Wednesday, November 26, 2014

5 Free Doodled Animal Wallpapers for Desktop and Phone

Happy happy Thanksgiving week. I hope you enjoy the long weekend, visiting family or spending time with friends.

Enjoy these freebies!


I absolutely love to doodle. I picked up the Paper by 53 iPad app recently, and I'm falling in love again. (Paper by 53 is a drawing app on the iPad with lots of fun tools. Chalkboard tutorial here and more Paper drawings here.)

Inspired by various illustrators, especially Dallas Clayton (thanks for the rec Kelly!), I made a series of silly doodled animals that I wanted to share with you.

Let's call them the overly polite, overly lovable creatures bunch.

5 Free Doodled Animal Wallpaper Backgrounds for Desktop and iPhone - HelloBrio.com

If you're feeling enthusiastic, you can add them all as desktop backgrounds and have them cycle through (I may or may not have done that).

There are high res desktop backgrounds and portrait sizes for iPhones for you below. I hope they make you smile as much as they do for me.

Free Doodled Bear Wallpaper Backgrounds for Desktop and iPhone - HelloBrio.comDownload Bear for DesktopDownload Bear for Mobile

Free Doodled Bird Wallpaper Backgrounds for Desktop and iPhone - HelloBrio.comDownload Bird for DesktopDownload Bird for Mobile

Free Doodled Bunny Wallpaper Backgrounds for Desktop and iPhone - HelloBrio.comDownload Bunny for DesktopDownload Bunny for Mobile

Free Doodled Mouse Wallpaper Backgrounds for Desktop and iPhone - HelloBrio.comDownload Mouse for DesktopDownload Mouse for Mobile

Free Doodled Squirrel Wallpaper Backgrounds for Desktop and iPhone - HelloBrio.comDownload Squirrel for DesktopDownload Squirrel for Mobile

Which animal is your favorite?

Resources: Thunderbolt display and rice paper texture by Medialoot.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Promote Your Posts on Twitter the Right Way

Blogging is a creative outlet. It's fun, personal, purposeful, provides connection and a sense of accomplishment. But blogging can also be a struggle, especially when you feel like you're speaking to typing at a blank wall.

While there are tons of ways to increase your blogging community, we can't forget about plain ol' social sharing. You may not feel comfortable with putting yourself out there, but let me break it to you: if you're blogging, you're already putting yourself out there. Give yourself a hand and do a little promotion.

In this post, I'll be talking about how to share your content on Twitter the right way, meaning:

  • More visibility
  • A higher chance of engagement (RT's, responses, clickthroughs)
  • Getting the best outcome out of the smallest amount of work

How to promote your posts on twitter the right way - Social Media and Content Marketing tips on HelloBrio.com

Create a Twitter Sharing Timeline


Several months ago, I was fortunate enough to come across an amazing post about a social sharing schedule.

You'll notice that this approach involves tweeting out the same blog post several times, but most importantly it talks about different messaging for each tweet.

How to Schedule Your Content Marketing Tweets the Smart way - HelloBrio.com

Work out the formula that will go best with your content. Whether you change the content or the schedule of your timeline is up to you. The 2 important things? Keep it to a schedule that you can accomplish for all of your posts and that you feel comfortable with. This is a great exercise in content marketing and copywriting.

Schedule Your Posts


With your timeline in hand, you've taken the guesswork out of how many times you should promote your post and what the content should be.

You can schedule your posts all at once with Tweetdeck, taking care to change times of day and the @mentions and hashtags you use.

Just a few weeks ago, Chrystina informed me that TweetDeck now allows for scheduled posts with images, so …

Tweet with Images. Always.


Tweets with beautiful and relevant images get higher visibility. In an oversaturated world, we're drawn more to pictures and other visuals that will help us summarize content or create intrigue to click through.

Recently Chrystina told me that TweetDeck now allows you to schedule tweets with images. Game. Changer.

Lesson here? Schedule every single tweet with an image. Vary your images used in your post and make sure they're tweet-worthy. (This will also condition you to use better and more images throughout your posts.)



Use a URL Shortener with Readable Words


Bitly.com offers link shortening customization for free. Therefore, a scraggly and scary bit.ly link can now look very pretty. For example, my recent hand lettering tutorial can be shared with the pretty link bit.ly/brushcalligraphy instead of something that looks like this bit.ly/1opfqx9.

Creating an account with Bitly will also allow you to see the number of clickthroughs on a particular shortened link, whether you share it on Twitter or elsewhere.

