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:


16 February 2013

Wedding Branding | Kara + Tom Logo and Wedding Website

Having a custom wedding logo, monogram, or motif is something that many engaged couples look to do and is oftentimes something they can use in their coupledom long after the wedding is finished.  Monogramed bath towels, custom stationery......There's a lot of ideas.  A wedding logo is also an easy way to customize or "brand" your special day, similiar to the way a company creates a brand for itself to be identified.  Your wedding is about you as a couple and when your guests walk into the ceremony or reception site, they should be able to say "Oh wow! This is so Kara and Tom!"

Personlization is key, but another very important point in pulling off a wedding that looks good both to the naked eye and in your photos is cohesiveness.  This means that everything should coordinate and maintain the same look and feel as everything else.  It doesn't mean that everything has to match 100%, in other words you don't have to stick your logo on every single item in your wedding, but if you narrow down your wedding "brand" to a few colors, patterns, textures, fonts, and design elements, it makes your wedding planning process that much easier! 

Wedding branding doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg and it doesn't necessarily mean spending big bucks on a wedding planner.  If you're on a budget and having trouble in finding your wedding style or making design decisions, here at Elizabeth Andrés Designs, we can help you get started! We offer a basic wedding branding solution.  After a short questionnaire, a little bit of homework on your part, and a small fee, we will design and propose two different wedding brands for you, including logo or monogram, colors, fonts, textures, additional coordinating design elements, and a small list of suggestions on what and how to brand your wedding on your own.

If you're happy with your new wedding brand, you can upgrade your basic wedding branding package to include save the date cards, a wedding website, wedding invitations, day-of event stationery and/or after-wedding personal stationery.  We offer a number of options to suit any budget.  

13 February 2013

Business Identity | Gul Photography Branding Board

I'd like to introduce to you Gul Hassan of Gul Photography, a current branding client of mine.   I first met Gul this past autumn when he contacted me about working together to create a new look for his new photography business.  Gul has a firy passion for baby and wedding photography, so last spring he decided it was time to go off on his own.  Thus, Gul Photography was born.

At first glance Gul is big, strong, intimidating looking fellow, but within moments of meeting him I realized he was one of the warmest and friendliest people I've met here in Dubai!  He's a very caring individual as well.  Last month, my car broke down while I was driving and talking to him on the phone (on bluetooth!) and he volunteered to come pick me up, knowing my husband was on a business trip in Qatar and was all alone! Fortunately, I was on the way to the dealer and only three minutes away (lucky or unlucky?) from my destination and was able to get the dealer to come get me and my car. All is well that ends well I guess.

Ok, back to the subject at hand...

Gul focuses on baby, family, and wedding photography, so most of his clients are female, his business identity needed a warm and friendly appeal to it, just like him, but it also needed to represent his classic, masculine side as well.  He does do occassional commerical work as well, so it was important that his new business identity didn't scare those clients away either.

After weeks and months of going back and forth on color palettes, concepts, ideas, and multiple brand/logo concepts, he has finallly decided!  Without further ado, please find a sneak peak of Gul Photography's new business identity!  Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more on the creation of his stationery, marketing collateral, and shiny new website!


06 February 2013

Inspiration Board | Rosemary + Lavender Wedding

If you're having an outdoor or garden wedding and would like are are tired of the typical "flower garden" look, why not create an herb garden atmosphere for your special day?  They will add an earthy and "green" element to your wedding and they will smell amazing too! 

We've seen lavender in weddings recently.  Rosemary, however, actual outdates all of us!  Rosemary is a sign of love and faithfulness and ions ago, brides used to carry rosemary bouquets instead of flowers. To keep it subtle and elegant, why not use both rosemary and lavender together and add any other herbs you might like (sage or basil perhaps?).  And to top it all off, send your guests home with an eco-friendly rosemary plant or a handmade lavernder-rosemary soap as a wedding favor.

04 February 2013

Outfit of the Week | Mint Skinny Jeans + White Tee

This is my kind of outfit!  I finally jumped on the colored jeans bandwagon this past weekend and am now fully stocked with peach, cobalt blue, and mint.  These easy "outfit" infographics are great in helping me learn how to coordinate them with some closet basics for a variety of looks that can take me from coffee with the girls to a midday business meeting to a happy hour thirst quencher!

