Clients & Creative Control: How to Honor Visions & Execute Expertise

The hardest part of design is talking about design with non-designers (aka, 99 percent of clients you’ll ever have).

This is true for every creative craft. When wedding planning, I was really co-designing a day with other creatives. The vendors were the experts, and as their client, I really had to trust their expertise. I set the vision for the day and had to allow them to execute the fine details.

When writing a feature, or pitching a communications plan, or designing anything, the greatest challenge is meshing the client’s preconceived vision for the project with what we, as the experts, really know will serve them and their goals on the highest level.

A great example is when I approached my wedding florist and said I wanted garden roses and baby’s breath in the floral designs. As a client, I walked in convinced I was the florist and having XYZ flower was the best way to achieve the soft, feminine and intimate vibe I was imagining in my mind. My florist exercised her expertise by explaining that baby’s breath smelled like ass and garden roses were ridiculously expensive. But she heard me, and recognized my vision the overall vibe I wanted. She showed me in the store how she, as the expert, could pick the roses at their largest point of blossom, and incorporate intricate, antique-tinted hydrangeas and wispy larkspurs. She invited me in and explained her process.

She guided me to a better decision, and after surrendering control as a client to her and her expertise, I wound up with a greater, more beautiful end product that still honored my original vision.

As creatives, that is our charge with clients to:

1. Listen and identify with their vision, and;

2. With your expertise, guide them and welcome them onboard to your process and how your process will serve their vision on the highest level.

Whew, y’all. It’s hard sometimes! I really love all that this post has to say about creating what you want vs. what the client want & what sells. Of course, if you find yourself attracting a bunch of clients who are totally opposite of you in taste, it may be time to reevaluate what clients you take on and what vibes you’re putting out there about your business and style.

Fortunately for me, I have really cool clients that are super easy to work with. I just wrapped up my final graduation announcement of the season, and I think it’s my favorite thus far.

If you want to work with me…to design business logos/digital art, birthday invites, announcements, etc. feel free to email me at jesswcreative@gmail.com!

XO,

J.

 

Advertisements

Sunny Sunday Reads & Finds!

20140420-025853.jpg

Easter, prom, a million spring-related things going on that require you to be here & there. While these are times of newness & milestones & blessed time with our family, sometimes it can leave you feeling a little wiped out. (And, let’s face it, the Easter bunny is mega-creepy.)

Go layout by the pool, in a hammock or have a drink on a patio somewhere & enjoy some alone time with my favorite blog posts, podcasts, videos and articles from this week. Have some laughs, get inspired and refill for another week & the final stretch until summer.

I recently started my journey with lipstick. More on that later, but you should know that this girl’s tutorials were my gateway drug to a full-blown makeup addiction.

Confession: I am almost entirely nocturnal. Really. I always have been a night owl and science suggests it says a lot about me. Marie Forleo taught me how to rock it. Own your internal clock, y’all!

I listen to Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” AT LEAST once a day. Love this cover by Ed Sheeran. Surfbordt.

Gettin’ hitched? I curated this list of groomsmen gifts  over at Brit + Co.

I am a student of Gabrielle Bernstein & working through her new book “Miracles Now”. I could take you guys down the “Jessica’s Spirituality” rabitthole here but instead just check out these videos.

Speaking of spirituality, my sister Abbey is a service junkie. She loves working with kids, and feels called to serve in Haiti this summer. Help fund her mission by giving here or sending positive, abundant vibes her way.

Hope you had a blessed Easter & feel renewed & ready for the week ahead.

XO

J.

Prints & Prayers

Sometime a couple weeks ago I was traveling to OK to see a friend and also conduct some interviews for a freelance feature. For some reason, on a whim, I decided to post on my Facebook page that I was in the ‘hood  and if anyone wanted me to shoot/design for graduation invites, I’d be happy to help.

Let it be known that I had never designed graduation invites before, nor do I consider myself a photographer. But I was soon inundated with messages from clients-to-be.

As it turns out, one client desperately wanted some grad invites done to announce and celebrate her master’s degree. She thought she had procrastinated too long to get them in in time, but prayed that she would find a way to make it happen.

And, like an act of God or some crazy coincidence, I had just posted that I could do the thing she prayed for and I just so happened to be in the right and place at the right time to help her out.

Seems weird, right? But I 100 percent believe in manifest destiny. I believe your thoughts and prayers and vibes have the power to create your reality. By putting it out there into the universe that I wanted to be a designer, I made it happen. In the same way, my clients prayer was powerful enough to manifest the exact thing she prayed for.

