Creating a theme or design based on a time period or specific style is not as easy as it seems. Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy (and very common) to go overboard and end up looking cheezy. Cathy shares her secrets on how to she designs Funnel Drops month after month with a mixture of the past, the future, and her signature style to create an incredible design that gets people talking.

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Hello everyone, this is Cathy Olson and welcome to the secrets of gorgeous design podcasts. I am so thrilled to share with you today because this topic is something that I don’t know that I knew people were struggling with, but I just thought Kinda, I was struggling in silence on this thing and it’s something that might not happen super often to you, but it is happening really often to me now that I’m designing constantly and month after month, uh, for, for these funnel drops. And this topic today is how to design for a specific time period or slash style. This is pretty difficult actually. It’s are probably harder than it looks, I think that people think, oh yeah, you just, it just come up with like a theme, but it’s a fine line between themey and you know, just over the top and cheesy. It’s a real fine line and it’s, well the hard part is, it’s not coming up with the ideas, but it’s coming up with the ideas, making them current, kind of bring him in the current era and making a really sophisticated and professional that is the hardest part.

It’s that balance of the two. So that is what I’m going to dive into today until you exactly how I do this, how I break down this process, tell you the tips that I can give you to making this process easier and pain as pain free as possible. So let’s jump into this episode.

My name is Cathy Olson. I’m part of a group of entrepreneurs who are the founders and creative directors of their businesses who have a discerning eye and a ton of heart. If you ask those get rich quick types, they would say that pretty design isn’t functional and doesn’t sell yet. We are proving everyday that beautiful and thoughtful details do sell and in fact attract unstoppable beauty and wealth. We believe that we can have it all and that sales can be gorgeous. These are the secrets of gorgeous design and we are here to make creativity, lucrative, build gorgeous brands and sales funnels, and to make the world of business a gorgeous place to be.

So funny story today guys. Uh, yesterday I just finally finished up the design for funnel new our, which is our may drop, which is literally dropping in a week, a week from today. And Gosh, you guys, holy cow, I seriously have, I don’t know that I’ve ever had as hard of a time as designing a funnel drop as I did this one mostly because I put it off till the last possible second today was the drop dead due date that I could find like that I could, as long as I could basically take until we have to start coding, we need to at least a week just start coding and testing and all that good stuff. But I waited til the last possible minute, not only because I’m super busy, may has been insanely busy, but really I just was having the worst block on this guy. And so it was super hard for me.

It’s not because I didn’t grasp the concept well, kind of it kind of a little bit. Um, but because there was just so there’s so much I could do with this, right? So fall in the wire does as a little bit of behind the scenes. When Julie and I pick these names, we don’t really have an idea exactly on what they are going to look like. And it’s so funny when you know, we had in the marketer’s hard group, we had you guys vote on which one you wanted us to come out with next for May. And you guys all like overwhelmingly said funnel in the war and it’s like, I don’t even know what you guys think funnel in the wire is, you know? So it’s kind of a funny part about it. It’s like what are they expecting versus what I thought it was versus what Julie thinks it is.

You know? So it’s so up for interpretation. But when originally Joel and I were talking about it, we were talking about film new are like the black and white films and that style. And so I tried to keep pretty closely to that style. But even when you’re thinking about the vintage and kind of retro style, oh my gosh, like there’s so many different ways to go vintage. There’s so many different time periods. I mean there’s, there’s like subcategories of this stuff and it’s actually a lot deeper than I even, I think anticipated. When I first thought about this theme, I thought, Oh, that’s pretty easy theme to totally like wrap my head around. But when I, once I actually started designing it and creating something, I realized it was a lot deeper than I thought. And even when I was starting to design it, even after I had come up with an idea, after I started designing it, I kept it kept going back and forth, back and forth between, you know, something like really like kind of sexy 50 shades, you know, like masquerade.

And then it was getting like really? So then I would kind of distress it and then it would get really distressed and kind of dingy and dirty. And then a lot of times it was just getting really dark and kind of depressing. So it was a, it was a strange theme to tackle, but eventually I got a cool, um, you know, kind of balance that I liked. And the other thing is too with these specifically and with these photo drops is that people love themes, but we got to use this in the real life, right? And we already use this on our clients or ourselves or whatever. So even though people love a good theme, it really has to fit within real life and realistic funnels and what actually people would use, right? It’s like not just, it’s not fun to just collect a bunch and not actually use them.

So there’s also a level of usability that we have to actually, this head needs to be created for actual companies, you know. So it’s a very interesting thing. And I guess I’ll say that creating templates for people is probably like can be a whole other episode, but this episode or really wants to talk about what I was struggling with when I went through designing for a theme and kind of what I learned about it. Um, I do some of these things inherently and I don’t really think about it when I’m doing. Um, and then, um, a lot of people in the group and some other people are talking to her asking how do you design for themes like this? And so that’s why I was kind of inspired this episode and I just want to tell you guys like how you could actually now knowing what I did to, um, yesterday and the struggle, I mean, I spent all day designing it, I want to say at least probably eight hours worth of work designing that thing.

