Posts in Branding
Gisou Pop-up: Small Business Branding
Small business branding, Small business branding design inspiration, gisou negin mirsalehi, gisou pop up new york city, branding design inspiration

Today, I want to talk about Gisou’s pop-up branding and why I feel as though it is important to a business (especially a smaller one). Plus, if you aren’t living in New York and missed out on visiting the pop-up I want to share some pictures I took while there!

If you know me, it’s no secret how much I love the Gisou products (I’ve done a post raving about the hair oil here) and IRL I talk about how inspiring and creative Gisou is as a business. So, when the brand created a pop-up in New York, I had to go visit, knowing that it would be designed down to the last detail. And, I was not disappointed.

Small business branding, Small business branding design inspiration, gisou negin mirsalehi, gisou pop up new york city, branding design inspiration

What I loved about the Gisou pop-up

// Every last detail was thought of

Two of my favorite details about the pop-up were the shopping bag you received after purchase and the napkin holders on the table. I love that things on this level were thought of and it makes, as a customer, you feel like the brand really cares. Plus, as a designer it is so insanely cool to see the amount of creativity that went into concepting everything and gives me so much inspiration for my own work!

// They brought in brand values to the store

Another detail I loved was that they decided to have deals that were special to the New York pop-up. One deal was refills that were cheaper than buying a new product. It was more environmentally conscious (and probably a margin hit) for them to offer this and I feel like it ties into their brand values of working to be better as a business for the planet.

// The real Gisou team was there

O.M.G. I loved that the Gisou team was actually in the store! It felt more authentic to have them there and really gave you a unique experience. 

Small business branding, Small business branding design inspiration, gisou negin mirsalehi, gisou pop up new york city, branding design inspiration

Why Pop-up Branding Is Important To A Small Business

// It is the first time many people are interacting in real life with your brand

I think this title says it all, but really for most pop-ups it is the first time people are able to go into the store and look at the item they are thinking about buying before they purchase. It is also the first time people will be able to really physically see a representation of the brand and I think that can really make a big impact.

// You need to make a statement to attract attention

I loved that Gisou’s store was in a Papaya Dog! Although the concept sounded a little strange at first, I felt like it was a stand-out concept that intrigued me so much that I needed to see it in person. Not to mention how creative it was!

// You want to leave a lasting impression

This one is obvious I feel, but everything I have mentioned above is designed to leave a lasting impression. Without that lasting impression, I wouldn’t feel connected to the brand and am way less likely to purchase again. But, after leaving the Gisou pop-up I know due to their amazing products and even cooler brand, I will be a life long customer.

Did you go to the pop-up? What do you think of small businesses opening stores in major cities? Let me know your thoughts below :)




Small business branding, Small business branding design inspiration, gisou negin mirsalehi, gisou pop up new york city, branding design inspiration
Your Brand Should Create A Feeling
Your brand should create a feeling

Now this title might make you a little confused. What do you mean my brand should have a feeling? That doesn’t even make sense?? Well listen up ladies & gentleman, I have something to say about branding.

This idea I had while perusing Pinterest. I’ve seen so many articles on “Choose the right font to attract your ideal client” or something to that extent. And while (obviously) it is very important for your brand that you choose the correct font, it also is a misleading title.

Your ideal client is attracted to your brand because when they come to your site, see an image you created on Pinterest, or visit your Instagram page they feel something when viewing your content. What I’m saying is, it’s not specifically the font it’s every element of your brand put together.

When I was a lot newer to graphic design, I devoured these articles like I would be instantly popular overnight because I chose the right font. Or if I made the right Pinterest image, it would go viral and I’d be able to book clients left and right.

What I’ve learned is it’s all of the little things that come together to make your brand whole. And when done correctly, a person can get a scene of who you are/who your brand is the second they see anything created by you. THAT is what is important, not that you choose the right font.

Okay, rant over. What are your thoughts? Let me know below, I always love a good discussion.

