Speeddating at #printmechrostin

Speeddating at #printmechrostin

Christina De Witte aka Chrostin has gained some serious street-credibility as the weekly cartoonist of Flair, but mostly because she's a big hustler and one of the most inspiring women I know. She recently partnered up with HP for her own event #printmechrostin at Firma in Vilvoorde.

The concept was basically a split between a Chrostin expo, a chance to meet new people, and to give young (wo)men the chance of speeddating so-called powerladies (ladybosses, bossbabes, girlbosses if you will) to ask advice about topics such as starting your own business or creativity. Guess what... I was invited to be one of the powerladies! I was really honoured and excited, and flabbergasted by how everyone was so interested in my answers to their questions.

Every powerlady had her own little fancy corner to welcome the guests and even a Chrostified portrait. The other powerladies: Jessica De Block (Antwerp Avenue), Amy Vandeputte (Fastforwardamy), Ilona Lodewijckx (Fille Folle), Yasmine Schillebeeckx (freelance journalist) and Crystal Die (make-up artist). Such a blessing to meet these inspiring women.

Thanks for inviting me Christina! 



More pictures on Chrostin's Facebookpage.

The importance of tone of voice in branding


Let it sink in for a minute how many times you hear or read something in one day.

Go to the supermarket and try to notice everytime a message tries to reach you. You'll probably also be amazed by the amount of fucks you don't give for those messages, except for the brands that you choose to be a fan of.

To determine your ideal customer is to determine how you're going to talk to them. In the midst of that storm of information, you want to find your customer who'll listen to your unique message. There are most certainly a number of brands that you like for some reason. Think about one, and then think about the language they use to approach you as a customer. Is it soft, happy, short but powerful? Does it make you feel beautiful, welcome, amused or in for a treat?

In order to determine your own tone of voice, first list the preferences of your ideal customer. What does he or she need in his or her life? For instance, if you're a beautician, you want them to feel beautiful and that they deserve to treat their body well. If you're a funny beautician, you can also throw in some humour. Your tone of voice should be clear, but also personal and not unnatural.

Try writing down a little tone of voice manifest and make a few posts as an exercise. Have a little trouble finding your tone of voice? I'd love to help out!


Why a car is the perfect metaphor for branding yourself

I always use a car as a great example to compare or explain to clients what branding actually is. It's like a car, almost in every single detail.

The steering wheel is your strategy, the body is your business card and the brand is your logo or image. 

To some people, a car just has to bring them from A to B and they don't really care what brand it is or how it looks. That's perfectly fine of course. Other people, however, see a car as a reflection of how they see themselves. They want a fancy car, because they want people to think about them as a fancy person. Or they want a sportscar so that people think they're fast and on top of their game. Sometimes, it's just plain bragging of course.

But the most expensive car is not always the best for you. If your branding feels and shows 'Porsche', you will get the kind of people that would buy a Porsche. But maybe, that's not the kind of people you like to work with. If you're IKEA, you don't want to look like Porsche because everybody will think your stuff is expensive. Maybe your crowd is more of an Audi crowd, or Volkswagen fits your personality better. 

I'm not saying that a cheap look should also be a bad look, though. It should just be more subtle and accessible. HEMA's branding is also a great example of that. 

So here's something interesting to consider: what car are you? What car is your business? Do they match?

What La La Land teaches us about starting a business

What La La Land teaches us about starting a business

Although La La Land is just a movie (and an awesome one), I noticed some things that could help when considering what's important in growing a business. Or basically anything you want to achieve. I don't want to be too serious about the reference but it's a great way to explore my insights.

1. Be authentic

When Seb dreams about opening his own jazzclub, he wants to call it Chicken On A Stick and turn that into his concept. Ironically, he hates The Van Beek that does Samba-and-tapas because it's too absurd. He seems to be serious about Chicken On A Stick though, but Mia gives him the advice to just call it Seb's and get rid of the fuzzy stuff. Seeing that Seb himself is a rather serious guy and even a little tormented about the whole jazz thing, it's a far better choice to keep it simple. Not only will Seb's attract a lot more audience, the chances he will get tired of his own concept will be far less. Stay true to your core and you'll grow an audience that stays true to you.

