Monday, 14 September 2015

Nayu's Craft Time #68 Interview with my new brand designed by Heather of Shop Kandy!

Heather's Shop Kandy logo
 This is a somewhat belated post, but it's with great delight that I can reveal some of the thinking which went behind Heather from Shop Kandy's design for Nayu's Crochet Dreams new digital branding! Huge thanks goes to Heather for being patient with me, for helping me get a design that I'd only dreamed of. I was a bit sad when we finished because I'd enjoyed sharing ideas and watching each design being revealed via email/messaging. 

I chose Heather because her designs popped out to me, her prices are extremely reasonable. Once I'd approached her to explain what I was after, Heather sent me a styleboard which was revealed in this post - I'd never heard of styleboards, but they are explained further on in this post.

After that her high quality designs and superb ideas (with some requested tweaks for me), in what was I think a week and a bit (due to time difference as we are on different continents) the new look for this blog was created, as well as my Facebook page, my Twitter page, my all important Etsy shop, and a few other bits including business card design. Today I'm ordering my new business cards, so I'll reveal those to you when I get them printed. I'm hoping that I need to work with Heather in the future as I thoroughly enjoyed working with her. 

Heather kindly answered a few questions about her design process for me, which gives more insight into her work! 

Question and Answer session with Heather from the Etsy graphic store Shop Kandy
Nayu 1) Can you explain the process you take once you received my custom order brief and put together the style board?
Heather: Style boards are actually a new feature I have. I get so many custom requests, and have found that it puts the potential client a bit more at ease when they can see what I have in mind for them. Each Style board is unique, taking into account what vision I have when I read what each client is requesting.

I usually take a few minutes to search through my extensive graphics collection to see what I can find. Sometimes, I know exactly what I'm looking for- other times, I may think I have what they are asking for, but I'm not sure. That takes longer, because most of my graphics carry long names based on who designed them, and not just simple names like "Pink tea cup". 
Hair colour got changed, as did the background pattern, but everything else features in the finished product!
2) You seemed to guess exactly the kind of style I wanted without knowing much about me: do you do anything in particular to figure out what a customer needs, eg looking at their blog or is it instinctive?

I usually take a peek at a clients shop, if they have one, and the graphics they are already using. If they have an easy to locate Facebook or blog, I try to find it, but I usually just stick to checking the shop out on Etsy. Then, it's just guess work. I get requests so often, and not everyone has a style that matches my own.

Those are usually the harder sets to design- they take me out of my comfort zone for style, and force me to come up with new designs. I find they often give me the most headaches during design, but usually become designs I absolutely fall in love with after.

For the most part, I go on just what clients tell me, though. If they reference sets I already have posted, or graphics they have seen my older clients use, that helps a lot. It gives me a strong starting point, and tells me what they already like of mine.

With your opening message, you referenced a couple of sets I have available as pre-made graphics, so that helped a lot in deciding what style to start off with.

Yarn Balls design: I liked it because of the yarn balls and crochet hooks

One of Heather's pre-made designs, Rainbow Pop, which I liked because of the bright colours

I also provided this image from one of my favourite animes, PriPara because it was the colour range and fun style I'd decided on for the new NCD look!
3) I felt like I was quite demanding with all the changes I kept requesting - is it normal to have a fair few changes during a custom order?
I would say it's more normal to expect change requests, than to think my vision is going to 100% match a client's vision on the first take. My clientele is made up of some very artistic people, who each have their own strong vision of what they want- whether it's changing a color, adding a gem to a specific spot, or starting from scratch.

In part, the clients who wind up wanting to start over from scratch are why I now add style boards to each custom request. It gives us both a strong idea right from the start about whether or not my vision is the one they are asking for.

Some things are easy- someone wanting pastel rainbow colors and yarn make it easier to start. Others are vague- I once had a client who asked for pink flowers. From there, it took hours of going back and forth to discover that she actually meant purple, and that she was looking for a very specific type of flower, and not just any flowers.

4) Does designing custom orders spark off new ideas for your digital products?
Absolutely- I often take the "No, that's not at all what I want," custom items and turn them into sets if I like them enough, but aside from that, a lot of my designs have evolved over the years based on custom orders that pushed my design style limits. Years ago, when I was selling exclusively on Facebook, my sets looked far different than what you see today.

Even now, my most recent design addition is the watercolor style, which has become very popular. It was borne of a custom request that grew into a love for the style.

5) What's your favourite part about custom orders?
Getting to know my clients is nice. When you have someone requesting changes, you start to see their personality emerge. Little comments back and forth let me get to know the person better, and hopefully, design something they really love.

While I am designing, style pushing ideas drive me nuts. It's like there is a cliff, and I need to just jump with something I'm not sure I love, and I'm not sure I want to show anyone. But once I do, and I see how much a client loves what I come up with, I feel a lot of relief and happiness that I was able to push my own style to meet with their style.

6) What would you like to say to potential buyers who after reading this article are thinking about placing an order, be it a simple purchase of a pre-made design or a custom order?
 Graphics, be it custom or "off the shelf" are a very strong way to give your shop an identity. It does not have to cost an arm and a leg. Graphics tends to be an area a lot of new shops skimp on- they go online, take a badly cropped photo of a product, and try to put their shop name on it.

More often than not, it looks blurry, sloppy, and letters are cut off. That can send a very strong message to their own potential clients, and it's not a good message.

Shop owners need to take pride in what they do, and sadly, poorly designed banners send a message that they are not taking care of what they make.

My shop offers options starting at just $6.99 for Etsy shop owners- an amount that is affordable to shops that are brand new. Taking the time to invest in your shop can give you a clean look that is memorable, and sends the message that you care about your image.

You don't have to spend $200 on a graphics package to get a nice shop banner. Never overlook that!

This last comment of Heather's is especially true, and as I've already stated is partly why I chose her as my designer. Some of the graphics on Etsy are over $150 just for a single logo, let alone all the graphics I wanted. I'd expected to pay much more than around $65/£42, and whole heartedly recommend Heather of Shop Kandy for your graphic needs! 

Note: I haven't received payment of any kind for promoting Shop Kandy in this post, I just happen to really like Heather's work and want to help promote her!

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