Nela Dunato Art & Design Blog

Is your business a bargain bin brand?

Is your business a bargain bin brand?

Have you ever stopped to analyze your brand objectively? And if so, what have you found?
Most business owners have no idea what their brand actually means for their bottom line. Nobody told them how people respond to design, and about the power of the first impression. In this article I wrote what I want business owners to know, and hope that with this knowledge, you will be equipped to make a decision that's best for you and your business (whether that means working with a brand designer or not). Read more...

When your passion becomes a chore

When your passion becomes a chore (My love-hate relationship with design)

My path hasn't been very straightforward, and I don’t see any signs of that changing... But one thing remained a constant for the past 15 years, and I wanted to write about it today – graphic design.
In this post I share the story of how I became a designer, what my first enthusiastic years were like, and how getting a job woke me up to a different reality. Good thing is, this story does have a happy end. Read more... website rebrand case study website rebrand case study

There is a term in the online business worlds called “website shame”. Many of us are very familiar with it. Perhaps you too have felt ashamed over how woefully inadequate your website was. Perhaps you cringed every time you gave the link to a potential client, because you were afraid it will ruin the great first impression they just had with you.
You wouldn’t believe it, but designers can feel the same way. I certainly felt like my website was not doing a good enough job of presenting my work for a loooong time.
Here’s an overview of my redesign process and the reasoning behind it. Read more...

6 signs you need a new logo

6 signs you need a new logo (and the story of my logo redesign)

Logo redesign is something most business owners would like to avoid, because it means having to change all your graphics and documents, and let's face it – it's a headache.
In this post I share my own experience of going through this process, and 6 very compelling reasons why you might want to consider it as well. Read more...

Sketchbook adventures: Summer lettering fun

Sketchbook Adventures: Summer Lettering Fun

I thought it would be fun to share some of my sketchbook explorations here more often, just like I did with my sketchbook flip video. Today I want to share a peek into my lettering practice. This post is very photo heavy and contains lettering from a couple different sketchbooks. Read more...

Everything I know about depression

Everything I know about depression

Six months ago, I could not have even fathomed that I would ever feel this good again. Six months ago I wasn’t able to imagine a brighter future or what would it take for me to reach it. Six months ago I was at my lowest of lows since 2008, and the years in between weren’t exactly Disneyland. Six months ago I was wondering, “what if this is the real me, and what if the happy, content me was a fake? What if there’s no way for me to ever feel better because that’s just my melancholic nature?” You may be wondering why I feel so compelled to write about depression, on my art and business blog no less? Read more...

Free Authentic Promotion Guidebook

Create content marketing that matters in less time

Do you feel like you spend so much time on social media, and it's giving you little to no results? Are you feeling overwhelmed with all the choices and advice, and you have no idea who to listen to and what will actually work for you? If so, I have an important message for you: Stop wasting your time online and share your work where it really matters Read more...


5 ways to use meditation as a productivity technique

If I were to choose one secret weapon that helps my productivity more than any other, I'd have to say it's meditation. I know, it sounds weird to associate meditation – the epitome of non-doing – with productivity, which is all about doing, but if you think about it a little, it actually makes perfect sense. Meditation and action are polar opposites, but as with any opposites, one cannot exist without the other. We need the state of non-doing in order to be able to define doing, and vice versa. Meditation acts like a reset button on those thoughts, and enables me to get the most out of my time. Here are 5 ways meditation can boost your productivity. Read more...

Fairy Day art show - Nela and Karin

International Fairy Day art show

This Saturday, June the 20th, was the opening reception to a group art show called "Visions from the Fairy Realm" featuring art by me and a fellow fantasy illustrator Karin Bogdanic. Here are some photos from the show opening. Read more...

Beginner's Guide to Design Services

Beginner’s Guide to Visual Design Services

New business owners get overwhelmed with all the options when it comes to professional presentation. Additionally, each type of design service is a special beast with its own science behind it, and people often specialize in one area. In this guide I give an overview of the most common visual design services for small businesses, and you'll be able to tell if you need it right now or may need it later, and how much to budget for it. Read more...

Planning vs intentions - qualities

The real reason you suck at planning (my ADHD-friendly anti-planner)

You know how it goes. You come up with a brilliant idea for a project you want to bring to fruition. You break it down into phases and tasks, and create a foolproof action plan with deadlines when everything needs to get done by. And then weeks and months go by, and you're constantly running behind. You move things around and postpone them, and then postpone again and again. 'What the hell is wrong with me?!' you think to yourself, despairing. You have no clue why those Other People seem to have it all together and follow through on their goals. Life would be so much easier if you could just stick to your plan and do the things you wanted to do within the deadlines you set. Read more...

Artist in a world of commerce

How to be an artist in a world of commerce

I imagine that a lot of people reading this are artists that either have a job in a creative field, or have a business that relies mostly on creative services. On the surface, it sounds like the best possible way to live as an artist, right? Here you are, doing the stuff other people would kill for. But there are days when you realize it's not as shiny as it seems on the outside. Read more...

What does it mean to be professional?

What does it mean to be professional?

Popular marketing advice for small business owners is to be authentic and transparent online. But some of us who may be careful about what we put out in public are asking ourselves the question: is too much authenticity unprofessional? That's a valid question. After all, we grew up in a society that generally shuns authenticity like the plague, and showing our true self to the world feels extremely risky. Read more...

How to deal with a crazy influx of ideas and keep them organized

How to handle a crazy influx of ideas and keep them organized

Some people say ideas are worthless without execution. Others say ideas are the currency of the future. You, however, seem to have a problem cashing in on this currency because you have more ideas than you know what to do with — it's both a blessing and a curse.
While I don't have a magic pill that will stop this craziness (and honestly, we wouldn't want to stop it), having a system to manage our wealth of ideas helps a lot.
Here are my suggestions how to handle this 'problem'. Read more...

My Top 5 Tips For Preventing Time Suck

My Top 5 Tips For Preventing Time Suck & Increasing Productivity

If you were to examine how you spend your time, you'd realize that a lot of it is wasted on activities that don't really bring you joy and fulfillment, but you're doing them over and over again because they became a habit. I'll show you how I make sure that when I sit down to do something for my work or personal projects, I stay focused. Learn the 5 ways you can create the ideal conditions for focus and creative flow. Read more...

Sing Me Of Better Times painting process

Painting process: Sing Me Of Better Times watercolor painting

I realized I haven't shared any of my creative processes in a while, so I decided to share some work-in-progress photos of my latest watercolor painting, Sing Me Of Better Times. This is not intended as a how-to by any means and I'm not describing every step in detail, but I hope it will still provide some value to you. Read more...

Client Collaboration

How To Write A Design Brief And Be A Glorious Client

Often when I'm talking with new clients about their goals for the branding or website design project, they half-apologetically say something along the lines of 'I'm not sure what I want in terms of design'. What they really wonder is, how do I convey my ideas to a designer if I'm not a visual type? I'm telling you that you don't need to worry about that. Read more...

Sketching toolkit

What’s in my sketching toolkit?

Let's welcome the new outdoor sketching season with a little art supplies geekout! I'm always voyeuristically scavenging blogs and Pinterest to see what sketching tools other artists are using. I've only mentioned my sketching kit once before on this blog, so I decided to create a post about this topic alone. Read more...