Chelsey & David | Fredericksburg Wedding

As someone who LOVES Fredericksburg, this wedding is one after my own heart. It is such a representation of what this town means to so many people and I am just honored to have been a part of it. 

I've actually known Chelsea for many years. We grew up going to the same Catholic schools in Fredericksburg and her mom always worked in the office. I've seen her grow up over all these years and when she asked me to do her invitations I was so excited. Even more excited when she said she wanted to include the Fredericksburg Skyline in her invitations. 

Her color palette of light greens and purples were so fresh and springy- they're gorgeous! And look incredible along the background of the city. In every photo I saw, there was a new Fredericksburg spot that I know and love. When I saw these photos, I teared up because it just meant so much to me. It reminded me of why I do what I do: the honor of being a part of someone's special day. 

Thanks so much to Chelsea and David for letting me be a part of their wedding. Thank you so much to Bri & Wes Photography for the beautiful photos. Cheers to a great wedding and an even better marriage!

VENDORS

Photographer  |  Bri & Wes Photography

Florist  |  The Floral Palette

Ceremony Location  |  St. Mary's Catholic Church

Reception Venue  |   Fredericksburg Square

Paper Goods  |  Twila & Co.


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Branding & Instagram

If you're like me, Instagram is one of the biggest tools you use in your business to keep in touch with your followers. I use it on a daily basis, and use it as a way to keep my followers updated as to what's going on with the company and what I'm working. I try to be personal, thoughtful and keep up with the things I post, and at the same time, try to have a consistent feed. It's certainly a challenge!

It's only been in the past year that I've really upped my Insta-game and focused on both the content and the look, so when someone asks me how I keep it so consistent or compliments me on my feed, it is a HUGE compliment. It's not always easy. 

This is also one of the biggest questions I get and suggestions I make when someone is working on their branding. Instagram is a HUGE part of branding, and can be a very useful tool if done right. But I find a lot of people only think about it post by post, not the overall big picture. While one post might bring someone to your profile, it's your feed that ultimately captures their attention and is the determination of if they follow you or not.

Today's blog is going to talk about things you can do to make your feed more consistent and branded to your business, but I do want to preface by saying this: it doesn't happen overnight. Seriously- it took me months to get a good flow, and even now I still struggle with it at times, but here is what I try to focus on when choosing photos for my feed and matching my brand.

Background  |  First of all, I try to use a similar background in many photos. I try to do a light grey or white to give my feed a 'lighter' effect. I personally love clean and simple looking things, so these colors work well for me. It also helps when I take my own photos as I have a white foam board that I use as a background. 

Obviously, choose a background that fits YOUR brand, but I would suggest not to make it too busy. Perhaps a marble effect or a lighter color works better for you. Or maybe a wood or texture. 

Colors  |  After trying to maintain a consistent background, I try to include my brand colors in as many photos as possible. My {current} brand is blues and greys, so I try to use a lot of blues and greys. However, my new brand is going to be blacks and white with a pop of blue, so you'll be seeing a switch pretty soon!

Editing & Filters (obviously!)  |  I know this one is kind of obvious, but if you do use filters or edit your photos on your phone, edit them all the same way. When I take my own photos, I edit each one in the exact same order and only allow myself to use the same 2-3 filters, pending which one looks the best and keeps my photos in line with one another. I use both the Afterlight App (Best $1 I've ever spent!) and Instagram's editing tools to edit and filter my photos. It's easy to learn, and once I developed my technique for getting the correct brightness and exposure that I prefer, it takes me two second to edit any photo on my phone.

Every 2-3 Photos  |   Okay, so now you have the three basic rules that I use, here's the last one I use that kind of lightens the mood...We all have those photos that show a product or event or something, and we absolutely LOVE that photo but it doesn't match our feed at all. In fact, it sticks out. Not because it isn't beautiful, but because it just doesn't match. So I use a rule that every 2-3 (or 4 or 5, whatever YOU prefer) I post a photo that doesn't necessarily match my brand or other photos, but because I do it consistently (seriously, keep it consistent) it starts to match. For example you could do: post 1: branded, post 2: branded, post 3: branded, post 4: different, then repeat. This gives the whole feed a nice flow, and keeps things consistent, which then starts to look like you branded it/planned it out. 

