What Does Branding Mean To Small Business Owners



Most of my clients are small business owners. Many of them, at first contact, need me to design a Logo for their company. Then, its usual that they would like business cards, stationary, and then roll into direct mail, posters, digital banners, icons, etc… Pretty much branding.

Today I will talk about what branding means to small business owners and why it can help your business succeed.

Branding to small business owners means a few things:

  1. Instant recognition
  2. Consistency
  3. Credibility
  4. Peace of mind

1- Instant Recognition

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of small businesses coming up every day. Out of all these, a good 15% of them do what you do and offer some of the things you offer as well. Branding helps you come out of the pool of businesses as one that is visible, recognizable and remembered. It is always a good idea to invest in your brand. Think about the many ways your clients could remember you. My advise would be to begin with your logo and stationary package, depending on your business. If its a restaurant, posters or direct mail might be a good idea too.

2- Consistency

When people know what you look like and the way you behave, they trust in your consistency. I read somewhere that branding should be treated the way you describe a person. Happy/sad. Elegant/laid back. Colorful/monotone. Modern/Classic. Whatever the description is, when a brand looks the same on everything a business, your business, produces, it is thought of as reliable, professional and good for them.

3- Credibility

When your clients see and recognize your brand, they will chose you over someone else; Solely based on remembering you. If they remember you, they believe in you and POOF… you have more clients. Think about it, why do you go to your favorite Chinese takeout instead of the one, maybe, closer to you? Of course, their food is good. BUT what made you go inside their restaurant in the first place? recommendation, you drove by, direct mail, email, etc… “mmh, this looks like a good place!” you say. But think of why. Their branding dragged you in.

3- Peace of mind

Branding your business will help you come on top, acquire new clients, make money, and therefore, it will give you peace of mind. Peace of mind to know that things are working out and that whatever you do in the future, for your particular business, will work just as well and it will be a great deal easier to make it happen… again.


I highly recommend you invest in a good designer to create a branding for your business. Designers come in all shapes, sizes and prices, so it is up to you to chose one that best meets your needs. Your business branding is very important because it will give you instant recognition, consistency, credibility and above all, peace of mind.

Let me know if you would like to work with me. I look forward to helping you create a great branding for your business. Go to my website and contact me.

Belle signature ok


Best Websites Ever


Designers, beware. What you are about to see will make your brain spin. There are so many AWESOME features in each one of these sites that you are going to  want to learn it all. Research away my friends.

So I have been wanting to create a more unique and interesting website for myself. I discovered MUSE, which is an ADOBE product which lets you create websites without coding. Very cool and easy to use if you are familiar with Adobe products. I guess I came in late into the game since this product has been around for a while.

Anyways, I then decided to look around for great websites that could inspire me. I AM IN AWE about the amount of talent and possibilities in existence out there. my mind is blown away! Granted, and most likely, these sites used programs and features I don’t know…but I wish I did. SO MUCH TO LEARN!!!!! (sigh) How fun!

Without much ado, here are the best websites I found:

1) Yul Moreau, Digital Art Director
This website is just crazy awesome. In a scale of 1 – 10, it is a 200. It uses movies, images and links to his creations that have no parallel. I’m sure that a great number of designers were behind every creation. Enjoy the awesomeness of his portfolio.


2) Steven Mengin, Digital designer
This guy’s website moves with your mouse! it follows the position of your mouse creating a ripple effect not like any you have seen before. His portfolio is extremely beautiful as well.


3) Melanie Daveid
Very envious of how she accomplished this website. I love the fluidity of the lettering but the way links work and how portfolio moves and reacts is incredible.


4) Christopher Lee, Illustrator

Raw talent! I love how simple the portfolio looks when in reality, its so much  FUN, I hate him!! LOL


5) Bjorn Meier, Product Designer

She creates beautiful work. Her portfolio site is amazing. Every link, though super horsy, takes you to a two dimensional world of scrolling.


