Monthly Archives

October 2016

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Free Halloween Printables Roundup Vol. 2

Free Halloween Printables Roundup Vol. 2 • Little Gold Pixel

So the other day I was searching around for my annual viewing of The Worst Witch (super important), when I discovered that Netflix is working on a series version set for release in 2017. I’m way more excited about this than I probably should be.

No way will the new series ever reach the level of mastery of the original. It’s impossible, what with the visual effects displayed throughout, especially during Tim Curry’s best performance ever: “Anything Can Happen on Halloween.”

tim-curry-worst-witch

halloween_hasanybodyseenmytambourine_small
(Download this printable here.)

Do I write about this movie every single year without fail? Obviously. Do I apologize? NEVER!

Speaking of traditions, I also gather my favorite fresh Halloween printables from around the web and share them here, in one place. Here’s is this year’s roundup:

Free Halloween Printables Roundup Vol. 2

Click on the corresponding links below to find the original download page for each printable. Most if not all are for personal use only.

Free Halloween Printables Roundup Vol. 2 • Little Gold Pixel

Free Halloween Printables Roundup Vol. 2 • Little Gold Pixel

Free Halloween Printables Roundup Vol. 2 • Little Gold Pixel

Bookmark this post for later:

Free Halloween Printables Roundup Vol. 2 • Little Gold Pixel

P.S. Check out last year’s roundup.
P.P.S. Check out my Halloween page for even more Halloween ideas.

Halloween Minimal Free Art Printable

Halloween Minimal Free Art Printable • Little Gold Pixel

Today I did something I haven’t done in a while. I created a free printable for you — a Halloween printable. It’s super minimal and subtle. Something that makes me smile a little when I look at it.

I have to say, it feels crazy that it’s halfway through October and I haven’t even opened my Halloween box. I have no clue what I’m going to “go as.” And I haven’t even thought about going to the pumpkin patch yet.

Vince: What is it about the month of October?
Barney: I dunno. The pressure of Halloween? You never know what to go as!
My Blue Heaven

Some seasons are busier than others. This is one of those seasons. But still, it’s annoying because Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. October is one of my favorite months! (See my archives for confirmation.)

If it wasn’t for the Rainbow Dash costume that I’ve been tracking cross-country for the past two weeks with a child asking about its whereabouts every single day, I wouldn’t even know Halloween were coming.

This weekend, I plan to pull an all-nighter watching scary movies. If that doesn’t put me in the spirit, nothing will!

How do you get in the mood for Halloween? And what are you going as?

Halloween Minimal Free Art Printable

Art is high-res 8.5×11 PDFs. For personal use only.

Tools used: Nexa Rust Sans Black, Illustrator

Halloween Minimal Free Art Printable • Little Gold Pixel

Download Black

Halloween Minimal Free Art Printable • Little Gold Pixel

Download Orange

Bookmark for later:

Halloween Minimal Free Art Printable • Little Gold Pixel

P.S. Check out my Halloween tips/tricks page, full of roundups and fun.

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

Note: This post is second in a two-part series about brand design. Click here to read the first post: Why I Hired a Brand Designer (And Why You Should, Too)

When I first set out to rebrand at the end of last year, here’s what my logo looked like:

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

Oh, who am I kidding? It looked like this since 2014, just with a different tagline:

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

Not much of a logo, huh? I had these grandiose visions of creating a real logo, one that didn’t need words. Like Prince’s Love Symbol. Or the Golden Arches. Or the Nike swoosh. I wanted to invoke a little bit of beach, a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll. My entire brand identity wrapped into a symbol.

Just thinking about it made me tired. Hence the two-year period where I let Montserrat all-caps do the talking for me. I was about as original as every other blogger on the planet.

The Brand Design Process

When I set out to work with Corina Nika, however, I finally felt unblocked. Finally, I could articulate all the things I wanted for my brand. I gave her all my keywords, a Pinterest mood board and a whole lot of chatter about my hopes and dreams (she’s a class act for reading through all that drivel).

And she GOT me.

We started out with a concise mood board that took into consideration my goals, hopes and aesthetics.

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

The next step was hashing out the color palette, which we kept simple: seafoam, black, gold and blood orange for the accent.

And from there she sent me three quality brand concepts. It took me roughly a week to spend time with them all and decide which ones spoke to me.

Here are a few that didn’t quite make the cut:

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

I still love them all, especially the open diamond. But I desired a symbol that could stand on its own, with or without the words “Little Gold Pixel” to back it up. So this concept clearly won out over the others:

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

After another round of revisions, we ended up here:

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

Next, we moved on to the patterns, which wow. How fun.

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

The perfectionist in me loved all the ordered, linear patterns. But I craved one more option: a breakdown. I had a crazy idea in mind that I ran past Corina, and she came back at me with the perfectly surreal pattern:

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

I couldn’t be more excited about where we ended up. From literally the most generic Montserrat logo to my self-contained Little Gold Pixel Kaleidoscope Logo.

