January 13, 2017

2016: a year to REGROUP

Filed under: Featured Design Project — lidia @ 1:00 pm

2016 was a great year for Lidia Varesco Design—both for my personal goal of continuing to grow my design studio, as well as my professional goal of helping as many organizations as possible share their story and mission.

For the last few years, I’ve chosen a word to set the tone for the year. Last year’s word was REGROUP. After my kids were born, it took some time to adjust to my new life as a mom in business—and admittedly it was sometimes difficult to juggle it all. But last year I made an intention to REGROUP and get my business back on track.

Below are a few highlights from 2016, click on each to learn more.

2016 Year in Review

10 new clients   1 podcast   10 email newsletters
judged communications awards   published 57 blog posts   exhibited at nonprofit symposium
10-Minute Marketing series on Faceebook Live   36 Biz Mama Interviews   #the100dayproject art journal

I’m grateful to everyone who has provided work, support, inspiration, opportunities—or just an ear to listen. Here’s to a great 2017!

January 11, 2017

How to make the most out of working with a graphic designer

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , , , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

8 ways to get the most out of your graphic designer

Having a graphic designer partner can make a huge difference for an organization. Since your branding is probably the first thing a potential client or partner notices about you, investing in a well-designed logo and other marketing materials is one of the keys to success.

I recently shared my top 8 tips for working with a graphic designer on the Keyword Marketing Blog:

  1. Let us know what your goals are for the project (aka the “who, what and why”): This includes WHO you are trying to reach, WHAT you are trying to accomplish, and WHY you chose this type of marketing piece. The more we know about your project and your goals, the better the end result will be.
  2. Send us copy that is complete and well-organized: This will cut down on the number of potential edits (saving you time and money). Let us know if you need referrals for a copywriter or editor. Or ask us for help editing your content to fit your message.
  3. Provide graphics that are high-resolution and in usable file formats: Please, no graphics pulled from the web! Also let us know of any potential copyright issues—if you are unsure about using an image, we can help you investigate or find appropriate images.
  4. Inform us of deadlines and crucial project milestones: It helps us create a working production schedule—and we are happy to keep you on track if necessary!
  5. Let us know how and where your project will be used: If you need print materials, a website, online advertising, social media profiles or graphics, promotional or staff apparel, etc., we want to know about it.
  6. Provide samples: If you have existing marketing materials or branding, please provide samples at the start of the project so we can keep everything consistent.
  7. Bring up any concerns as they arise: Please let us know as soon as possible of any concerns you have during the design process. Frequent and honest communication is appreciated and will help both of us stay on the same page.

  8. Bonus points – if you have Brand Guidelines, please send them: This helps us keep our designs on-brand (And if you don’t have brand guidelines, we are happy to create them for you)

Above all, know that we are here to help. If you have any questions as we go along, please ask. Remember, our job is to make your business look good so the more we communicate, the better your business branding—and our relationship—will be.

Do you need a graphic design partner? I would love to chat with you!






January 6, 2017

10-Minute Marketing: Make a list of things to learn

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — lidia @ 10:00 am

10-Minute Marketing: Make a list of things to learn

Instead of making New Year resolutions every year, I make a list of things I want to learn. I find it to be less intimidating and more practical than making resolutions. My list usually involves both personal and work-related purusits (as they often cross over) and sometimes (OK, always) I carry over things from past years

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Make a list of things to learn this year.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.


January 5, 2017

Care to join me in a STORYSTORM?

Filed under: Creativity — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Im a storystorm participant

Some of you may have heard me mention PiBoIdMo (Picture Books Idea Month), a daily children’s book brainstorming challenge facilitated by author Tara Lazar that I participated in a few years ago (not to mention, got some great book ideas!)

PiBoIdMo has been replaced with STORYSTORM: a month of brainstorming new story ideas—and it’s no longer limited to children’s book ideas. This event is open to any writer seeking inspiration, support and community.

Registration is open until Friday, Jan. 7 and I just signed up to brainstorm ideas for new children’s books, as well as a few marketing book ideas I have. Sign up here.

Will you participate in STORYSTORM? Share in the comments!

January 4, 2017

My word for the year: priorities

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion,Time Management — lidia @ 10:00 am

word for the year_priorities

Starting back in 2014, I’ve chosen a word to set the tone for the upcoming year. 2016’s word was REGROUP. In 2015, my second child arrived 7 weeks early (requiring a 3-week hospital stay) so my priorities understandably shifted to my new baby. Once I was back to work, I felt that I needed to regroup and focus on my business again. I also joined an accountability group and used my word regroup to guide my goals progress.

I like to choose a word that applies both to my personal and work life, so this year’s word is PRIORITIES. My creative brain tends to jump from project to project as inspiration strikes. Now that my work hours are dictated by my kids’ schedules, setting strict priorities and staying on task each day is crucial.

I also want to set my priorities at home, for example making after-school time more focused on my kiddos (my 15-month old literally cries when I open my laptop and try to finish up work!)

