Nela Dunato Art & Design Blog

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...

Why I don’t teach business owners how to design their own logos

Why I don’t teach business owners how to design their own logos

Let’s not beat around the bush: my design services are not cheap. I wouldn’t call them “expensive”, but for the majority of people who might benefit from them, they’re currently out of reach. I don’t have a problem with that, as there are different designers that offer logos at different price points, so hopefully everyone can find one that’s ideal for them. But there's a huge gap between people who read my articles and enjoy my free resources, and the few people who can actually invest in my services. If I want to assist those who cannot yet afford my help in a deeper way than blog posts or free classes can achieve, I need a more affordable range of products. Read more...

Is your logo sending the right message?

Is your logo sending the right message?

Brand design has a secret language: visual language. A logo has many roles in your business, and perhaps the most important of them is communicating your main brand message to your audience. In this post, I explain how visual design works, and list 4 types of brand messages you can create for your business. Read more...

The making of Santa Muerte photomanipulation

The making of “Santa Muerte” photomanipulation

I loved digitally editing photographs since I was a teenager. It grew into elaborate collages that required a lot of painting to get everything look like a part of the same image. Today, I'll show you how my last piece “Santa Muerte” has evolved from the original photograph, to a final composition that included collage, painting as well as vector drawing. Read more...