This Blog Made Beautiful by My Friend

Chelsea King designed my logo, cards, and graphics. As a skilled artist and friend, she manifested my natural, surreal vision.

Illustration by Chelsea King

My friend Chelsea and I worked together while studying for her BFA, and we grew closer over a few years. We kept in touch through social media with random restaurant dates, familial events, or hanging out. On occasion, she showed me her artwork, and I was blown away by how masterfully she rendered life to 2-dimensional images.

Once she graduated, job prospects opened up an opportunity elsewhere. I missed my friend, but she thrived with her skillset and certifications. I kept up with her as she posted her fantastical renderings on her Doodle Page.

Words and music are my forte, and I never dabbled in the visual arts. I took an art appreciation course in college to understand. But my illustrations amount to little more than stick figures with clothes. Sure, I could have puttered out something to improve the look of my blog, but it would have lacked depth and flair.

We recently reconnected once I realized she moved back to town, and this was around the time I started to blog again in April of 2021 after a 2-year hiatus. We rekindled the flames of friendship around when my hunger for the written word reawakened as if by serendipity. My blog needed to be professional and unique, and I could think of no better person qualified for the task than Chelsea.

Natural sketches via @Chelseasdoodlegram

The Process

I inquired about commissioning her for the task of designing my Medium blog. She had room in her schedule to accept the job. I grew elated at the prospect of taking my writing career to the next level with her illustrative guidance.

Back in 2019, I blogged about local activist concerns as well as some poetry sprinkled about. This year, my content centered around gardening, plants, and the natural world when I started anew. Regardless of intentions to branch out, I figured this would remain my mainstay for the time being.

The Logo

Chelsea explained how my entire brand would center around my logo. Before we could even think about designing business cards or a blog, we needed to invent this critical component. So, she asked some questions about a theme, colors, symbols, and more; then, she set out different options posthaste.

When I first awoke a day or two later, I saw an email from my friend. It was the first draft of some possible logos we could refine. Finally, after all was said and done, we agreed upon a logo.

This concept featured a crescent moon and a hand reaching out from it. The hand extends toward what appears to be three seeds, gems, falling stars — whatever your imagination tells you. Inside the moon shape, she layered the silhouette of fruiting vines. The logo gradates from purple on one side to a sort of fuchsia on the other. Perfect!

Logo by Chelsea King

Business Cards

With the logo decided upon, we commenced making decisions on applying it to a business card. Vertical or horizontal? One-sided or two? After three samples and a couple of edits, we settled upon a vertical design.

My friend conjured up some magic with Adobe’s creative suite. It may have powerful tools, but I lack the years of experience to make use of them. Not sure what incantations she infused with Illustrator. But those business cards soared beyond my expectations.

The front features my logo in full color with my name “JM Heatherly,” as it appears here. The background is an off-white color. The back of the card shows off the dark shade of purple; my logo is up top in white. The center of the back displays my name, title, and contact information in white letters. At the bottom is a QR code directing contacts to my blog profile.

Renderings via vistaprint

The business cards arrived, actually, and the enthusiasm consumes me! 500 of them came in only a couple of days, as well as a handy metal cardholder. Went with a glossy finish, rounded corners, and a pearlescent sheen. To be honest, they remind me of tarot or magic cards.

Blog Design

The standard layout on Medium seems decent enough, even if plain. The accent color is green on an all-white background. Sure, I want people to stay for the quality of my words, but I figure that an individualized look will differentiate me and attract eyes.

Chelsea noticed I played around with my Medium profile design settings, even though I had not published them. She saw that purple was my primary color, I had a color gradient, and my banner photo showed a natural woodland. This led to inspiring the direction she took with my profile.

The colors of the sunset bring a twinkle to my eyes. I referenced the palette of an album by a local electronic group, Odesza, based out of Nashville, TN. Having applied these logo colors already, we would translate that to the blog for a sense of congruency.

The first drafts of my new profile design featured a similar color scheme, with dozens of young trees filling the banner. A purple to fuchsia gradient displayed before me. Yet, I wanted to know how it looked from others’ eyes and different screens, whether mobile or PC. So, I solicited my friend and colleague, Katie Michaelson, to provide some feedback from her perspective.

JM Heatherly’s Medium Profile

After thoughtful consideration, I decided on some colors. I saw it best to have the deeper purple, darker accent, and thicker, old-growth trees for the banner. I love the surreal imagery and mystical inspirations of being in the forest. The vibrant, twilight color scheme made it even more eye-catching.

Chelsea took my edits in stride and composed an outstanding final product. Perfect for fostering the magical, organic thoughts of my readers! Now, my blog evokes a sense of mystery, curiosity, and reconnection with the wild.

Final Thoughts

Working with my friend gave me fulfillment in a multitude of ways. I knew she worked in graphical aspects ranging from typography to editorials, illustration, logo design, and more! While in my art appreciation class, I interviewed her mom for a project. She is a mixed-media visual artist who teaches local art classes from her home studio. I saw that Chelsea honed her craft over many years, and she also came from generational talent.

Though in no particular hurry myself, Chelsea worked with speed and efficiency. She set deadlines and met them far enough in advance to include edits. Expediency does not sully her work, and she takes all your creative intention into consideration.

Definitely consider hiring someone to develop your brand. I emphasize finding a local artist with years of experience and a diverse portfolio. Chelsea King empowered me to take my blogging to the next level. Now, people will see my page and immediately know how professional I am.

But don’t worry, I still have a fun side. Thanks to Chelsea for her top-notch work, and consider hiring someone to differentiate you as a writer. See more of her work below:

Find Chelsea King:

Facebook

Instagram

LinkedIn

Website

Her Work:

Creative Property of Chelsea King

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A place for duuudes of all sexes, ages, religions, and coffee-preferences to hang out and shoot the sh!t about their latest creations, to brag, lament, query, or quote, it’s all good…

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JM Heatherly

JM Heatherly

(He/They) Hospitality pro, writer, gardener, musician and humanist from Tennessee (Tanasi). Finding gems to polish for you. https://linktr.ee/jonmheatherly

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