I had the pleasure of chatting with Aimee of Little Trailer Studio. She has a unique style that combines illustration and modern design. Not to mention she works with with Go Live HQ and hosts her own branding workshops. Continue reading to learn more about her process and her advice for new creative entrepreneurs.
TO KICK THINGS OFF WOULD YOU MIND INTRODUCING YOURSELF AND YOUR BUSINESS?
Hi my name is Aimee and I am the founder and sole designer behind Little Trailer Studio. Little Trailer Studio is a branding studio I started close to two years ago. I help new business owners grow their business through branding. I like to get to the core of a brand so that whenever, wherever, however it shows up in the world, its ideal customers not only take note but are attracted to what it has to offer.
FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW, HOW LONG HAS LITTLE TRAILER STUDIO BEEN AROUND?
I officially launched in June 2015!
HAS GRAPHIC DESIGN ALWAYS BEEN YOUR PASSION?
No, not really. Growing up I was always creative and if you read my “what do I wanna be when I grow up” homework assignments from elementary school I always said I wanted to be an artist. I loved to draw but I didn’t ever make the connection to graphic design. I didn’t even know what graphic design was growing up. In high school when I was getting ready to apply to colleges I thought I would do something in fashion or interior design. I got into graphic design during my first job out of college. I worked at the Los Angeles Theatre Center and when we couldn’t afford to hire a graphic designer, which was often, I would be tasked with creating the play bills, e-blasts, and marketing collateral. That was my first foray into graphic design. Fast forward to me getting fired, which you can read all about in this post, and that’s when I really decided to change careers and do graphic design.
SO WHAT DOES THE DESIGN PROCESS LOOK LIKE WHEN A CLIENT JUMPS ON BOARD WITH YOU?
I’m fine tuning it more and more with each client but it always starts with a discovery phase. I’ve had clients where I give them homework with extensive questions about their business and brand and I’ve also done it where we have a meeting and do the discovery together in person. I do sometimes prefer doing it together because it allows me to ask follow up questions and go deeper, especially with clients that tend to give short answers and haven’t really thought about their brand in a deeper way. Once the discover phase is done I’ll take all that information and create a moodboard. This part also varies though because sometimes I get clients who have already created a moodboard themselves before even booking me. An example of this was the branding I did for The Amplify Collective.
They came to me with a deep understanding of who their customer is, what their brand position is, where they want to take their business, and what they want the style to be. So for that client I had them do their homework on their own and ask them to share visuals of the style they’re looking for. Other clients, however, have no idea how to connect their brand with a style and really depend on me for my design expertise. In that case I’ll create a moodboard based on our discovery phase. I spend a lot of time figuring this part out so when I show it to the client they don’t usually have any changes and approve it right away. The next part is me creating the full brand identity. I know the industry standard is to show three logo concepts, but what I do instead is do the entire brand identity which includes the main logo, secondary logo, color palette, typography palette and secondary elements.This allows the client to see the logo within the full context and helps them provide better feedback on the brand overall. What I love about this process is it helps create a stronger brand identity and is based on the designer’s expertise, and the project doesn’t get hijacked by endless rounds of revisions. If a client does have changes once I show them the full brand identity they’re usually very minor. I did this once with a client simply because there was only one logo option that I felt worked for her brand. I didn’t want to show her one good logo option and two mediocre logo options. But in order to “sell” her on it, I developed the rest of the brand identity as well. It worked out so well that I decided to do it with every client and it’s been working great for me!
I AM SURE I ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER TO THIS BUT WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO ADOBE PROGRAM?
Illustrator for logos and pretty much everything else! But photoshop for doing mockups of the brand which I’ll also show the client when presenting the first round of the brand identity, like this jpg here.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST PROS AND CONS OF RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
The biggest con is that I am doing everything myself. I recently started redesigning my blog page and got busy with client work so I haven’t been able to finish it. If I had a fellow designer on my team that part of the biz would already be done! And that’s just one unfinished project on my to-do list. The biggest pro is that I can take Little Trailer in any direction I’d like and learn at my own pace without worrying about a team whose salary I have to support.
WHO WOULD YOU SAY HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST BUSINESS MENTORS ON YOUR JOURNEY? (IN PERSON OR ONLINE)
Marie Forleo, Jasmine Star, Tara Gentile, Being Boss, Tony Robbins, Chris Do, Jose Caballer, Brene Brown
IF YOU COULD GIVE ADVICE TO SOMEONE JUST GETTING STARTED AS A CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE?
Allow yourself to be in the exploration phase as long as you need in order to find what works for your business. The second is to not get trapped in thinking you have to do it like everyone else in order to be successful. I think it’s so easy to get stuck in copying other people’s businesses or seeing that a certain tactic is working for someone else so we should do it too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at someone’s website or Instagram and thought “they’re doing xyz, maybe I should do that too.” It’s distracting and hardly ever productive.
WHEN YOU ARE NOT DESIGNING WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING?
Exploring LA and being a total city girl! I love exploring every neighborhood and nook and cranny Los Angeles has to offer.
LAST BUT MOST CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, AS I ASK EVERYONE WHO AGREES TO THESE INTERVIEWS, IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE SONG TO REPRESENT LITTLE TRAILER STUDIO WHAT SONG WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Hmmmmmm I think it would be the entire Wes Anderson soundtrack.
Of course, a huge thank you to Aimee for chatting with me. You can find her on her website, Instagram, Pinterest, Dribbble and Facebook. I hope you enjoyed learning more about Little Trailer Studio and be sure and give her a shout down in the comments below.