Um, if not longer. I don’t know. I don’t really count. It was just Kinda, I would work and then take a break and then we’re gonna take a break where like pretty much all day from the time the sun came up to the time the Senate went down. So definitely hours and hours and hours spent on that guy. But now that I am, like on the other side of it, I can see a sort of thinking through what I could’ve done better. Uh, what I did that was, that actually worked really well and how I can, you know, give that to you guys. And I really think it’s, it’s a bigger conversation about mashing up styles and I think, uh, you know, there’s definitely things that you can take from developing a fee, you know, looking at a time period and seeing what they used to design back then, but also like reinterpreting it for now.

I think when people are actually asking for a theme, they’re not really asking for it to look like it was created back then. They’re looking like for you to create something that’s in the spirit of that, but you’re still wanting to look at it and design it from, you know, a 20, 19 Lens. Right? We still want it to be an updated modern version of it. So that’s what I want to go through today is really the three way, three things that you can do to really like update it and kind of mash it with, you know, new stuff, what to grab, what to get rid of. Um, and also like how to make it feel like yours. Cause I, that’s the other thing too is I, I do pride myself on being able to design almost anything. I’ll say almost anything, cause I’m sure there’s something out there that I just don’t, can’t do.

Um, but I do love challenging myself and it’s one of the PR, one of the reasons I love doing these fall jobs as walls cause I really get to challenge myself every single month and it stretched my creative muscle so to speak. Um, and I think I get better and stronger at it as well. But yeah, I think it’s really about creating something that still feels like you. Even though I love being this kind of chameleon for my clients and for these as well, I want it to still have like a little bit of a signature signature Cathy on it so that if when you see it you’re like, I get it. Like it’s within the style, but I still see her in this and that’s what I want for you. So the first thing that I will say that you can do to really nail a time period when you get this is really to just study the time period with kind of no biases a first.

So the first step I always take when I’m doing these phone drops, as I create a Pinterest board, I go on to Pinterest credit pictures born and I start pinning things. Um, I kind of, I say this like lightly because sometimes people can overdo it on Pinterest and just start copying a bunch of stuff. I can use Pinterest, you know, pretty responsively. So understand your own limitations there. If you’re going to have, you know, issues with copying and you just really can’t think of anything. Um, I would say try to use it pretty loosely to get some ideas, start sketching and then never look at Pinterest again. If you have, if you have a tendency for that to kind of hinder you. For me, it just really gets me more inspired so I don’t have an issue with it. So I will say that, just a little disclaimer there, but I will always create a type of Pinterest board.

I, we’ll just pin all the things, like all the related things. If you guys have ever done my brand room exercise, you see how I pin things and how I use Pinterest to my advantage and how I actually pin other things that are related to it. And I just keep going and going and going. But they create this whole brand board kind of thing for each funnel drop. And I just start just going crazy and just pinning all the things I can possibly think of. I do it pretty quickly. I would say that this step probably takes me maybe 30 minutes, maybe an hour. I’m not really, never really timed it. Um, but I just kind of get it all out until I feel like there’s nothing left to pin kind of in a way. Um, and then they go back through. Sometimes I actually don’t really, I don’t really use this step.

Sometimes I go through and actually delete some that don’t fit, but for the most part I can kind of tell what goes and what doesn’t fit. And I start to kind of see like things, I start to study it. So I start to see, um, what, what things are similar. So that is the second step that I would do if, um, if I was doing this, you know, if I was you and I was doing this again is really I this second step, it’s a skim over the board and identify elements that are the same. So then now that that’s kind of how I’m studying this time period, this could be a style as well too. So I’ll, I’ll use that kind of interchangeably here. Time periods slash style, right? This is how to recreate it. Um, I look over the board, I try to identify those elements that look the same like fonts, right?

I tried to say what kind of fonts are they using? Are they mostly Sarah’s, are they sand? Sarah’s, um, are they display fonts or the handwritten fonts? Like what am I seeing? And I might see a variety, right? I might see some sand Sarah’s and some Sarah, but where am I seeing them? Am I seeing a lot of sensors in headlines and my seeing him and subheadlines, am I seeing them in Italics? Like where are they using these different things? And I started to basically take notes on what I’ve pinned and start to see these commonalities and start to take notes in the commonalities. So I might write, um, you know, big Chunky Sarah fee had headlines or something like that. Right. So, and that’s just one piece of it that just looking at fonts I might look at like how do they make dividers? Like what, what uh, does this time period, what did, what dividers did they use?

What kind of systems did they use to divide their content? I might look at, you know, is it, is they, are things very asymmetrical? Are things very symmetrical? What side do they go on? What is the relationship between images and text? Is text really big or are the images really big? Like I’m just looking for relationships right there and kind of how did they lay things out? How did they take information and relay it? Right. Um, are there any special treatments they have on anything? Are there drop shadows or backgrounds or um, outlines, like just kind of what, what kind of treatments did they use? What are the photos look like? Like, are they really moody? Is it really high end photography? Is it, um, you know, kind of Grungy, dirty photography? Like usually if it’s vintage, obviously you know, you can kind of see what a vintage photos look like.

