The Brand Stylist Book

The Brand Stylist Book Two: Call for Submissions

July 22, 2016

Oh my goodness. I actually can’t believe we are at this point already! I am soooooo excited to be able to ask you to submit your projects for my next book. Eeeeeek! Read on for all the info…

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After the bestselling success of the first Brand Stylist book, How to Style Your Brand, Spring 2017 will see the return of another book for creative entrepreneurs. I’ll be working with the same incredible team – top lifestyle editor Jo Copestick as well as the fabulous Matt Pereira again.

I’ve been working so hard on the manuscript and I am really pleased with how it’s taking shape. I’ve been listening to the sort of guidance you need and I know you’re going to love it. This time, the remit for submissions is a little wider – so if you’re a photographer, stylist or entrepreneur I hope you’ll submit as much as your fellow brand stylists.

Loved this pic by @alyssajoypd of #thebrandstylistbook I'm currently writing #thebrandstylistbook2 and finding it a challenge! I keep forgetting that the glossy, beautiful book that's sat on my desk right now was once a jumble of half sentences and trailing thoughts. Onwards! #amwriting

Loved this pic by @alyssajoypd of #thebrandstylistbook I’m currently writing #thebrandstylistbook2 and finding it a challenge! I keep forgetting that the glossy, beautiful book that’s sat on my desk right now was once a jumble of half sentences and trailing thoughts. Onwards! #amwriting

Call for submissions

One of the things that made How to Style Your Brand so special was the range of businesses featured in the book – as well as illustrating my points what I hope they’ve also done is inspired you and encouraged you to think big about what’s possible. I’m looking for projects that will do the same job in the next book. So here’s what I’m looking for:

Branding projects

Show me how you’ve extended your brand across everything you do – your packaging, your website, your store, your products. I want to see it all! And if it’s beautifully styled and photographed, so much the better.

How you market your business. 

I’m thinking catalogues, brochures, digital brochures as well as super gorgeous printed materials and quirky or interesting ways you create an impact with your brand.

Styled photography

Whether you’re a pro or a budding stylist, if you have some photography that you think is just bursting to be showcased in a (hopefully bestselling) book, I’d love to see it. I’m particularly looking for images of styled products or your brand showcased in an interesting way but there will also be space for general lifestyle shoots etc (for mood boards) so if in doubt – send it in! And talking of mood boards, last time the lovely Arianna let me use one of her fashion blogger photos for a mood board – so please do send in images of you looking fabulous if you can

Your studio/ work in progress

I’m always, always looking for beautiful images of inspiring workspaces. In the last book, super talented architects SelenckyParsons submitted some of their office projects which looked very cool, so please don’t think it’s just limited to the she shed (although some of those would be good too).

Fiona Humberstone book How to Style Your Brand-2-2

The Opportunity

  • A printed, signed copy of the book; one for you and one for your client as a thank you.
  • Full credit in the back of the book
  • You retain all copyright – you’re just giving us permission to print the book
  • Your work featured in a beautiful book for creative entrepreneurs

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How to Submit your work

This time I’ll be doing things a little differently so please read carefully (I have learned many lessons from last time!).

I’m asking you to send me a Dropbox folder with all your submissions in to keep things nice and manageable. Please don’t send me emails – they’ll break my inbox and definitely don’t send me Wetransfer links as they will expire before I have a chance to download them, assuming all goes to plan and I get my summer break with the kids. If you don’t currently have a dropbox account (and they are awesome) you can sign up for free, here.

Please make sure that your Dropbox folder is set up for me to view but not edit so that I don’t inadvertently delete your precious work. I will not be held responsible for any loss of files if you fail to do this. I’m sorry to sound mean but last time I had more than 100 submissions, I’m sure this time there will be many more. I’ve got to have a process. Protect your work and only let me view your files. You can do this by going into the Dropbox web programme and changing your settings.

Last time Braizen organised their folders beautifully. With each project having it’s own folder, and sub folders within that with packaging, lifestyle images and the brand identity. It would be amazing if you could do that.

Please feel free to submit up to twelve client projects. If you submit lifestyle/ studio shots they don’t count as part of that twelve- so again, maybe up to 20/30 images?

Your images must be high resolution and you must have permission from your client before you submit the project.