Helpful Apps  |  Well, I use the Later App on my computer and my phone to plan my posts and see how they are going to look. And let me tell you: It has made all of the difference! It's not just planning, but also reminds me to post because otherwise, I would forget!

Additional (yet important!) Note: Be Authentic   |  The cool thing is, is as long as your photos generally follow these rules or if each photo follows at least ONE rule, the consistency will start to show itself. By no means should your feed be totally perfect and every photo doesn't need to have the same background and incorporate your brand colors; that's not how business is. Business is messy and real and can sometimes be all over the place. So ultimately, your feed should be authentic and represent YOU. These are just a few tips that I've found to be useful in building my brand via Instagram. 

Instagram Feed

Branding Items You Should Invest In

In case you missed it, we're on a branding quick here on the blog as I'm going through my rebranding this month. Last week we talked about Branding & Client Gifts, the week before that we talked about Why Inspiration Boards are important, and this week we're going to talk about branding items worth investing in.

You could get EVERYTHING branded. No joke. If you can think of it, someone out there can do it. While that can be totally awesome, it can also be completely overwhelming and can often influence us to spend money on things we may not even use.

So how do you know what to get? Other than your website and social media, what other items do we actually need branded? And even further, as a small business, how do you spend those essential, yet small amount of branding dollars? 

Truthfully, it could be nothing. Perhaps you're perfectly content with stopping right there. Perhaps you want ALL OF THE THINGS. Unfortunately, that answer differs from business to business and how we relate to our clients. However, I'm going to try to help by talking about the things I find useful, time-saving, and just plain pretty.

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Business Cards  |  Now I know this seems pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised by how many people don't get them or upkeep their orders of them. While there are tons of different ways to hand out your information, Business Cards are the steady favorite because they are quick, easy to hand out, and pending the kind you get, cheaper of some of the things you could get printed. 

Photo by Abby Hudson Photography

Photo by Abby Hudson Photography

Stationery  |  As someone who writes notes a lot, branded stationery is important to me. I always have both blank flat and folded cards in a drawer in my office that I can quickly snag I need them. I have some with just my logo, and some with my contact info too pending who I'm writing to. And I love matching colored envelopes to my brand to give it just an added touch.

 

Stationery Photo by Abby Hudson Photography

Stationery Photo by Abby Hudson Photography

Stationery Photo by Abby Hudson Photography

Stationery Photo by Abby Hudson Photography

Stationery Photo by Abby Hudson Photography

Stationery Photo by Abby Hudson Photography

Stationery Photo by Hope Taylor Photography

Stationery Photo by Hope Taylor Photography

Brand Style Photo by Hope Taylor Photography

Brand Style Photo by Hope Taylor Photography

Postcards  |  Since I fill a lot of online Etsy and Shop orders, I get custom postcards printed with my logo/branding on the front, and a little note thanking my clients on the back. For the longest time, I used to hand write a thank you note, but it just took SO MUCH of my time. I had to think of what to write and what to put, it took time to actually write out because when it comes to my handwriting I'm a total neat freak, so I'd end up rewriting it like 5 times and spending twice as long writing a note as I would actually filling the order.  So now I order a large stack of postcards, sometimes I'll sign my name, and just throw it in there with each order. It saves so much time and energy. 

Brand Stock Photos  |  Whether it be stock photos purchased from Etsy or Creative Market or SC Stockshop, or photos taken specifically for you and your brand, I am a HUGE believer in stock photos. I use mine ALL. THE. TIME. I use them on my website, on Facebook, on Instagram, on my blogs...literally everywhere I can. They serve as a great 'palette cleanser' for lack of a better term on my Instagram. If I need a nice filler to cut up busy photos or have a good topic but no photo, that's where I use my brand stock photos. And I'll use the same one in 3 or 4 ways by cropping and zooming in so it doesn't look the same (with the photographers approval of course!). 

