mind running. My favorite bit of inspiration in my kitchen are my Dave Quiggle prints on the wall. He is one of my favorite artists, so I am not only inspired creatively by his work, but it’s good motivation to work a little harder at what I love to do.
A GOOD CHAIR. This can make all the difference in the world. Make sure wherever you set up has the ability to have a good chair set up there as well. Remember those days when you worked for someone else and you had to sit in that crappy chair and your back hurt at the end of the day? It doesn’t have to be like that any more!
Get inspired! Set up your home work space and check out mine in the mean time!
February 26th, 2014
Over the past year I have worked with a lot of bloggers and have noticed one common thread in blog design and blog logos…simple and clean is always better. This does not mean your blog has to be devoid of personality! Your blog should be an expression of who you are and a showing of your personal brand.
I have found that no matter what other design elements you include in your blog design, simple blog logos are received better visually. Your blog logo should stand out without competing with the content and other design elements on your page. Below are examples of simple and clean blog logos I’ve created.
Good examples of blog logos are what are shown in the above slide show; a single logo on a background that serves as the static visual image on your site. A header is a broader and sometimes more designed visual for your blog or site. Most people use this to create a more eye-catching entrance to their blog. I recently had the privilege of working with one of my favorite Digital Strategist, Vicky Ayala on her header. We took her logo and added a little more flavor to it with a full-width background image. Since Vicky’s logo is nice and clean, it was easy to pair it up with an eye-catching background image that didn’t take away from the logo.
No matter what your preference is, I suggest making sure it’s clean and easy to read. This will guarantee that your blog logo or header does not take away from your content or other design elements on the page.
February 24th, 2014
In another 4 months, my husband and I will be expecting our very first, life-long guest! In other words, we’re having a baby! Yay! She will be making her big appearance around the end of June or early July. We are beyond excited to be welcoming this little lady into our lives and naturally the first thing I thought of, as a Graphic Designer was…what are we going to do about nursery design?
After sifting through a sea of pink, purple, lace and ruffles, my husband and I realized that we don’t have to turn our guest room into a replica of a Baby’s R Us display to properly welcome this kid into the world. Instead, we want her to fall right into a place that expresses our personalities and is both welcoming for her and us. I took to the interweb to see what kind of inspiration I could find and was happy when I stumbled across the below selection. This decorating process will be fun and I can’t wait to meet this little girl that’s been kicking me in my stomach
Visit me to here to see what other designs I’ve been inspired by.
February 21st, 2014
It’s cold and I want to wear a hoodie and yoga pangs with high socks EVERY DAY!!! If I had enough of that uniform to do so, I would..I would wear it every day! Since I don’t, I still look for winter style inspiration…but a hoodie is never too far away!
February 19th, 2014
As an independent worker, it is always important for me to represent myself as best as I can. To this day, I can hear my mom saying “Remember, when you leave this house, you not only represent us, but the family”. This has stayed with me for years. I not only represent myself, but my family and my work and my own integrity. When I leave the house, I want to make sure that those things that are so important to me are properly represented.
(thanks Betsey Johnson) and much more, but I’ve realized over time that my best accessory EVERYDAY is my personality. I can show up at a meeting in a hoodie and a messy bun (which I have) and still make a great impression because of my attitude and personality.When I am getting ready for meetings or long work days where I will be face to face with both clients and potential clients, I always think about how I represent myself with my clothing. I am a firm believer that simple with a little POW can go a long way. A white jacket or black jacket and jeans has gotten me out the door both quickly and neatly…but I always want my personality represented in my outwear. My solution for this is accessories. Through the years I have collected many accessories; scarves, hair ties, bracelets, rings (see one of my favs to the left), designed socks
Most people want to see who you really are and not just the facade that you put on when you leave the house. I have found this true for people who seek out independent workers, such as myself. A lot of my clients want to work with a real person, with real option and real personality.
Who are you when you leave the house? Find the positivity in that person and lead with it!
