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400 East South Main Street, Ste 7
Waxhaw, NC, 28173
United States

7042561440

THE BLOG

Hello from Haven Creative! The HC blog features inspiration on design, branding and marketing artfully curated by our team of professional developers, designers and communication experts. 

 

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Jeni Bukolt

Haven Creative recently won FIRST PLACE for the Town of Waxhaw event logo designs from the National Association for Government Communicators. We also won two, FIRST PLACE AWARDS from the North Carolina Council and City Communicators for the digital newsletter, Waxhaw Happenings and the Fire Department Recruitment Video

Haven Creative specializes in branding and communications for communities. We have worked with several municipalities providing logo design, content writing and digital newsletter production. If you are looking for a cost-effective way to tell your community's story, give us a call! (704) 256-1440 or email info@thehavencreative.com

The Haven Has a New Home

Jeni Bukolt

We relocated our offices in April, but we officially celebrated our new space with the help of our fellow Union County Chamber members on August 9th. We are thrilled to be in the heart of Waxhaw. Check out The Haven! 

The Brand - More than a Logo

Jeni Bukolt

Let’s get one thing straight. You don’t buy the 1-ply toilet paper for obvious reasons. The same goes for creating a brand for your business. You don’t want to just go for the cheapest logo deal when developing your brand because things can get, well, irritating.

At Haven Creative, we are the “Charmin” of the creative world. Think of us as the 4-ply with aloe vera. We bring a little something extra to the table. We can just give you a logo file if that's what you want, but we prefer to provide the added comfort of a brand foundation that will give you the complete competitive edge.

How it works - before the first coffee date, we dig deep into your business to gauge how you already visualize your personality as a business. From there, we do a marketing audit, which includes market research and analysis to determine the best elements to tell your brand's story. We can’t give away too many of the ingredients in our secret sauce, but one thing that sets us apart from the 1-ply guys, is an interior design proposal for your office or home space. This helps visualize your business and its potential beyond the design of a logo. But most importantly, it helps us justify the amount of time we spend on Pinterest. (jk, sort of)

We get asked this question from time to time: “Why should I chose you over Fiverr?” If you have never heard of Fiverr, good. The real question you should be asking is “when can we get started?” Fiverr won’t meet with you to talk about the outlook and visions for your company. They won’t create a storyboard to visualize your new logos. They won’t make you laugh so hard you spit your coffee over the table talking about marketing strategies. And let’s be real- didn’t your mama tell you not to trust strangers on the internet?

Building a brand is not just about a logo file. It’s about finding the best way to tell your unique story, earning trust and building a lasting relationship with your customers. It’s also about giving our extrovert personalities something to look forward to each day. It’s about justifying our coffee habits with clients.

The Story Behind the Waxhaw Volunteer Fire Department Video

Jeni Bukolt

At Haven Creative, we’re obsessed with telling stories. Great storytelling evokes an emotional response, it has the power to move us, shape us, and form our actions. All of our projects, from logos to large-scale marketing campaigns, begin with a story and are crafted with artistic integrity; sweat equity, and lots and lots of Sospeso coffee (but that’s a different story).

When Chief Sharpe of the Waxhaw VFD reached out to us to produce a recruitment video for the department, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the men and women who serve in the community we call home.

We wanted to find a creative way to tell their story and make the viewer care. We came up with the concept to show the “every day” life of a volunteer juxtaposed with the life of a firefighter in action. We pitched the concept to the Chief and he trusted us to take the vision and run with it. We found a like-minded creative soul in Jerod Chambers who helped us visually capture the story. 

Here is the Waxhaw Volunteer Fire Department Video

 Thanks to Lisa Vigil for the pic. This is Chef Ken Posko - ready for his "close up" at Provisions. That's our DP, Jerod and Jeni standing in as the "audio" operator. 

Thanks to Lisa Vigil for the pic. This is Chef Ken Posko - ready for his "close up" at Provisions. That's our DP, Jerod and Jeni standing in as the "audio" operator. 

It was a pleasure to get to know the men and women of the Waxhaw Volunteer Fire Department through the video production process. Each of them has a compelling reason for why they chose to join and we look forward to sharing more of their stories soon.

