What Am I Proud Of?

The principal at Hollis opened last week’s Leadership Team meeting by prompting us to answer the question, “What are you proud of?” I had arrived really early that morning, when the building was very quiet, and as I walked around, I took some moments to take it all in.

This project was such a huge undertaking: collecting, editing, and formatting more than 100 black and white photos for large prints; designing and printing grade level posters and oversized Design Thinking signs; analyzing data, designing, and printing a bi-fold publication. And with a great team, we placed and hung all of these!

Lots of long days and late nights, but I’m proud. There’s a lot more in the queue, but I was grateful for the chance last week to exhale and reflect on it all. And I’ve said it before, but I’m beyond grateful for where my professional journey has led!

I had to step away

Today, I simply had to step away from my work, and it was the best decision I could have made for my mental health. I was so focused and determined to find a solution to an issue, and like I often tend to do, I spent way too much time on it, so much so that it threatened to entirely consume my day…and it’s not even something that needs to be solved right now! I have about 3 weeks. So finally, I forced myself to close my computer, and I went to swim. The sight of a pool like this makes me so happy! I LOVE to swim! I felt so much better right away, and I swam 200 more yards than I did a few days ago. And when I returned to my computer, I closed every single one of the browser tabs I had open for that particular project and refused to revisit it. And I was actually much more productive by shifting my focus and tending to the other items on my list.

Sometimes, you have to do that.

Refreshing a Brand

As I was beginning a reprint of Hollis Innovation Academy’s general brochure, I felt like the brand needed refreshing, even though we were only entering into the school’s third year. Since I began the role of Marketing & Media last year, I used the trademark blue and green (with white) for everything, and I felt that it was time to “expand” the brand, if you will. It needed refreshing; there wasn’t a full color palette, so I spent a considerable amount of time to come up with this one…and I love it!

Prior to this project, I had used several tools for developing color palettes, but Coolors is amazing, because it has a feature that allows users to “lock” more than one color, as opposed to many other sites that only allow users to set one base color. So in my instance, midnight blue and kelly green were non-negotiables, as they are already Hollis’s two main colors. I needed three more colors that were appealing and accurately reflected our brand.

High Quality Photos

For this product promotional video, I edited original photos sent by the client, using Adobe Photoshop. In this day in age, it isn’t difficult to obtain high resolution, quality photos; most of our smart phones are capable of producing impeccable images. But when I want my photos to have a little extra “umph” (depending on the project), I don’t rely on my phone.

However you choose to capture photos for marketing purposes, ALWAYS invest in quality. Sometimes that might mean hiring a professional photographer, or it could be something as simple as purchasing a nice DSLR camera. It’s definitely worth the investment, especially if you’re paying to use the photos in other projects. For this project, for instance, imagine if the original photos were used in the promotional video…hardly dazzling, right? So in a case like this, if you already have photos that are less than desirable, it’s worth it to invest in a professional to “spice them up.”


I’m taking on a new role!

I’m so excited to finally be able to share that I have decided to take advantage of a wonderful opportunity and expand my portfolio by accepting a Marketing & Media role with an incredible S.T.E.M. school in the Atlanta Public Schools system: Hollis Innovation Academy!

Hollis is such a phenomenal place, and I’m beyond thrilled to have a hand in helping to tell its story more dynamically!

Fortunately, this position also allows me to continue working with my current incredible clients, and to take on new ones as I settle in and as time permits.

Here’s to new chapters!


Today was especially exciting, as a HUGE announcement was made that will greatly benefit Hollis! Westside Future Fund has pledged $16.4 million to Hollis over the next five years to support a co-teaching model in every classroom, and The Coca-Cola Foundation and SunTrust Bank have committed $2 million in support of this initiative. The energy in the room was electric! This is such an exciting time for this school!

Gotta Keep It Green in Marketing & Communication

I FINALLY got around to retaking the photo for my website header last week, and it’s something I should never have had to do in the first place. I broke one of the basic rules of design/marketing/communication: Whenever possible, make content “evergreen”!

Below is the former photo I used for my header. See the error?

I included my business cards in the photo, which I loved at the time and had no plans of changing. The thought had not crossed my mind. But we all know these things change! And sure enough, I recently changed my business cards…

Instagram post: June 27, 2017

…drastically! The entire look and feel changed, and it was bugging me that this photo remained on my home page. I have an instance (i.e., Instagram) where it’s cropped, but because of the aspect ratio, that photo wouldn’t work as a replacement header photo. So in essence, that header photo is now obsolete, as it pertains to my business. I added more work to my plate by having to recreate the photo, because I broke the “evergreen” rule.

My mistake wasn’t necessarily that I chose to include the business cards; you’ll notice that I still included the new cards in the updated header photo. My mistake was that I didn’t take any photos without any cards! That would have left me with some flexibility to use that image in other places if I chose. So this time around, there are two photos: one with cards and one without.

Obviously, not all digital content will be evergreen, but creating content that can be easily adjusted and/or re-purposed makes life so much easier. I dropped the ball on this one, but rest assured that I’m hyper focused on it now!

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Some Brands Are Just Plain Fun

Kool Pix ATL Brand Board

During the past few weeks, I’ve done a lot of marketing for Kool Pix ATL. In the interest of full disclosure, it’s my family’s business. We are a professional full-service photo booth company, and we have been absolutely blown away by how much we’ve been working the past couple of months! And I’ve had so much fun with marketing!

Overall, it’s just a fun business, so developing its brand has been all about FUN! We’re exciting, we’re colorful, we’re spunky, we are your party!

Below are some images I created for use on Kool Pix ATL’s website and social media platforms.

*We recently made the decision to change our wordmark and capitalize every letter in ATL, so previous images still include “Atl.”


A push for users to book events
We had just booked an event for January of next year (in June of this year!), so I took this photo to urge people to book events early.


A display of a photo album, an additional feature available to customers
I took the background photo using ribbons and a white background, then I used Photoshop to insert the images of the photo album.


Social Media Station
I used these 3 images to showcase the use of our social media station, a feature now included in every standard booking.

Do you know what you do?

I woke up this morning to an Instagram message from one of my followers, asking about what I do. I sat down to send her an email, and I thought, “I should be able to do this with my eyes closed,” but I had to stop and think about it and organize my thoughts.

Usually, when people ask about what I do, I start with my “title,” then I visualize the tagline on my website, in order to keep it short and sweet. But this morning, when I was writing my response to her, something I have read time and time again in the last few years kept popping into my head: Do I have my elevator pitch ready?

If I had 15-30 seconds on an elevator with someone who needed to be convinced to hire me for my services, would I be ready? Would I know how to effectively pitch myself?

I do now!

In a nutshell, I’m a digital designer and strategist. My expertise lies in 4 main areas: web, video production, communication, and graphics. In essence, I help develop and enhance visual identities for people and organizations to effectively tell their stories in compelling ways.

It’s easy to not give this much serious thought, because of course we all know ourselves, and we all know what we do. But are you able to effectively articulate that to people when they ask…without their eyes glossing over?