Another lesson learned at the 11th hour last time! If you could also send them to me at CMYK rather than sRGB which is how they come out of camera/ lightroom, then I can be sure that you’re happy with the colour variance and it also saves me around two days (really) of laborious conversions.

Please download this spreadsheet and fill out all relevant details. This means I can just copy and paste and I won’t get the essentials like company names or website spelt incorrectly.

Finally, please send an email to submissions at fionahumberstone dot com with a link to your shared Dropbox folder – did I mention set to view and not edit only?

You can find the artwork release and the spreadsheet in my Dropbox folder here.


Inside your Dropbox folder please make sure there is…

a signed artwork release for each project

the completed spreadsheet with correct details (essential as this is the information we will use to credit you in the book)

your downright gorgeous submissions with high resolution CMYK files


Please DON’T send wetransfer files and absolutely no email attachments please

you can email submissions at fionahumberstone dot com

The Deadline

The kids are back at school on 6th September, so whilst I will probably be unable to resist sneaking a peek, I’ll be back at my desk in earnest working through everything then so please be sure you have your gorgeous work to me before 6th Sept.

I can’t wait to see what you have to share. Seriously! Get them sent in! xx


G . F Smith x The Brand Stylist: A workshop on Colour Psychology

July 15, 2016

G  .  F  Smith are quite possibly The World’s Coolest Paper Company and a few weeks ago I had the very great honour of working with them and their gorgeous team of paper consultants.

If you haven’t come across G  .  F   Smith yet, then my goodness are you in for a treat. They produce absolutely exquisite papers in a whole heap of finishes and colours. They are innovative, dynamic and really, really nice people.

I’d met some of the team at Paperfest last year and they invited me to run a session for their paper consultants on colour psychology.


Together we spent a really creative, innovative and hands on day exploring how the team could use colour psychology to better understand their clients’ brands.

It was a chance for the team to engage with their beautiful product in a different way as well as add to their extensive skill set.

“Enlightening!” Paul Scharf

“A totally new perspective on categorising colour.” Mark Jessett

“Really insightful, well structured and fun!” Vanessa Fletcher

We had a really intensive day together during which we categorised the entire collection into seasons (all I can say is: Wow!) and I’m really excited to see where the company go with their newfound knowledge. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next and getting involved with some very exciting future plans! Watch this space…


Oh, and if you’re in the UK and haven’t ordered your copy of The Collection yet then you must! You’re in for a real treat. Legion Paper sell all 50 Colorplan papers in the US and have a really inspiring set of paper samples too…

I really loved adapting the theory for an in house team and this is definitely something I’m looking forward to doing more of in the future. Images by the wonderful Katie Spicer Photography.

Thinking Big

Some big thinking for the summer

July 13, 2016
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Do you ever find that a trip away, or just a complete digital detox, can inspire some seriously big (and scary!) ideas?

Ever since I returned from New York I feel like I have literally been full bursting with inspiration. And I find that taking some proper time out over the kids holidays is an essential part of me running a successful business. This year will be no different. For six weeks, from 22 July until the kids go back on 6th September, my focus will be all about them.

No business planning. No writing. No client projects and definitely no email. The out of office is going on. I’ll check in once a week but that’s it. My social media will also grind to a halt.

I’m in awe of anyone who can juggle both but for me, I need that total mental switch off. I want to focus on the kids; have fun with them, mess about with them, let the world go by slowly and explore with them without agenda or rush. They grow up so fast and it’s important for me to just shut down the work. And yes, I do realise that I’m very lucky that I’ve created a business that lets me do that.

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And so for the next couple of weeks life is a little flat out. Those of you following me on Instagram will know that as well as the usual end of term mayhem I also have (quite literally) a wall of stuff to complete in less than three weeks. It’s the stuff of nightmares, but it will all be worth it 😉

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Thinking bigger…

For the past two years, I’ve deliberately kept my business as small and manageable as possible. I was determined to keep things below the VAT threshold until Poppy goes to school next September so that my work didn’t impact too much on my time with the children.

Also, having run a very big business before, and juggling all the cashflow/ VAT/ overheads that come with that, I just wanted to keep things simple.

This year, however, I’ve found that balancing my workload so that I could say ‘yes’ to as much as possible without tipping over the threshold totally stressful. I’ve got to the point where actually, not being VAT registered is holding me back. I ummed and aaaahed for months. Worrying I was going back on my plan, worried work would take over my life, but also frustrated that I was turning so much down.