The past few months I’ve been massaging my new brand identity into every aspect of my business. It’s more than just a logo or color palette; it’s a completely different way of thinking about your business goals. I highly recommend that every entrepreneur or want-repreneur invest in their own brand design.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to find the right designer for your brand. Corina was perfect for me because of our similar aesthetics, the fact that she lives a beach lifestyle in Greece (so jealous!) and her unique perspective and knack for minimal design that feels substantial. These are all things I wanted to emphasize in my brand: easy yet sophisticated; beach yet rock ‘n’ roll; modern yet classic.

The Results

Here are a few examples of the new Little Gold Pixel branding.

Logo type font: Nexa Bold

Color palette: Seafoam, Black, Gold, Blood Orange

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

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Brand Design: From Bland to Bling • Brand Identity Behind the Scenes • Little Gold Pixel

Why I Hired a Brand Designer (and Why You Should, Too)

Why I Hired a Brand Designer • Little Gold Pixel

Note: This post is the first of two about branding. Check back tomorrow to see a behind-the-scenes look at how I worked with a designer to create the current Little Gold Pixel branding.

If you’re a creative entrepreneur or blogger or anyone with a website, really, chances are you’ve felt the itch to rebrand or redesign at least once (or once a month).

Seriously. Sometimes you just wake up and think, I’ve gotta repaint these walls.

I wish I had some screen grabs of my site from 2008 to show you my humble beginnings, but I can tell you that since I switched to WordPress in 2014 I changed my theme three or four times. I definitely repainted the walls. But I never updated the exterior aka the branding.

Since 2014, my branding has been practically … nonexistent. Black, all-caps, Montserrat. I liked the clean look of it. But there was no personality. I was not projecting what this space is all about.

And I just sat there, thinking about it. I’m a designer, I thought. I should be able to do this on my own.

You know the phrase, “You can’t see the forest for the trees”?

That was me.

Why I Hired a Brand Designer

I needed an outsider’s perspective on my business, what I was looking to convey and where I hoping to take things in the future.

Sometimes you are simply too close to a project to do it justice.

Could I have rebranded by myself if I got over my designer’s “block”? Sure. Would it have turned out as great? I’m not so sure.

There have been times customers have told me what they wanted but just couldn’t seem to do for themselves, and they were so thankful when I was able to execute their vision by collaborating. I needed to find someone who could do the same with me.

Plus, and let’s be REAL here, if I were to pay someone to help rebrand Little Gold Pixel, I would take it with the utmost seriousness. I wouldn’t just hodge-podge something together, call it good and then be tempted to change my branding again in six months.

No. I wanted branding with longevity, something that I could grow my business on and that would become known as the identity of Little Gold Pixel.

Three Things to Expect from the Process

1. Expect that it will take some time.

I started seriously considering hiring someone in December of last year. I didn’t sign on with someone until March. We didn’t finish the process until July. Let that sink in for a minute.

The most important thing you can do to set yourself up for a successful rebranding experience is to give yourself (and the designer) plenty of time and patience.

From the get-go, you need to do a lot of research to find the perfect brand designer for you. There are so many great ones out there. It can be overwhelming. I weighed choices for three months. In the end, I reached out to the designer I wanted to work with from the very beginning, Corina Nika.

How did I make up my mind? I have long read Corina’s blog, so I knew the work she was capable of. Our aesthetics are similar: a kinship with fluidity, ocean vibes, classy yet wild. I just knew she’d be the right fit.

Going back to the amount of time you’ll need: Don’t rush your decisions, either. When you get options from your designer, live with them for a few days before you respond with your choice. Really try to imagine how you’ll feel about your brand in a year’s time if you pick Option A. Try to imagine Option B on a T-shirt.

Put the options through mental tests like these, and only then make a decision.

2. Be willing to articulate your likes/dislikes, and in great detail.

It’s helpful to provide a lot of information up front to your designer before they even get started. Before I even reached out to Corina, I created a mood board on Pinterest. Just a hodge-podge of various things that “felt” like Little Gold Pixel in my mind’s eye. When we started working together, I shared it with her to give her a more visual basis for my vision.

Check it out:

I have an art direction background, so I’m used to asking for revisions and tweaks from artists.

When you get a round of branding possibilities from your designer, take the time to make notes on the standouts. WHY do you like these? What in particular do you want to see more of? Also, pick out your least favorites and note why they’re not your faves. Your designer will appreciate the feedback.

3. Expect to pay a fair amount of money.

Don’t cheap out. This is your brand at stake! Remember the Venn diagram of graphic design: If you want it fast, you’ll need to fork over the cash. If you want it affordable, you’ll need to be very patient. If you want it fast, affordable and great … well, keep dreaming.

save for later:

Why I Hired a Brand Designer • Little Gold Pixel

Note: This post is the first of two about rebranding. Check back tomorrow to see a behind-the-scenes look at how I worked with a designer to create the current Little Gold Pixel branding.