Do they have the rounded corners there? Are they distressed? Right. Just kind of really looking through. Um, and seeing that in a lot of times I tried to actually go with the original as must as possible. So I try to actually, so like for example, if I was doing something, um, from the fifties I would actually try to pin things that were actually advertisements in the 50s right? Not like a reinterpretation of the 50s but the actual thing so that I can really get kind of a puritan version or pure version of that design. So usually I’m kind of doing that kind of thing because I can reinterpret it in a modern way and that’s fine. You know, I, I can do that myself if you don’t know how to return. But it in Wa feel, feel free to pin things that are modern as well, but you’ll be able to tell the things that are truly from the period and the things that are recreation’s.

But again, you can kind of be looking at what are the similars, the similarities between things that were the rent, original vintage versions and the actual tie like that. The reinterpreted versions like what did they reinterpret, what looks different and be noticing those things as well. So that’s a third thing would be I want to look at which trends I can disregard or which things I can marry with like a new modern idea. So maybe they used to do something that’s just totally out of style now and how can I update it and modernize it to this era to what actually fits now. So how can I make it, you know, maybe cleaner, easier to read. Um, or if it’s, yeah, like so like something less than it’s fonts. I mean fonts are just so all over the place. Like we have every kind of font that, you know, now we have access to everything, right?

We have access to every holds old font that are kind of ever was. And there’s just, so there’s like no shortage of fonts. So fonts are usually like we have access to everything, but can we get images so look like that. Or do we get like a new image and just kind of, does it have to be like crappy looking cause you don’t like for example, you look at um, old photography and there’s, there’s some issues there. Like there maybe things were blown out or they’re not developed the right way. Well we don’t need to make things worse, right? We don’t need to back them up and actually make them worse. Maybe we can make them look a little bit like there were older but still pretty clear and still great photography for example, something like that. Um, or if it’s like, you know, some kind of a cartoon or I don’t know, something that you see on the advertisement is it can, can we do like a cool cooler version of that?

That would be like more 20, 19. So I, I’m not trying to just make it exactly, exactly, exactly look like it came from that time period. That’s not my goal here. The goal is to get the spirit and the love and the idea and the feeling in the kind of nostalgia, right? That’s really what we’re doing here is when we’re, when we’re designing within a time period, we’re getting getting that nostalgic feeling, but speaking to people today and we’re not because we’re not selling to people then. So we cared about different things then. Right? So from a a marketing standpoint, we’re really talking to people today. So we do want to take the marketing approach from now, right? So what do people care about now? But how can we pull in some nostalgia for these older and cooler, you know, time periods. And it really is a Mashup of the two styles.

So again, I was saying earlier, you know, how do you design the style without it becoming cheesy? That’s, that’s it. You modernize it, right? You take, um, stock of which trends that you can disregard, which ones you can marry with new ideas that actually speak to 20, 19 people, right? Or already in Bonn beyond. And then, uh, lastly, just mashing it up with your own signature style. So was your take on this. So, okay, they designed it in this way. I love that they did it this way. They shaped it like this. But what’s my thing like what’s, what, what makes me unique and all and even in inspired pro in my signature course and inspired pro, we, I teach about signature style and actually how to create your signature style. And one of the things is like, what is the thing that I’m known for that I always do?

It’s Kinda like my, my signature, right? It’s like that’s that one thing. It’s like painters would do like the a couple things differently and then you would know it was them. That’s how people kind of know. It’s the same idea. So how do I take this trend? How do I take modern trends and how do I take my signature style and mash up those three? And that is how you really, really come up with something incredible that’s unique, different has that feeling of the time period, but it still feels really timeless and really you. So those are the three things that you can start doing today to really design and make sure you nail a time period. Number one, study the period. Create a Pinterest board, you know, make, make a whole board of, of original as much as possible designs you can mostly advertising if you want number to skim over the board, identify elements that are the same, what fonts would, dividers, the photos, all those things that they’re using.

Three, which trends can you disregard or Mary with modern ideas and add your signature style. Couple things I wanna let you guys know Inspired Pro, I mentioned it just a few minutes ago, but inspired pros actually going away. Oh my gosh, it’s so sad. I know I’m going to reinterpret it in some way, shape or form in the future. Not right now because I have the inner circle running, but inspired pro. If you guys want to grab it and make sure you do so before May 25th before it’s actually going into its own lovers in of the vaults. Go to in order to grab that for the last, I’m the way it looks today at least.

The other thing is if you guys want to catch one on the war, it’s coming out next week, next Monday, the 27 so May 27th funnel nor drops and it will only be open for five days, nine slash 96 hours.
Make sure you guys grab that. That’s just so thanks guys. I hope that was helpful and I appreciate you so much. And of course if you thought this podcast was super helpful and you want more and more this, please share, please share, share, share and make sure you go review it on iTunes. I would appreciate it so much and it gives me that like excitement to do more. I guys see on the next one.

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