Give Your Brand A New Year Makeover

2012 is done and dusted and if you're feeling a little drained after an epic year of creativity, don't worry! Make a cup of tea, put your feet up, and read...

2012 is done and dusted and if you're feeling a little drained after an epic year of creativity, don't worry! Make a cup of tea, put your feet up, and read our helpful tips on how to inject new life into your creative endeavours for 2013.

Image: Darcy. Credit: Stoutkramer

Be Inspired

A great thing to do at the start of each year is to give yourself a big old boost of inspiration to spark your creativity, conjure up new ideas, and give yourself a fresh perspective from which to build on. Inspiration can come from anywhere so don't limit yourself!

Spend a day roaming around visiting exhibitions, being in beautiful places, sitting at your favourite cafe in the sun, or collecting flowers on a walk through your neighbourhood. Research creative people you admire – read interviews about them, study their making process and see what makes them tick.

Make a reading list (I've just made one that amongst others, includes something I've always loved, something I've never read before, a bunch of educational craft books, a graphic novel, and some new magazines).

Also, you could try downloading some crafty podcasts (Creative Little Beasts is a great one!). Maybe you could even learn a new skill, something you've never tried before. This year I plan to take a ceramics course at my local community college, because I've always loved collecting handmade pottery from thrift stores and markets and thought it might be fun to make some myself.

As you enrich yourself with new sights and experiences, keep a little journal of what has inspired you. You never know what creative ideas could come from it.

Image: Marco van Zomeren. Credit: Behance

Set Goals

While setting goals and planning for the future (even if it's just the near future) can seem a little daunting, it's a really great way to create a structure for your year that you can work to. At the end of the year you can look back over your goals and feel so good when you see what you have achieved. It's also a great way to review your creative process and see what needs to be improved or worked on.

Here's a handy list of questions to get your goal-setting started. Try jotting down some responses or thoughts to the questions – you can be as detailed as you want. Your responses will become your little guide that helps you remember what you want to achieve in 2013.

5 Goal-setting Questions:

  • Why are you doing what you're doing? What is your motivation?
  • What do you want to achieve this year?
  • How do you plan to achieve it?
  • Where do you see your creative venture heading in 2013?
  • Who is your target market or audience for the year?

Create A Dedicated Work Space

I don't know about you, but my surroundings play a huge part in my productivity. I used to work in the kitchen of my tiny apartment. It was cramped and messy, there was hardly any storage and my dining table was way too small to make anything on. I always felt like I was living on top of myself and couldn't get any of that much needed distance and space from my work when I clocked off for the day. It was also impossible to cook in there!

Whether it be a whole room in your house or a corner of your living room, having a dedicated work space is so important. If you've already got a work space that's fantastic, maybe you could do a big de-clutter and spruce up the space a bit with some new storage solutions, a lick of paint, or some pretty new indoor plants.

For those that don't have a space, inspire yourself by trawling Pinterest for photos of dream studios, brainstorm ways to utilise your free space, no matter how small, pick a spot in your home, and get started transforming it into your dream studio! (You might want to check out Crafttuts+ Pinterest page which includes a dedicated Craft Rooms board.)

Get Organised

I don't think I can name a single friend or colleague who enjoys the "life admin" side of having your own creative venture. Unfortunately life admin is a necessary part of it all. Give yourself a head start by creating systems that will help make it easier to complete these mundane tasks, leaving more time for making!

Do you have a filing system? Even if it's a haphazard collection of overflowing accordion files, it's good to have a spot where you can store and keep track of things like receipts, invoices, bills and anything else you may need later on down the line. I like to try to file as I go, but most of the time this doesn't end up happening. If this sounds like you, maybe you could try setting aside an hour a week to make sure everything's in it's right place.

Schedules can help too, especially when it comes to social media. This year I felt that at times I was struggling to maintain a regular blogging/social media pattern. Swamped with work, I often neglected these things, even though they are an important part of my brand image.

Write a list of tasks that you would do on an average day working on your brand, and what parts of the day are busiest, quietest, etc. From there, try creating a schedule which allows time for any upcoming to-dos, and all the other things you need to get done. Perhaps you are an early riser who can spend half an hour of quiet time replying to emails in the morning. Maybe you have some spare time after dinner which might be perfect for writing a blog post that you can then schedule to go live the next day. Test your schedule out over a week to see if it's realistic and then adapt it as necessary.

Get a New Look

Giving your brand image a little makeover can do wonders for your business, and your motivation! Take a look at your logos, headings, email signatures, and brand icons - are you a bit bored of them? Could they do with a little sprucing up? You don't need to drastically change the look of your brand, but a few tweaks of existing designs could freshen things up a bit.

You could engage the help of a designer friend to create your new look, or try it for yourself. If you're into sewing, why not embroider your logo, or, if papercraft is your thing, maybe a collage would do. Try a new printing method with your business cards, like letterpress or screenprinting for example. You'd be surprised how a little change here and there can transform the way people see your brand.

I hope you all have an amazing New Year and a happy and productive 2013. See you on the other side!

Image: Plenty. Credit: Typography served

Make 2013 the best year ever! My personal tips:

  • Try anything/everything.
  • Don't sell yourself short.
  • Hard work is hard, but necessary.
  • It's OK to make mistakes.
  • Being nice, humble and grateful goes a long way.
  • Love what you do.
  • Get to know your local creative community.
  • Document your work!!
  • Take risks.
  • A great soundtrack will boost productivity.
  • Be resourceful.
  • You can most definitely make it happen by yourself, for yourself.
  • Work/life balance is key.
  • Don't be afraid to put yourself out there.
  • Be you, not them.