We hope audiences enjoy the everyday hero recruitment video and more importantly that it helps bring new recruits to the Waxhaw VFD family.

Everyone has a story to tell. What does your brand story say about you? Let’s talk!

Contact: Jeni Bukolt - jeni @ thehavencreative.com 

Judging a Book By Its Cover - How Packaging Tells A Story

Jeni Bukolt

The iconic blue box from Tiffany’s, the clean minimalistic shape of an Apple case, packaging is powerful because it visually tells a story and showcases to consumers why your product and brand are different.

How often do we judge a book by its cover, literally? Every year, 95 percent of new products fail -- often because of the packaging. Your packaging tells a story. It’s critical to put careful thought and creativity into your package design in order to stand out from competitors.

When we set out to design Sospeso’s packaging, we knew we needed to work closely with owners Janet and Kyle Baker to learn more about their passion to “make the world a better place one cup of coffee at a time.” We wanted to find a way to capture that essence and incorporate the Sospeso story onto every bag of coffee they sell. 

Using the Sospeso brand book as a style guide, we incorporated their color pallet on the bags using one color for each region of coffee.

To bring the unique flavor notes to life, we opted to incorporate sketched icons directly on the bag. We placed cut limes and raw cinnamon sticks next the Colombian coffee described as, “refreshing with notes of lime and a hint of cinnamon for a unique finish.” To carry the theme over to the website, we juxtaposed the same ingredients against a handful of dark coffee beans.  The images allow the consumer to quickly identify the coffee’s flavor notes and ultimately, temp them into exploring the taste.

When Sospeso recently launched their cold brew line, we carried over the styling to the glass bottles using similar icons and hand-crafted vintage styling

Whether your selling flavorful beans or not, you want connect with your consumer at first glance – be it nostalgia, fun, altruism, etc.  Great product packaging allows the product to speak for itself with an understanding of what it actually is, but also, what it stands for.

Need help designing your product packaging?  Contact Haven Creative – 704.256.4008  or email us, jeni@thehavencreative.com -- and let’s get started…perhaps over a cup of coffee! 

Behind the Scenes - How Haven Creative Brings a Brand to Life

Jeni Bukolt

It’s been a busy year for Haven Creative, as we’ve been steadily working to develop the brand campaign for the Town of Waxhaw.  And while we recently unveiled a new website, logo and tagline to the public, it’s the behind the scenes work that reveals the heart and soul of a brand.

What is a brand anyway?

Simply put- a brand is more than a logo or tagline. It’s the foundation for how your business runs. It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your business based on both factual and emotional responses. A brand campaign is a visual strategy that works to shape perceptions and bring positive attributes to life.

Building a Brand

To build a brand, Haven Creative starts by asking 20 mission critical questions to assess where an organization currently is and where they hope to be with branding.

These questions are then polled with customers because your brand isn’t what you think it is, it’s what your customer thinks when they hear your name. From surveys, we look for consistent themes. Those themes become the foundation for creative development. Creative work is ultimately compiled into what we call a brand storyboard.

Brand Storyboard

The storyboard is a visual representation of the brand with specific fonts, colors, and imagery to illustrate the brand in lifestyle, home décor, commercial buildings, marketing merchandising and more. All of this creates the “story” that defines the brand as a whole. Using the brand storyboard as a guide, an organization can ensure that all visual elements remain consistent.

Brand Themes

Brand themes create a roadmap for an organization that is used along with the vision, mission and values to lay a foundation and a focus for what type of business (or community) you want to be. In the case of Waxhaw, they aim to be a community rich in Heritage, bustling with Activities and offering a sense of Well-being for all who live, work or play there. The HAW acronym evolved from these values.

Haven Creative Founder Jeni Bukolt presenting to Waxhaw-Weddington Rotary Club

Launching a Brand

Communication is key. Establishing a "Brand Implementation Plan" helps keep the message consistent both internally and externally. Prior to launching the Waxhaw brand, Haven Creative founder Jeni Bukolt presented the brand storyboard several times internally and externally to organizations like the Waxhaw Business Association and the Waxhaw-Weddington Rotary to educate the public on the Town's branding efforts.

