graphic design

Client Spotlight: Cloud Creative Events

We first began working with modern luxury wedding planner Cloud Creative Events a few years ago, the way we start working with many of our small business clients – on a single small project. She had created her own website, as many solopreneurs do, and got in touch with us for a little SEO treatment, which went really well.

As Cloud Creative has grown, we’ve implemented several short rounds of website improvements over the years to expand on the site’s content and reflect their growing team and portfolio.

In the last six months though, we’ve been working with Cloud Creative a lot more. Owner KC Cloud was ready to make some big moves, so in that time we have redesigned their logo, made several more website updates (especially to expand the portfolio and publicity pages), and we’ve also updated their pricing booklet and created new business cards for KC and her team – all without complicated and expensive design “packages” since we just track our time.

We couldn’t be more proud – take a look!


Updated Website:

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New Business Cards:

 
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Updated Pricing Booklet:

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Client Spotlight: Lindsay's Art Cart

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When we were initially referred to Lindsay’s Art Cart by mutual friends and clients, the art-teacher-turned-small-business-owner said she was ready for her very first website. Up until then, her business, which offers private art parties and public art classes at various locations around Arlington, TX, had grown popular among friends of friends, and she would market the classes and parties by creating facebook events, and using the eventbrite plugin for merchant services. Lindsay already had a logo she loved but she needed a dedicated home on the web for class info and an event calendar she could populate with classes and parties so customers could register quickly and easily.

We went right to work on what turned out to be a ridiculously cute web design for Lindsay and her adorable Art Cart logo, which went live New Year’s Day 2018. Shortly afterward, we began working on promotional pieces for her first summer art camp for kids (2018), a t-shirt design, A-frame signage she could haul along with her to any venue, and more.

Last summer, we pitched another project to Lindsay: an ABC’s of Art Coloring Book which she positively LOVED. Together, we came up with the art mediums for each letter and with the help and creativity of our summer design interns, we launched the coloring book at the end of summer 2018, which can be purchased at several shops around town and also on her website. Lindsay said it was a dream come true!

As a result of what began with just a website, business is booming: so far in 2019, her revenue has increased 71%, with unique visitors to the site up 150%, and overall visits to the site up 167% (2019/2018). Some sessions of her 2019 summer art camp have already been sold out for weeks. Lindsay’s boundless energy and positivity are unmatched in the business world, so it is always a pleasure to work on projects for Lindsay’s Art Cart, and it is a joy to watch this business continue to grow and flourish – we can’t wait to see what comes next!

Client Spotlight: Devan Allen Campaign

It’s been years since we last blogged about Devan Allen and our design work on her personal projects in speaking, advocacy, and real estate, but not long after that, Devan discussed with us her next big endeavor: running for Tarrant County Commissioner.

We immediately hopped on board and began designing logo concepts, building her campaign website, and creating several social media graphics as well as signage for her campaign kickoff event.

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This was the largest campaign we worked on to-date, as Tarrant County has a population of just over 2 million (each commissioner represents roughly a quarter of the county, but that still requires a sizeable campaign)!

Devan always said, “We will not be outworked” throughout the campaign and she was absolutely right. We’re proud that she chose Green Apple Lane as the creative agency for her campaign branding, website, and graphics and we were overjoyed to witness the moment she won from the watch party at her campaign headquarters. We learned so much about big campaigns and the many rules and regulations required for political creative, and we’re so proud that the work was not only popular and well-received by the community, but successful in the end.

Logo Design: Color Psychology, Fonts & Unbreakable Rules

I designed my first logo back in journalism school in 2001 if you can believe it. More than 15 years and hundreds of concepts later, I have more than a few logo design tips to share!

Color Rules
for Logo Design

Color communicates SO much information to us about a business, whether or not we realize it. For this reason, we will typically send the first round of logo proofs in black and white so clients can focus on the design itself instead of being drawn to a design because of its color.

