Lucy Ann Lance: Our Saline Chamber Report today on the Lucy Ann Lance Show, Ann Arbor’s Talk Station 1290 WLBY. Today we’re going to meet a graphic designer whose company does a whole lot more graphic design, website support, email management, and it’s going to be great talking with Karen Tuttle of klizaDESIGN.
But first, Michelle Dugan, who is the Executive Director of the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce. You’ve actually seen Karen’s work up close and personal. She did some work for the Saline Chamber.
Michelle Dugan: That is true, Lucy Ann. So we had the honor of working with klizaDESIGN the past few months and she’s very flexible, nimble, and has some creative ideas. She helps take my – I’m an idea person, I’m a visionary, she helps take those ideas and put them on paper, represent us well, professionally, professionally. Much better than I could do on Canva or with any resources I have here internally.
Lucy Ann Lance: Well, Karen, I really admire skill sets like you have because I think that is something that is very special. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became a graphic designer and doing the work with your company, klizaDESIGN .
Karen Tuttle: Sure. Well, thank you and thanks for having me on the show. I started out doing graphic design. That was my major in college and worked through that and while I was starting a family and going through college I was also doing volunteer work graphic design work for organizations that I was in and just like keeping my portfolio up to date. Keeping everything going and actually it was one of my volunteer projects that got me into my first graphic design job and just kept adding more responsibility there.
Keep working through all the jobs worked up to becoming a marketing manager for a tech company out of San Francisco.
Lucy Ann Lance: Oh, wow.
Karen Tuttle: I’ve got freelance experience. I’ve got. managing like a, you know, marketing department kind of thing, and working through all that. And now I’m bringing that to my company klizaDESIGN.
Lucy Ann Lance: And in particular, you’d like to work with small businesses and tell us a little bit about the skillset that you bring for those businesses and the process that you go through with them.
Karen Tuttle: Sure. Well, I understand how everything works together, the website, the print work. Everything needs to work together and look cohesive to really represent your brand.
I understand the background and what goes on behind the scenes and bringing everything together so that it all works cohesively
Lucy Ann Lance: What do you like most to work with? What types of projects do you enjoy?
Karen Tuttle: Well, right now I’m doing a couple of website projects for a couple of nonprofits and a solopreneur, just helping them get up and running.
And I really enjoy that. And I also enjoy print work where, I’ve done a hundred plus page magazines where I produced the whole thing. I designed the layout. I talked with the printer to get it printed and in the end, it was just a gorgeous piece. I’m just so proud to have been part of it.
Lucy Ann Lance: What platform do you use for your websites Karen?
Karen Tuttle: So I’ve used WordPress in the past, but I’m also working with Wix now. I’ve also done hand coding HTML and CSS to, you know, completely hand coded websites. Really not much call for that anymore these days, but you know, whatever platform the company is using, I’ve probably used it before.
Lucy Ann Lance: Well, that’s a real talent though to be able to do that HTML as well. So it’s good to have that in your background. What software do you prefer? What about the software?
Karen Tuttle: I use Adobe Creative Cloud for mostly everything. But it really depends on what the client needs. If they need templates that they can use later, that they can use themselves in the future, then I’ll create something in Canva for them. If it’s going to be me, I’ll do it all in Adobe.
Lucy Ann Lance: We’re talking with Karen Tuttle. She is the founder and digital marketing director for her company, klizaDESIGN, and you can go online to www.klizaDESIGN.com. Her work is beautiful and click in there and you can kind of thumb through there.
Karen, earlier Michelle mentioned that she’s a visionary, you know, she knows what she wants, but how do you get there? And so what’s the best way that a client can work with you when they kind of have an idea of what they want? They may not know exactly but they definitely don’t know how to get there. How do you draw that out from them?
Karen Tuttle: Sure. So when I start working with a client we go through a big discovery conversation. And I have a bunch of questions that I go through to kind of talk and find the heart. What is the heart and mission of your organization?
