I’m Stef a Visual Brand Consultant and Art Director based in San Francisco, CA. After my last article about collaborations, I wanted to talk about branding, effective online storytelling, and to essentially see what would happen.

I’ve built two creative businesses, designed and led a weekend wellness retreat, and I host workshops centered around helping professional women reignite their creativity. You can find my work at Ink and Pulp.

Inspiration and branding

When it comes to who inspires me, I’d say it’s less about influencing my brand and more about impacting me on a personal, creative level.

I feel so soothed every time I visit @saltwatermocha‘s feed because she tells her story in a way that is poetic and yet at the same time, so refreshingly real.

You are immediately transported to Michaela’s world, rather than feeling like she’s staging it in some contrived way. I’m also obsessed with the artist @deunivory, and not only her beautiful work but also how she stands for something beyond herself and is on a mission to empower women of color. I’ve also always been drawn to talented brand designers and one of my absolute favorites whose work lights a creative spark in my heart is @madebycanopy.

So many of Sarah’s posts make it into my Saved collection on Instagram.

As far as companies go, Everlane is killing it. I save all the emails they send and am always oohing and ahhing over their photography. I also have a stack of Cuyana catalogues that I use as inspiration. I love the visual content they create and how they share each seasonal collection through the lense of a story.

Instagram from @inkandpulp

On creativity and refreshing

Great question. I often feel so overly stimulated by visual information that it’s a struggle to find content out there that feels fresh. So much of what’s shared online is overly stylized and you know it’s all staged, so it’s difficult to feel anything visceral when it can all be so sterile.

Unplugging is my creative remedy. San Francisco will always be at the center of my creative expression, so one of my favorite ways to recharge is to go on a walk and observe my surroundings. When I let go of what I think I should be creating and just quietly observe the unpolished, imperfect details of my urban environment, it’s like the ultimate refresh for visual inspiration.

Instagram from @inkandpulp

Developing a cohesive visual style for your brand is the most effective way to communicate what your business or blog is all about.

Consistency is what embeds your brand into people’s memories. That way, rather than having to tell them who you are and why you’re valuable, you actually show them.

One question I often pose to my clients is, “If someone were to receive an email from you, see your Instagram, and visit your website, would they know all of those channels are part of the same brand?”

Consistency is key to making a lasting impression, and if you want to build a loyal following, you’ll need to make an impression that differentiates you from the crowd.

For more inspiration, head to my instagram at @inkandpulp or contact me to enquire about my upcoming mastermind group here.