Why it took a year to develop our new site

As some of our closest friends know, we have been working on our site for about a year.

Sounds crazy right? Yep it is.

You’re probably thinking, Carly, you make websites for a living how can it take so long? The problem is it’s so hard to design for yourself. It’s so easy to be critical and analyze everything and lose yourself in the design process. Most designers know the challenge of designing for themselves, it’s 300% times more personal, vulnerable and harder.

We continually found ourselves saying, “We’re working on our site, it’s almost done.” Well, that “almost done” phase lasted a couple months, because we kept working on it, wanted it to be the best that it could be. (Notice I didn’t say “perfect”, because that’s never possible in design! haha)

So our hard work continued, however, as most entrepreneurs know, your own work comes last because you’re always working and focused on clients projects.

When push came to shove, I knew it was time! I’ve spent a long time knowing our site could be so much better. While I kept getting compliments on my site, we knew it wasn’t bad, but we felt ashamed knowing how much better it could be. This year we celebrated 4 years in business and we knew it was time to level up. We wanted to show off how we’ve evolved over the years with the launch our new site.

So Carly, why did it take so long?

Since we started developing our new site, we had a couple things that held us up. One, it was hard to find the time to work on our site. We always put our clients first. Client work takes priority and sometimes that means setting our own development aside.

Secondly, we were lacking the confidence in writing our copy and how to market ourselves. Just like it’s hard to design for yourself, it’s also hard to write for yourself!! We know Sprout, we know who we are, but it was hard to put it into words. We spent a long time putting off the hard stuff (writing about ourselves) and procrastinating with other little design details (because that’s what we love). Finally, we realized we just have to be ourselves and it will be authentic, real, and informative.” It was so important that it sounded casual as if I was chatting with a friend. (Hopefully, that’s the case!) So in the end, all we needed to do was sit down, write, and be ourselves.

After tackling those 2 obstacles, we found ourselves nearing the end, and finally wrapping things up. And man, it feels good!

We are so happy with how it turned out and feel like it really speaks to who we are and shows the growth that Sprout Studio is all about.

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Now – its time to celebrate!

We’re pumped to have you here to explore the new site! Do you love the new site?

Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide

We are a huge advocate of shopping local this holiday season. So to celebrate the holiday season we’ve put together an incredible list of 10 ideas to put on your christmas list or to give to others. Our list is comprised of local entrepreneurs selling fantastic goods (things you’ll probably want year round). Please take some time to look at the list and if you’re interested in buying, which you probably will be, all the information is included.

 

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Our first artist on the list is The Felt Whisperer. The name says it all! She makes the most fantastic gift bringing a new life to this childhood crafting essential. All her work is carefully crafted and looks so great. Jessica, the woman behind the brand, makes the most adorable wreaths, the white and gold “Joy” is my absolute favorite. She so makes homemade sock puppets (SO CUTE!) and these custom Pennants. I featured this “HOME” one because we’re featuring our #shoplocal theme, but she also makes colorful ones custom to your desired name. Check out her etsy shop because there’s so many cute gift ideas to purchase there.

 

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Pottery holds a special place in my heart because I was very into ceramics in high school. And my teacher (Shout out to Mr. Losey) had a major influence on the person I am today. Mostly because he went to UW-Stevens Point and suggested it as I was looking for colleges to pursue my graphic design education… I will spare you all the details which I will save for a later post, but needless to say, I went there and it was the best thing in my life and would recommend it 150%.
But anyways!! Imago Dei Pottery is creating some gorgeous work! She’s creating these stunning pieces out of her garage! Huge props to her and her work. They have so many fun options on their etsy page. I want one of everything. How incredible is that hanging succulent planter? I also was excited to feature her ring holders which are so nice, and for the holiday they almost look like little christmas trees. Very chic.

 

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I’m guessing that a lot of my followers are into art, well, US TOO! This gift will be perfect for you! DVINci Box is a local startup subscription box where you get everything you need for an art project in the box. An art class at the convenience of your own home? That sounds pretty fantastic! The pricing offers a few different options and you can buy based on herself, or get a group together to work on it. Ladies Night Anyone?

 

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Okay… These tees are one of my favorites. The different designs from ReKindled will make you wanting one of each. As a continuation of the fun ReKindled spirit, these shirts not only sport unique sayings, but they were also designed to look and feel “vintage”. The cotton/poly blend provides an amazingly soft and comfy feel. I LOVE the “Dream Bigger” one, this is something I always think about with my business AND my personal lifestyle. She’s just starting out and taking orders through Facebook, so be sure to contact her today.

 

Shop Small Gift Guide-02How great are these designs from The Tin Owl?! This is such a fun way to incorporate the vintage grudge of these old license plates with a modern chic style. I will most certainly be getting a Wisconsin design for my home. They sell all the designs in all the states, in case you’re interested in another state. The designs can also be found on different products, such as cards, pillows, magnets, tea towels, etc.