February 18th, 2014
In a world of trends and current styles, it can be hard to find what your personal style really is. This is the same for your Personal Brand. People who tend to need a Personal Brand are solo-preneurs and independent workers such as bloggers, artists or those who offer niche services. What I have enjoyed most about my work is helping people tap into their creativity and their personality. Not their personality according to reality tv or magazines or the runway, but their personal, true personality. One thing I always suggest to people who are having hard time figuring out their personal brand is to tap into the 15 or 16 year old you. That was an age where we thought we knew exactly who we were or wanted to be! We were positive about it and didn’t care what anyone had to say about it. A lot of the time, that kid is still in us somewhere and his or her semi-rebellious voice is waiting to be heard.
Branding is consistency. In the design world, branding is the art of creating consistent visuals that represent a company and/or person. It is what sets you apart visually from other branded companies or people.
Yes. You and I probably currently have a social brand that we may not even be aware of. I am a huge fan of black on black high-top Converse. Once one pair gets worn out, I replace it with another pair. I do this simply because they are my favorite shoe. This style attribute has become apart of my personal brand. This is the same for visual branding. You will be known for what you can be visually connected with.
One popular tool I suggest to my clients often is Pinterest. You will be surprised with how much you get to know yourself and your personal style just by “pinning” things you like. I didn’t realize that I had a specific style until I started using Pinterest. If you aren’t familiar with it, it basically works as an online mood/inspiration board, where you can browse through photos of almost anything and pin them to specific boards that you create or you can add your own by uploading or pinning through pages on the Word Wide Web. You can view my Pinterest boards here to get an idea of how to use it.
Another great way is keeping notes or a folder on your computer with a few of your favorite things and styles. This can include everything from vintage cars to the color of Mountain Dew to the beach to lace. It can be whatever you most identify with or what people can always attach to you.
If you are still having a hard time with that, a great place to start is the color wheel. What is your favorite color(s)? You’d be surprised how far this simple question can take you.
Of course!!! That’s what I’m here for! Fill out my contact form or email me at darin(at)darinmichelle.com with any questions. I am always willing to help!
February 14th, 2014
If you don’t know already, my husband and I are huge Hiatus Kaiyote fans! We discovered them last year and have been hooked ever since. We had the chance to see them in DC at U Street Music Hall, where they proved that they don’t just sound great on their album. This morning, my husband and I enjoyed our second snow day in a row and decided to make a little breakfast while jamming out to Hiatus. I’ve always loved their song ‘Malika’, but this morning it gave me more life than it normally does. I played it three or four times and fell more in love with every note, sound and groove in the song.
Since sharing is caring, here is a live performance of ‘Malika’ for you to enjoy! Happy Valentines Day!
February 12th, 2014
I recently went through my instagram photos and came across a trend…black and white snaps of some of my favorite ladies. They’re strong, have their own voice are creative and inspire me to no end!
Inspire on ladies! Inspire on! Follow me on instagram at www.instagram.com/darinmichelle
February 11th, 2014
This has been my mantra for the year so far. There are so many things I aspire to do and in order to do any of those things, I must get AND stay inspired! Sometimes we forget that the magic behind our work, our craft, our creating, our visions, our time isn’t just that we were inspired, but that some how through all of the craziness of working, crafting, creating, being a visionary or dedicating time we stayed inspired!
This for me is true in life, work and relationships. I look to be inspired every day. Sometimes the greatest inspirations are the things we walk by every day and take for granted. Sometimes it’s a simple and complex as the sun, the color of a leaf, a passing car or an article of clothing. By opening ourselves up to receiving inspiration, we are doing ourselves a great service! By leaving those doors open and letting inspiration stew in us, we are doing ourselves even more of a service.
I wish this week, this month and this year that you not only get inspired but stay inspired!
And also remember to Dream Big and Laugh Loud! Check out my RESOURCES page to see where I get my inspiration from!