Signature Style #1: Clean & Professional

Flat design with a crisp, modern edge. The first of my Signature Style blog series is also the least “styled” look of all. Clean & professional design can also be thought of as modern design, which always takes a backseat to photography and content. If you’re looking to spend less time on Canva and more…

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How I keep thousands of design assets organized

I admit, I have SO many design files & assets on my computer it’s a bit baffling. I’ve been collecting photos, icons, and artwork from all over the web since I got into graphic design in 2007 (wow has it been 10 years already?) I’m often asked how I keep everything organized. My folder system…

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How to use Stock Photos for your Website and Marketing

“Should I feel bad about using too many stock photos?” “Can I use different types of photos, or should I have a common ‘theme’ to maintain consistency?” “What even is a ‘graphic’ and how does it relate to my marketing?” I get asked about website graphics all the time during my Q&A’s. It’s something that…

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Brand Design Success Story: Christina Jandali

Christina's Case Study

In January 2016, Christina decided she was ready to take her brand and website to the next level. Here’s her story… When Christina first approached me about upgrading her business’ design, she was nervous but determined. “Before I met Laura, I was struggling to have a consistent look and feel with my brand”, Christina says,…

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3 Fresh challenges to skyrocket your brand

It’s hard to admit when there’s gaps in your education.  As much as I am a pro at website development and Photoshop wizardry, there are some important business & marketing skills that were never really covered in my education. But until recently, I just chugged along, content with my relatively limited skill set, making business…

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Let’s Untangle the Web

So what exactly goes into a website? Here’s a quick cheatsheet for the tech newbies out there. The modern web can be described very simply as domain – hosting – platform – theme. 1. Domain Your domain is, simply put, the address (or URL) where your website lives Examples: designmastermind.nyc, luisazhou.com 2. Hosting Your hosting…

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Why I enjoy working so freakin’ late

The night is my playground. When the world quiets down, my mind wakes up. I especially love working at night. Nothing makes me happier than digging deep into a client project till the early hours of the morning, completely losing track of time and producing some amazing, creative work to show the next day. If…

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Tools to max out productivity every day

A work-from-anywhere diva is only as good as her toolkit. So the first thing you do when you start building your business and developing promotional material? Develop a toolkit. The best possible toolkit you can get your hands on. Search out new programs and try new tools until you find the stuff that fits best. Then get…

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Ask a designer part 3: Photomania

#1: Where can I get beautiful stock photos? PAID: 1. I LOVE Creative Market. They have great fonts, photos, and vectors for you to use in your backgrounds and graphics. 2. If you know that you’re going to want stock photos for your posts and marketing materials, Shutterstock is a great subscription service. They offer “search…

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5 Tips for my Work From Home peeps

Working from home has the most ridiculous blessing:curse ratio I’ve ever experienced. When I started working from home full time almost 3 years ago, I was so stunned by the change in lifestyle that I didn’t know how where to begin. I was so used to my entire schedule being determined by someone else, and…

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Ask a designer part 2: Website platforms demystified

How do I choose between Squarespace and WordPress? What about OptimizePress? Where does that come in? – It depends on how you want to use your website, and whether you intend to bring on a graphic designer as part of your team at any point down the line. I’ll walk you some pros and cons…

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Designer’s Manifesto

Okay so this particular manifesto isn’t going to be a forceful declaration or a statement of purpose. It’s more like a set of priorities that I keep in the back of my mind every day to help make running my business as smooth a process as humanly possible. 1) A designer is only as good…

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Ask a designer part 1: Creating a premium brand identity

#1: What is brand identity? Do I need an icon? – Brand identity is the face of your business. It’s the photos you use, the fonts you choose, and the colors you add to your buttons and headlines. At the front of it all, is your logo. – You don’t need an icon with your…

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Just a Tribute: Matt W. Moore

A recent artistic obsession of mine goes by the name MWM GRAPHICS. He is the abstract artist, illustrator, muralist, and product designer of my dreams, sort of my own version of a celebrity crush. If I met him I don’t think I’d quite know what to do with myself. To honor this brilliant visual magician…

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Nostalgia Worship

Practicing the lost art of journal keeping Are you looking to live a more mindful existence? How would you like to prevent the best moments of your life from slipping away into the haze of the past? The simple practice of journal keeping does these things and so much more. It calms the ego and…

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5 Things – Winter Icebreakers

Wintertime sadness has invaded New York with vengeance and I couldn’t be more depressed about it. It’s hard to be a productive person when a cozy warm bed is your other option. There aren’t many things that can cure wintertime sadness (other than Spring) but so far I’ve discovered 5 essential remedies to help with…

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Hacktivate your Life!

3 Steps to Building a Lasting Fitness Habit Laziness seems to be the natural state for a good chunk of the population. For the rest of us, the busy nature of our lives keeps us from taking time out for ourselves. If we’re not working then we are cleaning, cooking, or looking after dependents (dogs,…

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5 Things – NYC Survival Kit

I admit, I’m a little obsessed with purse-packing. It’s a weird little hobby of mine that involves putting together key essentials into one perfectly packed, easily accessible purse (or utility belt… or backpack). My friends know that I always pack with care, and the habit has even worn off on my less-organized ladyfriends. Other than…

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Simple websites that make a HUGE impact

There is a massive amount of content on the internet, but not every website is worth coming back to time and time again. These 9 sites I list below have helped me gain stability in my career, and continue to inspire me on a daily basis. I have used them to continue my education, find…

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A Friday Yoga Mantra

My friday evening yoga instructor sat cross legged as walked us through some breathing exercises. As per usual, Renée asked us all to think of a prayer or intention to keep in mind while we went through our yoga practice. I usually take this opportunity to zone out entirely, allowing myself to focus on nothing…

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