Be Consistent

Launching a brand is like piling sand. It's a continual effort that takes a team and it takes time. For a brand to be successful, it has to permeate out of every area of an organization.

Don't have the time to build or manage a brand? We can help. 

To learn more about what Haven Creative does or to find out what we can do for your brand, contact us here

Mustang: The Story - Now Available

Jeni Bukolt

After working over a year with our client, Bill Higgs on his book, Mustang: The Story, we are thrilled to announce that it is has been published. Haven Creative designed the layout and cover art as well as supporting imagery throughout the book. 

Purchases can be made on Mustang's website. For your records, Haven Creative will be listed on your credit card provider as the seller. 

 Mustang: The Story by: Bill Higgs - Now Available www.mustangthestory.com

Mustang: The Story by: Bill Higgs - Now Available www.mustangthestory.com

If you've stumbled across this page because you found a charge on your credit card from Haven Creative, it is likely from a purchase of Mustang The Story. If you have any questions or concerns about your order, please contact us thehavencreative @ gmail.com or call, (704) 256. 4008. 

Branding Examples

Jeni Bukolt

HavenCreativeBrandImage

Not all those who start a business are necessarily marketing saavy, at least not initially.  With all the buzz words that surround the subject – brand, promotion, logo – it can be overwhelming to even know where to begin.  But since I’ve previously discussed on here what branding actually is, I thought it might be helpful to give some examples to further your understanding.

1)   Tiffany’s.  Ah, that pretty, coveted Robin’s egg blue box with a white bow.  Come on ladies, does it get any better?!  Without even knowing what’s inside, we assume it’s of the highest quality, remarkably beautiful, and equally expensive.  If branding is largely established by public perception, then the Tiffany brand is killing it!

2)   Target. I can’t think of a person that doesn’t enjoy a good trip to Target.  We call that “Mom’s Night Out” in my house!  Target’s brand is not only ubiquitous, but often referenced with it’s own endearing nickname, “Tar-je”.  It’s French.  For amazeballs.  But seriously, Tar-je is an allude to the public’s expectation of the brand’s affordability coupled with it’s attractiveness.  In other words, we can pretty much find anything and everything we need in Target, and more than likely, we can afford to buy it too. 

3)   Pottery Barn.  When I was selling my last house, my realtor described the home as, “Pottery Barn perfection” in the marketing materials.   Was my entire house outfitted in PB furnishings?  Hardly.  But referencing the brand, synonymous with common feelings of beautiful home décor, was a[successful] effort to endear my prospective buyers to my home. 

Think of all the brands out there that instantly make you feel something.  Have you established your brand?  What does it say about you and how you’re perceived by your audience?  Contact us if you’re not sure! 

Haven Creative specializes in creating and changing brand perceptions to help our clients connect with their customers. 

Our Logos, At a Glance

Jeni Bukolt

Here's just a few samples of the logo designs we've done for others.  Ask us what we can do for you!

The Building Blocks of Branding

Jeni Bukolt

What is a brand?  There is a simple definition; your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.

It’s what your customer thinks of when he or she hears your brand name.  

Your brand resides within the hearts and minds of residents, customers, clients, and prospects. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions, some of which you can influence, and some that you cannot.

The brand is the first stone set in the construction of a solid structure. Think of it as the cornerstone, it’s the most important piece of any structure because all other stones will be set in reference to this stone.

The brand is the blueprint of your customer experience, it will flavor all conversation about the business, product, town and it will align all advertising and promotional activity.

When we think of advertising we often think of logos and taglines, but it’s important to note that LOGOS and TAGLINES are not brands,  they are merely representations of brands. They are the entry point and the shortcut to the brand for your mind.

The story, vision, mission and values need to permeate out of every initiative in order for the brand to be effectively communicated, and to create a connection with said clients.

The tagline is part of the TANGIBLE element to a brand, so is the logo, but the BRAND also consists of intangible elements -- Promise, Perception, Persona, Expectation.  All of these elements must work together to consistently communicate your brand promise, shape brand perceptions, meet brand expectations, and define your brand persona.

BRAND PROMISE.  At its core, this is a promise to consumers. What will consumers get when they purchase a product or employ your services?