Here's the original photo:

Here are three ways to use it!

Brand Stock Photo by Hope Taylor Photography

Brand Stock Photo by Hope Taylor Photography

Brand Stock Photo by Hope Taylor Photography

Brand Stock Photo by Hope Taylor Photography

One Client Gift Item  |  And lastly, I'm taking it back to last weeks topic a little bit as far as branding and client gifts. While a full on gift box may not be in your budget, perhaps one simple gift that speaks to who you are as a business owner and person. Things like a simple candle or your favorite snack or maybe even a Koozie is all you need. And you can add your own branding by a label or ribbon, making it a cheap yet nice extra gift. 

Branding & Customer Gifts

I'm a day later than normal, but better late than never right? Today's blog is another one in this months branding series as we get closer to the launch of our new brand...and I cannot WAIT. There are so many exciting things going on behind the scenes that I can't wait to share with ya'll and I'm starting to get impatient.

But let's get to today's topic, shall we? Branding & Customer Gifts! Why are they important? How do they relate? How do you incorporate the brand? What should you include?

Why are they important? So let's talk. I am a big believer in client gifts; mostly because I love to give gifts in general. That feeling of brightening someones day with something from your heart just makes me giddy. While client gifts can be extra money spent and an extra effort, I believe that they are important. They can really increase that client experience from a designer who does what they're supposed to, to a designer who went above and beyond to put a smile on the clients face.

How do they relate? So imagine getting your wedding invitations in the mail and you are just in love; but on top of that, you get a gift that matches your wedding invitations as an added bonus. Something to help you remember this special time and a gift that no one else could give you yet because no one else but your designer has seen your invitation. Same goes for a new logo and brand. Imagine receiving your first branded item with your new logo after all the hard work you put into discovering yourself and your business.  This is how branding relates. When creating a customer gift, you have two options: you can brand it to your own brand as the giver or brand it to your clients brand (logo or event). Either was right! Personally, I use both. I use my brand when I'm saying thank you or the project was about my business, and I use their brand when the project was about them. 

How do you incorporate the brand? You can incorporate the brand in many ways: custom labels, ribbons, colors, and the items in the box. I put the logo on EVERYTHING. I do a sticker on the outside of the box, one on the inside, one on each item in the box, tie ribbons everywhere I can, choose specific box and crinkle paper colors, and make sure to put a little post card or note on branded paper on the inside. Each sticker I use also uses the brand fonts and colors so literally everything matches. It makes my brand stylist heart so happy.

And lastly, what should you include? What goes inside the box should come from your heart. Don't just throw something in there. A lot of my clientele is in Virginia, and local. I also know a lot of business owners in the area through that work. My gift boxes include all local items to Virginia: popcorn, Sprelly, candles, coffee, cookies, bath products, and more.

I love supporting other local businesses with my boxes, so I always keep an eye out for great products. If you have a cute downtown area locally with lots of local stores, go take a walk and check out what they have! You could also try Etsy. Take a look at different sellers and see what items could fit your brand and who you are! If you love baths, do bath products. If you love pretzels and snacks, send them a snack box. If you love candles and making your home smell good, send a custom labeled candle! Think about things that you love, and share that part of you with your client. 

Last note, in my initial questionnaires to my clients, I subtly ask some small questions: red wine, white wine, or coffee? Salty or sweet? Allergies? Address? As I include some food in my boxes pending the client, they may get a little hint that something is coming, but usually they forget all about it by the time the box arrives. And this gives me little hints on things they might prefer in my box. 

A Special Treat For You!

Before we get to the photos of some of the branded boxes, I wanted to share a little discount with you! This week I'm doing a 25% discount on all custom stickers ordered by COB (6:00 PM EST) on Monday, April 17. We have lots of sizes and shapes and can put your logo on any of them! Or text if you want it!

Use code 'STICKERS' in check out to receive your discount.

Are you local and want to pick up instead of ship? Email me at Johnna@TwilaCo.com and we'll work with you to save on shipping!