What is your word for 2017?

December 23, 2016

10-Minute Marketing: Review your yearly goals

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — lidia @ 10:00 am

10 Minute Marketing_review your yearly goals

With the year drawing to a close and projects slowing down, it’s a great time to reflect on this year’s goals. I’ve talked about making a list of this year’s accomplishments, but now let’s look specifically at the goals you set and see how you did.

A few question to ask yourself as you review:

  1. What were my goals?
  2. Did I achieve them?
  3. What made it easier to achieve them?
  4. What prevented me from achieving them?
  5. Are there aspects of this year’s goals that I should carry over into next year?

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Take 10 minutes to review this year’s goals.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

December 16, 2016

10-Minute Marketing: Choose a word for the year

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Choose a word for the year

Starting back in 2014, I’ve chosen a word for the upcoming year. I learned this from Gretchen Rubin and I’ve found it to be a great way to set the tone for the year and stay focused on my goals.

This year’s word was REGROUP. After taking some time off to focus on my new baby last year, I wanted to regroup and get back to business this year—which I successfully did. (Stay tuned to hear my word for next year…)

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Choose a word for the upcoming year. Print it out and post in your workspace.

BONUS: Share your word on my Facebook page!

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.




December 2, 2016

10-Minute Marketing: Make a list of this year’s accomplishments

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — Tags: , , , , , , — lidia @ 10:39 am

10-Minute Marketing: Make a list of this year’s accomplishments

Now that 2016 is drawing to a close (whaaaat?) it’s a great time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished this year. We spend so much time focused on achieving our goals, so it’s nice to spend a little time basking in the glow of our accomplishments. And once you start writing it down, you will realize you’ve accomplished quite a lot.

You can do this is a few different ways. For example, I keep a running list of monthly highlights so that at the end of the year, I can review a few key areas of my business: client growth, sales growth and press/PR highlights. These highlights also come in handy for my press mentions, website copy and content marketing. I also recently made a list of my accomplishments related to the yearly goal I made in my accountability group.

However you do this exercise, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the end. Feel free to share here or on my Facebook page so we can all cheer you on!

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Make a list of your accomplishments this year.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.



November 30, 2016

What 100 days of art journaling taught me

This summer I embarked on #the100dayproject, a commitment to 100 days of making. Some of you may know I’m no stranger to daily challenges: I participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge every year (see last year’s A to Z of Branding).

My daily creative challenge for #the100dayproject (after much careful consideration) was an art journal of everyday life. I had recently discovered a drawer of old art supplies in my studio and was anxious to put them to use again so this was the perfect excuse.

I bought several Strathmore mixed media journals (perfect for using wet and dry media), gathered my supplies and was ready to go! The first few weeks were inspiring and exciting. The warm summer weather encouraged me to draw and paint outdoors and provided a much-needed escape at the end of the day when the kids were in bed.

Doing #the100dayproject wasn’t without its challenges. Toward the end, I started to lose steam and doing a daily drawing became a late-night hassle. Some nights, I would just make a few sleep-deprived marks on the page. One page was left blank. But it was all part of the process. And by the time I got to the last few days—and started reviewing my finished pages— I started to realize my accomplishment.

But the best part of the project was collaborating with my 5-year-old, who was almost as excited about it as I was! After dinner each night, we would spread out our art supplies and just create without any limitations. He also had his first trip to Blick Art Materials to buy his own Cray Pas and colored pencils. I was both sad and relieved to see the project end, but I’m already thinking about my next art challenge…

What should my next art challenge be?





November 23, 2016

16 years in business = 16 reasons to be grateful (and then some!)

Filed under: Creativity,Small Business — lidia @ 9:45 am


This year marks my 16th year in business. WOW. I started Lidia Varesco Design in November 2000 and quite a bit has changed. But as I reflect on 16 years, one thing is for sure, I’m truly grateful for all of you who are reading this: the clients, friends and family that offer me support, encouragement and inspiration every single day. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Every year, I like to share a fun list on my business anniversary (see last year’s post “15 reasons why I love having my own business”) so this year I’m sharing 16 things I’m grateful for (of course, there are many many more!)

16 things I am grateful for

  1. My family who offers support and encouragement
  2. My kiddos who inspire me daily
  3. Great clients (especially the ones who remind me to send an invoice!)
  4. Coffee dates with friends
  5. Warmer than usual Chicago fall
  6. My short commute to work
  7. Paying taxes because it means I’m earning income
  8. Piles of books around my home and office
  9. Sketchbooks filled with ideas
  10. A full-night’s sleep
  11. My “creatively-messy” studio
  12. A flexible work schedule that allows me time with my family
  13. Seeing the world through my children’s eyes
  14. Apple Store Genius Bar (after a recent computer crash)
  15. Having my business for 16 years…and counting
  16. Using my design talents to make a difference

Happy Thanksgiving!









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