Tonic Tips

Social (Media) Distancing: Three Ways to Stay Inspired and Also Not Go Crazy Right Now

Hey, Friend. So, how’s your week going?


Uh, yeah. Us, too.

We know for many this is the first week of a new normal. Maybe you’re suddenly working from home, sans your typical office, or maybe your kids are home from school for the foreseeable future. Either way, things seem unsettled and WEIRD right now, and it’s hard to do anything “as usual.” (We kind of just want to socially distance from… everything.)  

That’s why it’s so important, now more than ever, to find ways to stay inspired and focused on what really fuels you. And because social media right now is a literal petri dish of thoughts, suggestions, and um, let’s be honest… unending advice from every single angle, let’s all take a step back, shall we?

Don’t get us wrong — it’s been incredibly heartening to see the creative ways the creative community has come together, but it’s also a little… off…out there, for good reason, and a little social {media} distancing is good for the soul. So, in the spirit of slowing down, finding rest, and resetting, we wanted to share a few easy ways to detox your screen-time and replace it with productive, restful, and inspiration-giving activities instead.

Catalog + Chill

We’ve got a secret for you… some of the best design on the market is probably sitting in your (physical) mailbox. Yep, we’re serious. Brand catalogs are kind of a secret weapon of marketing-meets-design, because they’re designed beautifully, but ALSO designed to sell. Most of the companies running these catalogs are major and also have a major budget for research into the consumer mind when it comes to conversion. We always study commercial/fashion websites for ideas (instead of websites in our creative/industry niche), but catalogs’ use of text, layout, and design are also typically a clinic in branding, trends, and conversion design techniques.  

A few of our favorite catalog sources — CuyanaMarine LayerBest Made Co., Restoration HardwareFilsonWest ElmAnthropologie, CB2Serena & LilyFree People… (other favorites we should know? Email us back!)

So, before you throw away the mail without even looking at it, here are a few pro-tips:

  1. Observe the Layouts: How are the products/offerings arranged? Are you drawn to a particular setup over another? Collaging vs. large scale images… text and color blocking editorial styling… Why? As you delve into these specifics, you’ll begin to identify what works and why it catches your eye… and then you can emulate those things in your website + brand materials, too.
  2. Dive into the Type Treatments: What fonts are being used? What do the selected fonts convey? What is the sizing (& the sizing difference) between the headers and body text? How does that work to catch your attention? Observe what stands out and why it stands out.
  3. Study the Color StoryColor is so crucial to convey emotion and elicit action. Seriously look into the tones being used, the mixture of colors selected, and the number of colors in the range. Do the colors feel moody and cool or are they bright and fun? Recognize how the colors on each page make you feel. Color is tied to feelings, so tune into that as you look through the catalog and think through how you may convey similar emotions with your color story.

William Sonoma includes recipes and lifestyle content in their catalog—a BRILLIANT value-add!

BONUS: As you’re doing all this *deep* thinking while staring at the most recent catalog of CB2 or Marine Layer (orrrr insert your favorite store here ______), tear out the layouts, text treatments, and color stories that feel the most like your brand. Organize those in a collage on your fridge or bulletin board if you have one in your office. And just let it sit there to inspire you over the next several days, peeking at it regularly to continue to observe and gain inspo from your very own tear sheets!

Print, by the way, is very much not dead. Fun fact: our Adriatique design was actually completely inspired by a magazine in the seatback pocket on an airplane? Jen was bored on a flight home from Greece and grabbed the magazine (which was entirely in Greek), got inspired, took photos of her favorite spreads, and the first Adriatique design cues were sprouted!

Get Outside (san AirPods)

In an increasingly digital age (heck, in an increasingly digital WEEK with everyone grabbing for bandwidth), we catch ourselves grabbing for our phone before a walk (or going to the toilet… what is THAT?) and/or streaming music/a podcast into our AirPods on any breaks. We’re rushing to fill any time and space so quickly that there’s often none left for anything new.

Challenge: get outdoors sans AirPods and definitely sans iPhone. Walk, run, lay in the grass, ride your bike and just take it all in. The smells, the sounds and the beauty in your very own neighborhood… the flowers blooming, the sun on your face. In the midst of changes on a global level, we could all use a little grounding. Literally. So get outside and breathe in some fresh air. We can’t stress this simple tip enough! Especially for those of you new to work from home life… if you’re not intentional about getting up and moving, it won’t happen.

Take a Self-Care Sabbatical

Honestly, the “self-care” movement often has us eye-rolling. The idea that taking care of yourself can be accomplished with Netflix, a bubble bath, and a bottle of wine (although we’re up for that!) is frankly, reductive and a little ridiculous. Self-care can also just mean finally doing something you’ve been putting off, that weighs on you a little every day, or in taking a moment to color a picture with your toddler instead of going right back to your inbox… in forcing yourself to work out for the way you’ll feel afterward, or in learning something new that you’ve always been intimidated by.

These times are demanding that we slow down, that we stay home, and that we come together for the greater good. That we take care of ourselves and others. In doing so, in really QUIETING down, we’ve found those moments allow our minds to breathe. If quieting down is not your thing, you’re tempted to immediately fill any extra space with PROJECTS (don’t!), or maybe you’re not into the traditional self-care techniques swirling around out there, here are a few tips for taking a full-on self-care sabbatical OUR way, because we know (& are hoping) that this time will pass quickly:

If you want to relax by not doing a lot:

If you want to relax by doing what you normally can’t get to:

  • Take an Art Class: Whether you’re newly a homeschooling mama or just like pretty colors, our talented custom site client Jenna Rainey is about to grace us with FREE Weekly Live Art School and we are SO in.
  • Organize Something: Are you even quarantined if your house isn’t color-coded by the end of it? Jk, but The Home Edit is there for us via Instagram serving up their well-curated advice on projects to tackle to make your home less of a crisis.
  • Knock That One Thing You’ve Been Meaning to DoWith more time at home these days, what’s that one thing you always tell yourself you’ll get to, but never actually do? (Jen’s trying to do one small project per day and yesterday’s was turning her junk drawer of shame into a spice drawer… #sparksjoy)! SO, rather than turning on Netflix one day this week, take the time to tackle that thing, and then email us and let us know what you did. We’d LOVE to give you the high five you deserve.

The idea of being able to improve something, no matter how small, is empowering and honestly just feels so damn good (ask Jen how many times she’s opened that one drawer today). That one thing accomplished can restore a sense of control, purpose, and impact when everything else in your life seems to be spinning out.

Feeling that sense of calm wash over you? We hope so. And like we said early this week, we are *for* you. For your business, for your families, for your success, for your safety, and for your peace amidst it all. And we know just how powerful your website is to your livelihood and continued growth both professionally and personally.

So, until further notice, you can take 20% off any website template design in our collection with the code LETSDOTHISTOGETHER (code valid on payment plans, too).

You know the drill, pop into our inbox if you need us! We’re here waiting to chat with you… and just FYI, if you LIKE (or dislike) any particular blog content, always jump into your inbox and let us know! We work on this content for YOU, so we wanna know!

Do not delte - Ryan
Do not delte - Ryan

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