2. Kill your darlings

When Seb dreams about opening his own jazzclub, he wants jazz to revive and make young people listen to it again. When Keith asks him to join his pop/r&b/jazz band, he doesn't like the music and wants to stay pure to jazz. So Keith asks him "How are you going to change if you're afraid of revolution?". Although this band does something completely different than jazz to my ears, the message kind of makes sense. It might not fully be his thing, but after a few years of touring and becoming famous with this band, he opens his own jazzclub. So in order to get ahead in life, sometimes you just have to let go of wanting to pursue your passion so much and explore. Otherwise, you can get pretty stuck and the only way to pursue your passion is by doing. Don't wait for it to happen. 

3. Learn to fail

Mia does thousands of auditions before she gets to the one that'll change her life. But right before that one, she thinks about quitting. She uses past bad experiences to define she's not talented. She's frustrated and even thinks about giving up her dream because of all these failures. The truth is, the more you learn to fail, the more you'll actually win. Failing a thousand times first makes winning after that so much more satisfying. Learn to lose like it's the same as winning!

4. Don't underestimate the power of marketing

Mia gets tired of all the auditions and decides to write and organise her own play. While trying to gather an audience, she e-mails everyone without using BC (let's pretend for a second this movie was real, ok guys?) which is really not done. The thing that actually is positive here is that she wants to reach everyone personally. But NEVER send mass emails (they might as well end up in spam). I'm guessing her marketing game in general wasn't really on point. I didn't see her shout it off of rooftops, hand out flyers or make a Facebook event. So if you don't care too much for marketing and no one shows up, don't be so surprised. 

5. Don't let numbers define your success

Mia's show suffers from low attendance. While this might be the consequence of her poor marketing, she gets her one big audition because of 1 woman who actually was part of the audience. So there could've been 500 people, but it might not have happened if it wasn't for that one woman. Never let any social numbers define how your business is doing. Social numbers that is, because other numbers like income are, of course, very important. But if your revenue isn't on point yet, definately don't presume it'll grow just by letting any social followers grow either. You're more in control than you think.

Adobe Project Felix: short review

My first test in Project Felix, made in approx. 5 minutes

My first test in Project Felix, made in approx. 5 minutes

Lately I've been training myself to get better in 3D illustration and I'm also experimenting with implementing 3D techniques into my flat, 2D graphic design. Next to that, I'm always curious to see if the seemingly endless spectrum of apps in Creative Cloud could actually add value to any process of my work.

An interesting event during these simultaneous quests is the release of Project Felix, a new Adobe app (in Creative Cloud) that melts 3D models into 2D images. The main goal is to optimise the production of product advertising. But I always like to find a way to use anything for artsy purposes.

I'm always a bit skeptical about new apps though. It sounded like it was all gonna look flat and fake. But to be honest, I was surprised by the quality and possibilities. Even if right now they're very limited.

Project Felix is a very interesting piece of software if you want to learn some basic principles of 3D design. It could even be used as a tool to learn children the basics of 3D modelling. But beware; don't let yourself get too enthousiastic about the 3D part. Yes, there's 3D models out of the box and you can import both free and premium models, but the whole 3D part basically has to be finished before you get it into Project Felix. It does what it says, finding the most realistic blend of 3D and 2D, nothing more and nothing less.

Next to the usual little hickups in a new app there's nothing dramatically wrong with it. I'm curious to see what this app will grow out to be, but for now I hope they'll optimise the rendering process. The app works great on my Macbook Air, but the rendering is still too heavy so that I couldn't get the top image of this post any better than this. Knowing that I could pull it off in Cinema 4D (even though still kinda slow), I hope this will be the first thing that gets better in Project Felix.

Conclusion/this app is great for:
— Combining a 3D model of a product with a real-life-shot environment.
— Graphic designers who have no experience in 3D and want to get to know 3D models, without immediatelly diving into 3D modelling.
— Making fast 3D prototypes that later need detailed modelling.