I spoke to my lovely friend Elizabeth, who knows all about how important it is to me to keep things manageable and she said something so, so wise that I wanted to share it with you. She said:

By keeping your business small, are you keeping your creativity small?

And of course, I had to concede that it was having an impact. Which meant that stepping up a gear was a no brainer really.

The Brand Stylist Colour Psychology Workshop New York Fiona Humberstone_0101

Now that the lid of VAT has been lifted, I feel like I can think so much bigger and more strategically. I can launch that retreat, run more workshops overseas and launch workshops online. I found it so frustrating having to turn down projects simply because I couldn’t take on any more paid projects without tipping over the threshold. Now I can and I find this so exciting! I still need to be very selective about what I do commit to because I am so limited on time, but at least that’s my only limit!

The knock on effects of thinking bigger

Excitingly, now I have the freedom to grow my business, I’m treating it like an actual business. I’m investing in things that I know will help me achieve my dreams. And I’m thrilled to be working with the wonderful We Are Branch on developing the Brand Stylist brand identity.

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The Brand Stylist Colour Psychology Workshop New York Fiona Humberstone_0098

I’ll share more on that project in the autumn but it’s liberating being able to share the responsibility for what I’m doing with someone else. I love having another set of eyes and another intelligent mind on my projects and I cannot wait to show you what they are up to; they are very clever. Here’s a sneak peek of Shauna’s mood board…

Exciting developments are afoot. I've taken the decision to register my business for vat so I can really follow my dreams and set up all those creative projects I've had my eye on for a while (like the retreat, the two day workshop etc). And that means refining my look and upping my game. So I'm working with the very talented @wearebranch on developing The Brand Stylist brand identity. Here's a sneak of her mood board... #moodboard #branding #brandidentity #brandstyling #brandstylist

If you’re worrying about juggling time off and work this summer, how’s this for an idea. How about switching off those emails, switching on your auto response and taking a proper digital detox. Rather than worrying about doing a half job at every level, just give yourself the freedom to forget about work and relax.

I realise that for some of us, we have commitments at many levels and a complete switch off isn’t possible. Six weeks off takes planning well in advance. But if you have a holiday planned, how about promising yourself that you’ll step away from your email and social media just for that week or two? The world won’t stop turning, your followers will still be there when you get back and you’ll be a much better entrepreneur for it…

What do you think? Are you planning on taking time off this summer or will you be trying to balance business as usual?

Colour Psychology, How to Style Your Brand, Resources & How To's

Seasonal Colour Palettes: The Free Download

July 7, 2016

Hurrah! It’s finally here and I’m so thrilled to be able to share this with you.

So many of you have been asking me to put together some visuals for how the colour palettes actually work. Please don’t take the attached too literally. I’ve put the numbers on there so that you can reference them if you have a chips book and see how they fit together; but these colours are by no means the only tones for each season. I’ve just put together a flavour for you.


Download the Four Seasonal Personality Colour Palettes here.

You’ll probably also find depending on your screen and your printer, the colours may not come out quite true. But whatever medium you’re looking at, my hope is that they do at least look different (sometimes subtly!) in each season.

And remember that some colours will be naturally warmer and cooler. So the yellow/orange I’ve picked for summer (second from left on the second row down) does look warm, but compared to the other yellows in that column it’s cooler, soft and does have a delicate undertone. It could almost pass for spring (and that’s where the fun starts because this is a continuum not a precise thing) but it works in summer.

Likewise, pantone 570, the turquoise second from right in the autumn row could almost fit into spring, but do you notice how much more muted it is than pantone 7465?

Oh, and remember, I’ll be running an online class as soon as is realistically possible so if you’d like to develop your colour education I will look forward to working with you then and discussing the differences in more detail 😉 I’m sorry, I don’t have time to answer any questions on this before the summer holidays.

I hope you enjoy!

Colour Psychology, Design Fundamentals, For Agencies, For Small Businesses, How to Style Your Brand, Resources & How To's

A new resource for you: the colours through the seasons

July 7, 2016

I’m so often asked for actual, visual examples of how the colours change throughout the seasonal personalities. And I get it, it can be so confusing. So many schools of thought, so many different approaches! Some describe cool colours as being blues, whilst warm might be oranges.