BRAND PERCEPTION.  This one is HUGE! Consumers, not companies, build brands. Ultimately, it’s the way consumers perceive a brand that defines it.

PERSONA.  Rather than asking, “What is a brand?” a better question might be, “Who is a brand?” Every brand has a persona. Think of your brand as a person. For example – the town of Asheville – known for its unique cuisine, arts and entertainment is often labeled as “artsy”.

BRAND EXPECTATION.  Based on your brand promise, consumers develop expectations for your brand. When I shop, eat or live in a certain spot, this is what I can expect – will it be high crime, great schools, safe??

So there you go...the building blocks to developing a solid brand.  It's a lot to consider, but if you don't, who will?  And if you need help, contact Haven Creative!    

Tips for Small Business Owners on Developing A Marketing Strategy

Jeni Bukolt

Congratulations, you've taken the leap and started your own business.  Aside from the fancy title of "entrepreneur" you are now also the Chief Financial Officer, Director of I.T., Head of Sales, oh.. and then there's that marketing thing. 

It's common for sales and marketing to get lumped together, and typical for marketing to get dropped down on the list of "things to-do" but it's important to remember that marketing and sales are two different things. 

"If marketing is like aiming a gun, sales are like pulling the trigger. And it is very important to know where you’re aiming at before you shoot." (author unknown)

Here are a few tips to on how to develop a marketing strategy: 

  1. Know Your Customer and Put them First: 
    1. Who is most likely to be interested in your product or service? "The best marketing plans will fail unless you know who your customer is and understand their wants and needs."
  2. Analyze Your Business: 
    1. what makes your business (or product) special or different? 
    2. who is your competitor, where are they strong or weak?
    3. ind out what's "broken" in your industry and become the solution
  3. Have a Plan and Stick To It! - "Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work." - Peter F. Drucker. 
    1. Once you've identified your customer and what you like or dislike about your competition, determine how you will reach your customer without going broke in advertising. 
    2. Social media is a great way to advertise, but not every outlet makes sense for every brand. Once you've done your research and truly know your brand personality and customer, it will be easy to determine what outlet makes sense for your product or service. 

Not sure how to create an effective marketing plan? Contact Haven Creative. We offer the complete marketing package from concept to execution developing the best "how-to" strategy to build your brand awareness and get your product or service the attention it deserves. 

 

 

Correct Dimensions for 2015 Twitter Banner

Jeni Bukolt

I'm sure I am not the only one who has searched the Internet for the correct dimensions for the 2015 Twitter cover image and I could easily find that the recommended size is:

1500px (width) x 421 px (height)

BUT, Twitter's set up is complicated and although I would set up my image to the correct dimensions it was cropping it and I was losing image quality. 

UNTIL, I found this free downloadable template. 

2015 TWITTER HEADER TEMPLATE FROM TWELVESKIP

I am grateful that I found this template. IT WORKS! This template has been tested in different screen resolutions and in Twitter app using iPhone (5).

TIP: Be your file to the highest quality and be mindful of the "visible" and "invisible" areas on the template. 

Happy Designing! 

If you're looking for a custom Twitter design, no problem! I can help!

Contact me jeni @ thehavencreative.com  

 

 

Product Development and Color Trends

Jeni Bukolt

When developing a product, staying abreast of the latest color trends is an integral part of the development process. It's likely you won't be able to sell something that doesn't coordinate with the mass marketplace, but at the same time, different regions are attracted to different colors. So I am curious to know, how do you choose your product colors? Do you look at trends in the marketplace, what's hot on the runway, or do you trust your gut and go with your own design style?

When I started out in product design, sites like WGSN Fashion Trend Forecasting and pantone was our go to for color resources. If you don't already know, then you will want to check out Pantone for color trend reports and more.

While Pantone certainly is a great resource for upcoming and current trends in fashion, you also have to know your marketplace. I've lived and developed product in Los Angeles, Phoenix and small-town suburbs in North Carolina and I will say that it takes a bit longer for color trends to roll out in the south. When I develop products for Handcrafted by Haven Creative, I use a combination of resources. I seek out the latest trends, but I try to get to know my customers likes and dislikes and trust my design instinct when picking color for my product.

Do you have a color resource or trend report that you use? I love to be inspired- comment below!