Nela Dunato Art & Design Blog

A dialogue about art, narcissism and Vincent van Gogh

A dialogue about art, narcissism & Vincent van Gogh

After watching the movie “Loving Vincent”, my partner asked me: are artists narcissists because they want others to appreciate their art? I thought others may wonder about that as well, so I'm sharing our dialogue and the explanation I gave him on this matter. Read more...

Consistency in visual branding shouldn't be boring

Consistency in visual branding shouldn’t be boring

When you’re a creative person, you’re naturally pulled towards new things, experimenting, and reinventing yourself. Doing things consistently and predictably sounds like a total chore. Is this resistance to “being stuck in a box” preventing you from being consistent in your branding? If so, this post it for you. Read more...

Devoted to wholeness instead of pursuing success

Devoted to wholeness instead of pursuing success

A rare person can say “Look at all these things I’ve accomplished, now it’s time I take a well deserved break.” There’s always more to achieve. There’s always a way to become better, and to make a bigger impact. It’s my belief now that pure discipline in the service of success doesn’t lead to a life well lived. Read more...

Dream Clients - Myth or Reality

Dream Clients: Myth or Reality?

Dream clients are actual human beings who have bought your services, and you freakin’ love working with them. Graduating from so-so clients to dream clients takes time, but once you get there, you experience a level of ease and joy in your business that nothing else can replace. Read more...

The The Human Centered Brand book

“The Human Centered Brand” book is out!

Whether you’re a writer, lawyer, illustrator, designer, developer, dentist, psychotherapist, coach, marketing consultant, hair stylist, jewelry designer, painter, creative agency owner, musician, bookkeeper… the methods described in this book will help you express yourself naturally in your business and grow authentic relationships with your clients. Read more...

Save time, money and frustration in your business with a brand style guide

Save time, money & frustration in your business with a brand style guide

The greatest time-saving trick of all time that I’ve discovered is having everything written down and accessible wherever I go. There are so many things you could (and in my opinion, should) have written down, and this includes the brand style guide: a document containing your brand elements and assets, so you can review and share them with your team. Read more...

Improve your business and brand with a client journey map

Improve your business & brand with a client journey map

In this article, I share a practical technique I teach in my workshop for freelancers and agencies, called the client journey mapping. This method is useful not only for your branding efforts, but has all sorts of other benefits as well. It enables you to see your business with fresh eyes, patch holes in your client process, and create a delightful client experience. Read more...

Human Centered Branding - Filling the Gap between Personal and Corporate Branding

Human Centered Branding: Filling the Gap between Personal & Corporate Branding

Most books on branding are focused on corporations and startups, and require you to implement a bunch of different elements and tools. Then there are books that talk about personal branding. These seem better for the average consultant, but what if you have employees? Is there something else out there for a business like yours? I asked myself the same question, and when I didn’t find it, I decided to create it. Read more...

Help me spread the word about my new book

I made a new thing! Here’s how you can help.

In case you still haven't seen one of my dozen announcements, I wrote and self-published a book called The Human Centered Brand, which is coming out on July 30th 2018. I've been working on this book for 18 months (just the book—I've been creating this body of work for much longer than that), so you can imagine it's a pretty big deal for me. Like, possibly the biggest deal since starting my own business. If you want to help me spread the word about this book, read this post. Read more...

How to stay motivated while working on long-term projects

How to stay motivated while working on long-term projects

Working on long-term goals is hard. Our brains are not exactly wired for it—we carry biases that undermine our efforts to become successful at whatever we’ve chosen to do. If we want to achieve something bigger than we’ve ever accomplished before, we need to support ourselves better because willpower alone is not enough. Here are the methods I’ve used to overcome my own unproductive patterns and self-publish my book. Read more...

How to encourage constructive feedback in design

How to encourage constructive design feedback (video)

Tired of hearing things like “Make my logo bigger” or “I don't like that blue color” from your clients? Here's what designers and project managers can do to encourage constructive and useful feedback that will make your designs better. This is a video recording and transcript of the talk I gave at the Project Management Zagreb Meetup on February 14, 2018. Read more...

If you love your work, charge more.

If you love your work, charge more.

Often people that do administrative, service or technical jobs think that creative careers are glorified hobbies, and make derogatory remarks about them. Dismissing the specialized skills creative people bring to the marketplace is harmful and unfair. In this article, we'll dissect this pervasive myth that people who love their work shouldn't charge for it. Read more...

Business tips for people who have too many passions

Business tips for people who have “too many passions”

Having multiple passions is wonderful—you never get bored, and the world looks full of options. What could you do with your career? Who could you be? So many possible answers to that question. It's exciting! But it's also challenging. Multi-passionate folks aren't held in high regard by anyone but ourselves, it appears. In this post, I'm sharing tips for overcoming challenges that multi-passionate people experience, based on my own 13+ years of work experience as a creative professional. Read more...

What if people think my idea is stupid?

What if people think my idea is stupid?

Too many creative projects never see the light of day because their creators fear that their idea is stupid. This is a tragedy. Creating anything is an emotionally vulnerable experience that makes us question everything. I’m not immune to this, and neither are artists whose work I follow. If you’re experiencing this problem as well, in this post I share my thoughts on overcoming this mental block so you can finish and publish your thing. Read more...

Step by step hand-lettering process: “Moonlight”

Step by step hand-lettering process: “Moonlight”

In my quest to improve my lettering skills, I do practice projects for fun. Some of these assignments are based on the book "The ABC of Custom Lettering" by Ivan Castro, which I thoroughly recommend. Check out my latest step by step lettering project: from calligraphy, to sketch, to vector and Photoshop artwork. Read more...

The Ethical Impact of Your Creative Business

The Ethical Impact of Your Creative Business

“Voting with your money” is a way of demonstrating your values though your purchases. Choosing to buy from family-owned, local, eco-friendly, ethical businesses instead of predatory corporations is a small, but important way of making a positive impact. As a business owner or an independent artist, you have another way of making an impact: choosing carefully who you sell or give your time to. Read more...

From art block to a new art series

From art block to a new art series: Notes from navigating my creative process

Writing about art for me is writing about my process—not only the physical process of painting or drawing, but the process that happens in my mind, because that’s where most of the struggle is. In that spirit, this article isn’t a how-to, and it isn’t focused on technique—I’m documenting my thoughts here like I would in a journal. Learn how I managed to get over my crippling self-doubt and started painting with joy again. Read more...

How designers and clients benefit from long-term relationships

How designers and clients benefit from long-term relationships

There are businesses who seem to burn through creative talent faster than their dirty socks. And then there are business owners who stick with their creative service providers for years, recommending them to anyone who will listen. The latter one is just beautiful when it happens. You can’t force it, but you can do your best to encourage it—whether you’re a client or a freelancer. Read more...

6 branding myths that may be holding back your business

6 branding myths that may be holding back your business

Small business owners who look up to big corporations to show them how branding is done are left believing in a myriad of misconceptions, and some downright lies. Here are the myths that may be holding you back from designing a human-centered brand that creates a lasting impact. Read more...

Is there such a thing as “too much content”?

Is there such a thing as “too much content”?

“If you don’t make content, people won’t pay attention. If you don’t post frequently, people will forget about you. If you don’t follow through with a commitment, people will think you’re flaky and won’t listen to a thing you say anymore.” I've heard this from so many people, and sometimes I repeated it. Now, I'm not so sure it's a message I can stand behind. Read more...