Sounds pretty trippy but I have seen this truth happen so many times and in so many ways, I know it to be real.

For some people, like my client, their prayers manifest their reality. For me, what I verbalize to others has an intense power to become real. That means whether I talk shit on myself or talk about my dreams for the future, either way, there’s a good chance those conversations will manifest into reality. I’ve learned to be careful and thoughtful about what I say about myself and what I want.

I’m not saying the thoughts alone are enough. But I am saying that intention is equally important as action when it comes to getting the things we want.

Whew! Gettin’ deep up in hurr. Anyway, I wanted to share with you a couple of announcements I made this season. I customized each of them, so the colors and fonts and quotes have a lot to say about the client. Devon is a fashionista, so quoting Coco Chanel and using her favorite color (mint!) were obvious choices. Randi is an Oklahoma State Cowgirl and Southern Oklahoma lady, so the tribal touches and school colors worked. Both were front & back and printed on 15 pt. card stock.

DGopt1

rw_announcement 

These were super fun projects, and reminded me of how much I enjoy designing like this.

XO

J.

Freelance: Graduation Shoots

freelance

The past week and a half in Oklahoma has been totally devoted to my freelance work. For those who don’t know, I began freelancing back in college with the school newspaper. Before I graduated I was freelance writing for an award-winning magazine and an annual report. Today, I write features focusing mainly on granting and personal profiles. I also am a curator and tastemaker over at Brit + Co. Both are paying’ gigs (the best kind) but extremely different in content, workflow and bottom line.

Writing is my bread and butter, my passion, my expertise. But, surprisingly, my freelance design and photog gigs are growing almost faster than I can keep up. I’m making spreadsheets to track my workflow, firing out emails, sending quotes and client proofs, on the phone with printers and cashin’ checks left and right.

It’s a great feeling. I love the autonomy of freelance work. I love that I can travel, interact one-on-one with people, tour new places and experience new things and be the artist I always dreamed of being. It’s an ever-changing job, ever-changing title. I’m wearing a lot of hats. But it’s really fulfilling work. Plus, I thrive working on my own time, doing new things, breaking molds, making mistakes and learning and growing and grooving to the beat of my own drum.

RULES I wanted to share with you some of my work from the past week. Enjoy! Interested in working with me? Feel free to reach out…On Twitter, Facebook, Insta or email me at jesswcreative@gmail.com

dg9FBdg25-copydg21FB

Devon wanted to incorporate a quilt made by some really special women in her life.

dg24FBdg3FBdg12FBdg20FBdg16FB

Randi is a former classmate at OSU and blog reader. She was sweet enough to ask me to take some pics and design her graduation announcements. Congrats, Randi!

edit10FBedit5FBedit6FBedit9edit2FB

Lazy Sunday Reads & Finds!

20140406-162357.jpg

Hey Guys! I’ve been running’ & gunnin’ this week, but finally taking a break from all the creating to catch up on my favorite spots around the web. I wanted to share with you some of my favorite finds. Enjoy!

Do you ever think really bad/nasty/mean/scary thoughts? Here’s how to deal.

Why you should take time off and how to make it count.

I am drooling over these handcrafted horn Gladiator cuffs.

Why you don’t necessarily need a five year plan. BOOYAH.

Allow me to introduce you to my new skin care obsession. This foundation has oodles of SPF & is also a skin corrector…perfect for all y’all who have acne scars (like me…womp womp). Get it here!

Here’s a little secret…Cory & I are looking for a house (!!!!) Join me in drooling over these European spaces.

I’m gonna need these sandals.

I loved skulls because CJ has one tattooed on his back & I spend many a mornings waking up to the sight of it…Now I have an affinity. Drooling over these decorations.

I’ve started a collection of these. You’ll always see me wearing one.

Proof I’m obsessed with the idea of taking a woodsy retreat. Summer vacation?

I already have these sunnies but I think these are in my future.

I love succulents. I love saying succulents…It’s just a fun word. Plus, these plants are gorg. I spent way too much money buying some from this awesome shop.

Want to learn how to amp up the graphics & branding for your small business? Consider this workshop in OKC.

 

Hope y’all enjoyed this lazy, rainy Sunday. I’ll be blogging this week about my latest design projects, why freelance is freakin’ hard and the book that may have just changed my life.

Till then,

J.