You can see even more incredible website here.

If you have any comments about how any of these websites were made, please comment below. I am dying to learn! Thank you in advance!!

How to talk to a graphic designer

How to talk to a designer


If you are beginning a business, or want to “spruce up” the one you already have, chances are you will end up using a graphic designer. What do we designers do? In a nutshell,  we make things look pretty!

Be it a logo, a brochure, a website, etc… we designers make things look clean, orderly and all around pretty for our clients. Those of you who have dealt with designers before, you are familiar with some of the lingo we designers use in order to talk to you about a certain project. If you are contemplating hiring one of us to help your business succeed, then this guide will be a good stepping stone.

Ready? here we go…

Initial meeting: When you meet with your designer either in person, on line or though a phone call. I always find it best, if meeting in person, to meet at a neutral location such as a Starbucks or local cafe.

High Res images: An image, or picture, used for your brochure or any printed material. This is always the best option.

A high res image can be either purchased or taken by a good digital camera. Images from a phone do not work. Images downloaded from the web, without permission from the owner of such image, does not work. Images that are 2″x 2″ ( inches or centimeters) and are high res, do not work. Here is the reason why: Digital images, or scanned to become digital, work in pixels. Pixels are tiny little squares that make up an image in the digital world. The more squares (or resolution. ex: 300 dpi) the better the image. Images used on the web are at their lowest resolution (72 dpi) possible, making them look VERY fuzzy when printed. They are also VERY small physically speaking. Phone images are the same way. Downloads from the web without permission are a total no-no. You would be placing yourself under legal harm’s way for using an image that doesn’t belong to you. Also, Images can not be pulled out of thin air. Meaning, if you have a photo of the “top” of an apple, the designer can not “turn the apple” to show the “side” of it on your project.  You would need a new picture.

Copy: This is the “TEXT” need from you, the client.

Unless the designer will be writing everything for you, a very unlikely scenario, you need to write all the information needed yourself. This includes addresses, emails, phone numbers, etc… Please spellcheck your work. Designers should not be accountable for your spelling mistakes. When drafts are given to you, check and double check everything written on your project.

Drafts: Ideas and layouts given to you before the final material. Drafts are usually emailed to you.

Logo Design: A logo is probably THE most important piece to your business branding. It is important, for your success, to be recognize among the plethora of businesses just like yours. A logo will give you that recognition.

How much should you pay for a logo? well, that will depend on your designer. Just so you know, the “Graphic Artists Guild” suggests that a logo should be between $50,000 and $2,000 dollars. This all depends in the size of your business. If you are just starting and are working from your garage, chances are that the designer will give you a good price.

Live Area: This is the area you can physically SEE on a print.

When images are printed, they get to be printed on really large sheets of paper and then trimmed, or cut, to the final size of your piece. It is very important what part of an image you see on your product.

Printing Process: How your project will be printed. 4 color, UV, 1 Pantone color, foils, emboss, deboss, etc… all done by a printing house, or vendor.

Small quantities can be printed digitally. Large quantities should be printed on an offset printer. ONLY offset printers can accommodate 1 color Pantone, foils, funky inks, etc… Also, be very aware that the color on your screen might not be the colors on the final print. This is because all computer monitors and phone screens are not created equal. You can either cross your fingers that things will look great when printed from a file onscreen or get a “paper proof” of your project. Now a days, you’d do well practicing your faith that all will turn out alright!

Common Misconceptions: Things that designers can do only in the client’s imagination.

Designers Are Not/Do Not/should Not:

Make things bigger by the push of a button, take calls in the middle on the night, read the client’s mind, robots, add to the “image” of something you made without the original files, participate on the client’s desperation and/or emergencies, make up a new day in the calendar, work as fast as superman, be in two places at once.

Designers DO however listen, work hard, show patience, guide, are professionals and need to get paid in a reasonable time.

