To remain authentic in a world that thrives on social media popularity, rapidly growing businesses, and viral fame, it is imperative that we constantly reflect on our beginnings - our “where,” our “why,” and and our “how.” True passion holds story at it’s core, and the very expression of our stories can become the reason clients relate and gravitate toward working with us. As our creative journey unfolds and we grow from where we started, our “why” constantly evolves. When our “whys” take new shapes, our process can be directly affected. This talk sheds light on how to look inward at the fire inside for a creative life, why we should never settle, and, most importantly, the great significance of our stories.
If you’re building your own design studio, Tara Victoria is someone you’ll want to pay close attention to. As a graphic designer, she’s run the typical route – graduate school, freelance, big agency work, small agency work – ultimately to realize that where she really wanted to be was at home, running her own design shop and working for herself. Tara is the founder of Hatch & Harbour Design Studio in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where she specializes in branding and print media as she works with small businesses that have a big passion to create lasting and meaningful brands. Tara is also the author of a widely-read blog that focuses on design and fitness, two of Tara’s favorite things.
Tara is doing what we all long to do: running a design studio on her terms, and all from her perfect place to live. She has built an amazing body of work over the past 8 years and is living proof that you don’t have to live in NYC or SF to do great work and get noticed. Tara is coming to Web Afternoon to teach us how to follow in her footsteps, and to share insights she’s learned along her journey toward running her own shop.
Tara, most people know you’re a designer and a photographer, but many don’t realize you’re a successful blogger as well. Tell us about your blog, and its growth.
I started my blog in 2012, as a sort of creative outlet for myself. I was stuck in a miserable job, and I needed to work on something for ME. Since its start, the blog has grown tremendously, almost taking on a life of its own — I definitely wasn’t expecting this kind of growth. It started off as a lifestyle and design blog, and over the last three years it’s morphed into more of a design and fitness blog. An added bonus? I’ve added a lot of design clients as a direct result of them connecting with me via my blog.
You’re so highly respected in the design community, and we’d love to hear a bit about the way you work. Can you take a moment and describe your creative process?
Oh, wow, that’s an interesting question. In terms of my branding process (branding is my specialty), I typically begin by interviewing my client so I can get to know his/her needs. I send over a Client Questionnaire, and their answers help me learn more about the business, goals, and brand vision.
The next step in my process is to build a mood board. It’s a critical part of the process because I use it as a checkpoint to make sure the client is happy with the direction we’re headed.
From there I’ll create several potential logo ideas, a few of which the client will select to be built out. Once the final logo is selected, it’s revised until we’re satisfied. It’s at this point that we build out the rest of the brand (because creating a brand is so much more than simply designing a logo): styled photography, hand lettering, custom icons, illustrations, and any deliverables.
What are some questions you ask when you’re considering taking on a new project?
When someone comes to me for help with branding, I really want to know if they understand the importance of the branding process as a whole. A brand is not just a logo; it’s so much more. I explain my own process, and if they understand and want to move ahead, then it’s a go. I’ve also learned over the years that I need to trust my gut. I have a pretty good feel at this point for whether or not a client and I will work well together.
What industry sites/blogs to you read regularly?
What apps do you use daily?
Do you have a favorite design tool?
Hands down, it’s Adobe’s InDesign. Love it, love it, love it!
Who are some of your design heroes?
Do you have a celebrity doppleganger?
Some people have said I look like Anne Hathaway. So…yeah.
If you had amnesia and then were cured, would you remember that you forgot?
Gosh, I hope so. I think so, actually. I’m pretty sure it happened in my soap opera once!