Outfit of the week - Mint jeans

AllSaints cap sleeve top / Elizabeth and James ruched sleeve blazer / J Brand denim skinny jeans / Bruuns Bazaar leather shoes / FOSSIL vintage leather handbag / Marc by Marc Jacobs water resistant watch / AX Paris collar jewelry / Oliver Peoples sunglasses / Matte finish nail polish

03 February 2013

Font LOVE | Aurora Script

Another favorite font of mine is Aurora Script.  It is ideal for formal, elegant wedding invitations and has just the right amount of swirls and curls to make it beautiful, but it's still legible.  Did I mention it's a free font? 

28 January 2013

Inspiration Board | Black, Ivory + Polkadot Wedding

For this week's mood board, I stayed on the neutrals road I turned down last week.  I have always been a huge fan of classic black and white, and not just for weddings.  Home interior, fashion, business, design.....I love the contrast, the elegance, and I love how it can be a great base to add on to, whether it's a colorful accessory or a cool pattern.   If you're considering the classic "black tie" black and white wedding look, try adding another subtle element to it, just to make it interesting and memorable.  In this mood board, I've taken black and ivory/beige, to soften things a bit, and partnered it with polkadots.  Polkadots are going to big in 2013 and I'm sure many of you already own polkadot blouses or other items.  Be careful in going overboard though.  Not everything has to have polkadots on it!  I've seen wedding cakes that have black fondant polkadots covering it and a polkadot ribbon wrapped around the base, a polkadot cake topper, and polkadot tablecloths.  This is too much and will seriously decrease the elegance factor! A few things here or there will do the trick. A polkadot bow tie for the groom, or a polkadot pattern on the backside of a simple invitation and a polkadot dinner napkin or ribbon tied somewhere is more than enough.  Even something as simple as the white and black poppy flowers you see here will give the impression of polkadots, but without being quite so obvious.  Happy planning!

24 January 2013

Real Wedding | Pretty in the Nude

For those of you who've been following me this week, I'm been all about nudes, beiges, and neutral color palette. It's a hot new trend. This wedding in California photographed by the uber amazing Caroline Tran Photography is a fabulous example of having a neutral color palette with just enough touch of soft pastel to really make it shine.  The little black accents here and there provides the perfect contrast in the photos for a lot of depth.  If I am ever in California, I will be sure to book Caroline Tran for a photography session!  To read more about this wedding, see the full feature on Style Me Pretty. 

23 January 2013

Font Love | Trend

One of my newest favorite fonts is Trend, a slab style font, with regular, inline, striped shadow, italic and sans serif options.  The possibilities are endless for these blocky retro looking letters.  I think I prefer it on a minimalist invitation without a lot of distracting design.  Have fun with all the type variations and let the font speak for itself!

22 January 2013

Outfit of the Week | Jewel Tones

Being it's winter, and a tad chilly in Dubai if I may say so, jewel toned blouses and oversized leather purses are the way to go!  I'm loving those leafy drop earrings too.

Outfit of the week - Jewel Tones

Short sleeve blouse / Lanvin silk blouse / AG Adriano Goldschmied distressed skinny jeans / Yves Saint Laurent platform heels / H&M / Diane von Furstenberg yellow gold bracelet / Iosselliani woven bracelet / Kate Spade jewelry / Mary Portas / Miss Selfridge teardrop earrings

20 January 2013

Inspiration Board | Poppy, Coral, Salmon + Nude Wedding

Valentine's Day is just around the corner.  I think one of the things I love most about Valentine's Day are the bright red and fuchsia colors, but sometimes that stark contrast of red and white really lacks some warmth to it.  Nude is another color I'm liking a lot right now.  I'm seeing it everywhere in the stores.  With this mood board I decided to soften the standard Valentine's Day red and white, by using Poppy Red (Pantone Spring 2013 Top Ten Color) and Nude, with all the varying shades in between for an ombre effect.  It's making me feel warm and cozy already!

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