I hope all these lingo from designers make a bit more sense to you now. There are plenty of other things to consider when hiring a designer to make a business shine and look pretty. It all depend on the communication you and them have. Mutual respect is the key.

Do you have any other questions about designer’s lingo? What has your experience been so far?

Have a creative day,

Belle signature ok

ART & Dine in Las Vegas

I know what you were thinking this morning, you thought, “Belle, how can I make the month of June more fun for me? I wish you knew how.” Well, I do! Come join me for an ART & DINE at Rachel’s Kitchen Restaurant on June 5th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. You will get to create something unique you can take home and brag about… for years to come. We will be painting with acrylics on canvas. Ages 12 and up are welcome. No experience necessary, just your willingness to have fun!

Also, don’t miss ART CAMP for this summer. Kids 5 yrs. old and up can sign up.

8.5 x 11 poster

10 Things to do in Las Vegas with little kids

So, you have decided to come to Las Vegas with little kids. There are plenty of attractions for teen age kids and older. However, as a local, I can give you a few ideas on what to do and where to go with little kids while visiting Las Vegas. In no particular order:

1- Discovery Children Museum
360 Promenade Place
Las Vegas, NV 89106
(702) 382-3445

We love this museum. It is very kid oriented and teaches children a plethora of really cool stuff like: how sound works with our ears, science, art, dress up areas. The first floor is our favorite! It has a huge room were kids can play with water, a pirate-dress up ship and an area for little toddlers. A must do to give the little ones a break from the strip.

2- Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
The Mirage Hotel and Casino
(702) 791-7188

The coolest thing about this place, aside from the amazing dolphin show, is the zoo. They have white tigers and white lions on display! They are gorgeous! It’s not San Diego Zoo by any means, but nevertheless, a very well kept and big enough zoo for a couple of hours of entertainment. Your kids will love it.

3- Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino
(702) 632-4555

This place is amazing!! They have a gi-normous main aquarium you can walk through it in a tunnel. You can see all the sharks, different fish and turtle swim all around you. it is a great experience. It’s the closest you could get to sharks without getting wet. they also have exhibits on many different kinds of fish, a hands-on manta ray area, jelly fish, octopus, etc… This is an aquariums that you’ll be talking about for years to come.

4- The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden
Bellagio Hotel and Casino
FREE – 24 hrs. a day/7 days a week

I love this garden. It is truly a magical place to visit! It is an exposition with live, natural flowers from around the world. It changes according to the seasons through very whimsical themes. The attention to detail is astounding. The passionate display of nature in all its awe-evoking glory – quite simply, sensational! You will be pleasantly surprised at its size and the wonderful aroma you can detect as you approach it.

5- Tournament of the Kings at the Excalibur
Excalibur Hotel and Casino
(702) 597-7600

Haza!!!! This is probably one of the most entertaining things to do in Las Vegas, even without kids. It’s a dinner show with Invading armies! Dancing maidens! Jousting! Fireworks! And eating with your fingers! Its true, you don’t get silverware, LOL. We usually dress up our kids in princess costumes to make it more fun for them. There are horses, live music, cheering, singing… a great night in town!

6- Gondola Rides at The Venetian
The Venitian Hotel and Casino
(702) 414.4300

A more romantic and low-key place to visit but still fun! I have been to Venice, Italy, and I can honestly say that they did a fabulous job replicating the scene. Piazza San Marco, at a 10th of its real size, is extremely cute and a very pleasant walk to let your kid run a bit. The Gondola rides are great because each gondolier sings to you “opera style”! you don’t necessarily need to ride a gondola to enjoy the music, but it adds to the magic of the moment. When there, make sure to get some gelato as well.

7- Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
3205 State Route 159
Las Vegas, NV 89161

(702) 515-5350
Location: About 20 miles from the Vegas Strip

Nature lovers, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area presents awe-inspiring views most wouldn’t expect to see near a major metropolitan city. In contrast to the bright lights and hype of the Strip, Red Rock offers desert beauty, towering red cliffs and abundant wildlife. Our favorite hike with our kids is Lost Creek/Children’s Discovery; however, here is a list of hikes for all hiking levels.

8- Hoover Dam
Boulder City, NV
(702) 494-2517 or (866) 730-9097
Location: The Dam is 35 miles south of Las Vegas on U.S. 93

This dam is huge, dam huge!!! LOL It is a wonder of engineering that should not be missed. They have tours where you can see the power plant, or if you feel like spending a little more money, you can venture into the Dam Tour for $30. Due to 9/11 attack, security is tight, so be prepared for a car check. $7 for parking.

9- Wet n’ Wild Water Park
7055 S. Fort Apache Road
Las Vegas, Nevada 89148.
(702) 979-1600

Las Vegas can get HOT! very hot! and there is nothing more refreshing than cool, fun water. They have rides for all ages and “darers”. Its a little pricy if you ask me but very entertaining for the whole family. It’s true you’ll have a pool at your hotel, which you should take plenty of advantage of during the summer. However, this place is just fun! plain and simple.

10- Las Vegas Mini Grand Prix
1401 N. Rainbow Blvd
Las vegas, NV 89108
(702) 259-7000
Location: About 20 minutes from the Vegas Strip

My kids LOVE this place. We go here often for mommy/daddy daughter dates. You can drive carts with your kid next to you or they can drive their own little carts. They have a small roller-coaster and other “fair-like” attractions. the best deal is a wrist band and pizza. You can get a wrist band for your little kid and ride with him/her for free. Granted, this is not an available feature for ALL the rides but it is worth the money.

So there you have it, 10 things you can do with your little kids in Las Vegas. Have fun and enjoy the city that never sleeps.



SAM_3224_2OMG! Did I have fun doing art camp this year? YES. Yes I did. I have been extremely impressed with the quality and talent the children brought to these classes. THEY WERE AMAZING!!

I had 5 different sessions during the 2014 summer. I taught 5 yrs old and up. they created and learned all kinds of things. The classes begun with an introduction to “liquid watercolors” and water color paper. Learning about the differences of “tooth” or “roughness” of different paper. They also learned about perspective and how objects seem to change in size when seen from a distance.

We also talked and learned about making prints with ink and foams on paper. Learned about the differences between watercolors and acrylics. The Final projects were done on canvas with acrylics. This was their favorite project through out the week of camp. Here are some examples of the work done or you can always visit my “Arts and Crafts with Belle” website to see more. Maybe if you are in the Las Vegas area you might want to join in.

Acrylic on Canvas
Acrylic on Canvas
Masks done with papier mache and acrylics
Masks done with papier mache and acrylics
pen and ink mermaids
pen and ink mermaids
Print making with ink and foam
Print making with ink and foam
Acrylics on canvas
Acrylics on canvas

Party special: Halloween

It is that time of the year again when I begin to get ready for parties. We have a Halloween party coming up, “my little pony” birthday party for my oldest turning 6yrs old, Thanksgiving and then Christmas. All within two months, more or less.

So, I will be presenting my preparations for each as they come.

This year’s Halloween party will be goth. I don’t want to make it bloody or scary. Last year my kids could hardly sleep with a giant spider hanging from the balcony. This year I will concentrate on bats and goth with a touch of whimsy.

This is what the invitation looks like. To save on postage I will hand deliver them. I’m just going to print them at Costco 4×6. Nothing complicated.

halloween party for blogI used old Victorian ornament clip art, same for the bat. For fonts, I used Sabon bold for the regular copy, Shipped Goods (from dafont.com) and Roman Antique for the title.

I have found the following pictures as inspirations for the decor:


15 Cute Halloween Food Ideas

I’ll show you how the decorations progress as I go. The only question is, where do I get candelabras from? Wish me luck!