And that drives everything that we do going forward. If we’re working on a certain project, we talk about what are the goals for this project? What do you want? What outcome do you want from having a newsletter or putting an ad on Facebook? Like, what do you want people to do? And so, we talk through the goals, like who you want to target, those kinds of things. We just make sure everything matches up in the end. Pulse through those goals for you.
Lucy Ann Lance: What do you notice when you look at sites maybe that you haven’t worked on or just campaigns in general or a company and you see what their mission is and you see how they’re presenting themselves, but they don’t carry it through maybe on every aspect of the company. Whether it’s how they answer the phone or what their email says. Tell me a little bit about what you think when you see something like that because it happens all the time, doesn’t it?
Karen Tuttle: Yeah, for sure. I usually think, well, I could really help them out. I’d really love to work with them and help them bring this up to par, make their messaging cohesive across like all the platforms. Cause like you said, it’s really important, everything that touches your target market. It leaves an impression, and makes sure that you have the best impression for every type of media that you have out there.
Lucy Ann Lance: It’s really important. You’ve worked with big companies and small companies and on your website it mentions how you really want to be able to do big marketing for small businesses. I think a lot of times the small business person doesn’t realize they can have Big marketing. So what does that mean for them and how would that work strategically and financially?
Karen Tuttle: So big marketing, I guess just means everything matches. Everything looks good across all the pieces that you have. And if all you can manage to maintain right now is a website and maybe one social media platform, that’s fine. If it all looks good, if it all has the same message across the board, that’s great. That’s going to do a lot for your business.
Lucy Ann Lance: You know, technology changes, and I think that’s another problem that makes it very hard for business people to keep up to date with the latest out there. Where do you see the future going when it comes to the technology that’s available to do this kind of presentation and marketing for businesses?
Karen Tuttle: Well, AI is certainly a huge thing that’s out there right now. And, I’ve kind of played around with it. What I found is it’s a great starting point. But you can’t just depend on AI to do everything for you. You still need to take it and put your spin on it. Make sure that it doesn’t sound too generic.
Because some of the things that it spits out for me are pretty generic. So adding in your little, the spice that makes your business special. Really, it’s a tool and it gives you a starting point and then you can, it gives you a little leg up to move along a little faster through the process. But don’t just rely on it.
Lucy Ann Lance: What are some of your favorite projects to work on?
Karen Tuttle: I like print and web both. I’ve done big projects for both of them and for print you have something you can hold in your hand. I have a bunch of those magazines that I produced and it’s just, it’s just a joy to look through it and remember all the process that we went through to get to that point. And you can give it to someone else and say, look at this. It’s fun.
A website is something that doesn’t actually exist in the world. It’s made out of pixels, but it’s such a great tool to get your target market, to contact you, to bring in leads, to educate your audience and, and all those things. You know, it doesn’t really exist, but it’s so important to a company on your website.
Lucy Ann Lance: It says you’re an affordable graphic designer for hire. What does that mean to your customers and talk a little bit about that part of the business? Because I think sometimes, especially if you’re a small business, they think this is out of the realm of being able to hire someone with your design caliber.
Karen Tuttle: I talk with my clients and we try to see what their needs are and what we can do for an affordable price. If they need a five page website, then we’ll figure out maybe we use templates more or maybe we use something that gets the project moving faster.
We don’t always have to do everything custom. There are options to get something out there that doesn’t cost a lot of money.
Lucy Ann Lance: I hope our listeners check it out. If they are in need of a graphic designer and all of the skills that you have, even email and print, you can go online to www.klizadesign.com.
Tell me a little bit about the work you did for the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce.
Karen Tuttle: I just jumped in and helped Michelle. She needed flyers, she needed some emails set up, and basically whatever I could help her with, whatever she had time to give me, I helped her out with, and we were a strong team throughout the summer.
Lucy Ann Lance: I love that, that’s great. Karen, so nice getting to know you.