Wind blown Brand

Wind Blown is an up-and-coming handmade jewelry band based in Raleigh, NC. Native State worked with Wind Blown to craft a brand identity that would help tell the story of the business’s origins, be useful in retail applications both in print and digitally, and grow with the business for years. The mark is based on the ancient alchemical symbol for wind, the nautical spirit that inspired the name of the business, and the minimal geometric forms that permeate Wind Blown’s jewelry designs. Ancient alchemy is the practice of trying to turn lead into gold, which seemed like an appropriate nod for a handmade jeweler.

Wind blown Brand

Three Reasons to Blog for Your Business

Three Reasons to Blog for your Business | Native State Design Co.

1. SEO & website traffic

If you are consistently creating quality content on a blog through your website, your site will go up in the Google rankings over other sites that aren’t regularly updated. It really is worth spending time on an attractive and professional blog because it’s free marketing and getting higher Google rankings will win you new business.

2. Attracting clients

An interesting, quality blog is a great place to show off what you do best and to capture an audience who is more likely to purchase your services. The more people you can get to your blog, the more people who will also check out the rest of your website and potentially hire you.

3. Educating prospective clients, your industry about yourself and what you do.

Where you can only keep a prospective client’s attention on an about page for a few sentences, a blog is an huge opportunity to continue educating website visitors about yourself, your industry, your services, and your personality. It can help you weed out inquiries for services you don’t offer and can help clients know what to expect from working with you. My friend Sam of LULA hair + makeup does a great job using her blog to educate about the hair + makeup industry, to share her favorite products, and to show off the gorgeous photo-shoots she’s been a part of. I’m not even a potential bride, yet I spend time reading her posts because the content is well-written, informative, and is pretty to look at. She’s done such a good job that she’s the number one Google ranking for “raleigh bridal hair and makeup”.

I’ll continue sharing tips for how to write compelling blog posts, ideas for content, and the basics of preparing images for your blog. Is there anything you want to see covered about blogging for your business? Let me know in the comments!

Three Reasons to Blog for Your Business

My Top Five Hand Lettering Tools

My Top Five Lettering Tools | Native State Design Co.

1. Pentel brush pen

Easy to pull out and use quickly, clean, mobile, inexpensive. I always use black because I usually re-color my lettering on the computer. Get the exact one I use here. Or stop into your local art supply shop and ask if they have some.

2. Designer-quality gouache

I use Windsor & Newton brand and prefer it to other brand’s I’ve used. The color is rich and vibrant and one tube goes a long way. You can usually find these in your local art store, or you can buy them here.

3. Strathmore Sketchbook + Canson Marker paper

Strathmore – The pages aren’t technically for wet use, but it’s thick enough that a light application of watercolor doesn’t cause the paper to buckle. I also like how smooth the paper is because I’m able to get cleaner lines with my brush. It also doesn’t bleed. You can grab the exact one I use here.

Canson Marker Paper – I use this for tracing and calligraphy. The paper is super smooth and easy to work on. It’s also bright white—favorable for scanning. Here’s the one I have.

You may be surprised that I don’t have watercolor paper listed here. I almost never letter on watercolor paper. Number one it’s expensive to blow through on lettering practice. Number two the texture causes my brush to drag in a way I find frustrating. Number three I save the nice paper for paintings where I’ll be really loading the water on. With lettering there ends up being so little moisture compared to the amount watercolor paper is made for that it really isn’t necessary to spring for the 140 lb cold pressed paper. Also, I letter almost exclusively for digital purposes so my Strathmore sketchbook works just fine.

4. Large Watercolor Brush

I like working larger with brush lettering. This size brush is easy to handle and loads up really well with paint. I like having something a bit more substantial to grasp while I paint. Grab an inexpensive set at your local art store and play around with them to find out which one feels comfortable to you. A set like this would be a great place to start.

5. Plastic paint palette

I love this thing because it’s cheap and makes me nostalgic about those elementary school art classes where we loaded these things up with primary colored tempera paint. It’s a classic tool for a reason! If it ain’t broke…keep using it? You can grab one here or at any local art store.

So, do you have any preferred tools I didn’t mention? Questions about anything? Ask away!

