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Light up thenight at promwith me?

With the new year upon us, we’re taking a minute to reflect on who we are and how we help you. With that in mind, we came up with a new description for our services:

“Stacy Kleber Design LLC is a DC based graphic design agency specializing in affordable, on-going design support for businesses and nonprofits.

We love helping our customers to establish and build their brand, using everything from logo design to infographics to print collateral. We work with clients both nationally and internationally, as their primary designer or as a supplement to their internal design team, to ensure consistency in their brand and to produce high quality design work.”

While we will still be taking one-off jobs, we really want to be your partner – to offer on-going design support for you and your business. Maybe you don’t have a full-time designer on staff – or maybe you do and they need additional support. That is where we come in. We offer design on an as-needed basis to help you maintain a consistent look and feel, as well as a high quality design presence.

Many of our clients have been with us for 5+ years. We know their brands inside and out. They will tell you that we deliver quality work, on time, every time.

Think about it. We’re here when you are ready to take the leap. In fact, we’ll take it with you.

a warm note to say

Happy Thanksgiving to our clients and friends!  We are so grateful for your support and for the opportunity to work with you this year.

 

happiness in design

Today, a little insight into me…

What aspects of a project make me truly happy?  It might not be what you think. Sure – it is fun to launch a project with a big client, but the things that make me happy to work from day to day are actually much more subtle…

Details.  

I LOVE details.  The things that are less obvious, yet really cool. I just finished a draft of a folder, and you know what I enjoyed designing most? The inside. I can design the front, but what I WANT to design is that pattern or color you see when you open it up – that bit that surprises you. That is where the fun is.

White space.

I love using tons of white, with a pop of color. A white business card which flips over to reveal a hot pink back?  Yes!  I’m all in. Again, there is that element unexpectedness to it that makes it interesting. White space not only creates contrast, but is a great way to call attention to specific elements of a design.

Type.

I want to really let type shine. When I design a logo, I think about the personality of the typeface. Are you destined for an elegantly refined serif? An ultra-modern sans? An inviting and friendly slab serif? Finding the perfect fit is half the fun.

Paper.

As primarily a print designer, I love to pick out paper. Different weight, tone and texture all add an element to design that can’t quite be achieved digitally. A really nice paper calls out to be touched.

What makes you happy when you see a design?

BEST KEPT

Last week I went to a Smart Ladies event featuring Lauren Rothman, stylist to some of DC’s best. The event was about dressing for confidence, and dressing for your job. While that was interesting, and she had great tips, the thing that spoke to me most was something that probably passed under the radar.

She spoke about how many people don’t advertise that they use her services – but share her name with others in whispers.  Lauren Rothman called herself a “best kept secret”. 

Best. Kept. Secret.

I like that.  In fact, the more I think about it – the more I think that may very well be what I am too.

For the last few weeks, I have been working on presentations for a good friend and brand guru.  My designs will be seen by countless people.  She will rock these presentations – I know it.  Like most things I design, my name will never be on them, and it is possible that very few people will know I designed them.  But I helped to make her look GOOD, and to me, that is an awesome thing to be a part of. That’s who I am – a best kept secret.

Let me help you look good.

Share my name in clandestine whispers.

I’m fine with that.

That’s the job, and I love it.

 

what's on your business bucket list?

When I graduated college, I moved home to live with my parents and, like so many others, to figure out what was next. As I searched for a job, my father said I should start my own business, and that someday, I’d have a billboard.  To this day, I can’t believe it, but the very first printed project of mine that we saw was…you guessed it…on a billboard. Suddenly, it made what I do very real, and tangible.

shop_george_2

*Billboard done with Case Solutions.

As time has gone on, I have never quite gotten over the excitement of finally seeing a project I worked on in real life – whether it be an ad in a magazine or a book on a shelf.  But as I check more and more projects off my list, it got me thinking about my design bucket list. I’ve designed many billboards, I’ve designed books sold internationally, I’ve designed national conference logos…but what’s next?