Instagram Story Advertising Design Trends 2019
Instagram stories design trends

Instagram is a huge advertising business these days. You see ads in your stories around every 3 people you scroll through. As designers, we have to stay current on what the competition is doing and what is popular in this space. I loved over the past month and a half putting together a list of these design trends so that you can just look through and be knowledgeable about the topic! Scroll through to see what trends are happening on Instagram stories today.

Instagram advertising trends - stories

Picture with text and “See more…” / Mimicking influencers stories 

For this trend. I’ve seen so many brands throw a photo on Instagram and put paragraphs of text. It almost mimics Instagram influencer’s stories and I think that’s the point. They want it to look more organic showing up between your stories so you are more likely to swipe up. As a designer, I don’t think it’s the most aesthetically pleasing, but if it’s the most effective way, then I would consider it.

A photo with layers and simple text

Here we see a lot of brands putting high quality photos with simple text. A few even add in more of a collage element that likely looks like their other digital advertising (i.e. email marketing and website designs). This is definitely a little more appealing of a trend and I would be curious to know if it is more/less effective.


A lot of brands are using GIFs in their advertising and not just video or photo.

Simple video with no words

{Sorry for the low usability here, I am limited with-how I upload videos on Squarespace}

All of the video advertising on stories that I have seen are all just simple videos of the clothing/products the company is promoting. A.K.A there isn’t someone talking in these stories. Also, as shown in the Cult Gia advertisement, they add in multiple videos in one to maximize the time allowed in the stories by showcasing more than one product.

I would love to know if anyone has seen any other trends, or if you have any thoughts about these?! Let’s discuss in the comments below.

Blogger Branding: Sivan Ayla

As some of you may know, branding is my #1 love. It really makes me happy seeing beautiful branding in the form of packaging, business cards, Pinterest pages, you name it.

In the blogger world I’ve definitely seen some people take advantage of how they brand themselves, and Sivan Alya (@sivanalya) is the queen of this. I’ve recently started following her and have been captivated by how well she has branded herself.

I wanted to break it down and talk through some of the different things she does that WORK and work really well.

Created her own tagline

Her tagline “+ Lux Unfiltered” is seen almost everywhere that Sivan is associated. Insta bio, Pinterest page, and just in the way she acts and what she posts about. She’s really made it clear that she likes to make everyday life the best it can be and she’s never going to sugar coat it. It’s an interesting take on blogger branding because you see tag-lines used with large corporations and Sivan used that practice for her brand as well. Genius!

Created her own hashtags

She’s also added her own hashtags to her Insta bio. These are very Instagram specific, but are a very interesting way to create a sort of members only club atmosphere. It sucks you in as a reader because you want to know what #sivanin60seconds is and what it means.

Customizes each platform

As you saw in my first section her tag-line includes the “+” symbol. And she uses the EVERYWHERE. On her blog branding, Pinterest page, Insta bio, etc. She takes every platform she has and tries to customize it to her branding. And the + sign is one of the main ways that she does that. It’s almost like a sub logo that she uses to let people know that it’s her brand. Her website is unique, as well as the fonts she uses, and her images she pins to Pinterest. A lot of how she presents her self on each platform is carefully thought through, so it matches her style and brand to perfection.

Keeps it consistent

This is the age of practice of branding. If it’s not consistent in your logo, fonts, colors, attitude, etc. your audience is going to get confused. It’s okay to re-brand or change things here and there, but when you do, you have to make sure it’s consistent on every single page and I think she does a great job at that.

What branding do you all admire? Let me know so I can go stalk.




Follow Us on Instagram: @sarahgrossdesign 

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Small Business Branding: Insta Highlights

Today I wanted to talk about highlight covers on Instagram. Why they’re important, a client example I created, and how you can do it yourself!! 

I personally believe as a graphic designer that companies (especially small companies) should take every opportunity to brand themselves. And highlight covers are not exception. You might think that they are something small, but they can have a huge impact on your Instagram page. Let’s get more into why I think they’re important and how I make them for my clients + how you can DIY it!


Why is branding your highlight covers important?

