Some of the most common questions I get from my clients have to do with their brand.

What is it, why do I care, and how do I create one?

First let’s start with some quick definitions:

  • Brand – how you are perceived by your consumers (or members, donors, employees, clients, vendors, etc.)
  • Brand elements – pieces of the brand that tell your story
    • Imagery
    • Colors
    • Fonts
    • Voice
  • Brand consistency – the degree to which all aspects of your consumers’ perceptions are consistent or integrated
    • Does your print marketing match your online marketing?
    • Is the font style used on your website consistent with font style used on your business cards? brochures? mailers?
    • Are your online newsletters an extension of your website in terms of colors, graphics, and voice?

I like to think of an organization’s brand identity (if done well) as something that essentially creates the unique “ah ha” moment for your consumer/member/donor that causes them to take action with you (join, donate, buy, “like”, “share”). If your brand identity conflicts with itself on your various forms of media, you can’t consistently tell a story that encourages that “ah ha” moment. People will be confused.

Here’s an example:


Take a look at the fonts and colors on the left vs. the right. The email on the left gives off a more “discount warehouse” feel with bold and red fonts and yellow “star tags.” The webpage on the right has a more retro, soft palette and style. The layout of the email has images that are offset and tend to be more “in your face.” The webpage has white space and minimalistic images. If I were to look at these two “brands” I would never guess they were from the same company. This would not tell me a story about this company and why I should take action with them and I’d probably just move on.

Here’s another example. If you’ve read other posts about me, you know I like to compete in sprint-distance triathlons. One of my favorites is the Esprit de She in Naperville, a triathlon for women.


Even though the background and font colors are different, you can still see a consistent story here. The images at the top of the email and the webpage bothe have a subtle curving edge, the fonts are minimalistic, there is a lot of white space, important words are bolded making it easy to scan. Both of these are very easy to read and use. Both tell a story about women athletes and encourage the viewer to find out more.

If you want help creating your brand or extending it to other platforms (email marketing, print, business cards, etc.), contact me and let’s talk!

One of my clients recently said, “Can you make these documents work better? Shelter House of Iowa City uses a tremendous amount of forms to check people in each night to use one of their 70 beds. I am currently in the process of working with them to build a more automated solution. In the meantime, they needed something to make their lives easier. I took their Word documents and created Adobe fillable PDFs. This way, they can type in the information and print it out or save and email it. See Before and After images below.

Why hire an employee when you can hire me only when needed and save a ton of money in the process?

Last fall and winter, I worked with the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) Foundation to completely redesign their website. The collaborative effort resulted in a bright and engaging look that also easily displays content and encourages action. Focused photography and video clips help tell their story in addition to social media feeds and a newsletter option.

The ICCSD Foundation financially supports awesome programs for the children in our community, such as School of the Wild, Visiting Author, and Symphony Goes to School. Find out more today!

Iowa Nurse Practitioner Society had an email blast they wanted to send out to their members asking them to advocate for certain policy changes in the Iowa legislature. They had the content, they just couldn’t quite get it to look professional enough.

Using Wild Apricot (the membership management software we used for their website) I applied consistent formatting, removed detailed parts of legislation and instead inserted links, and researched online contact information for each legislator for people to click and immediately be directed to contact information so they could take action. See Before and After images below.

Why hire an employee when you can hire me only when needed and save a ton of money in the process?

Do you like to do good in the world and drink good coffee while doing it? If so, you need to check out my featured client this month! Recently I launched the new website for the non-profit, Joy Poured Out. Joy Poured Out has a simple mission: Give Joy.

They do this by partnering with local organizations who work in a variety of ways to give money, time, or support to those in need. One of their partners is Cedar Rapids Gives who works to end human-trafficking, a tragedy to which I have recently become engaged in fighting.

And Joy Poured Out has cool stuff for you when you donate! Check out their online store for awesome coffee from all over the world, mugs, t-shirts, and more.