Color can bring up deeply rooted emotions, as specific colors are associated with certain ideas (which you may or may not want associated with your brand). Take some time to look at our psychology of color graphic – do you agree with the traits these colors represent? If we were developing a logo for a new salon/spa business, would we want to create a big, bold logo in red? Maybe, but probably not, yet I see them everywhere! What about a multi-color or pink logo for a bank? Maybe not...

A few more interesting tidbits on color:

  • Red can actually raise your heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, and even make you feel hungry (it’s no secret many fast food and restaurant logos are red)!
  • Yellow may come off as too weak or as cautious; it's also typically too bright to stand on its own and will usually require an accent color as a background or border.
  • Blue is the most common logo color and is generally affiliated with large corporations. Most financial institutions use blue in their branding (because it conveys honesty, trust and integrity, of course).
  • Purple can be polarizing and may come off childish if used incorrectly (though since it appeals to children, you'll notice it often used in toy and candy package design).
  • Black, like brown, can be seen as boring. Keep the fonts crisp and fresh to avoid this.

Above all, when planning to brand your business, please don’t choose a color just because it's your favorite color (or worse, your child's favorite color... unless the business is a children's boutique)! Give some serious thought to the core values of your company and determine what color(s) best represent those values. One final (usually-unbreakable) rule: try not to incorporate too many colors in your logo. Instead of multiple colors, try monochromatic shades (using varying tones of only one color).

Number One Font Rule for Logo Design

There are plenty of do's and don'ts for pairing complementary fonts, but if there is one cardinal rule, it's to not use too many (1-2 fonts is best, but no more than 3 as a hard rule). Mixing a sans-serif font with a serif font is always nice, or mixing a script font with serif. It's also great to use varied weights of the same font family (for large font families like Helvetica, Garamond, Futura, Myriad, Minion, etc.) Typically, serif fonts evoke tradition, respect, and integrity (ex. Garamond, Times), whereas sans-serif fonts feel modern, high-tech, clean, and simple (ex. Futura, Helvetica, Arial).

Some final thoughts to keep in mind when imagining your logo

  • Your logo isn’t for you, it’s for your customer.
  • When comparing concepts, think about how the logo makes you feel. Do those feelings correspond with the business’ core values?
  • Is there a meaningful story behind the logo?
  • Will the logo stand the test of time or is it trendy (is your business meant to be trendy or are you trying to build clients for life)?
  • Is the logo unique and easily recognizable in a sea of competitors?
  • Does the logo still look great in black and white?
  • Does the logo scale nicely (does look good both super-small and huge)? If not, it might not be a deal-breaker, but you might need a brand mark. We can help!

Client Spotlight: Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery

We are proud to have helped evolve the branding, web presence, and printed collateral of Sugar Bee Sweets from day one, when the company consisted of one young woman baking cakes from her home kitchen, to the flourishing business it is today. A favorite among North Texas' most discerning brides and area families alike, Sugar Bee Sweets specializes in couture wedding cakes but also offers all-occasion party cakes and sweets like cupcakes, cake balls, cookies, french macarons, brownies, and more.

Heidi, the founder and owner of Sugar Bee Sweets, loves styles that blend masculine and feminine design elements, and you'll see that juxtaposition throughout the bakery. When we were preparing to launch the new Sugar Bee Sweets logo, website, and overall branding this spring, we decided to keep the design simple and clean. We created a hand-lettered logo, which can be used with or without their custom-drawn bee for a pop of color, seamlessly combining Sugar Bee's palette of slate grey, mint green, and a buttery yellow

Sugar Bee Sweets' business cards are die-cut hexagon shaped and showcase the logo on one side (with their custom bee) and the back side features all of the bakery's contact information.

Below is a gallery of some of our favorite work we've designed for Sugar Bee Sweets, including shareable social media graphics, the logo shown on the outside of their new building, hexagon-shaped die-cut business cards, a screenshot of the website, outdoor A-frame signage, print ads for Brides of North Texas and D Weddings magazines, and even the logo recreated on a cookie! We think it's all pretty sweet - let us know what you think!