  1. You are showing your brand’s personal style, so people will immediately know if their personal aesthetic goes with your brand

  2. You are seen as a more legitimate influencer, company, etc because you page will look extremely more professional and polished

  3. You are given the opportunity to make your profile more unique and stand out against the crowd. Using icons that aren’t the same as your competition will set you apart.


Client Example?

I think highlight covers are different for each client based off of their brand’s style and aesthetic. It is important that the highlight covers go seamlessly with the rest of their products/blog/company/photos.

When given the opportunity to create highlight covers for @emily_luciano I studied her brand and decided that hand drawn was the right course of action! 

To do this I used Procreate on my iPad to hand draw each of the covers. I tried to give them each a unique flair that other cover I saw didn’t have. I also kept the background to her brand colors. 

Below is a video of how I created the “house” cover, hope you like it! Below are my tips on how to do it yourself, sans iPad!

instagram highlight covers
instagram highlight covers
instagram highlight covers
instagram highlight covers

How can you do this yourself?

If you are really on a tight budget and are unable to pay someone to create these for you, I’m here to help! Of course, if you would like to use my services you can, but I get the hustle, so here are my tips to making your own highlight covers!

First, make an account on Canva. This is essentially a free online and simple version of Photoshop. Here you can select the “Instagram Stories” template or create a canvas that is 1080 x 1920.  think if you want to have a more “icon” look or a “hand drawn” look. I have tips for both!

For hand drawn:

Option 1: I would look up inspirational photos online and print them out.   Then lay a blank piece of paper over this photo and put them both on a window with a lot of sunlight coming through.  This will create a light box effect, so you can trace over the photo you printed out. Then you can scan this using your iPhone and send to your email. You can plop the image onto your Canva template and this will create the right size image. 

Option 2: If you want to get fancy, you can use Illustrator to trace your photo and export it as a .PNG. This way you can put a different color say our background.

Option 3: Use Procreate app on the iPad Pro

For icon:

Option 1: Use Canva’s icons! There are free ones and ones that cost $1, so it is really easy to find something on a budget! 

Option 2: If you want a more “icon” look with clean lines, my favorite service is There you can search for vector images that are free to download and customize! All you have to do is attribute the website on your image, which you can do very discretely at the bottom!

I download the .ai file and try to get just the outline of the image that I want, then you can change the color and put it on different backgrounds to create your own personal style.

Comment below if you have any questions!




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How To Design A Business Card - Tips & Tricks

You need a well designed business card...there's no question about it!

One of the intentions of my blog is to not only help regular women like myself create a life they love, but to help women who own small businesses bring their vision to life!

My passion is making better design and that means making everything surrounding a business pretty AND user friendly.

I think that makes all the difference in finding your place in this over saturated market place that is America. Someone can easily find your same product, but having it be user friendly is what will make your customer stay loyal. Every touch-point of your business is an example of how you can make your ideal customer's life EASIER. That is what it's all about! 

Your business card is no exception! 

As you can see above, I created an easily editable business card template, so you can create something that it professional, but still represents your brand well. 

Free Business Card Editable Download

My Business Card Tips & Tricks

1. Keep it the regular 2.5x3in size: In my opinion, you don't want to over-think your business card. Working in marketing, I've seen my fair share of business cards and the one's that are square or shaped weird just aren't fun for the people who receive them. It's like if you got a credit card that didn't fit in your would be pissed at the credit card company. Don't be that company.

2. Make your most important information the only information: Why clutter up your business card with unnecessary information (that no one will read). Keep it to what you want the viewer to take action on. Like your name, email, website, and phone number. If there is a specific link you want the user to go to replace your companies website link with that. Just think about your customer and what they would want to connect with you on.

3. Add color: If your brand had a recognizable color or pattern, make that easily noticeable. Bright colors or interesting patterns will grab the attention of people and make your card more memorable.

I would love for you to use my template! All of the words, colors, and circular type are editable! All you do is click this link and sign-up for my weekly newsletter that comes out on Fridays! (They're also full of tons of other useful things). Promise, I won't spam you!

If you use my template, send me a email, DM or tag on insta! I would die over it!! Extra love today!



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