 

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MollyKate Design is selling beautiful calligraphy pieces on wood and prints that you can frame. She has a great style and her calligraphy is beautiful. Take a look at her etsy shop and you’ll see she has some great holiday decor (although it’s selling fast!) and other decor that can be displayed year round. For example, this monogram design which she can make with whatever letter you choose. These will make a great gift for anyone into the shabby chic artistic style.

 

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Casa & Co has the most adorable handmade heirlooms, perfect for your home or gifting. They are made in small batches by block-printing each design with vintage typography blocks. It really makes the typography nerd in me so happy. Handmade in her Madison studio, each item is truly unique and the quality is made to last. She has so many fun and witty sayings that you’ll be sure to find one for everyone on your list. I personally LOVE the “ten thousand goodnight kisses” and the “maybe later…” one. As they say, “Supes Cute”

 

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I have been obsessed with Lovely Retro Renos since the first time I laid my eyes on these gorgeous floral masterpieces. Totally girly and totally cute! She’s well known for these wooden states with the floral over, a perfect blend of my girly side and my badger state love. She sells a variety of products featuring these floral patterns (Yes! There’s pattern options!) including little boxes, coasters, clippy frames, and more. And again, available in other states, not just Wisconsin. You can order online at her etsy shop, or she sells her art at Booth 121 in Monona, WI.

 

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ShadeTreeNaturals is a Small Batch, Artisan Home and Body Products brought to you from Sun Prarie, Wisconsin. These handcrafted naturals by Tara will make a great gift this holiday season. Shade Tree Living is all about living a simple, natural life! They provide body and home products that promote a healthy, natural lifestyle. She has a line of snowflakes, christmas trees, and more! I for one can’t wait to get my hands on the Peppermint Snowflake Soap. What a great stocking Stuffer!

 

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Because gift giving isn’t always about physical gifts, I wanted to add a little bonus holiday idea for you. Lady Forward Tea Celebrations is a local company that crafts a personalized tea party experience that you’ll never forget, complete with all the planning, preparations, and supplies you need. You could plan a party with a group of your closest friends that will make the holidays extra special. OR you could attend one of her pop-ups events which could easily be added to your christmas wish list. She has a New Years Eve celebration coming up that you won’t want to miss!

 

 

 

I hope that gives you some great ideas for you to #shoplocal this holiday season. I encourage you to add these items to your holiday wish list as well as purchase them for friends and family gifts. They provide a much more personal touch than that tempting Amazon Prime option :)

Branding Broad Moodboard

We are so passionate about branding that we want to start our journey with some discovery and research on who you are.  After we have a firm handle on this, we can start the design process. We’ll create a moodboard for your brand, then get into sketching and your logo design, and continue the creativity with matching marketing pieces (letterhead, business cards, social media, email signatures, website, etc).

What is a mood board? A mood board is a visual representation of your brand. This is how we love to start off our logo projects. It is a compilation of pictures, typography, patterns, and colors the evoke the style of your brand. It’s a great way to lay out the visuals of a brand and communicate a clear style. When creating your logo, marketing pieces, or your website, we can look back at the mood board and ask ourselves, “Does this fit with our brand?”

 

Images are found online. Working on getting all the source links posted.

 

Uncover Something New

I’m really excited to share my moodboard for an upcoming project! I was so inspired by my niece who LOVES to paint and knew that watercolor would be an important element in my next branding project. I’m also really excited for these bright pops of color, I can’t help but be drawn to this energetic color pallet.

Here it is folks! – I can’t wait to reveal more, and of course, uncover the finished product!

 

Uncovered Moodboard | Sprout Studio

Moodboard image sources: Limes | Pink Room | Watercolor Alphabet | Love never gives up | Floral Bouquet | Ampersand | Watermelon Notebook

 

Lessons from the NFAC

Our professors were always challenging us to see the big picture and concepts of our projects, asking why for each decision we made. So now I direct my question toward those planning to eliminate the COFAC at UWSP, “but why!?”

Due to recent budget cuts, the most influential place of my career could be in danger. I was moved to write my own testimonial/letter, and thought, “Why not make this a PDA toward my love and appreciation of my 4.5 years of college in the Fine Arts program?”

Before I begin, here are more details about what UW-Stevens Point (UWSP) and the Colleges of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) are facing, as told by Adam Hintz:

“Most of you may have probably heard about the proposed budget cuts to the UW system, which as it stands, will be eliminating almost 25% of UWSP’s total budget. Being the hardest hit, this proposal has already crippled student research grants, faculty and student travel, organizational funding, and the list goes on. The effect it has had on this year, however, is not even the most concerning issue.

This past week the University announced a plan, in concession to the budget cuts, to fold the College of Fine Arts and Communication (your Alma-mater) into the Colleges of Letters and Science and Professional Studies. This would eliminate faculty, enrollment, reputation, and greatly degrade our Fine Arts program, which is currently ranked #2 in the UW system (bested only by Madison).”

