Nela Dunato Art & Design Blog

What is a unique value proposition

What is a unique value proposition & how to create one

Your unique value proposition is a statement of how your business solves the customer’s problem in a unique way – what differentiates your business from thousands of others in the world who are attempting to do the same. Finding it may be one of the most challenging aspects of branding and marketing. In this post, I offer tips on how to do that. Read more...

Struggling with your brand strategy - Start here

Struggling with your brand strategy? Start here.

If you had to figure out your brand strategy right now would you be able to do it? Would you know which steps to follow to get to a coherent brand that is easy to maintain for you, and attractive to your ideal clients? If your answer is “No”, or “Maybe”, or “Uhhh, I’m not sure...” that’s OK, because today we’ll get that confusion out of the way. Read more...

My favorite things in 2016

My favorite things in 2016

We can probably all agree on one thing: 2016 sucked. Hard. A whole bunch of terrible things happened around the world (of which celebrity deaths are the least problematic). Let's send it away with a “Whooosh!” and hope that better things are around the corner. To celebrate the pleasant things I've experienced in 2016, here's a little list of books, music, movies, places, art supplies, articles and videos that made my year more delightful. Read more...

7 ways a logo can make your business better

7 ways a logo can make your business better

Many people don’t use their logos to their full potential. Then there are others who commission a logo expecting that it will somehow magically fix their business and increase their sales. We have to talk about what logos can realistically achieve for your business, and what they can’t. Read more...

Watch my talk: End Design Revision Hell

Watch my talk: End Design Revision Hell (video)

Design is easy to see, and this makes it an easy target to shoot down by anyone and everyone. Bad design process leads to many problems, such as matters of personal taste determining the outcome of the project, and endless revisions that postpone the website launch date. In this talk you'll learn the two biggest mistakes designers and other freelancers make in their process, and how to fix them so your design concepts get accepted faster. Read more...

Quiz: What stage is your brand in?

Take the quiz: What stage is your brand in?

If you're having trouble finding branding advice that's perfect for you in the forest of information that's available out there, I've created a free tool that will help you get tailored advice based on where you're currently at. Take this fun quiz and learn how to grow your brand into the next stage! Read more...

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...