Hashtag, But Don't Overdo It


Hashtags are great, but can quickly look spammy. So instead of #hashtagging your #blog posts on #twitter like you're a #crazyperson, I recommend using one hashtag within the sentence of the tweet, and maybe one or two after the link, like this one that I posted recently:



Use @ Mentions Where Appropriate


Also, per the example above, mention the brand or person in one or two of your block of tweets, where it's appropriate.

Engage and Share


Last but not least, Twitter is only as good as what you put into it. Same goes for everything else, especially in the social media world. If you find yourself hating a social media platform, you may not be using it correctly. That's not to say that you need to use every platform available (heck, I deleted my Facebook page several months ago and don't regret it at all), but you need to commit to the ones you're going to use.

End social media rant.

So on Twitter, make sure to set aside time to share relevant content that isn't yours. Take 15 focused minutes every day to schedule a few tweets for articles that are relevant to what you blog about. Make sure to tag the author (you'll make new friends who will share your work!) and to include your two cents on the topic you're sharing. Don't just tweet out the title and the link.

Now You Can Tweet Like a Pro


So now you can tweet like a pro, with a time investment of maybe 15-20 minutes per day.

When you have a new post, schedule all of your posts with your timeline using Tweetdeck. Use hashtags and try different days and times of days. Mention brands or people where appropriate, and always use an image.

Then spend a few minutes each day or every other day scheduling posts by other bloggers that are relevant to your content.

Found this post helpful? Tweet my post and share your best Twitter tips below.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

How to Create Your Own Font Using Illustrator and Glyphs App

I have a very strong urge to write a post that would be dedicated to my love of typography and how creating my own font has been on my bucket list for years. Then I'd tell you that I sucked it up and finally dove in and I created my own font and it was bumpy and took a while, but I did it.

Welp, all of that did happen, and I'm extremely excited about it! But instead of my verbose and overly emotional post, I published a brief post earlier this week with a link to the free download.

Now, I'm going to help YOU learn how to create your own font and save hours of research and speed bumps. I spent a whopping 9 hours on this first font from sketch to export, and when I make fonts in the future it will take significantly less time, and I hope to save you time as well.

How to create your own font using Illustrator and Glyphs app - Tutorial on HelloBrio.com

Overall, here are the materials I used.


Sketch Each Glyph of Your Font


Because this was the first font I've ever done, I wanted to create something doodle-y that would fit in with my illustration aesthetic and would also be relatively quick to draw up and design.

I used graph paper, keeping in mind that my font would have 4 equal heights for the ascender, x-height, and descender.

I drew each letter carefully, redrawing letters and characters that I wasn't happy with.


Sketch each glyph of your font - How to create your own font using Illustrator and Glyphs app - HelloBrio.com

Redraw characters you aren't happy with - How to create your own font using Illustrator and Glyphs app - HelloBrio.com

Keep in mind your ascender, x-height, and descender - How to create your own font using Illustrator and Glyphs app - HelloBrio.com

It's up to you how many symbols and other characters you want in your font. I went back later and quickly added some special symbols.

Add in a bunch of extra symbols - How to create your own font using Illustrator and Glyphs app - HelloBrio.com

Scan and Digitize Your Work in Illustrator


After you have a set you're happy with, scan in your work. Sometimes even seeing it on the screen versus on the piece of paper can help you see which glyphs you need to redraw.

Depending on your preferred workflow, you may want to set up your Illustrator file in advance (next), or perfect your glyphs first. I prefer vectorizing first so you don't get caught up with bounding boxes. You can always make other tweaks later.

After you have your work scanned in, follow my steps for using Image Trace in Illustrator to get your glyphs to be individual vectors. Here's your chance to also clean up your work and smooth some bumpy lines with a tablet (follow these tips on how to use your Wacom tablet to smooth your work quickly).

Also, make sure to group each letter (especially those lower case i's and j's).

Set Up Your Illustrator File for Glyphs App


To make the transfer to Glyphs App easier later, it's best to set up your Illustrator file so that you can quickly copy and paste each glyph.