Whereas in this school of thought, you have warm tones and cool tones of every single hue, it’s just about picking the right one to match in with your season.


An example…

So let’s say you decide you’d like a turquoise in your palette; you just need to find the right tone of turquoise for your season.

If your business is spring, you’ll be looking for a soft, warm colour with clarity. It’ll pop with life, energy and personality. A summer turquoise will also be soft and delicate, but it’ll have a hint of coolness about it, a grey undertone. It’ll feel classy, elegant and slow. An autumn turquoise will be warm, intense and muted. It’ll feel substantial – even at a paler tone – and it’ll feel rich, earthy and solid. A winter turquoise might be icy, it could be super saturated. Either way, it’s going to be cool, clear and intense. It’ll feel luxurious, sophisticated, confident.

The best way to do this is to work through a Pantone chips book (you can buy online or if you’re lucky, second hand on an auction site) and literally pull out the chips that feel vaguely right. Even after almost ten years of doing this I still need to put the chips side by side to spot which ones fit with the season and which ones don’t. Use natural light and take your time.

To help you visualise how the colours change throughout the seasons I’ve put together a selection that I feel illustrates each nicely. The changes are subtle but I hope you’ll see how the seasonal palettes ‘feel’.

You can download the resource in the next blog post. You’ll need to log in if you haven’t already, but once you’ve done that, you’ll have access to a wealth of resources I’ve created to help you style your brand. Enjoy!

Oh, and if you’d like some more background on picking colours, take a look at this post for much more detail.


Plans for the new workshops

July 6, 2016

Hurrah for another new week! With just three weeks to go until the children break up from school (and before I take a six week break from my business) the to do list is getting soooo focused. So much to do before the end of term, and as usual, so little time!

You might remember that back in May I asked for your input on what sorts of workshops you would like. I really appreciated the comments, thoughts and votes from (almost 400 of) you. Wow. You told me that you want all the things I want to teach the most which is wonderful. I have so many ideas for new workshops and I can’t wait to start teaching them!

Colour for Creatives Online


As you know, I’ve loved delivering each and every one of the Colour for Creatives workshops and have met some incredible people along the way. The plan is for this to eventually become a three-level online course. The Absolute Essentials which will mirror what we’ve done on the live workshops, a more advanced workshop for those of you that would like to refine your knowledge and take it to the next level and finally a third class for professionals.

I would love to launch this in the Autumn, but I met with Jo, my editor last week and we are planning to have the manuscript for book two written by the end of term (yikes!!!) and then the design and photography finished by half term so that the book is off to print by Christmas for a spring launch.

Given the amount of time and mental energy that book one took up, I’m not certain I can commit to launching an course over the same time period as well. I’m not joking when I say that would probably cause me a nervous breakdown. So let’s see how the book goes first? Once I have some time to dedicate to it, it won’t be long as I have so much planned out already.

The Brand Brilliance workshop


In the meantime, I have a brand new workshop lined up for the autumn, Brand Brilliance: a two day workshop that I’ll be running in both Surrey in October and New York (at the Good Light Studio in Chelsea, Manhattan again) in early November.

These will be more intimate events that’ll give you more one to one time with me and even more clarity, purpose and determination! Hurrah!


Brand Brilliance is all about defining what makes your business unique and letting that shine through in everything you communicate.

It’s about giving you the confidence, focus and clarity to and make sure that you’re on message, each and every time. It’s about defining your dream clients, owning your niche, identifying your brand values, creating your mission and defining your creative style. In short, it’s about determining your message.

On day two we’ll take this focus and explore works with your visual aesthetic. How do you make sure that the way you style your photos, filter your instagram images and bring your brand to life reflects the message you want to send out? We will, of course, also explore how this feeds into your brand identity: so if you’re at the start of a brand styling project this will be a brilliant jumping off point. But equally, it’ll be just as valuable to those of you who feel you have a smart looking website and logo you can be proud of that want to get a tighter handle on your brand and your focus.

You’ll leave the workshop with a Brand Blueprint that’ll document many of the creative decisions you’ve taken as well as plenty of mood boards (of course!) notes and bags of inspiration.

