Nela Dunato Art & Design Blog

Which brand identity design assets does your business really need

Which brand identity design assets does your business really need?

Brand identity design is rarely just about creating the logo and brand style guide. Every brand design project I work on involves at least a few additional graphics. But which of those graphics do you need? Many business owners are stumped by this question because they may not even know what options exist. My hope is that this article helps you clarify your individual needs. Read more...

5 Rules of Elegant Logo Design

5 Rules of Elegant Logo & Brand Design

When I ask my clients in the beginning of my logo design process to choose up to five aesthetic qualities that are the most important for their brand, the quality clients most often select is “elegant”. We can all tell something is elegant when we see it, but what specific graphic design choices create this effect? Read more...

Nela's ultimate list of freelancing tips

Nela’s ultimate list of 34 freelancing tips

I started freelancing when I was 19 years old, and for the past 7 years I've been a full-time freelance brand identity designer. There are many lessons I learned in that time that I wish I knew when I got started, but at least others can benefit from this experience. Here's my list of 34 tips that will help you avoid the common pitfalls of freelancing. Read more...

Overcome your fear of visibility

What will people think? 10 steps to overcoming your fear of visibility

I help clients who want to be seen and valued as experts in their field to increase their visibility and impact. Unfortunately, many people don’t feel emotionally prepared to receive attention, so they keep putting off their marketing activities. In this article I offer tips and techniques you can use to shift your mindset and prepare yourself before you step into the spotlight. Read more...

My favorite black, white and red mixed media art journal supplies

My favorite black, white & red mixed media art supplies (video compilation)

In this long 3-part video series, I share my favorite mixed media art supplies for sketchbooks and art journals, along with examples of how I use them. I’ve been keeping sketchbooks since 2006 and experimented with lots of different mixed media techniques. My approach involves a lot of drawing, doodling, and painting, usually of figurative and surreal scenes and creatures. I combine drawing mediums that allow for a lot of precise detail, along with some more fluid and expressive painterly techniques that add atmosphere, depth, and texture. Read more...

Illustrated journal page by Nela Dunato

Integrating words and images (my creative journey)

Since I started using sketchbooks in 2006, I alternated between drawing and writing. I occasionally combine the two, but it’s still not completely integrated. It’s like I have a “drawing mode” and a “writing mode”—when I’m using one, the other one is turned off. I want to evolve this part of my practice, so I’m giving myself assignments to integrate words and images. Read more...

Setting goals after a disappointing year

Setting goals after a disappointing year

It’s the time of the year when business owners and bloggers flock to reminisce on their past year, highlight their biggest achievements, and plan for the year ahead. I feel that goal-setting can sometimes create pressure that only makes us feel inadequate, instead of inspired. Read more...

Client journey map workshop

Creative professionals: design your client process

Imagine there was one important thing that you could do that would result in better client satisfaction, higher productivity, attracting more ideal clients, more money, and less stress for you—would you do it? Who wouldn't, right? This magical-sounding method is designing your very own signature client process. In this article I’ll explain why I believe that any creative consultant would benefit from it, and how to get started if you don't have a process yet. Read more...

My logo and brand identity design process

My logo & brand identity design process explained

If you’re preparing for your new logo and brand identity design project, I’m sure you have many questions, especially if you’ve never worked with a designer before. In this article I explain what my brand identity design process looks like, so you can see all the work that goes into it. Read more...

How young designers benefit from volunteering

How young designers benefit from volunteering

I often get asked by young, inexperienced designers how to find their first client. My answer is always: find a cause or a non-profit that aligns with your values and your interests, and offer to volunteer. Unless clients are already seeking you out, you need to put in more hours to improve your skills and build a portfolio that shows what you're capable of. Read more...

Branding is a journey, not a one-off project

Branding is a journey, not a one-off project

A brand is never “perfect”—it’s on a trajectory towards perfection, but it will never reach that point. Of course, being closer to that perceived “perfection” is better than being far away from it, that’s why we even bother doing this work, fully aware that we’re in it for the long haul. Read more...

Creativity in digital isolation

Creativity in digital isolation

“Common sense” marketing advice for creators is to publish something every single day. I know many folks who show up daily or almost daily, and it works for them. It’s an excellent marketing technique if you can pull it off. I’m not doing it, and I don’t think it’s the right way for everyone. I want to talk about the positive side of not having to put on a show every day (or every week, or even every month) if you’re not the kind of person who can or wants to do that. Read more...

Do I need to register a trademark

Do I need to register a trademark with my logo and business name?

Selecting the perfect business name is a difficult process, and there’s nothing more demotivating than learning someone else has already registered your chosen name. Once you’ve found a name that is available and appropriate for your use, it’s a good idea to protect that name (and the logo graphic) so that your company is the only one that can use it. That’s what trademarks are for. Read more...

Creatives have a responsibility towards social justice

Creatives have a responsibility towards social justice + Colorful portrait drawing process

In today’s episode of Nela’s Art Chat, I’ll show you my process of drawing the ink and watercolor painting “I See Color”, while talking about a somewhat timely subject: how creatives can support social change, and why we should. Our talent and skills have power. We can use those powers to uphold the status quo, or we can use them to inspire and enact change. If you already aren’t convinced why we all need to take a more active role in our society, I hope this video will make you at least consider joining me and thousands of creatives across the world in this effort. Read more...

Stop comparing your art to others

Stop comparing your art to others + Winter fairy drawing process

There are positive and beneficial sides to comparing our work to that of other artists, and there are also plenty of drawbacks. In today’s episode of Nela’s Art Chat I’m drawing a magical winter fairy colored pencil portrait while talking about how to productively compare your art with others’ so you can learn from it, and how to change your mindset so you don’t fall into the black hole of hating your own work because it’s not “good enough”. Read more...

Sketchbook tour compilation - watercolor and mixed media

3 video sketchbook tour compilation: Watercolor & mixed media

In the past couple of weeks I've uploaded new recordings of my completed sketchbooks on YouTube, so I'm posting all 3 videos here for your viewing pleasure! The first two are small watercolor sketchbooks featuring seascapes, urban sketches, doodles, and mixed media experiments. The last one is a mixed media art journal featuring all kinds of experimental techniques and approaches to filling sketchbook pages. Read more...