To do this, I found this video which helped me immensely. To set up your Illustrator file:

  1. Create one new file that is 1000x1000px
  2. Set your grid lines to be 100px with 4 subdivisions
  3. Each letter will be no more than 100px square, so each major block will be space for one letter. Move each letter to line up with the correct grid subdivisions. Set up your Illustrator file so that each grid line will have a different meaning from beardline to x-height to ascender and more - How to create your own font using Illustrator and Glyphs App - HelloBrio.com
  4. Repeat until your letters are positioned correctly.position each letter in your Illustrator file precisely - How to create your own font using Illustrator and Glyphs App - HelloBrio.com
  5. Draw a 100x100px box around each letter (no stroke or fill value). Use the move and copy tool (CMD+SHIFT+M) and repeat tool (CMD+D) to make sure each of these boxes are precise.
  6. Group each letter with its bounding box.
  7. Use the align tool to move all of your letters to the top-left position (so each corner lines up at 0,0)
  8. Select all of your items and then use Release To Layers (sequence) in the Layers window drop down.
  9. With all of your letters selected, resize them to 1000x1000px. Now each individual letter with its bounding box is on its own layer.
  10. Move up all of your letters and their bounding boxes up 750px (by typing -750px in the y axis field) to make it easier to copy and paste into Glyphs App in the next step.
  11. Save and open Glyphs!

Move Your Characters into Glyphs App


Now here comes the easier part. It's still a little tedious from here out but you're very close to finishing.

In Glyphs, set up your file (File → Font Info) so all of your glyphs are 1000 units per Em, and so your measurements are set up as so:

Glyphs Font Settings Ascender 750 Cap height 500 X-Height 250 Descender negative 250 - How to Create Your Own Font Using Illustrator and Glyphs App - HelloBrio.com

Add all of the numbers, symbols, and other pieces you want into your collection. When you're ready, start adding characters individually by double-clicking the character in Glyphs and pasting the character in from Illustrator.

After you paste from Illustrator, double click on the bounding box in Glyphs and delete the bounding box.

Copy each letter from Illustrator - How to Create Your Own Font Using Illustrator and Glyphs App - HelloBrio.com

Paste each letter into Glyphs and delete the bounding box How to Create Your Own Font Using Illustrator and Glyphs App - HelloBrio.com

Open and close each letter and symbol until you've copied and pasted each glyph from Illustrator.

When you're done, highlight all of your glyphs in the app (CMD+A) and change the LSB and RSB (left and right side bearing) in the bottom-left settings.

Export and Test Your Font


Export your font and dump it onto your desktop. Install it like you would any other font and play around with it in Photoshop and Word or similar applications. Take note of any letters that need to be moved or if one set of characters needs to be kerned differently.

At this point in the game, I was pretty excited. And I made this very boring-yet-fun image to post on Twitter:



Congratulations, You Made Your Very Own Font!


By this point, you may have your very own font! Things can only get better from here.

If you've never made your own font before but have been wanting to, I highly recommend just diving in. Get the first one "out of the way", per se, which can help you learn the workflow as well as learn things for future font design.

Make sure to download my free font if you haven't already.
Continue Reading …

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Free Hand Drawn Font: Sweet Pineapple

Bucket list item alert! I've created my own font. Finally!

There will be a tutorial on Saturday on how to create your own font using Illustrator and Glyphs App.

Until then, make sure to grab your copy: my font is now available for free on Medialoot.

Free hand drawn serif font by Jennifer Coyle for Medialoot - HelloBrio.com

This was beyond fun. Look for more fonts from me soon.
Continue Reading …

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How to Charge Your Clients for Creative Work

How to Charge our Clients for Creative Work - Freelance and Business Advice on HelloBrio.com

Recently, Sarah asked in the comments of a post:

Do you happen to have a post on how to price out commission works for clients?

I asked Sarah what type of work she does:

I work in production at a custom wedding/event business but recently I just hand lettered an entire invite suite (invite, guest info,RSVP) plus envelopes addresses, and then I also do seating cards, table numbers, food signs etc.

There are a couple of things to consider when charging your clients for creative work with deliverables (gah, what a corporate-y word, I apologize), whether it's digital or products for an event like a wedding, etc.

Things to consider


  • Your expertise.
  • How long you think it will take you.
  • How much materials will cost.
  • If you need to live off of this money.
  • How much others in your industry are charging.

These are all things that you need to take into account when you quote a client.

Most of my freelance client work is for websites and blogs, so I will only touch on cost of materials, but can say that any expense you have for your business (even if it's for computer design software or an invoicing service), you also need to factor those into your cost of materials.

I'm going to work backwards in the scheme of things to consider.