Custom branded box for Hope Taylor Photography  |  Business Brand

Custom branded box for Hope Taylor Photography  |  Business Brand

Wedding Brand

Wedding Brand

Branded Box for Monkee's of Fredericskburg  |  Business Brand

Branded Box for Monkee's of Fredericskburg  |  Business Brand

Business Brand

Business Brand

Client Gift

Client Gift

Business Brand

Business Brand

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Client Gift

Client Gift

Wedding Brand Gift

Wedding Brand Gift

Why are Inspiration Boards Important?

Hello there, friends!

This week starts a new blog series about branding, and I'm so excited! If you follow along on Instagram, you know that I am rebranding here at Twila and that I'm really excited about it! Over the next few weeks as I rebrand and update my website, I'm going to walk you through my process and reveal bits and pieces of the new brand before the big launch. We'll be talking about other branding items like gifts, things you can do to make your brand pop, and more. I'm also going to be doing some special discounts each week to help. And yes, there's a discount today...just scroll all the way to the bottom. Be sure to check back each week!

First off, I want to make a small quick note. Branding isn't just exclusively for businesses. It can apply to events (weddings, corporate events, birthday parties, etc.), blogs, personal websites, etc. It truly can be for anything that you want to make consistent and create an imprint of. So when I talk about 'branding,' know that I'm not just talking about the brand of a business, but also many other things. 

That said, today we're gonna start with Inspiration boards. I've talked before on the blog about how to make an inspiration board, but today I'm going to talk about why it's important.

With tools like Pinterest, and even Instagram, out there, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed. It’s easy to want 100 different things for your brand, or pin hundreds of ideas to your board. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it can definitely make it hard on the designer to hone in on what your actual style is and what you’re looking for.

That's where the Inspiration Board comes in. An Inspiration Board, also known as a mood board, is a great way to hone in on that style by finding a common theme among those hundreds of pins and developing a more specific trend. It's a great way to develop a color palette and find some key words to fit that style.

Now let's talk about what an Inspiration Board can do for different aspects.  


Business Inspiration Boards

For businesses, this is a great way to develop the feel of the brand. Do you ever visit a website and just enjoy the vibe it gives off? Maybe it's warm and welcoming, or maybe it's bold and bright. That feel is determined by an Inspiration board. That feel attracts the ideal client because they will relate to the vibes that the business gives off.

Inspiration boards aren't just for the logo aspect but also any secondary logos, graphics and imagery. Those secondary factors can be just as important as the Primary logo because they really drive that brand deeper into a clients mind. It reiterates what the brand is and what it represents.

 
 

Blog & Personal Inspiration Boards

While everything I talked about for businesses can also ring true for individuals or blogs, brands for these items are a little more personal. A lot of blogs are run like businesses, and should be treated as such with their branding. They should add things in like social media icons and specific graphics to make their blog branded.

As an individual, this kind of branding could come out in items such as your resume or personal business cards as a way to brand yourself and stand out in the crowd. 

No matter what or who you represent, you want to make an impression and you want people to remember you. Sometimes the only thing people remember is a feeling or how you made them feel, and part of that can be from the brand that represents you.


Event Inspiration Boards

An Event Inspiration Board hones in on your Pinterest board and offers ideas as far as invitations, venue ideas, tablescapes, centerpieces, day of details, floral ideas, favors etc. This brings your event together as a brand. It's basically making everything match. For brides who might have trouble visualizing ideas or making decisions, this is a different visual option where designers take all those great Pinterest items that you pinned and narrow it down to ideas that go together to make a styled, cohesive event in your colors. 

 
 

So are you ready?

Now through Friday at midnight, we're offering 25% off both our Brand Assessment and our Event Inspiration Boards. Our Brand Assessment helps take current brands to the next level with custom tips and tricks on how to update your brand and make your collateral, website, and social media accounts match.

Our Event Inspiration Boards hone in on your Pinterest board and your ideas to make a cohesive styled board complete with ideas and recommendations.

Click below to purchase through our website, and we'll contact you to move forward!

For Brand Assessment, use code BRANDME

For Event Inspiration Board, use code INSPIREME