 

15 ways to get better now

I am a curious, studious, book-loving nerd. My mother-in-law told my husband once that I remind her of Hermione Granger. Sigh. It’s true. My idea of rebellion is reading a book from the restricted section of the library.

HermioneHandUp

But my love for learning often has very little to do with a physical classroom. I went to college and I’m pursuing a masters degree, but those actions and experiences aren’t exclusively an “education” in my mind. There is much more we can do to learn and grow and, as a result, become educated or even an expert in the areas we are interested in or passionate about.

I wanted to share with you the ways I’ve become a better designer, presenter, writer and student outside of the classroom and how you can, too.

  1. Enroll in an eCourse. I love everything Braid Creative does, and Skillshare is an excellent source to learn everything from hand lettering to capturing better images on your iPhone.
  2. Read a non-fiction book on the topic of your interest. I love “The War of Art” and “Damn Good Advice for People With Talent.”
  3. Write. Every damn day.
  4. Read the blogs of people you admire. I want to take better pictures, write more impactful blog posts and become a better designer. Therefore, I religiously creep those who seem to accomplish those things with ease: Sara Von Bargen, Marie Forleo, Casey Wiegand and Megan Gilger. (Girl power, anyone?)
  5. Travel to a new place.
  6. Travel solo. I spent a weekend in Austin alone once, and it was fantastic.
  7. PODCASTS. Ditch iTunes for a day and instead listen to TED talks while you work – whether that’s in the office or at home folding laundry.
  8. Make something with your hands. Paint, sculpt, weave, whatever.
  9. Read a hard book. The kind that makes you look up every other word. I like “12 Years A Slave” by Solomon Northup, published in 1853. It’s like bro is speaking a different language.
  10. Make a Pinterest board that visually represents a goal you want to accomplish. Here’s mine.
  11. Get some D. Vitamin D, that is. It’s amazing how much happier and more productive I feel after getting outside and some sunshine.
  12. Do something that is really hard. Teaching ESL was the hardest thing in I’ve possibly ever done. I would sweat profusely through every class. It was hard but it forced me to rise to the occasion.
  13. Do something you don’t feel quite ready for. Experience is the best teacher, and if you suck it up (and you most likely will) so what? It was your first time. Next time will be better, and the time after that, and so on and so on until you’re a rockstar.
  14. Ask & ye shall receive, guys. If you want to become better at something, ask for that next big project or responsibility at work. You won’t always get a “yes” but you will get one more often than you expected.
  15. Stay hungry.

Guys, I get that someone, somewhere out there is rolling their eyes at my design work. That someone has put years and 10,000 hours in to honing this craft, one I have just barely begun. I get that. Maybe you’re just beginning to write, or shoot video, or photography, whatever. Don’t give up, and don’t let being new at something scare you into not asking questions, not trying and not working hard.

XO

J.

 

Shop Local

IMG_7193 Big city livin’ is not something I take for granted. I can find a place to eat any hour of the night (with drive-thrus!), we can partake in just about any form of entertainment imaginable, and we are just an hour’s drive from some of the coolest & happenin’-est cities for young people in the country, like Austin.

But when it comes to shopping, Southern Oklahoma is still my favorite spot. Local boutiques like the Lucky Rose, the Pink Pistol and Bliss are some of the most unique and impressively curated shops I’ve ever been to. Whenever I’m wearing pieces from any of those boutiques, I always get asked a million “Where’d ya get that?” questions…My finds range from funky to rare. Whenever I am in town, I go crazy shopping and browsing all my favorite places.

This weekend, I got to enjoy wine at the Lucky Rose Spring Fling event. It was an after-hours shopping extravaganza. The place was packed with ladies shopping, sharing, sipping and laughing.  It felt so cool, so forward, so exciting to be a part of –  as a guest and as a hired designer. Lisa Rose, the shop owner, is always pushing the envelope and blowing me away with new, fun and innovative ideas for her business and for Tishomingo, Oklahoma.

Evites I designed for the Lucky Rose's Spring Fling event

Evites I designed for the Lucky Rose’s Spring Fling event

IMG_7239

Infinity scarf from Murray on Main in Tishomingo, OK

Midi rings and chambray top from Bliss Boutique in Durant, OK

Midi rings and chambray top from Bliss Boutique in Durant, OK

IMG_7229

The ultimate underdog, Teddy

When I wasn’t shopping, I was eating with my parents, watching movies with friends, golfing and attending baby showers. It was a great weekend.

J.