29 May 2013

On Vacation

Hello! EAD will be closed from May 25th - June 28th for a much anticipated summer vacation in the States! I will still be keeping up with current clients via cyberspace and meeting with new suppliers Stateside, but also looking forward to fun projects commencing in July upon my return! New projects will be accepted into the queue as of July 1st. It's been an amazing spring season and thanks to all of you who support us here at EAD with your business and friendship! I always say great clients make great design possible! 

And when we come back you won't even recognize us!  Great things are in store!

22 April 2013

ALL NEW Elizabeth Andrés Designs Website and Blog Coming Soon!

If you hadn't guessed it, I'm taking a short break from social media and blogging to catch up on client projects and working overtime on the launch of the ALL NEW Elizabeth Andrés Designs Website and Blog. Lots in store so stay tuned! I am still accepting new projects, but there is a current design queue until July. Spaces are filling up quickly, so if you want to book your wedding stationery, business branding, or web design project into the queue, contact me now to reserve your slot at info@elizabethandres.com. We only accept a limited number of clients for each month.

Love what you do and do what you love...sucessfully!


11 March 2013

More Than Paper | Getting Things Done, Not Perfect

I've been doing a lot of "self-help reading for the entrepreneur" lately and working at turning these concepts into my reality.  I want to be more. 

I've read on a number of blogs recently about getting stuff done, not getting it pefect.  The "getting it done, not perfect" adage is something many of us have heard before, but what I've been reading is that people who are successful and at the top of their profession are not perfectionists.  They simply get things done.

The ability to get things done supercedes intelligence, talent, and financial resources in determining the rate of your success and profits.  It's a simple concept, but despite its simplicity, many people struggle with it.  Especially artists.  Anyone in an artistic field will often be heard saying "the artist's work is never finished." 

It's important to note that "not being perfect" is not a license to be sloppy or to present sub-standard work to a client. You can still make your clients happy, even ecstatically happy, without being perfect. Being successful is much more than just the end-product we deliver.  That's important, but I'm just saying there is a lot more to it than that. 

Ages ago, I was reading the blog of a wedding planner, whose name I cannot remember, but she wrote one thing that has stuck with me the past couple years.  She said that in order to achieve her level of success, she realized that she had to be "an entrepreneur first and a wedding planner second."   This is so true for anyone running any kind of creative business or service, where we tend to get too caught up in the smallest of details.   I've not been a graphic designer for very long, self-taught and still learning, but rememembering the words of this wedding planner keeps me going...and going hard.

In truth, only about 30-50% of my time is actually spent designing.   There is a lot of both front and back office work to do to run a business.  Fortunately, I had a number of excellent business administration and operations experiences in both the USA and in Dubai to give me the skills to do much of this quite easily and efficiently, so I guess I'm lucky on that front.  To now be able to blend those work experiences and my creative passions has been the opportunity of a lifetime and will hopefully put me on the road to huge success!

Here are a number of excellent reminders summarized from the book The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Shwartz by the Pick The Brain blog on how to change your habits and re-train your brain to get stuff done:

1. Don't wait until conditions are perfect.  The best time to do something was last year, the second best time is right now.  Perfect as you go.

2. Be a doer.  Practice doing things rather than thinking or brainstorming too long about them.  Just go do it and learn as you go.

3.  Ideas and talent alone don't bring success.  Ideas and talent is important, but they only have value after being implemented.  If you have an idea and post it on the web, it's not even close to being done.  Go implement it first.

4.  Use action to cure fear.  Most fear and anxiety only comes during the waiting-to-do-something period.  Once you start doing it, it usually dissipates.  Think about public speaking. Once you start speaking, the butterflies go away.  Don't be afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes and even failure count as being done.  Learn.  Move on.

5. Start your creative engine mechanically.  If you sit around waiting to be inspired, your projects will be few and far between.  If you need to write something, sit down and start writing.

6. Live in the present.  Focus on what you can get done today, not what you didn't do last week or what you should do in the future. 

7. Get down to business immediately.  Instead of wasting time checking emails, reading the paper or blogs, talking on the phone, checking social media  or other things in the morning, get to work.  Stop procrastinating.

Well, these seven reminders offer some very useful advice. Some of them I think I am quite good at or have already implemented prior, but there are definitely a couple I need to improve upon.  Lastly, always remember that getting things done is not to finish, but to do more!

Now stop reading this blog and go get something done.  Cheers.

05 March 2013

Inspiration Board | Cobalt Blue & The Mediterranean Sea

If you have ever asked me what my favorite color is, for as long as I can remember, I've always said blue.  Over the years, the shade of blue that has most interested me has changed, variations of turquoise, aqua, perinwinkle, slate, royal blue, navy, electric blue, and now the very intense, very beautiful color of cobalt.  It absolutely mesmerizes me and I can't help but stare at it for long moments. 

It brings me back in time to my first trip to the "Middle East" to the country of Tunisia, where I spent some time as a university student about 10 years ago.  I remember the doors!  They came in many different colors, but most prominently you'd see them in bright blue.  The charming little town of Sidi Bou Said about 30 minutes from the capital on the northern coast is one of my most favorite places that I've ever been to. Every single door and window frame there is cobalt blue against white washed buildings.  I remember a friend telling me it was decreed they had to repaint the buildings and trim once per year to keep them looking so pristine, because it was a top tourist attraction and the country leader had a home there.  Sure enough, as I was walking through the streets, more than one person was out rolling a fresh coat of paint on their walls.  These "old" doors can be seen in many Mediterranean countries, I've seen them in Morocco and Lebanon as well, but they are most remarkable in Tunisia, with their black wrought iron nailed details and patterns against the bright blue. I learned that in older times, the doors were decorated to show how wealthy the family was inside, since all the houses relatively look the same from the outside.