The news brought on a storm of students and alumni who are outraged by the situation and striving to speak out against this proposal in any way possible. Adam is collecting words from anyone who has benefited personally from their time at UWSP in the Fine Arts and Communication program. He’s gathering our thoughts and making sure they fall into the hands of the people who need to hear what we have to say. To quote Adam again, “The issue does stem from the budget cut legislation, however, in the interest of continued success and cultivation of creatives like ourselves, this is a plea for the administration of UWSP to understand the importance of this program and to reconsider their proposal. This is not a political argument, but an outcry for the protection of a fundamentally and undeniably enriching COFAC.”

I often get the question, “what made you want to go to UWSP?” While for some people this is a difficult thing to answer, but for me, I just knew. I distinctly remember the moment during my UWSP tour when I walked through the Noel Fine Arts Center and entered “the Fishbowl”. The advisors began talking about the incredible COFAC program and the graphic design courses at UWSP. It was at that moment I knew this is where I wanted to pursue my college education. Since that day, I have never doubted my decision. (Okay… maybe I did when Jillian Noble assigned us hundreds of thumbnail sketches, or when Jeff Morin required us to build EVERY element of package design by hand, just to note a couple… Those were brutal days, BUT looking back it was incredibly imperative to our education and wouldn’t change a thing.)

The COFAC gave me more lessons than I can even put into words. It taught me the importance of using our creativity to drive all things. Our professors knew how to push us and answer our questions with questions in return.

More importantly, my time spent with my professors and in the design program taught me to have dreams and gave me the motivation to pursue them. Starting my own business hasn’t been easy at times, but I love what I do. In college I remember talking to my professors saying I’d love to have my own business, and they’d reply, “Then do it.” They made it seem so simple – as if following your dreams was the only option, and there was no other way. It truly was their encouragement that led me to begin Sprout Studio.

It is heartbreaking to hear that future students could be missing out on this incredible COFAC program because of budget cuts. I pray that our words speak to them and they change their plans. I have had the honor of speaking at 2 of our design conference at UWSP. I was first asked to be a guest alumni speaker at Real. World. Design. in 2013, and was thrilled to be brought back in 2015 for the NOWHERE Design Conference. Both of which I had a chance to sit down with current students and review their portfolios, and let me tell you… There is OUTSTANDING work coming out of our program. Stevens Point is ranked #2 in the top art schools in Wisconsin, and as a graphic designer, I take up only a fraction of that group. This post doesn’t even tap into our incredible fine arts, drama, dance, and music programs.

I could babble on for hours about how my time at UWSP has influenced me. The things I’ve learned and the people I’ve met are irreplaceable. To this day, many (and by many I mean almost all) of my best friends came from my countless days, hours, and projects, in the NFAC.

Sam Feld had a great idea to begin archiving via Instagram what students have learned during their time spent in the NFAC. I must say it’s very wonderful to think back to all these “lessons” and remember just how important every. little. thing. we learned shaped us as designers.

While I may not be the best persuasive writer or debater, I hope this post hits home for some people and has the power to change the minds of others!

If you are also a proud Pointer and you have the chance, contact Adam at UWSP. He will be compiling everyone’s comments and directing them to the administration. He also said you’re welcome to call the chancellor’s office 715-346-2123 with your concerns. Please check out the COFAC online for more information on the programs.

Also — Click here for this awesome video from the class of 2011!

#NFACLOVE #LessonsfromtheNFAC

Type Tuesday: Tessa Michelle

I’m so excited to introduce our next guest blogger! I went to school with Tessa at UWSP, she graduated a couple years behind me. Since then, I’ve always been drawn (no pun intended, hehe) to Tessa’s weekly posts and inspired by her #typetuesday tradition. I also share the same type passion so I hope you love her guest post as much as I do.

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I’m Tessa Michelle, a graphic designer based in Madison, Wisconsin. My passion is in branding and typography. Last year I graduated from college and as a new professional, I had little equipment for design. This was a great chance to close the broken-screen laptop and get back to the basics. I’ve always had an appreciation for hand-drawn typography and even dabbled in it during college. It wasn’t until last summer that my passion for it grew immensely.

I believe it’s important to get your work out there so I decided to utilize Twitter and Instagram to do so. My weekly tradition is called #typetuesday. I take photos of my type creations and post them online. It’s a great way to share my passion for lettering and type design. I also frequently search #typetuesday because there are so many talented artists who are doing the same thing.

Of course I have off weeks and have nothing to share. If that happens, I post type that I find like a beautiful neon sign. Another challenge is bringing those drawings into the digital world. I’m now learning how to translate my drawings into vector art without losing the hand-drawn touch. It’s tricky, but not impossible.

I know this is the start of something beautiful, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me. -Tessa Michelle

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All artwork is Tessa Michelle Originals.

Intrigued by Tessa’s work? Check out more #typetuesday creatives here.

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Guest Blogger

Tessa Michelle

Random fact about Tessa:

Tessa really loves bunnies!