The best place to start is to see what others in your industry are charging

Looking to do calligraphy for wedding envelopes but have no idea where to start? Get networking. Research and see who offers services on their site. If they don't post prices on their services page, send them an honest email introducing yourself and saying that you're just getting started in the industry. While you can't expect a response from everyone you email, you will at least get a couple of emails in return and can go on from there. Keep your first email short and sweet and work to build a genuine relationship with these freelance mentors as time goes on.

Do you need to live off of your freelance income, or do you eventually want to be able to?

Charge accordingly (build in prices for your office space, electricity, monthly bills related to your business, etc). While this may set your prices much higher than folks looking to earn a couple of bucks, this will also subconsciously tell your client that you're serious about your work and where you want to take your craft.

How much will your materials cost?

Also make sure to build this into your price quote. Whether you choose to charge your client on a line-item basis (i.e. saying $10 for ink, and $3 per envelope, and $20 for nibs - I'm shooting in the dark on calligraphic pricing here) or choose to build materials into the lump sum, definitely take this into consideration, as well as your time and gas money spent getting to the store, etc.

How long do you think it will take you?


This item goes hand in hand with expertise. So: expertise. The thing you need to focus on most here is what you can deliver. The beautiful thing about freelance work is that you can learn a lot while on the job. If you really don't feel comfortable charging your client on an hourly basis because you know you'll be spending a larger proportion of time practicing or perfecting your workflow, then charge a flat rate. More on this below…

Value Based Pricing


Having charged clients on an hourly rate as well as a fixed project rate, I've often been unsure of which is better. In the beginning when I was learning as I was going, a flat rate was more reasonable for my clients. As I hit my stride, an hourly rate started to seem like a better idea. But now that I've been designing for quite a while, a flat rate is easily the best way to go.

Why? Because of value based pricing. For example: a client may want a website that will literally take you 3 hours to complete. You could charge your normal hourly rate of $50/hour which would be a very reasonable invoice of $150. However — If you charge them $1500, that may seem ridiculous, since you're ultimately getting $500/hour. But that website will generate something that is incredibly valuable to them: the website allows for them to have a branded web presence for customers to learn more about the company and the products they offer. So the value that you're handing them with their website is quite large, and needs to be charged accordingly. (Remember before when I mentioned that this type of pricing will subconsciously influence your level of professionalism?)

If you aren't convinced, listen to Sean McCabe's podcast about this.

Another vague but important thing I've learned along the way: don't send a quote unless it makes you a little uncomfortable to ask for that amount of money (especially if it's comparable with the research you've done).

Closing Thoughts on How to Charge Clients


The biggest takeaways:

  • Do your research and network
  • Think about where you want to take your freelance business
  • Think about how you want to be perceived

Getting started with pricing feels scary, but doesn't have to be. The right client will be flexible with you and will understand if it's your first commission. I've had clients come back to me saying that they wished to pay me more, or that the quote was too high. Again, the right client will work with you, because they are interested in what you can deliver.

How do you charge clients? What advice do you have for pricing?

Continue Reading …

Saturday, November 15, 2014

8 Beautiful Examples of Hand Lettering in Wedding Signage

Woo hoo! My dear friend Amy Faith got married to her beau Mike in September, and I was asked by her to do some lettering signage for the wedding. The photographer just published the photos and you can see a peek at the signs I created.

When asked to do these, I thought I had a handle on hand lettering and wedding signage. Well, really, I thought it was limited to invitation calligraphy, but a quick tour on Pinterest will show you that it's become so much more than that.

In today's roundup, I'm going to share some of my favorite hand lettered wedding signs I've come across.

But first, here's the my favorite design that I did for Amy and Mike. I had so much fun doing this for them and would love to experiment with different mediums, like chalkboards, painting on wood, and larger scales.

Wedding Bar Menu Hand Lettering and Calligraphy - Beautiful Examples of Hand Lettering in Wedding Signage on HelloBrio.com

Wedding Bar Menu Hand Lettering and Calligraphy - Beautiful Examples of Hand Lettering in Wedding Signage on HelloBrio.com

Wedding Bar Menu Hand Lettering and Calligraphy - Beautiful Examples of Hand Lettering in Wedding Signage on HelloBrio.com

Wedding in Calligraphy by Kristina


Wedding Directional Sign in Calligraphy - Beautiful Examples of Hand Lettering in Wedding Signage on HelloBrio.com

White calligraphy on a dark wood sign is clean and striking. This sign is a perfect example.