When a Tunisian restaurant opened up in my hometown years ago, I was hired to paint a mural of a scene from Sidi Bou Said and the beautiful blue doors across one wall.  I'll have to see if I can find a photo of it.  It was a pretty fun endeavor, after which, I decided painting murals was a lot of work!

Anyway, enough of my dusty, old memories. With cobalt blue on the fashion and home interior scene this year, I find myself in the mall getting pulled into shops where I see this color on display.  I even bought a cobalt blue pair of jeans a couple weeks ago and I think I could wear them every day! I decided to look cobalt blue up on pinterest yesterday and within moments I ran into so many photos of those beautiful, old doors that will forever be imprinted on my memory.  This inspiration board is dedicated to that first trip to MENA region and I plan to use it as inspiration for a new design very soon!  I think cobalt blue would make for a very striking wedding or business logo, don't you?


03 March 2013

More than Paper | What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Grapefruit, Apple, Carrot, Yam, Grape Juice Recipe courtesy of Forbidden Rice Blog
I'm so excited to launch a new blog series, which I'm titling More than Paper.  I lot of my fans want to know more about me on a personal level, so this is your chance.  This series will focus on a variety of other aspects of my life, my musings, my beliefs, interests and activities; things that don't neccessarily revolve around paper and graphic design.   I am more than paper.

First up....

"Before the rest of the world is eating breakfast, the most successful people have already scored daily victories that are advancing them towards the lives they want.”

The above sentence is quite intriguing, isn't it?  This is what Laura Vanderkam writes in her short book What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.  The title of Vanderkam's book caught my eye recently, as I am in the process of re-balancing life and work in 2013.  Most importantly, I want to slow down...all the while maintaining the same amount of productivity.  I know it's a big order, but I think it can be done.   Vanderkam's book is a short read, a little more than 30 pages.   There is nothing groundbreaking in it, but there are many useful reminders, as I re-structure my daily life and my business to be more productive and more efficient.
Vanderkam provides many reasons why you should take advantage of the morning:

1. Mornings are the time when people have the most control of their schedules.

2. There are fewer interruptions in the morning.

3. As the day goes on, you become more easily distracted.

4. Tasks that require self-discipline are simply easier to do while the day is young.

She suggests that if you take care of the important things first in the day, that if life becomes crazy, only the lesser priority things will suffer.  This is so true and I think I've been doing it opposite lately. She also advises that you use the morning to nurture your self, your family and/or your career.

So how can I apply this concept to my current life?  I'm already putting in 17 hour days in attempting to get everything done for me, my family and my work (and seemingly failing at it sometimes).  Forget having any time to watch television, get a manicure, or socialize.  A new schedule focused on important things first and trickling down to the less important as the day moves along is definitely in order.

So without further ado, here's to my new morning schedule full of nurturing and productivity....and to enjoying the rest of the day too!  Maybe I'll even find time for a much needed mani-pedi in the near future or to read a book longer than 30 pages!

7:00 am - Wake up and drink a large glass of detoxifying lemon/grapefruit water.
7:30 am - Gym
9:00 am - Shower, breakfast and daily devotion.  I've been really into these veggie/fruit juices and preferably smoothies lately.  The smoothies take a bit of getting used to, as opposed to "juicing," which removes a lot of the fiber and good stuff! 
10:00 am - Get to work.  Post daily blog and facebook post.  Turn off social media after this; it will be there tomorrow. Note to self:  Prepare blog posts for the week on Saturday, if possible.
11:00 am - Answer emails and return phonecalls.  Focus on customer service.
12:30 pm - Prepare a healthy salad.  Note to self: Wash and chop favorite salad ingredients at the beginning of the week for quick and easy weekday meal preparation. 
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm -  Meetings, design work, order supplies, running to the printer, and business administration.
6:30 pm - Prepare a healthy dinner.  Do something relaxing or fun atleast three times a week.  Devote one hour atleast three times a week to developing another one of my hobbies or learning something new.  Clean up the house.
11:30 pm - Bedtime

We all know how easy it is to loose track of time, so to help me in building up a good routine, I will even go as far as setting alarms in my phone for all of the above with 15 minute deadline reminders.  Call me crazy, but it just might work!

23 February 2013

Business Identity | Simply Sarah Photography

I'm in the middle of an urgent new business branding project.   Sarah of Simply Sarah Photography in Georgia, USA was inspired so much by one of my new wedding logos that she contacted me to custom design her business identity around it, but with a lot more pizazz! Keep your eyes on her as she is an up-and-coming photographer with a lot of talent and heart.  She is just lovely and we hit it off immediately! Based on our many conversations and emails, I presented a few different concepts to her.  Simple and classic were a must for her, though a love affair with the calligraphy logo trend added a nice contemporary touch to both of these looks.   Here is the final branding board I put together for her this past week.  Check back here as I continue to finalize her identity, stationery and marketing collateral in the near future!

18 February 2013

Wedding Branding | Wedding Logos

Are you on a tight budget and planning to tap in to your DIY (do it yourself) talents during your wedding planning process, but still want a upscale wedding look for your special day?  Is a custom logo or monogram a must for your wedding invitations, but you don't have the big budget that a professionally custom designed invitation suite requires? We're here to help with that too! We have recently added many personalized wedding logos to our Etsy shop.  Use these logos to make your stationery, paint your own aisle runner, printed napkins, gift packaging, or anything that might need your customized "mark."   Provided to you in a number of file formats (JPG, PNG, AI, PDF, and EPS) to make it as straightforward or as flexible as you might want.  Here are the first few in the shop:

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