The workshop reflects the process I use with my one-to-one consultancy clients and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Naturally the price will need to reflect the significantly smaller groups (in the UK there’ll be a maximum of 11 students and in NY, up to 18) but I’ve also really worked hard to keep things affordable and there are instalment plans available if you’re quick! You can find out more about the class and snag your place here. Here’s the details for the New York class.

Style Your Brand with me!


Next spring I hope to launch a Style Your Brand online workshop – a chance for us to work through developing your brand identity in a safe, supportive and creative community.

The idea is that we’ll work through styling your brand with guided tutorials every week, and after five weeks, you will have a beautifully styled brand identity that you can be proud of. Can’t wait! Again, I’m very clear on how this will work, I just need to carve out the time to make it happen.

A one day Brand Clarity workshop


I do love the big workshops with their party-style atmosphere and energy and I don’t want to give that up. Being in a positive, creative and kind environment surrounded by so many wonderful entrepreneurs is a soul affirming thing and whilst I am excited about the more intimate workshops, I’ll definitely be balancing those with one day workshops too.

Expect a one day Brand Clarity workshop mid-late spring next year, certainly in London, perhaps in California late summer, depending on how things go. So many ideas, so little time!

Oh, and the big thing that I cannot. stop. thinking about.

The Brand Stylist Retreat

I’m going to be running a retreat for brand stylists next May. Eeeeek!

This was totally inspired by the students I met in New York who totally reinvigorated me and also reminded me that as Brand Stylists, we could all do with a little time to step away, recharge our batteries and work on our business. I’m still to scope out the exact agenda but the idea is that as well as sessions on thinking big and creating exciting new directions, we’ll also work on the process of brand styling and building your business. Having built and sold a successful business myself, I can’t wait to share some of the lessons, tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.

Oh, and seriously. The place I have booked? Breathtaking. Here’s a sneak preview. More to follow…

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Colour Psychology, Workshops

Styling the Colour for Creatives Workshop

July 1, 2016

How do you fancy a behind the scenes look at some of the details that made the Colour for Creatives event last Wednesday so fabulous?

You’ll probably know from reading previous posts that I approach each workshop like I would planning a party. Not a single detail goes unthought of. I just can’t help it.


Put it down to too many corporate training days in bad hotels or dimly lit conference rooms if you like. I prefer to think that it’s our family love of entertaining and making every single guest feel special that drives me.


Either way, my workshops are all about the experience. From the light, bright spaces we base ourselves in, to Maddie’s incredible food, the styling and flowers, right down to the tiny details – all of these add up to a positive learning environment and an unforgettable day. I don’t often go in detail behind the scenes (not for the want of trying), so kick back and enjoy!

The theme for the workshop was, as Katie, my photographer put it, Club Tropicana. I’m in the midst of pulling together a really special Majorcan retreat (details to follow) and I can’t shake this love for tropical foliage so the two sort of came together in a beachy/ tropical vibe.

Here’s the mood board (did you see it on instagram?).

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Armed with my inspiration I tend to go into overdrive. The mood board inspires the props, the flowers, the styling – even the flavoured water and the after workshop cocktails!


Big impact when people arrive at the event is always important – remember the forsythia and wall of kokedamas at the New York workshop? Well this time we went with big, tropical leaves. The wonderful Atlas Flowers supplied them and I was shocked at how much impact I could create cost effectively. Ten days on the leaves are still looking incredible. Ah, if only I had my studio built!


We even had enough smaller palms to put one at each place setting which looked fabulous (if a little impractical).


Florally, I kept things really simple. I really feel like I’m finding my style for The Brand Stylist. Lots of green with the odd pop of colour. It’s different to my personal style at home (where we tend to go overboard on the blooms) but I love it.

Graham, from Zest Flowers at New Covent Garden Flower Market very generously supplied me with a couple of wraps of coral charm peonies which added a real punch of colour to the classroom. By keeping the arrangements simple and low, the look was modern and fresh without too much girlishness, which peonies often have a habit of looking.


I also used beautiful British grown lilies, supplied again by the fabulous Graham at Zest, and excitingly, grown by one of my clients (who I must blog about soon) Smith and Munson. These lilies looked amazing. I had high hopes of an overwhelm of scent too but sadly timing is everything and they weren’t quite open in time. They still looked fabulous and probably a bit more modern and edgy for not being open and blowsy, which is exactly what I wanted.