My Top Five Hand Lettering Tools

Four Steps to a Cohesive Instagram Feed

Four Steps to a Cohesive Instagram Feed | Native State Design Co.

I love instagram. It is hands-down my number one favorite social media platform. During my time trolling hundreds of feeds and learning through creating my own feed, I picked up a few lessons on how to create a compelling, branded instagram feed.

Step One: Identify your audience. 

Who is your ideal client?  Determine the type of client you most enjoy working with and try to think from their perspective. If it’s a feminine 20 something girl think about what kind of pretty, feminine content she would be drawn to. If it’s a busy but fashion conscious mom, choose images and write captions that will capture her limited attention. You have a free, unlimited platform to visually communicate with your clients here, so make the best use of it!

Step Two: Develop your own consistent style.

Instagram has become so popular that it’s not uncommon to run across countless accounts that are virtually indistinguishable in style. Just as you want your logo to show off what is unique about your business, you should use your Instagram to do the same. It’s easy to copy what someone else has already done, but it won’t be ultimately compelling to your audience. Be genuine, and be yourself. Find your own unique voice and use it to create quality content. People can tell the difference between fake feeds and ones with genuine heart behind them. Sure, minimal, all white feeds are beautiful, but if your style is colorful with vintage details, then it wouldn’t be authentic for your feed to reflect minimal aesthetics. If you’re having trouble identifying your personal style, take a long hard look at your business and products. Try to judge them from an outside perspective and be honest about what you see. Ask your close friends and family what they think your style is. You might be surprised by how they perceive you. Use their input to inform the style of photos you post.

Some examples of feeds with unique personal style: @mimithor, @local_milk, and @whitneyreeder

Step Three: Post high-quality content.

It’s sometimes very alluring to post a fluff photo that looks nice but has no meaning. Resist the urge. Try to post photos with story and heart behind them. You don’t necessarily need to post a long caption explaining it (in fact, I’d advise against excessively long captions), but if you are posting something that is significant to you, it will shine through. For a time, I tried to curate my feed based entirely on aesthetics. It felt fake and was not engaging anyone on a deep level. When I returned to posting photos that meant something to me, my audience became engaged, it sparked some cool conversations, and Instagram started feeling fun again.

Some examples of feeds with heart: @amandajanejones, @ruthielindsey, and @oldjoy

Step Four: Learn the basics of photography and photo editing.

As much as I am an advocate of being genuine and real, the reality is that if you aren’t able to capture images that are as visually compelling as the heart behind them, then you aren’t likely to connect with your audience. Take some time to experiment with your phone to find a comfortable style of photo and then stick to that style. For me, I tend to shoot images that have a specific focus with a lot of open background. I usually have some detail I want my audience to notice, so I set up my shot to highlight that detail. Everyone sees the world from a different perspective, and photography gives you an opportunity to share your unique perspective with others. Allow the way you see beauty in the things around you to influence the way you shoot photos. Learn how to edit your photos to show off the mood you are after—be it bright and cheerful, or muted and pensive. I’ll be continuing this series with a more practical how-to for editing iPhone photos, but for now here are a few helpful tutorials to get you started:

This helpful editing tutorial from Bethany at Cloistered Away, Another helpful editing run-down from Fall for DIY, and if you need something more in-depth, check out Bri Emery’s Social Media Workshop at Design Love Fest.

Have anything to add? Questions you want me to cover on future Instagram blog posts? Let me know in the comments!



Four Steps to a Cohesive Instagram Feed

Raleigh Color Story Series, pt. IV

Raleigh Color Story Series | Native State Design Co. Raleigh Color Story Series | Native State Design Co.

We’ve come to the final installment of this color palette series, and I saved my favorite building for last. I’ve always had a thing for ghost signs, and this one is no exception. Not to mention the artful combination of pale peach with a faded minty blue and the pop of warm burnt-orange on the trim and brick showing through the chipped paint. This is a color palette that shows the harmony of reserved neutrals with one pop of color. Emotionally, it evokes feelings of security and stability because the majority of the system is based on “safe” shades. The burnt-orange would work well to draw the eye to important call-outs or details in a design without being overbearing or taking away from the stability of the blue-greens and peach-y beige.

What did you all learn from this series? Have any more color palette questions that I didn’t cover in this post?


Raleigh Color Story Series, pt. IV