If I had to come up with a bucket list today, these would be a few of my to-do’s:

Speak at a design event

I have always admired the speakers at events like HOW or AIGA DC. I’d love to be able to be in a position to share what I’ve done with designers, and inspire them to follow their dreams.

Teach design to undergrads

Similar to speaking at a conference, I want to teach design to young designers. There is so much excitement in those just learning the field. As a business owner, I feel like I have a wealth of information to share, not only in design but also in dealing with clients, and running a company – a challenge many young designers don’t realize they will likely face in the future, when the glamour of agency life has worn thin.

Create a design with hand drawn typography

The work of artists like Louise Fili, Dana Tanamachi and Carolyn Sewell is beautiful and inspiring. If I have one project I’d love to take time and create, it would be to design something with hand drawn type – a letter, a poster, a sign…

Create branding and design for a restaurant

While I have done a few signs for a sandwich shop in Myrtle Beach, one of the things I always really loved was restaurant design.  I’d love to take on a restaurant design project that included everything – signs, menus, interior design recommendations, details… A restaurant brand is so all inclusive, and has so many tangible elements. I think it would be amazing to work on so many diverse aspects for one company.

Are you looking for someone to do any of this?  If so, I may just be your gal.

For everyone else, what’s on your business bucket list?

Is your company

We hear a lot about a consistent brand experience, and how our employees are a part of that, but what does it mean?  A recent travel experience gave me the perfect example.

On a trip to Atlanta, a client put me up at the W hotel. In general, the brand experience in hospitality is very important. Having briefly worked at a Marriott, I’m familiar with what goes in to the experience – from how you greet customers to how the rooms are maintained. But this trip, one thing stood out to me more than anything else – the mats in the elevator.

“What is so great about elevator mats?,” you might ask. “What does this have to do with branding?”

When I checked in that afternoon, I noted the elevator mat said “Good Afternoon.”  And as I came and went throughout my trip, I noticed these mats changed to “Good Morning” in the AM, and “Good Evening” in the PM.

Good-Afternoon

What does this say about the W brand?  To me, this emphasizes an enormous attention to detail and to their customer experience. It also emphasizes what the brand is known for – a high-end, luxury experience. Not every brand would take the time to change elevator mats three times a day. Their hotel is the embodiment of what they stand for, down to the last detail.

It also says they trust their employees to be responsible and take care of the brand as if it were their own.  How easy would it be for someone to forget to change the mats – for one to say Good Morning at lunch time, or Good Afternoon in the evening?  Pretty easy.  But it never happened. The employees take pride in the brand and help to give a consistent experience.

Are you embodying your brand down to the last detail?  Are your employees?

As you may have noticed, I recently updated my photos on the website and social media.  I’m super pleased by the photos, and have gotten some wonderful feedback.  SO, this week, let’s talk a little about headshots.

Why invest in professional headshots?

As a designer, I help you put your best business face forward – with your logo, collateral, etc.  All these things are an investment – but so often we forget that we are the face of our business as well. Shouldn’t your headshots be an extension of you and your brand?

I understand the pain point of investing in professional photos, but it is more than worth it. By putting a professional face forward, you can help build trust with potential clients before they meet you. Would you rather put your business in the hands of Business A, whose CEO has a well executed photo?  Or in Business B, whose CEO used a snapshot and cropped out their significant other, party drink, etc?  You’d trust Business A every time.

Stacy Headshots

 

So who did my headshots?

I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on the photos, and for the record – any and all praise should go out to Mary Gardella of ‘elle and Nicole Palermo of Happily Ever After LLC.  Mary is currently running some wonderful Profession’elle marathon sessions where you get a mini-photosession with 2 photos, and make-up by Nicole at a discounted price.  They are the magicians behind the portraits – and I haven’t seen any bad ones yet.

Thanks, Mary and Nicole!