Usually I just add in props from things I have at home. Brixton East is so gorgeous that by the time I’ve added a little foliage and raided Andy’s props cupboard, it looks pretty amazing. But this time the lovely Nicola Wilkes from House Envy supplied me with some really special pieces that just helped the whole thing come together.

You’ve probably seen me talk before about how I always like to create an impactful display as people arrive. This time it wasn’t so much floral, but in the way of an incredible feathered JuJu hat that added texture and set the tone beautifully for what was to come.


I love that hat so much. In fact, it’s now hanging in our bedroom – much to the bemusement of my husband. I’m sure he’ll come round…


I always put up a few quotes on the wall and I love this one. A flower doesn’t think about competing. It just blooms. Good advice for life in general I think.


I probably wouldn’t have chosen orange chairs, but they do work and I really love that shell shaker thing which was just out the back at Brixton East!


Those palms really were incredible. A great lesson in less really being more. We just clamped them to the screws in the wall with bulldog clips which was fast and also kept things looking edgy and informal.


Food is always a big part of the workshops. I remember the first one we ever ran – a Flowerona workshop back in July 2014 and so many people told us they’d just expected curling sandwiches and desiccated sausage rolls. Not on my watch! Since day one we’ve worked with the very talented Maddie Hatton who shares my philosophy for fresh, wholesome and generous food, packed with flavour and as beautiful to look at as it is to eat.


I shared the mood board with Maddie and asked for a few tropical flavours thrown in with her own inspiration. This isn’t about creating a ‘themed day’ cruise-ship style 😉 Maddie is always inspired by the seasons so everything was fresh, beautiful and summery. The cauliflower couscous was so delicious, but I think my favourite thing was the baked ricotta – below.





The cakes at elevenses were delicious and so ‘on message’. I tried the lime and coconut cake which was gorgeous, and wished I could have found room for the orange, passionfruit and polenta cake. The granola bars are also always gorgeous.


Styling wise, we kept the tables simple and tropical. Palms, pineapples and coloured candles. It looked so fab!ColourforCreatives-8558

And around the room there were little displays like this



I wanted to go to town a bit on the goody bags this time. So I screen printed a message onto some lovely calico bags. The colour is actually a bright hot pink/ red which looked amazing.


And inside, thanks to some very generous sponsors, the students were in for a real treat.



Scented leaves from True Grace, washi tapes from Rhoda McPherson, Rococo chocolates, samples from GF Smith and FoilCo, coffee from Perkulatte



Drinks are of course, a big part of the day. Both for staying hydrated as we work but also marking a very celebratory end to an inspirational day, friendships made and ideas generated. This time I went for a strawberry and watermelon, a pineapple and mint and a lime and cucumber selection of flavoured water.

And the cocktails were amazing! A passione martini (passion fruit, pineapple, Martini Rosso and Vodka) and a Mojito. For the non drinkers we created an elderflower and apple mocktail which was just gorgeous.



I’ll be honest, I did go a little crazy over the flamingo drinks stirrers. Seriously, how cute are they?! I do love things mostly to be tasteful and understated but you’ve always got to have a little pop of colour in my mind, and these hot pink flamingos kept the tone fun and frivolous. Just what we needed at the end of a long day!


I had such a blast arranging all of this and am so, so grateful to the incredible companies who so generously donated props and goodies for the students. Thank you so much. Can’t wait for the next one!

Phography: Katie Spicer.


“Super inspiring” Notes from the London Colour for Creatives Workshop

June 27, 2016

Last Wednesday saw my very last Colour for Creatives workshop at Brixton East in London and my goodness, did we go out with a bang!

28 super lovely entrepreneurs gathered together for a day of fun, creativity and learning and these images from Katie Spicer say it all really, we had a ball!


We started the day with an introduction to the seasons and a group exercise in pulling together images that reflected the spirit of each one. Much more challenging than it sounds, this really encouraged plenty of debate and a much deeper understanding of what each season means.


These images were then pasted into some beautiful sketchbooks I’d had created to give each student a permanent reference to look back on.


The students worked so well together in their groups. I’ve done this sort of thing in the past and found it tricky to get everyone to pull together (it’s so tempting to hare off on your own!) and these groups gelled so well together. I also held back all bar one set of images which meant that people had to work together. Always good.




