Nela Dunato Art & Design Blog

Start looking for a designer before you need one

Avoid panic: Start looking for a designer before you need one

Every now and then a business owner inquires about my availability, and I have to turn down their project because they want me to start working on it immediately, which just isn't possible. Many business owners are very bad at planning, which is why they only think of looking for help at the very last minute. If you’re a business owner, it would be wise for you to be actively looking for potential people to hire all the time. Here’s why. Read more...

I royally screwed up

I royally screwed up.

Sometimes I get the feeling that people put me on a pedestal I don’t deserve to be on. I fear that if they knew of all my past and ongoing mistakes, they would change their mind about me, and wouldn’t want to be my friends or work with me ever again. But I’ve spent the past year teaching and mentoring intensely in different ways, and I’ve learned that what I’m most interested in is teaching by example. If I want others to feel safe about admitting to their mistakes, I need to do the same. So that’s what I’m doing right now. Read more...

Premium isn't luxury - myths about premium brands

“Premium” isn’t “luxury” & more myths about premium brands

Most people when they hear the words “premium brand” imagine a luxury brand: Cartier, Tiffany, designer clothes, vintage champagne, 95% fair trade cocoa chocolate with edible 24-karat gold flakes. You may be feeling this way about the word “premium”, too. But in truth, you may already be using premium products and services yourself, without even knowing it. Read more...

Design contests suck

Design contests suck. Don’t do them.

Every now and then a friend will forward me a post about a design or an illustration contest. I never apply. I never forward it to my colleagues, either. Not even when it’s my friends who organize the contest. I just won’t do it because I oppose the idea of contests in principle. Here’s why. Read more...

Why I start every day with personal creative practice

Why I start every day with personal creative practice

One of the reasons why I chose to be a freelancer instead of being an employee was to have more time for my personal art and other self-initiated projects. For at least half an hour (ideally a full hour) almost every morning I draw, paint or craft something that isn’t related to my clients or my business. I believe that prioritizing my creative practice benefits not only me, but my clients as well. Read more...

The hidden blocks of business growth

The hidden blocks of business growth (it’s not your mindset)

If you're anything like me, you've got too many projects you're working on in various stages of completion. There are many things you want to “get around to eventually” that you know would be helpful to your business. Contrary to popular opinion, success is not out of your reach because you don't know what to do. I know you do. There's something else at work here, and I'll tell you what it is. Read more...

9 marketing lessons from a natural marketer

9 marketing lessons from a “natural” marketer

My marketing was the most effective when I wasn't aware what I was doing is in fact marketing. I was completely oblivious to the concept, yet I did things right. Where did I learn that? I have no idea. My theory is that the best kind of marketing is indistinguishable from a regular conversation people have in real life. The same skills we use to get around in relationships are essential to any marketing endeavor. Read more...

Is perfectionism all bad

Is perfectionism all bad?

Perfectionism is badmouthed on blogs and social media all the time. It's a modern boogeyman that incapacitates many creative people. But is there a good side to it? Here's how to use the benefits of perfectionism, without letting it paralyze your progress. Read more...

Branding guidelines (style guides) demystified

Branding guidelines (brand style guides) demystified

If you’ve been exploring logo design services for your upcoming (re)branding project, or you’re learning how to design logos on your own, you’ve probably encountered the term branding guidelines, also called brand identity guidelines, branding manuals, or brand style guides. Branding guidelines are a document that contains a set of rules for how a brand will be visually represented through different media (printed, electronic, video, photography etc.) Read more...

Why I don't take career advice from anyone

Why I don’t take career advice from anyone

Throughout your life, people have probably told you “You're so good at X, you should be a [something].” If you’ve heard the same thing over and over again, maybe you’ve ended up believing that was what you should do. One thing that many people miss is that the idea of doing something is very different from actually doing something. Read more...

WordCamp 2016 sketchnotes

WordCamp Split 2016 Conference Sketchnotes

This past weekend I was a speaker at the WordCamp Split conference, and it was a great experience overall. I was taking a lot of notes during the lectures, since that's what I do at conferences, being the nerd that I am. People have responded to them so well, that I decided to also share them here. Read more...

How to make an impression at a big in-person event

How to make an impression at a big in-person event

In-person networking is a powerful way of making connections with potential clients. If you’re preparing for an upcoming event where you will meet new people, this post will help you pick your priorities, so you can turn your new connections into followers and clients. Read more...

An open letter to blogger outreach email senders

An open letter to blogger outreach email senders

I'm not a super popular blogger, but I get plenty of email pitches from people who want me to link to their stuff. (I can only imagine what it’s like for people whose readership is much bigger.) Today I've decided to get on my soapbox and tell all those marketers how I feel about their outreach campaign. Read more...

The kooky stuff I do to feel better when everything sucks

The kooky stuff I do to feel better when everything sucks

A big part of being human is running into things that make us feel sad, angry, helpless, betrayed, guilty, or any of the rich spectrum of the so-called “negative” emotions. Sometimes, things are just not good. And you’re allowed to not feel good. At the same time, we also don’t want to not feel good forever. We want things to get better. We want to get better. This is what this post is about – all the things I do to make myself feel better. Read more...

The vital elements of a premium brand

The vital elements of a premium brand

What makes a brand premium? What does premium even mean? Premium brands have value propositions that are so different from other products or services in the market, that the comparisons don’t make sense. This enables premium brands to charge 10 times or a 100 times more than their competitors, because they offer something that competitors can’t match. While it may seem like creating a premium brand would be more expensive, it actually doesn’t have to be. Read more...

Productivity tips for the incurably lazy

7 productivity tips for the incurably lazy

Productivity tips can only offer you so much. If blog posts could change your thought patterns and habits in an instant, I'd be a mix of Buddha and Neil Gaiman by now. We all know that if you want something to happen, you need to put in the work every day. It's so simple. For this reason I decided to tackle this topic from a different angle, one that is more geared toward understanding yourself and your reluctance to, you know, actually doing the friggin’ work. Read more...