Project Spotlight: Exalt Gala

A sampling of printed collateral for PCA's EXALT Gala, created by  Green Apple Lane

A sampling of printed collateral for PCA's EXALT Gala, created by Green Apple Lane

When Pantego Christian Academy approached us about beginning a new annual gala for supporters of their school, we jumped at the opportunity to fully brand the event all the way down to its name. After a meeting to discuss the gala's intent, purpose, and a little creative brainstorming, we came up with a list of associated words and together we kept coming back to EXALT. The client knew from inception that the inaugural event would have a "Gatsby" theme, so to this name "A Great Gatsby Affair" was added.

We began choosing typefaces for the branding, then created a logo design and social media save-the-date graphics soon after. Throughout the event-planning process we created a printed save-the-date, postcard flyers, large promotional signage, printed invitations, VIP invitations, variable-numbered bid paddles, table tents, table numbers, easel signage (and additional large event signage), and a large program booklet including sponsor advertisements and live auction package details for bidder reference.

The EXALT Gala was a huge success in this, its first year – so much so that plans for next year are already well underway (stay tuned for new theme and branding details)! In the meantime, enjoy this handful of photos from EXALT 2017: A Great Gatsby Affair...

Fresh Website Design: Emerald Sky

Owned and operated by three sisters in Texas, Emerald Sky creates adorable t-shirts and apparel, but was being operated on a third-party retail site. As the business grew, the sisters realized they really needed an easier-to-use platform for keeping track of inventory, and a more automated ordering system for their customers, complete with a seamless and secure payment system. We also thought they should have their own logo showing prominently and most importantly, the site should be hosted at their own domain for branding purposes (how can you build a customer base if your customers aren’t really dealing with your brand, but with your storefront on a big e-commerce platform instead)?

The solution: First, we secured Emerald Sky’s domain, www.shopemeraldsky.com and then we designed a custom e-commerce site, hosted by Squarespace. The shop is organized by category (womens, kids, or mens apparel, or non-apparel accessories), and within each product design, there are various colors and sizes and various quantities available of each size/color at any given time. This way, the owners can enter in a product color and size set when they do a printing run of a design, and the shop will stay automatically updated as products continue to sell. Another great tool they’re enjoying is setting up their order reply emails so the site automatically sends order confirmations to customers and then they just have to check in and click a button once the order is fulfilled and the customer is notified their order is on the way. The Emerald Sky owners can even create discount codes in a matter of seconds to run a promotion.

As another of our web design clients recently said, "You can limp along on your own or get a first-class product that will take you to the next level with Green Apple Lane." See the full review here

We know the ladies at Emerald Sky are loving their new website and we couldn't be happier with how it turned out!

Why we recommend Squarespace:

There are very few small businesses that truly require a site built from the ground up, which can cost up to and even more than $10,000. For everyone else, a designer is usually hired to build a site using a platform like Wordpress or Squarespace and customizes the features from a template. These are the two platforms we use the most because they enable the small business owner to handle their own site updates, photos, and blogs easily (which is a constant process for a small business), unless the owners would like to delegate those tasks to us as well, in which case we’re happy to make updates. For an e-commerce site, it doesn’t get more simple than Squarespace, which uses Stripe as its payment processor – seamless for you, and for your customers. Green Apple Lane is a recognized Squarespace Circle Member and developer, meaning we’ve built tons of sites on this interface and we know the ins and outs as well as anyone. Sure, it’s a user-friendly interface, but A) if you don’t know all that it’s capable of doing, you might not know what to look for, and B) what might take you 20+ hours of time to figure out, might take us a fraction of that time, and as a fellow small business owner, I know you're all about delegation!

Whether you are just starting out with a new business or you're a maker who's ready to skip the big commerce platforms and truly call the shots in your own online shop, we would love to build your new website – reach out here and let us know how we can be of service!