After some incredible cakes and a much needed jolt of caffeine we were back upstairs for another collaging session. This time looking at the style of each season. This was more like an instagram stream for each season and really helped the students understand how to communicate brand values visually.


Discovering their seasonal personality



Each and every one of these students showed up with such positivity, kindness and energy it made for a really special day and a wonderful group. You can see how well everyone gelled from these images and it was such a privilege to be a part of such a very special community.


Next up, the million dollar question. Which season best supports your business values? What I love about being in a workshop environment is how you can really encourage people to think big and focus on what matters.

Sometimes, if you’re not careful, you can focus too heavily on your own personality rather than what’s right for your business, or you can focus on why you’re in business rather than what people value about what you do – which are sometimes two separate things. It was great to flush that out and get people thinking so much bigger. And it was wonderful to have Caz Harrison, of Making Waves Creative on hand to help out with this too.

If you’re struggling to find clarity on this, take a look at this post on picking your brand words and this one on separating yourself from your business.





The design elements of the seasons

After a delicious lunch it was back to the sketchbooks for another collage, this time on the design style of the seasons. we looked at the brand elements that support each season – type, pattern etc as well as doing one last group exercise splitting all of these out. I love doing this beacause it’s a really good chance for the students (and me) to check that they’ve understood what I’m teaching.


Next up, we explored how you pick colours for your brand (there’s a blog post on that here) and I also gave the students a cheat sheet I’d put together to show how the colours change throughout the seasons. There’s a lot of confusion surrounding this. Essentially, every colour appears in every season, apart from black, it’s just about the tones you use. I will release this resource on the blog before the summer holidays so you can see for yourself.


Very inspirational. A game-changer.

-Stu Cooper, Cooper Photography



Time for the mood board!

I love mood boarding. It’s inspiring, creative, clarifying and fun. And judging by the students’ comments, they loved it too. I’m often asked whether we can just do digital mood boards at a workshop and my answer is always a resounding ‘No!”.

We spend so long at our computers these days, it’s good to just step away, unplug and get properly creative again. Plus, there’s something about getting totally hands on with a real mood board that takes things up a level in terms of beauty, creativity and clarity.


I started with an insight into how I use mood boards and then some top tips on how to make your mood board beautiful. I have to say, mine have got exponetially better since working with Gudy Herder, so if you’d like to find out more, take a look at her fantastic blog.

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Amazing… Completely pushed me out of my comfort zone and opened up so many creative possibilities.

– Nicola Wilkes

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Aren’t these mood boards just beautiful? Honestly, so much talent!



Once everyone had created their board, we pulled together the boards from each season which was a great way of everyone seeing how everything slotted together and also how the seasons could be so different within the boundaries of each personality.



Finally it was time for a much needed cocktail before heading home.



Thought provoking, socialble and so inspiring!

-Gail Jones, Starkeys Lane



Pulling together a workshop like this takes an incredible amount of focus and hard work and none of this would have been possible without our brilliant team.

From left to right, Caz Harrison of Making Waves Creative, experienced colour psychologist and brand stylist, Yours Truly, Stephanie Eastwood– florist and general superstar, Charlotte Yarwood, a wonderful woman who makes sure everyone has everything they need, Maddie Hatton, Blid and Hatton, creator of incredible food and the lovely Katie Spicer, a photographic alchemist.


You totally nailed today. Ten out of ten.

– Sophie Robinson, Interior Designer and Presenter of The Great Interior Design Challenge

Writing this really makes me want to run another colour workshop! So who knows, maybe if that’s what you want I will do something late 2017. In the meantime, I have so many plans for future workshops and can’t wait to tell you more.

I will be launching an online Colour Psychology workshop for the Autumn as well as a two-day Brand Brilliance workshop to be held in London and NYC to be held in October and November respectively. Keep your eyes peeled for more details, or save yourself the hard work and jump onto the newsletter list to be the first to hear.

Have a brilliant week!

Selling More Creative Work, The Business of Brand Styling, Thinking Big, Upping your game

Getting the work you want

June 20, 2016

Isn’t it frustrating how some people float through life picking up the sorts of projects you can only dream of? They get the best clients, the best work and they seem to be having a ball doing it. How do they do it?

The good news is that with the right focus you can do the same. Getting the sort of work you dream of really doesn’t need to be impossible, in fact, it’s really very simple.

