Monday, March 23, 2015

Ideas for Personalizing Your Shipping Packages

My customers are constantly telling me that they feel special because their order is packaged like a gift. That has always been my goal so I’m glad what I’m doing is working. My wrapping paper and packaging style has changed and evolved since I opened my Etsy shop but the purpose behind it has always been the same. I want each and every order to have a personal touch even down to the thank you note!



GIFT WRAP YOUR ORDERS

There is a shop in Cambria, California that I used to visit every year during our weekend stay there. They always took the time to package my purchase in a little brown bag with a piece of raffia tied around the top and a sprig of rosemary and dried lemon added for a special touch. I always walked away feeling like I just bought myself a gift.

I adopted this packaging style for the first year or so of my business. Each bag was handmade! I dried the fruit myself and picked rosemary from my own garden. 


ELEMENTS OF JOY AND SURPRISE

It became obvious as the number of orders increased that I would not be able to put the time and effort into hand making each package. At that time I started looking into packaging materials that I could purchase that still had a quality of joy and surprise to it.

I took an online painting class earlier that year and the instructor sent me a little gift in a glassine bag. I could see that there were some fun things inside the package but there was still an element of surprise hidden behind the frosted paper. I had found my new packaging inspiration!

Personalized Clutches, Perfect Thank You Gifts from Mama Bleu Designs


BEAUTIFULLY SIMPLE

As my business grew even more I needed to find ways to keep things beautiful yet simple. I use supplies like tissue paper, white wrapping paper and printed logo stickers. And I always include a handwritten thank you note. 

Personalized Clutches by Mama Bleu Designs

ADD YOUR OWN TOUCH TO SOME BASIC SUPPLIES

I order all of my supplies from Uline. I’ve found that they are a great resource for just about everything I need. Before you send off your next order think about what you can do to add a personal touch to your packaging. I’d love to hear some of your ideas!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Guidelines for Choosing the Right Fonts for Your Website

A font is a set of text characters - letters, numbers, dingbats and punctuations - in a specific type style and size. The type design for a set of fonts is the typeface and variations of this design forms the typeface family.

Since I’m in the process of redesigning my website, I find myself in the midst of font choices that make sense for my new design. I am overwhelmed with all the beautiful fonts available to me so I’ve been having a hard time making some final decisions. I know there are branding experts and website designers that I can hire but I’ve chosen to do this myself. With that said thought, I did ask my son for some advice because he is a graphic designer.

I had it in my head that I should incorporate a lovely calligraphy font in my logo because I personalize my items with cursive writing and hand lettering. Yet, every time I matched my little bird drawing with it something just didn’t feel right. I went through dozens and dozens of fonts and couldn’t find one that worked.

What I realized is that my simple line drawing needs to be paired up with a simple san serif font. Once I did that everything clicked!! 

Guidelines for Choosing Fonts for your Website

Sometimes we need to step back and take an objective look at our websites and realized that making them simple, clean and easy to read are the best choices. With that in mind, here is a short list of guidelines for choosing the right fonts for your website.

LIMIT THE NUMBER OF FONTS to a minimum: A good rule-of-thumb is to limit your choices to no more than 3 different fonts to keep your site looking structured and professional.

FUN FONTS: These type of fonts should be limited to titles and logos. They are hard to read in the body of written text

READABILITY: You will find that most printed materials use a serif style font but the web is different. A simple san serif font is easier to read from any laptop or mobile device.

When I am looking for a new font I generally go to DaFont.com for a generous selection of free fonts. Just this week I was introduced to a new site, FontSquirrel.com, which offers an abundance of free fonts as well.

If you are looking for some font style inspiration you can check out my Lettering + Font + Design Board on Pinterest. I’d also love to hear about any other sites you have found that offer free font downloads!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

How to Use Picmonkey to Create a Color Palette from Your Style Board

As much as I’d love to be well acquainted with Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, I don’t have the time to invest in increasing that skill right now. I only know enough to get me by on a few things. So, when I wanted to create a color palette from my Color Style Board I looked to see what PicMonkey could do for me and found success!!

How to Use Picmonkey to Create a Color Palette Collage by MamaBleu.com 

I know there might be others who are curious about the process so I thought I’d share a few how-to tips. PicMonkey is a free photo editing service that allowed you to also add text to your photos and arrange them in collage templates. Even though there is a list of standard templates to choose from, they can be easily altered so the possibilities are endless!

You’ll start by going to picmonkey.com and clicking on the collage icon. This will automatically open a window from your computer so you can choose the photos for your collage. You’ll find a menu board on the left with different collage configurations. I chose the “Cards” option and the 6 x 8 size from the drop down menu. 

www.mamableu.com

www.mamableu.com

As you drop your photos in you’ll see a thin grey line appear. This line indicates what area the photo will fill. You can also touch the sides of each column or row and pull or push to make them narrow or wide. This is also true about the width of the entire collage. I wanted to create a long, narrow design and by adjusting and playing with it that’s exactly what I got. 

www.mamableu.com

www.mamableu.com

Once you fill the top two rows with your photos and arranged them the way you like, it’s time to switch over to the edit window. It is there that you can create the shapes for the bottom section and grab colors from your photos. 

www.mamableu.com

www.mamableu.com

It’s easy to create a shape and duplicate it over and over instead of creating a new shape each time. A menu for this option will appear by right clicking on the shape. 

Clicking on each shape will activate a color box. Click on the eye dropper and hover it over the colors of your photos until you find a color you like. After clicking the color, you’ll see a set of numbers and/or letters in the box on the color chart. You may want to add this as text to your color box or make a note of it somewhere so you can refer to it later. This information will help you create a consistent look with the colors for your blog or website. 

 Did this information help any of you? Do you have any other helpful hints for making this process easier or better?