Almost There from Style Me Pretty


Almost there wedding signage - Beautiful Examples of Hand Lettering in Wedding Signage on HelloBrio.com

Style Me Pretty posted this Almost There sign. While it's a basic sign, the rustic wood and sunshine marbled paint has a youthful charm to it.

Wedding Party Chalkboard by Chirology


Wedding Party chalkboard - Beautiful Examples of Hand Lettering in Wedding Signage on HelloBrio.com

This beautiful sign by Clara blends traditional and non-traditional wedding lettering to create an amazing chalkboard hand lettered program.

Colorful Signs


Colorful Wedding Directional Sign - Beautiful Examples of Hand Lettering in Wedding Signage on HelloBrio.com

And on the other hand, while the white-calligraphy-on-wood aesthetic is really popular, I love to see when couples inject their personal style into signs. This cute, colorful and quirky sign featured on Ryan Ray's photography site is fun and playful.

Painted Calligraphy


Hand painted calligraphic wedding sign - Beautiful Examples of Hand Lettering in Wedding Signage on HelloBrio.com

Hand painted calligraphy like this always tugs at my heartstrings, and the idea to put it on fabric like a scroll is beautiful and much more affordable (and probably much easier to tote around and set up). This was also featured on Ryan Ray's site.

Instructional Signs


Instructional calligraphy wedding signs - Beautiful Examples of Hand Lettering in Wedding Signage on HelloBrio.com

These signs, by Birchtree Catering and photographed by Peach Plum Pear, go to show you how much important information can be portrayed through polite signs.

Escort Cards on Driftwood


Driftwood escort cards - Beautiful Examples of Hand Lettering in Wedding Signage on HelloBrio.com

Wow, perfect calligraphy on driftwood? Talk about a good take-home piece. These escort cards are the epitome of Shabby Chic.

Acrylic Neon Cocktail Menu (and DIY)


Acrylic Neon Cocktail Menu DIY by OhSoBeautifulPaper - Beautiful Examples of Hand Lettering in Wedding Signage on HelloBrio.com

This DIY by Oh So Beautiful Paper is a cool way to create signage that is unique and easy to match to your wedding's color scheme.

Have you come across really great hand lettering in wedding signage? Share your inspiration below.

Continue Reading …

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Home Workspace and Desk Tour

Creative At-Home Desk and Workspace Tour - HelloBrio.com

Early last week, I decided to rearrange parts of my apartment because I felt like a change of scenery would help with productivity. Whether or not that is just an old wives tale or not, I feel like it helped! Before, I had my desk floating in the middle of the room because of the window air conditioner, but since I took that out for the winter I wanted to move my desk closer to the windows again but not directly against the windows because of glare.

So now, having the desk against a wall makes the whole working experience feel more grounded. I've always been the type to want to work and live in "caves" as my mom puts it: small, dark and cozy places. If you're thinking of a dark room with a computer geek glued to the glowing light from her monitor, that's totally me.

I was inspired by Jade's recent desk tour post and wanted to share my new at-home work area. Enjoy!

Overall Workspace


All of the furniture is still the same in my apartment. I just moved stuff around.

This may be the messiest my desk gets. I always keep a clean desk otherwise I can get very distracted or just feel bogged down by stuff.

Creative Desk and Workspace Tour - HelloBrio.com

But when I took these photos, I was in the middle of a project (or two) and wanted to depict what my desk actually looks like at any given time.

Creative Desk and Workspace Tour - HelloBrio.com

To my left, I moved my punctuation collection over a kitchen cart that I had elsewhere in my studio before. It's helpful for me to have stuff that's pleasant to look at and is design-centric, but that doesn't feel overwhelming. (Except sometimes seeing my new ukulele has proven to contribute to my shiny object syndrome.

Creative Desk and Workspace Tour - HelloBrio.com

Desk Storage


I moved around some bins that I had in my desk-specific Expedit to the large Expedit's cubbies that were close to my desk.

I used to be so hardcore about a clutter-free work area that it became unproductive since I'd have to get up constantly to grab something I needed. Having my essentials within arm's reach is hugely helpful, including pens, office supplies, books and sketchbooks.

Creative Desk and Workspace Tour - HelloBrio.com

Creative Desk and Workspace Tour - HelloBrio.com

Creative Desk and Workspace Tour - HelloBrio.com

I hope you enjoyed my desk tour. I'd love to see a picture of your home workspace!


Creative At-Home Desk and Workspace Tour - HelloBrio.com
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