You establish the sort of projects you dream of, the sort of clients you’d love to work with and you remind yourself of precisely why you are perfectly capable and well qualified to do the job. Then, and this is the important bit, you make sure that every single thing that you communicate shows those dream clients that you’re the only person or company for the job.

It really is so simple, so why do we make business so complicated?

In my last post we explored how you can radically change how you see your business and start to go after the work you really want, see this as the follow up.


Celebrate your distinctive style and build your business

I know from painful experience how tempting it is to want to make your business as appealing as possible to everyone.

You have overheads to meet, staff to pay and suppliers snapping at your heels. You want to take on as many projects as possible and the last thing you want to do is put anyone off. So you create a safe brand identity. You show a little of everything in your portfolio; you talk to a generic audience and you start to become very, very disillusioned with your business.

You find yourself ‘quoting’ for a lot of work and winning very little.

People just don’t seem to want to spend money any more. The projects you do take on are a mixed bag. You have some lovely clients and a fair few who are a pain in the backside, but hey, this is running a business isn’t it? Who said it was going to be easy?

Projects don’t run quite as smoothly as you’d like and your clients micromanage you more than you’d choose but you accept that this is just how it needs to be if you want to be your own boss. You’re frustrated that people can’t just trust in your expertise but it’s hard to see that things could be any other way.

When you’re running a business like this it’s so easy to think that business is always going to be tough. It’s so hard to see the wood for the trees and when you’re in the thick of everything, even making a small change can be totally overwhelming. I’ve been there.

Start by getting focused

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Getting the work you want really is very, very simple. It’s simply a case of working out who you want to work with, the sorts of projects you want to work on and showing that you are the people for the job. Celebrate your unique creative style, find your distinctive voice and communicate on a deep and meaningful level with your dream clients. It’s the only way.

What you probably don’t realise is that by creating the generic sort of communications I describe above, you may think you’re not putting anyone off, but you are! You’re putting off the sort of client with taste, the sort of client who values good design and will invest in your creativity because she’s fallen hook line and sinker for what you do and she can’t comprehend working with anyone else.

Why? Because she’ll take one look at your website and run a mile. Because what you’re showing is a mishmash of everything and she’s looking for something a little bit special – and she’s prepared to pay for it too. Because she doesn’t have time to search through your portfolio for the one design she likes when there are others out there with more streamlined and polished portfolios and a strong design style.

Isn’t that sad? In your attempt to appeal to everyone you’ve actually put off the person you really want to be working with!

My friend Rona and I run business workshops for florists (in fact, we have a couple coming up in the autumn you might be interested in) and at every single workshop we have the same conversations with florists struggling to get the work they want. It’s the same in every case: rather than celebrating their own floral style they are shoehorning every floral style under the sun onto their website on the off chance that someone will see something they like.

It doesn’t work.

If you work in a creative industry people are coming to you because of your creativity. If you want to be valued for what you do and paid properly for it then you need to identify, hone and celebrate your distinctive style. You need to define your aesthetic, your voice and your creative style. And you need to communicate that throughout everything you do. Here’s how.

Cull your portfolio. Only show the work you’re achingly proud of and that reflects the sort of work you want to win in the future. While you’re transitioning your business I’m not saying you can’t take on the ‘wrong’ sort of work; but you certainly shouldn’t blog about it!

Stay focused in your social communications. Build your communication around what your dream clients want to see. Stay true to your aesthetic and build a strong picture around what you want to be known for.

Create a compelling and distinctive brand identity that reflects where you want to be right now. If you’ve recently changed your focus – perhaps you’ve gone more luxe, for example, then it’s time to check in with your brand and make sure that it reflects where you’re headed right now. Don’t be afraid to change it if it’s wrong – it’ll be holding you back.

Show why you’re the only choice for your dream client. You’re not right for everyone, but you are the only choice for your dream clients with their dream projects. Your portfolio is one way you can communicate that, but think about the way you write your copy and your creative process – is it relevant to put that one your website? And think also about how you respond to enquiries, how your invoices, proposals, quotes and creative presentations look. Every single impression matters – make each one count.

know it’s scary, but once you understand what your brand is all about, you can communicate with more focus and polish. And the more focused you are, the more compelling your business will be to those clients you really ache to work with. Good luck!